09.27.07

Joel Piniero, Closer Of Flushing Caskets

Posted in Baseball at 10:51 pm by

Cardinals 3, Mets 0

It sort of figures. After a stretch in which Mets starters and relievers alike have struggled mightily, Thursday saw New York receive a competent, if not downright gutty 7 innings from Pedro Martinez (two earned runs, 8 hits, 8 K’s), followed by two innings of scoreless relief from the much maligned Aaron Heilman and Pedro Felicano.

Of course, all of this took place on the same night St. Louis’ Joel Piniero limited the Mets to 3 hits over 8 shutout innings, with no NY baserunner advancing past 2nd. This is the same Piniero, by the way, who came into tonight’s contest with an ERA of 6.75 over his past 3 games. How’s it feel, Mets fans, knowing that such a historic collapse came not at the hands of pitchers named Smoltz, Maddux, Webb or Zambrano, but via final week defeats to the likes of Piniero and Matt Chico?

When did Miguel Cairo overdose on Brooks Robinson pills?

Given the recent state of the Mets bullpen, it’s hard to quarrel with Willie Randolph sticking with Pedro through 105 pitches. However, I’m gonna do just that. The entire building was well aware Philly got off to a fast lead against the Braves and the playoffs have essentially already begun. Trailing 3-0 in the fifth with two outs and Shawn Green on first, Randolph chose to let Martinez hit for himself, resulting in a 4-3 put out.

It might seem like the height of lunacy to advocate pulling Pedro when he still had a bit left in the tank, but Green was the last Met to reach base all evening. If ever there was a time to roll the dice and let one of the myriad of available hitters take a shot at Piniero, this was it. Randolph’s ballclub could be eliminated by the end of play Saturday — if there wasn’t a sense of urgency tonight, when would it be appropriate?

Tonight’s celebrity sightings : Will Leitch, begging for a kicking resplendent in a Rick Ankiel away jersey. Ronan Tynan wannabe David O’Leary (no relation to the former Leeds manager), and uh, the really annoying cowbell guy that patrols the Shea mezzanine.

While Jose Reyes’ regression to a target of the Queens boo birds is undoubtedly depressing, I’m surprised the MMS has yet to report on the way Lastings Milledge has been buried somewhere underneath the CitiField construction site.

Though I understand that Orel Hershiser is correct if he’s trying to illustrate the contrast between the gloomy vibe at Shea (an announced attendance of 48,000, but at least 15,000 of those fans were disguised as empty seats) and the rockin’ atmosphere at Citizen Bank Park this week, there’s really no such thing as being “out fanbased”.

16 Responses to “Joel Piniero, Closer Of Flushing Caskets”

  1. David Roth says:

    Bummer city. Just…I sort of thought they could beat Joel Pineiro. Maybe if it was Mike “Madavid” Maroth?

    Your point on Pedro is provocative and worth a thought, too, considering that the potential play-in options outlined by Jayson Stark include up to 3 tie-breaking games, one of which would certainly involve a Pedro start. That said, I can’t argue with leaving Pedro in. I could never argue with that. He’s a fucking hero, and was brilliant tonight — it’s exactly what the Wilps are paying him so much to do. I just don’t know that the rest of these jokers deserve him at this point.

  2. Pulp says:

    I’m not quite sure why, but I would feel a lot better if you had done violence to Will.

    Oh wait, of course I know why. That prick will be crowing about this tomorrow.

  3. GC says:

    David,

    brilliant indeed, and much of the brilliance was yet to come. the finish to the 7th inning — after Willie visited the mound and opted to leave Pedro in to face Pujols — was genuinely thrilling.

    That said, I’m gonna stick with the nutso proposition that a pinch-hitter was necessary in the 5th. As terrific as Martinez was Thursday night, there’s no team that’s managed to win without scoring. If Pedro’s at bat in the last of the 5th didn’t represent their best scoring opportunity, it may well have been their last.

    P – let him crow.  As bad as it looks for the Mets tonight, consider the plight of a Cards rooter :

    * – your skipper’s a lush
    * – said manager and the club’s radio voice each have the blood of Josh Hancock all over their paws
    * – some of their minor leaguers would sooner get their magical-healing-pillz from Physicians-R-Us than from the club’s lonely medical staff
    * – every penny spent on tickets, parking, merch, concessions, etc. is in some way paying Braden Looper’s salary.

