Wag the Dog
A great man (Einstein?) once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Mel Rojas. Armando Benitez. Braden Looper. Billy Wagner.
In just 71 games, Billy Wagner has already blown more saves this season (4) than he did all of last season (3). He's also blown as many saves as he blew in all of 2004, and one more than he blew in all of 2003. The Mets are 44-27 and by all rights they should be at least 46-25. These meltdowns are all fun and games when you've got a 9 and 1/2 game lead in your division, and the other 4 teams couldn't win a game if you spotted them 5 runs, but come October, this shit's unacceptable.
In a perfect world, we would have a Mo Rivera, a Trevor Hoffman, or even a young Papelbon who we could throw out there in the 9th and not think about it. But Mo Rivera's not walking through that door, and Trevor Hoffman's not walking through that door. (Larry Bird's not walking through that door either.) So I say this to you, my friends: FUCK closers. Mel Rojas. Armando Benitez. Braden Looper. Billy Wagner. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. This concept is obviously not going to work, ever, at Shea Stadium. Maybe we can start fresh in 2009 at GEICO Field, but for now, I give up. So what's to be done? Simple. Remember the mid-'80s? Those halcyon days of piano-ties, Crocodile Dundee, Bananarama albums, and rampant cocaine use? Well, back then, teams didn't have "closers" per se. Sure, there was the occassional Bruce Sutter who would pile up the stats, but most teams had a few relief pitchers who worked in tandem to close out games. Hell, the 1986 Mets used both Roger McDowell and Jesse Orosco at the end of games, and they had 22 and 21 saves, respectively.
So, Willie: You're in the 7th inning and you've got Aaron Heilman in the game, and he's cruising? Leave him in there. Let him pitch 3. Or you've got Duaner in the game in the eighth and he's untouchable? Let him finish what he started. And as for Billy? Use him just like Duaner: Give him the occassional 8th-9th inning and see what happens. This should happen. This HAS to happen. But, alas, no way in HELL this ever happens. Willie's going to keep relying on Wagner, night in and night out, sink or swim, all the way into October. And you know what? That's the definition of insanity.
(1) Wagner did something much more important than just blow the game last night: He screwed up what was going to be a great title to today's post: "Zorro IV: The Legend of the Enchanted Cycle." What a night for the two Joses. This Valentin kid is unbelievable. He's got a bright future for sure.
(2) Joe Mays had absolutely nothing, and the Mets should've shelled him five ways til Tuesday. X-Man was a particularly notorious culprit, leaving about 26 men on base. Delgado also did nothing.
(3) Thanks, Yankees. Your work is now done. Please resume losing.
So Pedro takes the hill today. It's hard to say this is a must-win with such a large lead in the division. But gee whiz - win this game, please.