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Saturday, May 22, 2004

Saturday Ramblings 

Between them, Jason Phillips and Danny Garcia had four doubles and four RBI in leading the Mets to a 9 to 7 win over the Colorado Rockies yesterday. Rookie right handed pitcher Matt Ginter, acquired in the Timo Perez trade (yes, someone actually gave us a decent pitcher with a live arm for Timo) followed up his solid 1 ER outing against the first place Astros last week with a less impressive start. Ginter went 5 innings, gave up 7 hits and 5 earned runs while walking 2 and striking out 5. Phillips, who was mired in an awful slump that prompted Mets manager Art Howe to not only bench him but also forget his name, is hitting his way out of his slump and into Howe's selective memory. In his last 5 games "what's his name" is hitting .471/.500/1.059 with 2 HRs. Meanwhile, Danny Garcia, who tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated moronically labeled the poster child for today's arrogant young players, has continued to fill in nicely for the injured Jose Reyes ranking in the top half in VORP among NL second basemen, just a fraction of a point below the Expos' Jose Vidro and above better known players like the Marlins' Luis Castillo. Mike Piazza got in on the fun yesterday as well with a home run. Most encouraging for the Mets offense is that Piazza appears to be locked in. Piazza has not been slumping this season but he did not appear himself in the batters box. Maybe he was pressing due to the HR record for catchers, maybe it was stress associated with switching positions, who knows, but Piazza's timing seemed a bit off. That's changed. Since May 2nd, Piazza has boosted his rate stats from .272/.327/.457 to a more Piazza'esque .301/.401/.541, hitting 5 HRs over that span and has assumed his position as tops among NL catchers in VORP. Piazza is showing that Shea Stadium, for him at least, does not drain the pop from right handed power hitters, as he's belting a cool .355/.474/.581 at home so far this season.

In other news, the brain freezing analysis of Baseball Tonight's John Kruk is back. In his latest column (yes, they let him write too) we are treated to the usual, "when I played pitchers were tough blah blah blah but now, the pitchers are wussies blah blah blah." Kruk's support?
These kids are taught that pitch count and innings are everything. They throw numbers at them on how someone can break down if they pitch too much too soon. You know what? You put that into anyone's head and I guarantee you they will break down.
Oh, okay, it's all in their head? So, according to Kruk, the Mets should fire pitching coach Rick Peterson and hire this guy or perhaps the Mets should rehire Mr. Arm Eater. Kruk has no use for statistics like "quality starts" and pitch counts,
I asked Mitch Williams why he decided to retire. He told me he didn't decide -- the batters did. They told him it was time to go. And that's what should determine when a pitcher comes out of a game. Not some statistic about what might happen. . . And forget about this "quality start" stat.
While Kruk dismisses these statistics, he's quick to embrace other stats when he says, "If you don't believe me, like I've said before, look at the numbers. They don't lie." Yup, the numbers don't lie, as indicated by Kruk's IQ, which is battling to make it into the double digits.
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