Mets 1 – D’Backs 0 in 13.
My brain is still as mushy as the oatmeal I eat. That’s a sign that I used a lot of mental energy last night. And that’s the first thing I have to say to any wannebe livebloggers out there. It’s the most intense way to stay into a game because you have to pay attention to every play. And it’s even more intense than keeping score because you are logging time, writing words instead of baseball shorthand–uploading pix if you are an ace liveblogger like Red Sox Chick– and at least checking to see if you have any comments. (I did some of that and have to thank Matt of Diamondhacks, Michael and Christopher of Some Ballyard, and Arielle of Dispatches from Red Sox Teen Nation for stopping by.
I started eating oatmeal for breakfast several months ago as an anti-cholesterol measure. But now I eat it any old time because it’s the easiest thing to fix. Sometimes I don’t even nuke it, I just snack on it raw. And there is lesson No. 2. Be nourished, and hydrated before liveblogging, and you should probably have some snacks, or at least liquids handy for between inning breaks.
Again my apologies for the typos. I will try to fix some after work tonight. It should be brainless enough to do. It’s a good thing I have been board opping for many years and practically do it in my sleep. (I have almost fallen asleep as a Bored Op on a few occasions. If any of you bloggers are visiting the Bay Area on a Tuesday or a Thursday and there is not a ballgame to attend, you should come over and watch the newscast; I could use the company). So yeah, it helps to be a good typist. I will say that my hands did not hurt during the process. I have a keyboard with a light touch.
I suppose my best advice to first time livebloggers is: Do Not Pick A Pitcher’s Duel! No time to rest or think. This was a long game made up of a lot of short half-innings. I literally lost track of the innings and had to rely on the broadcasters to tell me where we were. And they really didn’t get into that much until about the 6th. At least as far as I could hear. Perhaps I got so locked into looking at the video and typing that my hearing was reduced.
You are lucky if you can watch the game on TV while typing on the computer or watch on a separate computer. The TV stopped a couple of times early on and I was wondering if I was asking my PII 333MhZ to do too much. It held up. But if you can spread out your technology, it’s probably safer.
As for the game itself: WOW!
The Webb-Martinez matchup was everything we had hoped for. They just kept putting up zeroes. This is one of those games where you say it’s a shame that one of the teams had to lose. Both starters ended up with no decision but they gave us what we wanted to see. I think they both should have at least started the 8th.
The surprise is that the BP’s did not immediately collapse so that the game went 13 full.
Two other great moments that stand out in my tired brain: Lastings Milledge’s throw from right that nailed Craig Counsell at third. (And Couns ain’t slow!) Shades of Vlad Guerrero on that throw!
And, of course, Eric Byrnes’ catch at the wall in center field that saved a double, possibly a triple in right center was wonderful. And that’s just not the Byrnesblogger talking. It was the video highlight of the game on the AZ Diamondbacks Web site this morning.
I also enjoyed his later catch in left center. It wasn’t spectacular but it showed, just in case you hadn’t noticed, that Eric Byrnes covers a lot of ground out there.
Would that he had had a better day at the plate. Byrnesie singled his first time up, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. (Not the 13 I found on the MLB.com screen and yes, I did report that error to someone who can get it fixed). But he did not get any hits after that. There was this one well hit fly ball, but center field at Shea is where homers go to die. And his last time up, it was a grounder well struck, but the bat broke and David Wright ate up the ball for a 5-3.
Byrnesie is now batting .316 and he’s playing tonight. I just looked at the lineup. So now we can see what he can pull out of his hat, or bat, to get back to .320. Actually, I should say so now you can see what he can pull out of his hat, or bat, because I am going to work soon. He may be batting better in this streak when I am not looking so maybe it is best I go to work and not pay attention to what he did until after the game.
The Mets have the luxury of a night off to savor their hard won victory. The D’Backs had to go to Atlanta where tonight they are facing lefty Horacio Ramirez.
Some interesting changes in the D’Backs lineup today. Both Gonzo and Couns are getting the night off. Andy Green is playing LF and batting leadoff, with Byrnesie still in the 2 hole. Conor Jackson is back at first and with Gonzo out, CoJack is batting cleanup. Shawn Green is 5th and Damion Easley, who is playing shortstop and batting .239 is hitting 6th.
Attn: Matt of Diamondhacks, I think this would have been a good night to try Byrnesie at 5th, given all the shuffling. What say you?
