Monday, September 29, 2008

For New York- It's wait till Next Year

A bittersweet ending for the Bronx faithful and a bitter bitter ending for the Flushing followers.

The Yankees finished their first season since 1994 out of the Postseason, but it ended on a joyful note for the one most written off to start the season and the one who ended the season most successfully, Mike "Moose" Mussina. In what may have been his ticket punch into Cooperstown, Moose went six strong shutout innings and needed a 4 out save for what might have been the greatest regular season for the Greatest Closer of All Time, Mariano Rivera, to become the oldest pitcher in baseball history to win 20 games for his first time (at the age of 39).
To start the season, Moose was written off as the guy who would be replaced by Joba in the rotation once he was ready to step into that role. All Moose did was win 20 games, throw 200+ innings for the first time in 6 years and end up with a 3.37 ERA, his lowest ERA since 2001, his first as a Yankee. While Moose never won a Championship as a Yankee, he was actually once of the few pitchers who lived up to his big contract as he compiled a 123-71 record in his 8 years as a Yankee. While Moose wasn't a great postseason pitcher he was always one of the primary and consistent performers who got them there. Where he will be next season still remains a question, but Moose gave 8 very good years to the Yankees.
The Yankees showed some optimism going into 2009 as Phil Hughes had 2 excellent starts to end the season, they might have found the bridge to Mariano in Phil Coke, who in his short stint this season showed incredible poise and promise with a .61 ERA in 14 IP with 14 K's. Cano found his hitting stroke late in the season, Wang looks to be fully recovered from his season ending injury and the coffers are way open to sign a CC or a Burnett in the offseason.

The same cant be said of the mess that ended in Queens yesterday. In 2007 like fashion the Mets were finished off by the lowly Marlins and go into another offseason wondering if things will or can change with this current squad. The Wright, Reyes, Beltran and Delgado led Mets once again failed to produce any offense down the stretch and wasted two of the greatest pitching performances in Mets history on the final Saturday of the season (Santana's unreal performance this Saturday and Maine's equally great performance last year).
The bullpen let them down, but no more so than it's stars, sans Beltran who has proven he is one of the great clutch players in the game today. Wright finished in the .240's with runners in scoring position, Reyes batted .243 this Sept after a season well over .300 to that point, and as great as Delgado had been down the stretch he finished 2 for his last 15 with 1 RBI his last 4 games of the season, a most uninspiring time for a slump.
The Mets have a lot to build on with a good core of players, including Beltran, Wright and Reyes. Santana has been even better than advertised if that's even possible. They will undoubtedly shell out MAJOR buckos for K-Rod. They will have the excitement of a new stadium but they will also have the giant monkey on their back called September Collapse. With that being said, I loved the job Manuel did this season. He held it together and scraped together and a chance going into the final game with perhaps the worst bullpen in major league history that almost made a postseason. For crying out loud, Louis Ayala, a man cut by the Washington Nationals was their closer! I think the Mets ownership should think long and hard before they extend Minaya to a long term deal. He left a lot of gaping holes this season and for all the credit he gets for locking up Santana when Cashman and Theo couldn't, he needs to take the blame for this collapse. He deserves another year, just not four


The Don said... closer ever, no argument. But he was like a different person when brought in to a non-save situation this season. I'm not a stat man, but how many times was he brought in to hold a tie game and he blew it? (TPC can probably find stats to show that Maraino in a non-save situation was like ARod in a clutch situation).
So note to Girardi for '09.......Mariano only comes in with the lead.

ThePeoplesChamp said...

The Don asks and TPC complies:
Save 40 0 0 0.53 0.62 43.1 48
N-Save 24 6 5 0.89 2.63 27.1 29

ThePeoplesChamp said...

Basically, Rivera was very good in Non Save situations he was just otherworldly in save situations.

Other Fascinating Mo stats:
In 15 8th inning At bats, opponents had just 1 hit. ONE.
Opponents batted .165 against him including an outrageous.045 with 2 outs and Runners in Scoring position.
On the road in 28 games, opponents hit .128 with a .57 ERA. So much for home field advantage with Mo.

Anonymous said...

If the bullpen was so horrid, why didn't Manuel do something creative. Couldn't he have pitched a starter in those final innings? It was a sudden death to save the season.

Then again, he did have an extremely short leash. Sadly, they gave up two solo homers.

Manuel seems like a great manager. Is he African American or Puerto Rican decent?

Anonymous said...

Mariano is the best thing I have ever seen in sports.

I would actually let him pitch as long as he wants. I don't care if (when he gets old) he loses championships for them. He is owed everything. I think I love him.

ThePeoplesChamp said...

Mr. Manuel was born in Hahira, Georgia, good ole USA. That makes him Georgian American. I'll post on the African American comment later.

Manuel could have used Pedro in that spot. I dont see any other options being Maine was out and he needed to throw out someone every day to start.
Again, if they score more than 5 runs in 3 games against the Marlins this is all moot.