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Willie Randolph and Julio Franco
Manager Willie Randolph has drawn substantial criticism in the newspapers and on the radio for his decision to pinch-hit Julio Franco instead of Damion Easley in the ninth inning of the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Braves. While Franco is the de-facto No. 1 pinch-hitter on the Mets, it's clear that he can no longer get around on a good fastball as most of his hits on that pitch go to right field. Granted, the bench is thinned out due to the absence of Moises Alou and Jose Valentin, requiring Endy Chavez and normally Easley to start - though on Thursday, Ruben Gotay go the nod -, leaving the slumping David Newhan, Ramon Castro - who won't be used since he is the backup catcher -, and Carlos Gomez on the bench with Franco and Easley. Gomez was used to run for Shawn Green in the ninth after Gotay bunted the runners over to second and third, which was also a questionable move as Gotay had a couple of good at bats during the game. That being said, Easley has proven to be clutch this year, hitting .342 with RISP and going 8-for-17 with men on and two outs. While Franco is great in the clubhouse and will be a manager some day, it's clear his time has passed and he should not be used in situations like these going forward.

Posted by Jan at 5/25/2007 2:06:00 PM
Comments (3)

Hancock
Josh Hancock's father is suing everybody for his son's death.

Let me get this straight - Hancock was drunk, speeding, possibly high, talking on his cell phone, and not wearing a seat belt, yet his dad is blaming the *tow truck driver* for the crash? He's blaming the owner of a restaurant that served him drinks? He's blaming the guy whose car stalled on the highway?

Posted by Kenn at 5/24/2007 12:56:00 PM

Comments (11)

What Are They Really Going to Do?
I find it to be very interesting that MLB doesn't hand down suspensions when teams empty their bullpens for a potential bench-clearing brawl situation. At least NBA players are actually on top of what's happening and have a full scope on what's really being said or what kind of cheap shots may have been taken. Watching a group of middle relievers jog in 300 feet to join the usually mild fray looks completely ridiculous and his highly unnecessary. Plus, we're talking about pitchers. It's not like you'd even want these guys messing up their arms taking a swing at Mariano Duncan or Nick Leyva.

Posted by Derek VanRiper at 5/24/2007 7:27:00 AM
Comments (0)

Dukes makes Pac Man look like an altar boy
There's too much material in here to summarize. If you haven't already, check out the latest allegations against Elijah Dukes in the St. Petersburg Times.

About a month and a half ago, ESPN the magazine writer Amy K. Nelson wrote an article about Dukes and his troubles and actually tried to paint him as a sympathetic character. For instance:

===================

"'My biggest fear right now is making a way for my family and my kids,' the married father of three says. 'I just want to pave that way and make sure they never have to go through what I did growing up.'" [Note: the SP Times article reports that "the married father of three" is married, and a father, but has five kids with four different mothers (one of them his soon-to-be-ex-wife), including two born eight days apart]

"'A lot of people make these assumptions based on what they read in newspapers or what they hear,' catcher Shawn Riggans says, 'and it's just totally, totally unfair to do that. I love Elijah. He's a great guy. I'd take a bullet for him.'"

"'I think the world of Elijah; he's not a bad person at all,' says [Double-A hitting coach Mako] Oliveras, who first started working with Dukes in 2002. 'The secret of Elijah improving his behavior is that the people around him need to spend the time to get to know him and bring the good out of him.'"

===================

I guess his wife didn't get to spend the time to know him and bring the good out of them -- maybe that's why he called her and threatened to kill her and her kids. Maybe something good will arise out of this -- the Devil Rays will hopefully cut ties with Dukes get Jonny Gomes some more PT [as I write this, Gomes is out of the lineup in favor of Greg Norton].

Posted by Bret Cohen at 5/23/2007 4:09:00 PM

Comments (1)

Twins Need Shakeup
To: Terry Ryan, General Manager Minnesota Twins.

Dear Mr. Ryan,

The time has come to make some drastic changes to Minnesota's rotation. After spending almost $9 million in the offseason to sign and retain Carlos Silva, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson, it's finally time to cut bait and go with your young starters. I'd have argued the $9 million would have been better spent on a short-term deal (Mike Piazza?) for someone who could hit better than Lew Ford or Rondell White at DH/LF, but what do I know? Your idea that Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker needed more time at Triple-A seemed reasonable. Slowing their arbitration clocks is a big factor for your small-payroll squad. And I can't argue with your success in developing pitchers.

But the Ponson/Ortiz/Silva-experiment is a failure. You did released Ponson, but while Ortiz and Silva combined to go 5-2 with a 2.77 ERA in April, they've gone a combined 0-7 with a 9.67 ERA in May. Ortiz isn't fooling anyone with less than 3.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Meanwhile Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey are on fire at Triple-A. Slowey has a 1.76 ERA and amazing 50:5 K:BB ratio. After a slow start Garza has looked better his last three outings and still has a 3.49 ERA. Scott Baker looked good in his first start since replacing Ponson. How much worse can the kids be than these veterans? At least the kids have more upside.

With Twins sitting at 20-24 and eight games out in a tough AL Central, now is the time. Last year your club overcame an 11-game deficit, but comebacks like that happen once in a generation. You don't have much more time to wait while the bad starts continue.

It's time to make some wholesale changes. Move Ortiz to the bullpen. Maybe give Silva another start or two, but he's pitched well out of the bullpen in the past. Both may be needed there with Jesse Crain, Dennys Reyes and Glen Perkins hurt and maybe non-factors the rest of the season.

thanks,

Peter S.

p.s. You should sign Craig Wilson. He'll cost only the major league minimum after being released by the Braves. Yes, I know he's stunk so far this year, but he's got more power than almost anyone you have on the bench or at Triple-A. Plus, since he can get behind the plate in a pinch, he'll allow you to DH Joe Mauer more when he's back from the DL and manager Ron Gardenhire can quit being unrealistically nervous about losing the DH if a catcher gets hurt when Mauer and Redmond are in the lineup.

Posted by Peter Schoenke at 5/22/2007 2:47:00 PM

Comments (4)

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