Anyway, back to yesterday’s game. The boos for Byrnesie got louder with each AB and that was great. When the opposition fans boo you that hard, it’s a sign that you’re being effective. And with three homers in the previous two games, plus the early single and the two fine plays in the outfield, the Mets fans had something to boo about. Too bad Byrnesie couldn’t give them any more.
I was sorry to see Beltran foul a ball off his knee and have to leave the game. He’s listed day-to-day with a deep bone bruise.
Lastings Milledge. Of course, I enjoyed seeing him strike out. He saw some pitches last night he couldn’t even dream of in the minor leagues. I was surprised by the error. When a ball has to be caught around the knees, you are begging for an error to try to catch it one- handed and with the glove face down instead of up. Actually, I don’t like to see anyone making one-handed catches unless it’s absolutely necessary. But then, I’m old-fashioned that way.
One thing for sure that I never want to see again is top RBI-man Johnny Estrada trying to bunt. UGLY, useless, and unnecessary. I won’t even get more into it except that I don’t want to see Byrnesie sac bunting either. He might occasionlly try bunting for a hit because, unlike Estrada, he’s fast enough to beat one out. But there are other ways to avoid a double play than to ask inexperienced bunters with pop in their bats, such as Estrada and Byrnes, to sac bunt.
Bad move: Shawn Green wandering too far off second and getting called out trying to get back there on a grounder to short. To borrow a phrase from RadioMan’s Korner, these are the MET PROFESSIONALS, Greenie. They aren’t where they are by not paying attention to what the lead runner is doing.
OK, Diamondbacks, on your feet! (Wait a minute. Snakes don’t have feet!). Rattle your tails and show your fangs! Bite the Braves in the rear end and then come on home.
In the meantime, I also have to go back to work.
Go BYRNESIE! Go SNAKES!
and Aditi’s article. I’m still recovering from liveblogging the Mets’ D’Backs Extra Innings Barnburner –my first ever attempt at liveblogging–Red Sox Chick is really the expert at it–so I am not going to say much.
1) HI. There’s a lot of stuff here, so I hope at least some of you come back.
2) I hope more people get to know about Eric Byrnes and get to rooting for him. And maybe putting him on a few of your All-Star ballots so that he at least gets serious consideration for the reserve team.
3) It’s an honor to be mentioned in SI. It’s the Major Leagues of Sports Magazines.
4) I hope you have fun here. MLBLOGs is a great community.
5) Some of you leaving comments would be greatly appreciated.
And yes, I want to the Mets to win the NL East this year. But did they have to take 2-3 from the D’Backs to do it?
…the crack of the bat when Byrnesie hit his THIRD HOMER in two days. (Fellow Byrnes Fans: we are getting closer and closer to the significant 11th round-tripper. I would like to see it by the end of business on June 3rd).
(Today’s photo credit goes to Frank Franklin II/AP).
The Byrnes line for the day: 1-4 and 1 BB, 1 RBI and 2 Rs. HR No. 9. Hitting streak now at 13 games. BA now .322, down two points because 1 hit isn’t enough to raise his batting average any more. We should all have such problems, huh?
…the news that Miguel Batista pitched a COMPLETE GAME. (D’Backs beat the Mets 7-2). I hope complete games are coming back into style in the majors. Working stiff sez: Ya make that kind of dough, ya oughta be able to pitch 9 innings now and then. (And goodness knows that the D’Backs bullpen needs the rest).
More good news: I don’t have to work tomorrow, so I get to enjoy the Webb-Martinez confrontation! I hope it’s a pitcher’s duel that Webby wins with run support from the bat of a certain center fielder I hope you all are including on at least some of your All-Star Game ballots.
There are issues, but I’m not getting into them tonight. I have to unravel the mysteries of podcasting.
Patience, Mets fans. Byrnes and company march on Atlanta next. If I have my druthers, the D’Backs will pull a Sherman and the Braves will get "Byrned."
Kéllia "Byrnes in the All-Star Game" Ramares
THE AGONY: Eric Byrnes was called out on strikes twice tonight. He left three men on base, two in scoring position. If he had batted in just one of the three, the D’Backs could have won. The Mets won this twice rain-delayed game 8-7, with a walk-off hit by David Wright after Jose Valverde blew his second save opportunity in a row.
THE ECSTASY: Eric Byrnes hit two solo homers.
