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Pittsburgh vs. New York Mets, 25 July 2007


Tom Gorzelanny (9-5, 3.20) vs. Tom Glavine (8-6, 4.51). Here's the box. Ryan Doumit catches even though Gorzelanny's on the hill, which is surprising given Jim Tracy's recent declaration that Ronny Paulino would catch Gorzelanny. Who knows; maybe Tracy's sick of a guy who has a .600 OPS and doesn't play defense. Also, Jose Castillo starts at third. Anyway, I should be in the comments.

Only one note for today:

-P- You might say that Ian Snell is going way too far here, but I don't care. What he's saying is true, and it's hard to fault anybody for telling the truth, especially if all a lie in this situation would do is to protect an awful team and maintain an awful situation.

"I'm starting to break. I'm getting stressed out. I don't know about these other guys, but I just want to win. I don't want to be called a loser. Man, even my family calls our team losers, and I don't want anyone to say that about our team"...

His postgame gathering with reporters began with his being asked what went wrong.

He hesitated.

"All I know is that I'm going to take the blame," Snell said. "Everything's my fault. I don't want to put any pressure on the team. Nothing."

He paused again, then made a 180-degree turn.

"There were some balls I thought we could have caught. We could have given up only three runs. I could have stayed in the game. I threw 50 pitches, and I'm out of the game. But they didn't give those guys errors, either, so ... it didn't work out in my favor."

I blasted Marlins starter Scott Olsen a couple weeks ago for saying something similar to what Snell's saying here, but unlike Snell, Olsen isn't in a hopeless situation. The best thing for Snell to do would be to blast the management rather than his teammates, but when his teammates put in the sort of lazy performance they did last night, calling them out really is the next best thing. Jason Bay just kind of trotted after a long fly ball that could've been caught but ended up being a double, and then Ronny Paulino, as he so often does, failed to make a serious effort to stop a pitch in the dirt.

In addition, Matt Kata muffed a very makeable play at third. Unlike Bay's and Paulino's, Kata's screwup wasn't the result of a lack of effort, but you can hardly blame Snell for wondering what Kata was even doing on the field.

The Post-Gazette has some information about that issue, too. Jim Tracy:

"We put Matt Kata out there on Friday, and he had a hit, then he had a couple more and a couple more ... when you're desperately searching for offense, how can you justify not playing him?"

I'll lay off Tracy a bit here, because we've all seen enough of Jose Castillo to know that he'd be frustrating us, too, if he were out there. I'd play Castillo over Kata, but given how bad Castillo has been since last May, I'm not going to worry much that Tracy doesn't agree. But, from Snell's perspective, that's not the point. The point is this: how is it that one guy gets injured and all of a sudden Matt Kata is the starting third baseman? How absurd is that? How much of a lack of planning does that show, especially given that third base was well known to be a question mark at the beginning of the season?

And how absurd is it that Tracy says he's hoping for a minor league free agent with a .682 OPS since arriving to jumpstart the offense?

Ultimately, you can't take Tracy's quote at face value. Last Monday, during the series against Colorado, Nate McLouth went 2-for-4 with a double. The next day, Tracy started him again, and McLouth hit a homer. Tracy benched him the next day. Now, you can argue about whether Rajai Davis should be starting ahead of McLouth at all, but ultimately, Tracy felt free to bench McLouth despite a couple of good games because he's Nate McLouth. If he has a couple of good games, that doesn't mean anything - McLouth's still the non-hitter he has been since he entered the league. The same is true for Kata. So when Tracy says that Kata's starting because he had a couple of good games, that's not what he means. What he means is, "I got nothin'."