Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 1, 2008
BASEBALL: Opening Well

Just a couple quick thoughts on yesterday's Mets opener, which I had to follow on the web after the batteries in my transistor radio died:

1. Definitely shades of last season in the first inning: Castillo fails to score on a Beltran double, setting up Delgado to go quietly with two men in scoring position and two outs. It was Delgado's two-out, men-on troubles as much as his overall numbers that were painful to watch last season.

2. Advantage to starting the season in Florida: fewer worries about pitching arms tightening up in the cold weather, allowing Randolph to stretch Santana out to 100 pitches, getting him a step closer to midseason form. (Contrast this with opening in, say, Cleveland, where Victor Martinez' hamstring tighened up on him, or Chicago, where Martinez left last season's opener with a quad injury).

3. One item of concern for Santana, who was otherwise brilliant: dating back to last season he has now surrendered 16 homers in his last 14 regular season starts.

4. Angel Pagan batted ahead of Ryan Church. I just don't understand this. I mean, presumably the Mets thought Church would hit enough to be a real corner outfielder when they acquired him. He's a career .271/.347/.462 hitter, .279/.355/.484 on the road. Pagan, by contrast, has a career batting line of .280/.337/.373 in the minor leagues, and hasn't slugged .450 since rookie ball; his career major league line is .255/.309/.417. Even assuming this was because of Church's struggles with lefties like Mark Hendrickson, a career .254/.331/.392 line, the switch-hitting Pagan's career mark against lefties is a pitiable .219/.280/.406. I know Pagan is a good athlete and had a good spring; I know at 26 there's always the outside chance that he will take a step forward; and I know the Mets are short-handed. So I understand why we may be stuck with him getting playing time. But I can't see any reason for batting him ahead of Church.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:10 AM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Robin Roberts gave up homers by the score. That bothers me less.

Delgado is done. His swing clearly shows he doesn't yet understand he has to change. Since he won't, he will go the way of the dodo. Delgado hitting singles may not be as valuable as hitting homers, but a damn sight better than double plays and pop outs.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at April 1, 2008 1:17 PM
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