Posts Tagged ‘Fernando Tatis’

Another Mundane Night with the Mets

August 4, 2009

After watching Mets pinch hitter Fernando Tatis pop up to Arizona second baseman Ryan Roberts for the final out last night, I calmly walked into my kitchen and began washing the evening’s dirty dishes. I proceeded to run the water until the temperature was hot enough to cut the grease from my plate left over from an enjoyable meal. As I scrubbed and rinsed, I recalled in my mind the numerous times I have performed this particular task under the malaise of a Mets loss. With each knife and fork I cleaned, a disturbing thought regarding the Mets would ensue. After taking three out of four from the Colorado Rockies, how could they go on to lose three out of four from the Diamondbacks?

Upon realizing that I still had to scrub down a sauce pan and a large cutting board, my job was far from over. Another revelation donned on me. For the first time this season, I felt strongly that I was beginning to lose faith in my favorite team. Per last night’s fourth loss in five games, I saw the Mets climb back from a 6-0 deficit to close within one and then watched them come up short when it was all said and done. With dejection, I finished my last piece of silverware and made my way over to the television set hoping to catch the remaining moments of last night’s post-game show on SNY. As I stared on the screen at the list of teams ahead of the Mets that were in the running for the NL Wild Card, I felt a sense of helplessness come over me that reinforced my previous notion.

With slight intrigue, I listened as Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran relayed to the media that his knee was still bothering him. The pain that he was feeling was not the same pain as before but a different pain. With that, I prompted myself to speak out and say, “Carlos, I know how you feel.”

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Offense to Dictate Which Corner Outfielder Will Start or Sit

February 24, 2009

On September 16, 2008, the New York Mets dropped their second straight game to the lowly Washington Nationals. Not only were they shutout that night, 1-0, but their position atop the NL East went from first to second place. That disappointing night for the Mets also marked another devastating loss: the loss of one of last year’s key players, Fernando Tatis. Tatis was attempting to snag a blooper hit by then Nationals’ pitcher Odalis Perez, when he missed the ball on the way down and landed on his right side. The fall ultimately knocked him out for the rest of the 2008 season with a separated shoulder.

At the conclusion of the season, Tatis received many accolades for coming through in the clutch, earning him the award for NL Comeback Player of the Year. Last October, the Mets rewarded the 34 year-old utility player with a one year contract and told him to be ready for spring training.

“I feel fine now — I didn’t need surgery and I will be ready to go in the spring,” Tatis said.

With Tatis on-board, the Mets seemed satisfied and eager to continue using a platoon situation in left field. The veteran Tatis would be given the start against left-handers and the emerging Daniel Murphy would be plugged into the lineup against right-handers. However, this past weekend, Mets manager Jerry Manuel had a change of heart. He decided to ditch the idea altogether and give the starting job exclusively to Murphy.

“I don’t want him to get into a strictly platoon situation,” Manuel said of Murphy. “I think he’s a little better player than that.”

By making Murphy the everyday left fielder, Manuel was asked what his plans for Tatis were. Manuel’s response? The Mets manager suggested the veteran could now be a platoon for Ryan Church in right field. Church struggled against left-handed pitching last season after his return from the disabled list.

Acting as if he was the last to know, Church broached the subject with his skipper. “I knew all I had to do was talk to him. He’s very approachable. He’ll tell you how it is. He came up to me and said, ‘Don’t worry about it — you’re getting prepared to be the everyday right fielder for the New York Mets.'”

Since day one, Manuel has preached that his job is to predict which players will give him the best chance of winning. Ideally, he would love to have both left-handed hitting outfielders, Church and Murphy, make contact when facing both righties and lefties. If that’s the case, Tatis would be utilized as a right-handed hitting threat coming off the bench. Problem solved.

“He’s the boss,” Church said. “I can’t write my name in the lineup card. All I can do is control what I do on the field, and make sure I’m ready and do what he says. He’s our general, and I’ll go to war with him any day.”

By starting Murphy no matter who the opposing starter is on the mound, it allows the Mets to play the hot hand. In just 131 at-bats last season, Murphy batted .313 with 41 hits and finished the season with a .397 on-base percentage.

“I’m going to treat this just like I’m trying to win a job for the next month that we’re here,” Murphy said. “My job is still to get ready to play, and that’s what I’m going to do.”