8/05/2005 08:29:00 PM
�THE EDUCATION OF WILLIE RANDOLPH�
I have been in Willie Randolph�s corner for the most part this his first season as a manger. There have been plenty of times I�ve questioned some of his strategic moves but I think yesterday was the first time this season where I just screamed WILLIE, WTF? Randolph�s handling of yesterday�s game was numbing to say the least and really cannot be defended.
Randolph has said that he went to Roberto Hernandez before the game yesterday and asked him how he felt and if he could go if needed. Well, what would you expect Hernandez to say? Of course he said yes, he�s a vet and would never refuse the ball. As we have seen this season Hernandez plays with an edge and really should be closing games with Loopey setting up but that�s for another day. Hernandez is a 40 year old power pitcher who already had pitched two straight days in oppressive heat so especially in a day game after a night game Willie should have been savvy enough to know that Hernandez should under no circumstance, be used in yesterday�s game. Same with Loopey. Now I will say Kris Benson has to step up and give a better effort as well knowing that the pen has been used thin but it still does not take Willie off the hot seat with his mismanagement of yesterday�s game.
OK Benson didn�t have it today (that�s two straight sub par starts) but you still had Heilman, Santiago, Padilla, Graves, the missing in action Mr. Koo and last but not least Kaz Yesshhii (more on him in a minute) Aaron Heilman came in to relieve Benson in the top of the sixth. He threw a lot of pitches (24) for one inning but the Mets did have a two run lead and he got out of jam. With the pen spent, you figure let Heilman pitch as long as he could go right? Willie didn�t see it that way. He pinch hit for Heilman even though the Mets were AHEAD 8-6. Not only that but he uses �Good in the Room� Gerald Williams who for reasons known only to Omar Minaya, is still on the 25 man roster, to hit. So now you�ve burned a pitcher and a guy who is good only for pinch running and defensive replacement. Now instead of going with either Jose Santiago or even better Danny Graves as we really need to know if Graves still has it, Randolph goes with Juan Padilla. With Hernandez and Loopey getting R & R why not save Padilla for the ninth inning to close the game? Does Randolph know that Padilla was the closer in Norfolk before his call up? All right so let�s see if Padilla can get you through the seventh and eighth and I guess you can use Graves for the ninth. Maybe it gets his juices flowing to close a game again. Padilla gives up an unearned run in the seventh and started the eighth but with a man on base and a lefty Geoff Jenkins up, in comes Dae Sung Koo. Koo has not pitched since July 27th and allows a base hit. Randolph comes out again and brings in Danny Graves. Graves throws two pitches and gets out of the inning.
Now I�m at work listing to the game on radio and I have to leave my desk to help a co-worker retrive some work. I come back to my desk to hear Gary Cohen say it�s 9-7 Mets and Roberto Hernandez is on for the Mets. What? Say that again Gary? What happened to Graves? Why is Hernandez coming into this game when Graves threw SIX pitches in the eighth and he�s been a closer? So as we all know, Hernandez gets his tits lit up and a game that looked like a hard fought win, a win that would have been an ugly win but a win just the same. A win that could build up this team as it has shown no quit and would have been a gritty win. Not to be, thanks to Willie Randolph-Neophyte Manager!!!!
Willie also is starting to use the old Art Howe �piss on their legs and tell �em it�s raining� routine with Yesshhi and Jae Seo. I seems like Seo will start on Saturday against the Cubs taking Yesshhii spot in the rotation and keeping it warm until Steve Trachsel is ready for activation form the DL. I don�t understand why Randolph acts the way he does when asked about Yesshhii? I fact as a fan who follows the team as closely as I do I find in insulting. We�re not idiots Willie we watch the games we know you is contributing and doesn�t and Yesshhii doesn�t. Just tell the truth Willie, learn from the Rafael Pallmiero fiasco, the cover up is worse than the lie.
[�We�ll see what direction they want to go in. Maybe there is a chance to stay�maybe they want to get another catcher and I could work in and do some things. That�s something right now we don�t have time for�.that�s not the immediate focus.]
So says Mike Piazza who seems to really be enjoying the fans adulation during this hot streak of his. In fact it seems Mikey P is torn about coming back to the Mets at a major discount and going to the AL where he can catch a little and DH a little. He wants to be wanted and not be a burden on his team. Very commendable. As it stands now the Mets are getting more production form the catchers� position than any other team in baseball. The question is can Piazza and Castro form the same one-two punch next year as they are doing this year? Like Mike said that�s a question for another day.
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