The Eric Byrnes line for the day was 2-5 w/ 2 HRs, 2 RBI and 2 Rs. His BA is .324. The hitting streak stands at 12 games. Those were homers No. 7 & 8, which put Byrnesie back on track to meet my benchmark of 25 HRs this year. And those were RBIs 19 & 20 and Rs 27 & 28. A multi-hit day with at least one RBI is True Elation (or will be once I actually get to see the hits. I was working during the first homer, in transit during the second homer and only got home in time to see him ground out to third his last time up!) My definition of True Elation holds even when the D’Backs lose.
(A big tip of the cap to Chad Tracy who hit a three-run homer in the 7th to give the D’Backs another lead!)
Byrnes’ Bottom Line: He can’t go leaving 3 men on base when he gets so few opportunities with guys on to begin with.
Team Bottom Line: the Snakes simply have got to pitch better. Starter Claudio Vargas gave up 6 runs! Not a quality start, to say the least. And you could practically hear the glee in the voices of the Mets announcers when Valverde showed up because his ERA is so bad, especially for a closer. Between Byrnes and Tracy, the Snakes got 5 runs on three homers. That ought to be enough to win. But not if your starter is giving up 6.
The Silver Lining: No team goes 162-0. As an ex-New Yorker who grew up a Mets fan, I would rather see the D’Backs lose to the Mets (with Byrnesie having a great day), than anyone else. I’m still smarting from that shutout loss to the Pirates.
My Bottom Line: Eric Byrnes hit two home runs today! (Photos of Byrnesie by Jeff Zelevansky/Reuters).
Kéllia "still a pleased mollusk overall" Ramares
Center fielder Eric Byrnes doesn’t slide into a base, he jumps at it the way some people dive into their backyard swimming pool.
Last Week: 8
Yeah, I know. Byrnesie is not always the most graceful player on the field. But he’s all out, all the time, which is why I trust him, why I root for him, and why, at least in part, the D’Backs are doing well.
Now…if only he would get moved from 2 to 5 in the lineup, his RBI total would go up fast. Someone batting .322 with 6 homers, 14 doubles and a triple should have more than 18 RBI.
Kéllia "Byrnes in the All-Star Game" Ramares
MLBlogosphere said that I was on a doubleheader rant. I saw that and promised to turn my doubleheader into a tripleheader after work. So here is part three.
First a correction to Part Two: Eric Byrnes is lifetime 3-9 against Bronson Arroyo, not 3-3. What IS 3-3 is that all three of those hits are doubles. I realize that I have probably made the same mistake in recent comments on other blogs, so if you come across it, remember Byrnes is 3-9 lifetime against Arroyo, all three hits being two-baggers.
As both an honest person and a journalist with high standards, I strive for accuracy and I correct my mistakes when I find them, and here all the more-so now that a California appellate court ruled Friday that bloggers have the same rights to keep their sources confidential as traditional journalists. Not that I have any sources here to keep confidential. And not that I need a California court to tell me what I already know, i.e. that bloggers are journalists. But it’s nice to know that a California appellate court sees the issue as I do. To put it as Kurt Opsahl, attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, did: "Does Walter Cronkite stop being a journalist if he blogs for the Huffington Post? What makes a journalist a journalist is not the format. If you’re engaged in journalism, you’re a journalist. You have to look beyond the medium selected."
<rant mode on> The above-mentioned Byrnes stat did not change today because Platoon Sergeant Bob "Mechanical Mel" Melvin started Jeff DaVanon in center today instead of Byrnes, to my shock and dismay. I had been looking forward all week to this confrontation. Ask Red Sox Chick, she will even tell you that I was interesting in liveblogging this game with her, seeing as she is a big Arroyo fan. Now, according to the Cincy announcers who were broadcasting the game (which I turned off after DaVanon’s first AB to pay more attention to the Indy 500), DaVanon is .375 lifetime vs. Arroyo. Admittedly, .375 is a bit better than .333. But consider also that Byrnes is currently batting .322 (to DaVanon’s .281 entering today’s game), and riding an 11-game hitting streak.
Now you know why I was so fried this morning that I made the mistake I did. When Melvin wants to start the switch-hitting DaVanon in order to play the Lefty-Righty match-up game, there is nothing Byrnesie can do to make it otherwise, because the issue is not what he is doing but what he is. If Byrnes had been 0-9 against Arroyo, I could understand it. But .333 with three doubles? And Byrnesie high on this year’s NL Doubles list and due for another two-bagger? None of us saw this benching coming, including the folks at MLB.com who highlighted the game on their front panel this morning with a picture of Byrnes, and then had to change it to Shawn Green, who actually was starting.
