Friday, April 13, 2007

The Mentor Schools the Apprentice - In their first managerial duel since Manny Acta left Willie Randolph's staff to manage the Nationals, the mentor got the better of the apprentice. Of course, Randolph isn't the most experienced manager himself -- he's only a second-year manager, but he does have a division pennant on his record, as well as experience on Joe Torre's Yankee coaching staff. Randolph also has the better team. The Mets rallied from a 2-1 deficit, to beat the Nationals at Shea Stadium.

The Nats' manager, Acta relieved starting pitcher John Patterson, with one out in the sixth inning, and Jose Reyes standing on third base. Acta wanted to turn around Carlos Beltran and force him to bat right-handed. He brought in Micah Bowie, and the strategy worked, as Beltran struck out. Unfortunately, Carlos Delgado was up next, and he singled to drive in Reyes and tie up the game. The Mets went ahead to stay in the seventh. Round one to Willie Randolph.

What the heck is up with Brian Schneider -- how much longer can the Nationals keep him in the lineup? Schneider was a darn good catcher a couple of years ago. He was the back-up on the United States' team in the World Baseball Classic. Actually, a lot of people blamed that experience for ruining Schneider's season last year. Schneider said the problem was an injury, which didn't allow to swing easily until well into the second half of the season. He did come on strong at the end. This year, he is off to an even slower start. Schneider had a hit tonight, but he's still batting in the low .100s. He led off the ninth inning tonight. With the Nats down only one run, they needed Schneider to get on base. Schneider grounded out.

Worse, even than Schneider's hitting, has been his defense. He's had some trouble with pitches in the dirt. More significantly, he hasn't thrown out a single runner this year (I believe the other team has stolen 9 bases in 9 attempts). In the sixth inning, with Reyes on first, the Nats decided to give Schneider a chance, and called for a pitchout. They guessed correctly, as Reyes was running. Schneider, however, dropped the ball, and never got off a throw. If Schneider can't hit or slow down the other team's runners, how much longer can the Nats afford to keep him as their starting catcher?

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