I was watching the two NY teams last night, (actually, I was tracking the games using ESPN’s Gamecast), and after they both lost, I had a couple of thoughts flash through my head.
Regards the Mets, they now have 23 blown saves this season, in 59 chances. The Mets starters are a hair’s breath away from having the best ERA in the league (3.89), while their relievers are the same distance from the worst (4.25). They have been blowing leads since the beginning of the season, and I have to wonder how Omar Minaya is gonna answer the questions of another lost season due to pitching, and particularly, bullpen failures. How could he have failed to acquire the help they needed before the trading deadline? Wasting another season of MVP-caliber performances from David Wright and Jose Reyes, the Mets are in danger of watching the playoffs yet again. (I know they are just a half-game back, but as the pressure goes up, you think their relievers are suddenly gonna start getting guys out?)
As for the Yanks, it is clear that Cashman’s gamble, that Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlain would combine with Chang, Mussina, and Pettite to form a solid enough rotation for them to hit their way into the playoffs, has failed spectacularly. Should Cashman have realized that the team’s hitter would regress after posting a league-best 968 runs last season? Sure. Not this much, but he should have seen that they would come back to earth a bit.
Obviously, he couldn’t have forseen as many injuries as they have sustained. No one could have. But, the bench he put together, and the second-tier pitching he compiled, set the team up poorly. Ignoring the possibility that Damon, Posada, Giambi and Matsui were all old enough to be serious injury risks was bad planning. Where are the Triple AAA replacements for the Yankees in the outfield? First base? Where are the power hitters in their system?
And, not for nothing, trading a power bullpen arm for Ivan Rodriguez has been a disaster. Hawkins has yet to give up a run for the Tigers, and it seems like Pudge has yet to drive one in for the Yankees. (10 for 48, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI).
To bring this around to the Giants, well, every team has tough times, and maybe, just maybe, Sabean has the team in the right direction. The young pitchers have been good to great, and the farm system seems to be coming back to life. Of course, there isn’t a position player on the roster who will be around when the team is in contention again, which is on him and his crack team of albatross contract creators. Not to mention, replacing your entire offense at once is something usually reserved for expansion teams, which, outside of our pitching, is pretty much exactly what the Giants look like right now.
But, looking forward, there is some cause for guarded optimism. He hasn’t traded Matt Cain for some 30-year old who just hit four home runs in a week for the first time ever, and, thank God, he didn’t trade The Franchise for Vernon Wells, who –sorry, Kent– has fallen on some hard times (although he’s red-hot right now).