It reminded me today of an opera theatre audition I did at a summer music festival in Alaska over ten years ago. Despite giving an audition talked about through the two weeks of the Festival, there was no part for me. And I was the only woman in the group I was hanging out with who didn’t get some sort of role. (I was hanging out with sopranos and I’m a mezzo). When I mentioned it, one of the coaches mentioned that another mezzo had only two lines, and I said, "It’s not about being a star. It’s about being included." And grabbing my own throat, I said, "I can’t change this."
I suppose that the "being included" part is DaVanon’s line this year, but I would suggest it fits Byrnesie too. In 2004, he appeared in 143 games. I now wonder if he will appear in that many this year, even though he’s supposed to be the everday CF. He’s a pure righthander. He’s not going to change that. And he’s hitting right-handed pitchers better now than he did last year. Heck, he’s doing everything way better now than he did last year! But I can picture the poltergeist Ken Macha (A’s manager and noisome spirit who I don’t think much likes Byrnes) whispering in Melvin’s ear about Byrnes having trouble with righties. And I can picture that whisper overriding what Melvin’s eyes, and Byrnes’ history with Arroyo, are showing him now.
And it’s not like I have anything against DaVanon, though I will admit to some schadenfreude when he doesn’t do well in these situations. It’s just that I have this strong feeling that 95% of DaVanon’s starts are going to come at Byrnesie’s expense, despite DaVanon’s ability to play all three outfield positions and the early claim that he would give all three outfielders some days off. And I don’t like that feeling one sock-darned bit!
BTW, righthanded rookie 1B Conor Jackson started, and he did quite well, going 2-3 with 1 BB, 1 RBI and 1 R. A lesson in not needing to be slavish to percentages? (I still haven’t forgotten the IBB to the 0-4 Geoff Jenkins in Milwaukee the second series of the year that set up the righty-righty confrontation between Jose Vizcaino and Carlos Lee with the game on the line. Lee only needed a single to win it, which he got).
Anyway, Melvin messed with Byrnesie when he shouldn’t have and reaped the bad karma that is his lot when he does. (Unfortunately, that bad karma gets shared by the team, just as Melvin’s recent argument with a home plate ump ended with D’Backs catcher Chris Snyder getting rung up). It wasn’t a great day for Arroyo, who was gone after 6 innings. But the score ended up Cincy 5 – Arizona 4, with the Reds getting a walk-off homer in the 9th off D’Backs closer Jose Valverde. DaVanon went 0-3 with 1 BB and 2 Ks. I’m not mourning that.
It was not a good day all around. I was awakened at 8 this morning by a phone call from Florida. My cover designer said that the pix for my book sent to her by my photog were blurry and unusable. The samples from which I chose the final shots look fine to me, so I don’t know what gives. Neither my brain nor my computer were turned on, so I couldn’t make any decisions. This glitch puts my June 10th release date in danger. I have been finding myself of late stuck in the middle of a "dispute", for lack of a better word because these two haven’t directly communicated, between my photog and my cover designer over matters beyond my ken. I’m a words and sound person. Maybe that is why I couldn’t capture the photo of Byrnesie that appeared on the MLB.com front page this morning before the bad karma was set in motion.
In the Indy 500, I was rooting for Danica Patrick. She finished 8th. Will somebody please get her a car with better MPG? At the very end, I was rooting for rookie Marco Andretti. During that last lap, I was literally shouting "Go, Marco! Go Marco!" over and over again at the little boom box TV I had turned on in the kitchen so I could watch the race while doing some dishes. Sam Hornish, Jr., won very narrowly. Congrats, Sam. But more than anything, I hope the guy whose foot you ran over in the pits is going to be OK!
<rant mode off, for now>
Near the Ragged Edge of Earth, (and ragged edge of patience with BoMel),
Kéllia "Journalist–Poet–Baseball Blogger" Ramares
in "a little too cool for this time of year", Oakland, CA
This morning MLB.com featured Eric Byrnes on the panel highlighting some of today’s games. The panel ended up getting changed to Shawn Green, as Byrnes was benched in favor of DaVanon.
Yes, DaVanon has done well against Arroyo, but so has Byrnes, who is lifetime 3-9 with all three hits being doubles.
But Platoon Sergeant Bob Melvin wants to stack his lineup with lefthanders against Arroyo, and DaVanon is a switch-hitter. Byrnesie’s .322 average, 11-game hitting streak and 3 doubles against Arroyo be damned. The thing that matters most is that he is righthanded.
