Ten games in and I’m still trying to figure out what kind of team the Mets have here. I’m encouraged that the big hitters for the most part are off to a good start but worried about the starting pitching. The so-called “clutch hitting” hasn’t come around but neither have Jerry Manuel‘s revoltingly passive game plans, which might be driving me craziest of all.
Camon, Jerry: If you’re going to call a sacrifice bunt every time a leadoff hitter reaches base, you had better be cashing that runner in consistently not to mention executing the sacrifice properly in the first place. But the success rate on both tasks has been just dismal and the sense of gently screwing yourself out of opportunities is palpable. Play with only two outs every time you get a guy on base and of course the clutch hitting is going to look awful. It came as no surprise to me that both of John Maine‘s poor pitching innings the other night came after failing in sacrifice situations the inning before. Not to put too fine a point on it, but bunting is for losers.
Anyway, Thursday’s game marked my first visit to CitiField and other than a bad game and an arctic chill every bit as cold as Shea on its rawest day, I was impressed with the new park. I like the wide concourses where plenty of light and a lack of crowding helped me recognize friends wandering around I would never have come across in the old building. My modest seats this season — up in Promenade 521 — more or less replicate the look from Mezzanine 10 in the old place, which is fine with me and every bit as affordable. I ate El Verano tacos and Box Frites and can recommend both. I do not like not being unable to see the bullpen. Bottom line: If the Mets can play better and the weather can get warmer, we’ll all have an excellent time there.
Tonight while again battling poor execution and way too much passive play we eventually beat the Brewers in part by not making an out on purpose in the ninth. We saw the 500th home run from Gary Sheffield, who despite what the morons on the call-in shows are saying, is exactly the kind of threat on the bench this team has needed for a long while. His turns at-bat have been almost all good no matter the results so far. Congrats, Gary.
The 9th inning rally tonight featured the debut of reserve catcher Omir Santos, who was recalled from Buffalo this evening when Brian Schneider went onto the disabled list with back woes. Santos wore No. 9, recently turned in by Marlon Anderson. As for Schneider, I wouldn’t be surprised if his run as the starting catcher could come to an end sooner rather than later.