Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"Dan Doodie"

That's Dan Kolb's new moniker, thanks to my scatologically-inclined wife. It goes without saying that the 9th inning yesterday was painful. Nothing will annoy a baseball fan quite like a bad closer because he can undo hours of good work by the rest of a team, not unlike a kicker. Smoltz and Reitsma combined to hold a potent lineup to one run over eight innings and yet, Dan Doodie couldn't hold a three-run lead in the 9th, even after he lucked out by getting a double play when a screamer was hit directly at Marcus Giles. With two outs, no one on, and a three-run lead, Doodie allowed two doubles and two singles, none of which were cheap hits with the possible exception of Piazza's grounder up the middle. Kolb's pitch location worries me. He's apparently responded to his fit of wildness against the Phillies on April 17 by throwing meatballs down the middle.

All that said, I'm not especially worried about the closer position because Chris Reitsma is pitching well enough that he could be plugged into the slot quite easily, with Kevin Gryboski, Roman Colon, and Jorge "You stall your deal with" Sosa moving into the set-up role. It's a long season and there is plenty of time to make adjustments, especially with the team off to a pretty decent start.

John Foster is not going to be the full-time closer or even a set-up man, but I liked seeing Bobby use him in a critical situation. Maybe Cox was being too conventional by going lefty-on-lefty (especially given Floyd's terrific average against lefties,) but it was nice to see him trust a young pitcher in a pressure situation. There's no better way to determine whether Foster is useful than to throw him into a tough situation in the 9th inning at Shea. He passed the test, although I wasn't wild about the pitch location that got Floyd to pop out.

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