On that note, it’s time to pay attention to the Indy 500. Go Danica!
I’m catching up on The Eric Byrnes Pitch Count Report from yesterday, prior to today’s game. By looking at the Pitch-by-Pitch category of the Game Day screen, I can see how many pitches Byrnesie faced and what happened each time. I have discovered that in the fourth inning Byrnesie hit his RBI single AFTER TWO FOUL BUNTS!
Why was D’Backs manager Bob Melvin asking a .320+ hitter on a ten-game hitting streak, and not known as a bunter anyway, to make a deliberate out with a runner in scoring position???
Thanks for the vote of confidence in Byrnesie, BoMel. I swear sometimes the D’Backs win despite you, not because of you. Diamondhacks has a category called Fire Bob Melvin. Be sure to visit.
Kellia "I lived in Indiana for a while" Ramares
This time it took 4 D’Backs pitchers: starter Juan Cruz, who pitched the first six, then one each from Jose Vizcaino, Brandon Lyon and Jorge Julio. Yup. The new guy that I have suggested is a head case had his head on straight today. The quartet combined for a 5-hitter with 8 strikeouts.
The D’Backs got the one run they needed for the W in the fourth inning. Craig Counsell broke an 0-for 2-games plus slump with a double. (DTLFL welcomes the re-awakening of Counsell’s bat). He was driven in by (Tah-Dah!) Eric Byrnes, who singled to center.
Byrnes also scored in the 6th inning, (the D’Backs’ third run), when he led off the inning with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on the catcher’s throwing error, and scored a little while later when Shawn Green hit an infield single to second.
So it was a good day for Byrnes, who went 1-4 with a BB, 1 RBI, 1 R and one SB.
The big blow for the Diamondbacks was struck by Orlando Hudson, who hit his first homer. It was a three-run shot that drove in Luis Gonzales and Tony Clark. (DTLFL welcomes the resurrection of Hudson’s bat. He’s been hitting well recently).
It was a good day for Byrnes, but not a great day. In the 7th inning, there was one out, and Counsell was standing on first after having driven in Orlando Hudson and having sent Chris Snyder to third on a single. That would have been a great time for Double No. 15. Instead, Byrnes popped to short.
I did not see the play, but I can guess what happened. With one out and Counsell on first, Byrnes would have wanted to avoid the possibility of an inning-ending double play. And a sacrifice fly would have scored Snyder from third. So Byrnes must have tried to loft the ball. He put too much early uppercut into his swing, resulting in an infield popup rather than a sac fly to the outfield.
Byrnesie also struck out in the ninth on a foul tip. The 1-4 brought his average down to .322. He’s at that point where he has to go at least 2-5 to make any headway with his batting average. Call me greedy if you will, but I don’t think I am harder on Byrnesie than he is on himself.
Normally, I’m a fan of offense, but in this age of lefty specialists, set up men, and closers, I can also appreciate a complete game shut-out. And that’s just what we got from Diamondbacks’ ace Brandon Webb, the Ashland, KY native and U of K alum who blanked the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 in 2 hours and 12 minutes in front of HIS home crowd at Great America Park.
Reds starter Eric Milton was none too shabby either, walking none and striking out nine while allowing only one run in eight innings of work.
Did I hear somebody say that Great America Park was a homer heaven?
This game featured only one homer: Shawn Green hit his fourth of the year off Reds reliever Todd Coffey in the 9th. It was a 2-run big fly that drove in Conor Jackson.
A tip of the cap to future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr., who robbed Johnny Estrada of a homer in the 7th.
Eric Byrnes hit a single in the sixth that meant nothing in terms of the score. It did run his hitting streak to 10 games. But he went only 1-4 (with 1 K) so his batting average lost a couple of points. He’s down to .324. This was a disappointment in light of lefty Milton’s reputation as a fly ball pitcher, and Cincy’s reputation of having a hitter-friendly park. But Milton was dominating in this game, leaving with the score only 1-0 against him. I hate to say this, but I don’t know if any D’Backs pitcher other than Brandon Webb could have beaten Milton tonight. Good thing Webby was starting and that he brought his "A" game.
Congrats to Derek Jeter of the Yankees for his 2,000th career hit, even if it was a bunt single against the KC Royals. (This is an example of how baseball differs from fishing; in baseball, you don’t have to throw back the small fry).