  4. Rog says:

    Joel Piniero is the king of garbage time. He was really brilliant out of the pen late last year in Seattle, parlaying that into a contract with the Sox this year. He’s this year’s Jeff Weaver…the bad pitcher who makes LaRussa look like a frigging brain scientist late in the season. Sorry he outpitched Pedro. I was rooting for the little man.

  5. Jason Cohen says:

    CBP was nowhere near full yesterday. And in fact, the last time the Phils were in Queens, none other than J Roll said he thought the fans were better in there (a comment that somehow made it past the Philly media without controversy).

    Gerard, didn’t you make the Trachsel joke ages ago?

    The Mets’ pitching is so bad, general manager Omar Minaya is ready to put out an all-points bulletin for Steve Trachsel. Since a three-game series with Philadelphia at Shea in mid-September, here are some Mets ERAs: Jorge Sosa (10.80), John Maine (10.61), Mike Pelfrey (7.59), Guillermo Mota (7.50), Billy Wagner (6.75), Tom Glavine (6.11) and Pedro Feliciano (5.68). Amazingly enough, New York’s team ERA of 5.09 in September is still better than Philadelphia’s 5.15 staff ERA this month. But Mets manager Willie Randolph sure looks a lot more stressed than Philadelphia counterpart Charlie Manuel these days.

  6. GC says:

    from the highlights, the crowd in Philly sure looked bigger and bolder than their counterparts at Shea. Granted Philly Phans had more to cheer about, but there were empty box seats and nosebleed seats alike in Flushing last night. And I know it was a make-up game from an earlier rainout, but c’mon, it’s a goddamn pennant race (even if the Mets are racing towards nothing other than oblivion).

  7. Bruce says:

    Despite their recent play, the Cardinals will not lay down for anyone, much less the Pond Scum, er, I mean the Mets. And Piniero has shown flashes of mediocrity since coming over to St. Louis, and he probably earned himself a contract for next year. *shudder*

  8. Jason Cohen says:

    Yeah, tonight was a sellout in Philly. But Brett Myers said this on Wednesday:

    “I just want to see that upper deck full tomorrow. I want so many people here that I can’t even get home because of the traffic. I think that’s what we all want to see. I know it’s a school night, but come on. Let’s go. Let’s get it done.”

  9. Mike Stuto says:

    This might be over-the-top, but I just can’t take it anymore…

    Anyone who has given credit to Minaya, Randolph and Peterson for the successes of this team is 05 and 06, has to seriously hold the three of them accountable for this current collapse.

    Willie Randolph’s “Stoicism” would be better described as Paralysis. In a tight pennant race he plays Carlos Gomez instead of Milledge or even Shawn Green?? He continues to use G. Mota in big spots?? And his “I trust my guys” bullshit hasn’t produced results or woken anyone up. Despite the speed at his disposal, he hasn’t ONCE run a squeeze or even a wheel play in three years. This is the National League, right??? What can you point to during this month-long (season-long) malaise where tried to light a fire under them? How many games did this team lose because Willie refused to move DelGado out of the clean-up spot? I bet you can point to a bunch of close game losses where he left 4 or 5 men on base. He has not looked like a clean-up hitter in over a year. Despite being in first place all season, anyone watching every day knows that this team has not played up to it’s potential since June 1. And what is the manager’s reaction? Just stay the course. Lets face it, Willie Randolph is the George W. Bush of baseball management….

    Can’t really argue any specifics regarding Rick Peterson’s role, because the guy doesn’t seem to get asked any questions. But, when EVERY pitcher in your bullpen blows for three weeks, I think you’ve got something to answer for. You think not, oh mulleted one? Then stop taking credit for Glavine’s resurgence because you made a golf metaphor. You can’t take credit for good and then disappear when the shit hits the fan.

    And Mr Minaya: thanks for the bullpen help at the trade deadline. Who was it that you didn’t want to give up for Chad Cordero? Still think it was a good idea to hold out? I liked the Castillo move, but right handed-relief is what this team really needed. Like it or not, Omar’s job is to know that and to do something about it!! Two years of a juiceless Mota and 3 years for Schoenweiss? Are you fucking kidding me? Oh, and thanks for unloading Heath Bell. Ben Johnson and Jon Adkins worked out great…

    I’m disgusted by what I’ve seen this month. And, yes, the players are responsible too. But for almost every player that has shit-the-bed, I can point to one of this three-pronged fork of ineptitude to share the blame…And if no one is held accountable, what makes anyone think that Jose Reyes is going to try harder next year? Interesting that once he broke the team’s single-season stolen base, Jose lost all concentration. Maybe he’s been playing cards with the first base coach….

