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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Manuel's Labor Can't Clean Up These Mets: Angels 6, Mets 1

So after a catastrophic and humiliating public execution of most of the Mets' field staff, the team assembled its worst single inning of play this season in the first, or so testified the Angels broadcasters, who heard it from Mets broadcaster Wayne Hagin. Johan Santana was wobbly, and Carlos Delgado's error amplified it, allowing Torii Hunter to score from second, part of a three-run first that immediately erased the Mets' first inning run off John Lackey. That run came after Jose Reyes got a leadoff single, but Reyes pulled up lame at the bag. Manuel, not wanting to risk serious injury to his star, pulled Reyes out for pinch-runner Damion Easley. That switch prompted a hissy fit from Reyes, who refused to leave the game at first and threw his helmet in the dugout. In general it appeared as though the Mets were playing tired, something they didn't deny in postgame interviews:
“We looked very tired. I know I was tired. Maybe they were going through what I was going through,” said Manuel, promoted from bench coach to interim manager when Willie Randolph was fired late the previous night. “Hopefully now that the cloud has lifted, we can get back to playing baseball.
Santana was actually pretty good in the second and the first two batters in the third, retiring five straight in those two frames, but he started leaking baserunners and Casey Kotchman eventually got to him with two out in the third, and Jeff Mathis ripped a solo homer in the sixth.

Lackey, on the other hand, pitched well in the first and only gave up a single run, but generally wasn't in trouble until he ran out of gas in the eighth. Leaving the game with men on first and second, Scot Shields came into the game to retire Luis Castillo, and finish the ninth besides to collect his second save of the year thanks to the obscure rules for that stat. The Angels got a little lucky at running into the Mets when they're hitting some turbulence, but luck aside, they also capitalized on it. A great game for Lackey, who won a contest of top-drawer aces.

Yahoo boxMLB.com recap

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The Mets are two games under .500. They've suffered two five game losing streaks, and a bunch of three game losing streaks. Haven't they pretty much been "hitting a little turbulence" all season? How about they're just not very good?
Well, that too. But they beat the Angels on Monday.
Yeah, well, neither are the Royals, and that didn't stop them from beating the Angels.
Rob, you magnificent bastard! It's impressive that you knew about that save rule. I sure didn't. And the FSNWest TV announcers on last night's game didn't either, insisting that Shields was "not in a save situation."

At least that rule is pretty specific. The third possible save situation in ye olde Rule Book, "pitching effectively for at least three innings" seems a bit more nebulous. I have seen such a save scenario only once personally. What does "effective" mean really? I assume it means simply not coughing up the lead, right?

- Chris
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Oh and for those of you weren't sure what obscure save rule Rob was referring to in his post:

Rule 10.20...
(3) He [the pitcher] qualifies under one of the following conditions:
- (b) He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, or at bat, or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batsmen he faces...

Since Scot Shields entered a 5-1 game and inherited two baserunners from Lackey, the batsman on deck was the potential tying run, enough to qualify Shields as the save situation pitcher.

- Chris
Not really that smart about the rules; somebody who really is is Bob Timmermann. The radio announcers just happened to mention it.
By the way, Seitz, what's your point? I'm not following you. On the one hand, the Mets aren't very good, so the Angels should be able to beat them. Okay. But, the Royals also aren't very good, and the Angels should be able to beat them, too?

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