I was watching the Mets-Giants game last night during Trivia Night at Professor Thom's (my team finished second, and kudos to my friend Kim and her pals who won), and I felt like yelling at the screen, especially in the seventh inning. I like Willie Randolph as the Mets manager, but he seems to be part of that group who still thinks Barry Bonds is the most dangerous hitter in baseball.
In 2006, HE IS NOT.
The Giants fans still hold up banners proclaiming: PITCH TO BARRY. I am in absolute agreement with them, but maybe for different reasons. Last night this paranoia about avoiding Bonds came back to hurt the Mets big time and it cost them the game. In the first with a man on, Tom Glavine just missed on a 2-0 pitch to Bonds, so the Mets elected to walk him. Big mistake. Moises Alou, hitting .327, takes Glavine deep to give the Giants a 3-0 lead.
But it was in the seventh where the game was really lost. The Giants were up 4-2 with men on first and third and one out. Bonds, who has one home run and hitting .222, was walked intentionally so the Mets could face Alou, the Giants' hottest hitter, with the bases loaded. Alou had two hits and put Cliff Floyd up against the wall in left in his previous at-bat. So what does Alou do? He singles in two runs and the game is salted away for the Giants, and they win 6-2. (And I bet it made my cousin Joe in Oakland very happy.)
Very poor job of managing by Randolph last night. I know he still buys into the theory he doesn't want to get burned by Bonds, but he just isn't the same player he was. He's making out 78% of the time this season (when teams DO pitch to him). Why in the world would you walk a struggling slugger to face a player who burned you in the first inning and was hitting the ball hard all night?
Bonds doesn't have 10 home runs this season, he has one. ONE. He's clearly struggling, coming off those knee surgeries, his age (he'll be 42 in July) and you-know-what else. I wish more teams would challenge him. It burned the Mets last night, and I'm sure they won't be the only ones.
I'm reminded of those times when a pitcher struggles against a hitter, and someone yells out, "Come on, he's not Babe Ruth, pitch to him!" I think that applies to Bonds, whether he thinks he's better than the Babe or not.
Coming shortly: "Game of Shadows" review........