  10. Marc says:

    I’ve never been so unenthusiastic about going to a baseball game as I will be tonight. A few weeks ago, I thought maybe I’d be seeing the clincher at Shea, now I’m hoping to see a rare victory.

    Since they won’t let me send my tickets back, I guess I’m going to the game.

    The only positive I can see about tonight is that I saw Ollie pitch a big game last time I was at Shea and that I feel a lot more confident with him on the mound than any one else not named Pedro.

    And, what kind of sick fuck at Mets.com tells me I qualified for NLCS tickets on the night they all but get eliminated? Is Jimmy Rollins in charge of sending out those emails?!

  11. Rog says:

    I would blame Minaya more than anyone for assembling that craptacular pitching staff (as a matter of fact, I did say the same thing before the season began). Gary Cohen said last night that this would be the biggest collapse in the history of baseball, but I disagree. There have been worst. Bright side? Rick Petersen will be the fall guy. Maybe they’ll gut the coaching staff completely. As for Willie? I say he keeps his job but he’ll have to stop playing American League baseball.

  12. Marc says:

    Rog,
    Agreed completely. The fact that the staff was based around a bunch of guys who rarely get into even the 7th inning was an issue. It’s the same problem the Yankees have had the past few years. Unless you trust the entire bullpen, you wind up with Scott Proctor or Heilman or all the other guys Torre (and his disciple Willie Randolph) have over worked and abused over the years. You just can’t keep going to the same 3 guys and hope it’ll hold up in August, September, and October.

    The actual starting pitching, if it could get past the 6th inning, is usually not all that bad. They do a relatively good job innings 1-5.

  13. GC says:

    “The fact that the staff was based around a bunch of guys who rarely get into even the 7th inning was an issue.”

    That’s a formula that had the club just an a run or two away from playing in the 2006 World Series, Marc. I take your point, but innings-eater starters hardly grow on trees. We didn’t need 20/20 hindsight to laugh at the Chan Ho Park signing, but had the Mets, say, outbid the Cubs for Ted Lilly, media and fans alike would’ve been fitting Minaya for a straitjacket.

  14. David Roth says:

    I agree with GC on the last point — and with M. Stuto’s Willie points up until he compares him to Dubya — but I also feel that Minaya made a few very bad moves this season and wouldn’t be surprised to see him held accountable ahead of Randolph. Minaya has done good work in the past, but his ditching of the system’s four most big league-ready relief prospects — Bell and Ring to San Diego for nothing; Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens to Florida for worse-than-nothing (the unusable Jason Vargas); Brian Bannister for the unusable and now injured Burgos (this year’s Jorge Julio) — really looks bad now. Trading a very good prospect for Scott Linebrink or whomever would’ve been stupid in July and still seemed stupid now, but it’s clear that the bullpen is tragically out of gas, and there’s no help coming from below. Randolph should’ve been more comfortable using those young dudes who were dealt away, and he should probably be more adaptable with his lineup in general. But he’s not playing the game: the team that’s out there is on Omar, and that team seems somehow to have ended its season three weeks early.

    Of course I hope they win out and do what they need to do, but I also hope that a lesson is learned from this: it’s not necessarily wrong to overpay a little bit to keep marginal-seeming relievers (Darren Oliver, Chad Bradford, fuck, I’d even take Roberto Hernandez) who have done the job in the past. Just because there are newer fresher models out there doesn’t mean they’re better. I mean, Schoenweis, as terrible as he’s been, is pitching almost exactly to his career averages. Mota is having an average season for him over the last few years. People don’t usually get fired for botching middle relief, but there’s a first time for everything.

  15. mike stuto says:

    David –

    You’re right about Schoenweiss’ ERA, but he was advertised as one who was adept at stranding runners…. And my beef with the Mota signing is that Omar gave 2 years to a fella who’s “rebirth” arguably came from a needle…..If you dont like the dubya comparison, fair enough. Insert your own leader who sticks with failing strategy until way too late. General Custer, Jim Dolan, and Prince all come to mind as suitable analogies…

  16. Rog says:

    Dubya set the bar kind of high. BTW, I thing there should be a CSTB message board. It’s sucks to have to scroll for, like, ten hours just to see if anybody responded to a comment buried in an old post.

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