Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 4, 2006
BASEBALL: Amazin' Already

What a Mets game today:

1. The 9-4-2-2 Double Play

Obviously, the headline play - if you somehow missed it - was Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew both being thrown out at home on the same play. I'm not sure which is worse - Kent getting thrown out at the plate coming in from second on a ball that bounced off the right field fence, or Drew trying to score when he had to see that the guy ahead of him wasn't even home safely yet. Dodger third base coach Rich Donnelly, the least popular man in LA right now, says the two were so close together he couldn't switch his signs fast enough:

Kent froze between second base and third, waiting to see if the ball would drop. Drew, with a better angle at first base, could see the ball slicing and knew it would fall safely.

Drew started running while Kent was still standing.

Rich Donnelly, the Dodgers' third-base coach, saw Kent get a late break from second and knew he would have a hard time scoring. But as Donnelly started to raise his arms, the universal stop sign, he noticed that Drew was only about 10 feet behind Kent.

"If I held up Jeff," Donnelly said, "we would have had two guys on third."

Donnelly kept his arms by his side, watching Kent barrel toward home plate. When he turned back to third base, Drew flew right by him...

Drew never considered that the Mets might have a play on Kent. He said he did not even see Kent until he was halfway to home.

"I thought Jeff was scoring standing up," Drew said. "I thought the play was on me."

Of course, Drew and Kent are both pretty universally unpopular everywhere anyway... credit to Green for a great thrown and Valentin for the relay, and credit to John Maine, for screaming at Paul Lo Duca to get up and tag Drew (he had no idea there was another runner on the way), but after he tagged Drew, Lo Duca then came up in throwing position, looking to see where Russell Martin had got himself to. Maybe he thought Martin was next.

2. The Three Man Rotation

Willie Randolph can't seriously be contemplating a 3-man rotation for the NLDS, can he? It makes some sense, and it's the most logical reason why he would have pulled John Maine in a jam in the fifth inning, pitching on his regular rest and having thrown only 80 pitches and resulting in burning two relievers to get through the fifth. The Mets have a deep, healthy, relatively fresh pen and only three even semi-reputable starting pitchers, and they have Friday off; if Glavine also doesn't go deep tomorrow, he and Maine could be available to start Games 4 & 5 on three days' rest (if Glavine does go 7 or 8 innings, it's less likely that there would be a Game 5).

3. Mota Is The Guy You Pinch Hit With, Not For?

The other really bizarre thing in this game was when, having burned relievers like there was no tomorrow but still with Oliver, Ring, Perez, Heilman, Hernandez and Wagner to go, Randolph let Guillermo Mota hit with 2 outs and the bases loaded up 4-1 in the sixth. I say you go for the jugular there and pinch hit; you pulled the starter early, why get antsy now about using too many pitchers?

4. Miscellany

I really didn't need to see Steve Phillips in there. Mercifully I watched the game from crowded bars with no audible sound.

Great to see Floyd, in particular, contribute. What a massive homer that was.

Does Marlon Anderson get a pitch in the ear for his takeout slide at Reyes' legs? We know Mota's not above that.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:04 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

#1 deserves a 8000 word column devoted to it. That was the most bizarre play I've seen since Manny Ramirez inexplicably cut off a Damon throw from 15 feet away.

I put it all on Donnelly.

Posted by: larrypatterson at October 5, 2006 1:35 AM

I'm not that familiar with the Dodgers bullpen, but Grady Little's heavy reliance on Brad Penny in relief would suggest he doesn't think to highly of them.

Posted by: Jerry at October 5, 2006 9:10 AM

[...]credit to John Maine, for screaming at Paul Lo Duca to get up and tag Drew[...]

Lo Duca said afterwards that he didn't hear Maine because of the crowd noise and basically just looked around and saw Drew coming in and tagged him.

Posted by: mikeski at October 5, 2006 10:17 AM

The Times article indicates that LoDuca actually saw the umpire, who gave him a sort-of "look out" expression.

Posted by: Al at October 5, 2006 10:21 AM

It's good to see the genius of Grady Little at work again. You look at what he had to work with over the season and you think, "Geez, he must have done a pretty good job." Then you watch a Dodger game that means something and you think, "Wow, he either doesn't really understand baseball or he is totally insane." And how about the announcing of that game. Man alive! In a game of hideous commentary the, "I thought Grady Little did a good job in Boston, other than the Pedro incident" stood out like a beacon of inanity.

Posted by: jim at October 5, 2006 11:35 AM

Speaking for myself, I felt truly blessed to be graced with an inning of Tim Effing Robbins. Why, I couldn't have enjoyed that game without Tim Effing Robbins stopping in the booth.

Posted by: spongeworthy at October 5, 2006 11:39 AM

Re the announcing - I like this website:

Posted by: Al at October 5, 2006 12:11 PM
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