Keith Hernandez was talking about the DH rule the other night. It was pretty rough sledding. He's opposed to it, for reasons involving fairness and machismo. I also dislike the rule, mostly because it doesn't lend itself to interesting managerial decisions.
But I realized tonight that there's something else I dislike about the DH rule. It robs the game of one of its rarest and without question its most demoralizing event: the pitcher home run. No other sport has such a gross mismatch (pitcher facing pitcher) built into it. Thus, no possibility for the kind of public humiliation Elizardo Ramirez had to endure as Steve Trachsel touched 'em all.
Sure they're all professional athletes, but they're not all professional hitters. When a guy has a career .401 OPS in 614 ABs, it means he can't hit. When he does hit a home run, unlike when a position player does, it naturally calls into question whether the pitcher can pitch. I know it doesn't have any such real significance, but it's humiliating nonetheless.
As for the game: if my excessive and perhaps unseemly attention to the Trachsel homer left any doubt, the Mets won big.
It did get close briefly, as Trachsel left a mess in the seventh inning for Sanchez to clean up. But clean up he did, allowing one run to score on a sac fly and inducing a double play.
Offensively, non-pitchers Xavier Nady and Carlos Delgado had three homers between them, and Reyes got two more hits to raise his OBP on the year to .340. That's 40 points higher than it was last year, and his SLG is 61 points higher. He's getting much better.
Lastings Milledge had his third outfield assist of the season. It was pretty impressive. In case you didn't see it, Ryan Freel hit a liner down the left field line, the kind that speedsters like Freel can usually stretch into doubles because the left fielder's momentum is pulling him the wrong way.
Not our young phenom. Milledge not only cut the ball off, but took the textbook curved route to it (meaning he was pretty much running along the left field line when he got to it) and threw a perfect strike to second. Freel was still very much en route when the ball arrived.
Milledge has got the range, he's got the arm... let's give him a pass on the glove for the time being. I'm convinced he's pretty damn toolsy.
Of course it's a good thing Milledge is showing some spark, because sure enough, Cliff Floyd was placed on the DL. I point this out only because it's relevant to the size of Milledge's cup of coffee (if he gets sent down at all), and not because I take any satisfaction in having my suspicions of the "official story" legitimized. C'mon, Omar, don't pee on our leg and tell us Cliff's day-to-day.
In NL East news, the Atlanta Braves lost their eighth straight, and assumed fifth place in the standings. The Marlins, on the other hand, have reeled off nine in a row and are just three games behind the Phillies. I still like our chances.
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