Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Innovative and Experimental!

I guess it's somewhat fitting that in the house that Tony LaRussa's massive ego built, Terry Collins would try to jump-start a lifeless lineup by paying homage to the legend-in-his-own-mind that LaRussa was and shake up his lineup. And by shake up his lineup, I mean bat his pitcher, Jacob deGrom 8th, and the recently activated Eric Young Jr. 9th, while keeping Curtis Granderson in the top of the order. How exciting! How innovative! Experimental genius! Let's get going!

Surprisingly, it didn't work. The Mets lost anyway.

The 6-2 loss the Mets suffered was less an issue of the Innovative and Experimental lineup shakeup and the fact that the players in the lineup continue to exhibit a general inability to hit no matter where they're placed in the lineup, while Jacob deGrom was hit around a little bit by the Cardinals. The Cardinals, whom the Mets actually beat 3 or 4 in April if you can believe it, remain the most irritating team imaginable. Basically, they single and double you to death on offense, while running pitcher after pitcher out to the mound who throws 95mph gas. That's been their recipe for several years now, through the latter era of Experimental and Innovative Genius Tony LaRussa and into the new regime of Mike Matheny.

Unfortunately, Terry Collins is stuck in 1998 when it comes to the emulation of LaRussa. The pitcher batting 8th ploy came in a season when the Cardinals were lousy, and their only draw was the steroid-aided exploits of Mark McGwire, so LaRussa decided that he'd bat his pitcher 8th, and either Luis Ordaz or Placido Polanco or Joe McEwing 9th in an effort to possibly get an extra guy on base for McGwire. The result was pretty negligible. The Cardinals finished in 3rd place, generally a non-factor except for the McGwire human interest story. But at 83-79, the 1998 Cardinals appear to be light years better than the 2014 Mets, who right now seem hard-pressed to get to 70 wins. 

Other teams have attempted to be experimental and innovative like LaRussa, such as when Jack McKeon used to bat Dontrelle Willis 7th in the lineup, but in that instance, Willis was likely a better hitter than the guys he had hitting 8th and 9th. The problem is, each time a manager decided to be experimental and innovative like Tony LaRussa, he was doing so while managing a team that was completely a lost cause and the move was essentially grasping at straws. All it does is make the broadcasters and columnists marvel over how experimental and innovative Terry Collins or whoever is being in trying this lineup out instead of writing about how the team can't hit and generally is terrible. Or maybe they write about that anyway. I don't know, I stopped reading and I tuned the game out after about 5 innings. There wasn't anything experimental or innovative going on for, just the same old shit show. If you thought otherwise, you were lied to.

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