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Looper.

old original jb
Jun 27 2005 01:13 AM

Looper.

holychicken
Jun 27 2005 09:19 AM

All I have to say is that it has been a while.

seawolf17
Jun 27 2005 09:21 AM

I've been very happy with Looper; I know he's not Rollie Fingers, but he usually gets the job done.

Elster88
Jun 27 2005 09:27 AM

Me too.

Rotblatt
Jun 27 2005 09:36 AM

Me too. Last night was brutal, though. It wasn't so much losing a one-run game--even to the Yankees--but the way that he didn't even make it close. I mean, not one out. That's just embarassing.

seawolf17
Jun 27 2005 11:28 AM

Maybe he needs to put cabbage leaves on his head. From today's Peter Gammons column:

]According to the Korean News Bureau, South Korean Doosan Bears' pitcher Park Myung-hwan twice lost his cap while delivering a pitch and each time frozen cabbage leaves fell off his head twice in a game on June 19. The frozen cabbage leaves inside the cap were used to keep his head cool. The Korea Baseball Organization has been moved to rule that wearing cabbage leaves inside a baseball cap constitutes an "alien material" that may disrupt a game, prohibited according to the organization's rules, the organization said in a statement Tuesday.


I don't think cabbage is illegal in the major leagues yet.

soupcan
Jun 27 2005 01:21 PM

Last night same situation.

You have a choice to call Armando Benitez or Braden Looper for the 9th.

Who's closing your game?

smg58
Jun 27 2005 01:33 PM

Interesting way of putting it. The funny thing is, I bet the numbers would favor Benitez, but Looper doesn't have the history of spectacular collapses in the particularly critical games that everybody remembers.

Looper had been solid between the first two weeks of the season and this past week, but he hasn't looked so sharp recently. I'd be concerned that something isn't right with his arm. And right now none of our relievers look particularly good.

Frayed Knot
Jun 27 2005 01:59 PM

"You have a choice to call Armando Benitez or Braden Looper for the 9th."


Benitez, no question. He's got the much better track record.
Looper has fewer "spectacular collapses" because he's been in fewer games.

Look, closers who are given 1-run leads on the road are going to blow games to good hitting teams every once in a while and, unfortuantely, you can't pick and choose when and where they're going to happen.

rpackrat
Jun 27 2005 02:13 PM

]Last night same situation.

You have a choice to call Armando Benitez or Braden Looper for the 9th.

Who's closing your game?


Benitez, without question. Benitez, contrary to popular opinion, was a dominant closer -- one of the elite. Looper has been pretty steady, but not dominant.

seawolf17
Jun 27 2005 02:15 PM

I hate Armando Benitez with the passion of a thousand fires. Last night, against the Yankees, on Sunday Night Baseball, I call on Looper. Benitez would have given up a 600-foot home run in that spot, because he would have been trying to throw 110-mph fastballs -- and he would have left one flat over the plate.

Elster88
Jun 27 2005 02:35 PM

So, even now that you know that Looper will blow the game, you take him over Benitez because you think Benitez will give up a home run?

Johnny Dickshot
Jun 27 2005 02:39 PM

Any closer is capable of blowing any one game. The question should be: If you could play this inning 200 times over (100 with Benitez in the 9th; 100 with Looper), which combo helps you win more games.

The answer there would be Benitez and rather easily.

Edgy DC
Jun 27 2005 02:47 PM

]Interesting way of putting it. The funny thing is, I bet the numbers would favor Benitez, but Looper doesn't have the history of spectacular collapses in the particularly critical games that everybody remembers.


But those would be part of the numbers.

Benitez, of course. (At least, a healthy Benitez.)

You don't buy it, look at the first-year results of our virtual trade with Florida. Looper did fine. Benitez blew minds.

MFS62
Jun 27 2005 02:57 PM

Last Friday, M&MD were talking about the Mets. They were surprisingly taking a realistic look at the players on the team. When the topic of Looper came up, Mike said "he's having a pretty good year. He's 15 for 18 in save situations, which is all right."

No wonder Looper lost. He got the kiss of death.

Later

sharpie
Jun 27 2005 03:06 PM

He was pretty awful Friday night too. He seems to go into bad streaks (he had one in spring training and at the beginning of the season).

The answer to the question is obviously Benitez. He would break my heart but I'd be confident going to him the next night. With Braden, not so much.

old original jb
Jun 27 2005 03:18 PM
Glad Benitez came up in this thread.

Here's a confession from a "relieverblamer".
Relievers can't win. They really do suffer from selective fan memory.

I myself am grossly unfair to Looper given his 15/18 record thus far.
I just like to scowl and say "Looper" when he drops a game.

And I remember sort of nodding my head when Benitez was let go; I wasn't sure Looper would be any better, but I had that nagging sense that we could do better which in retrospect was very unfair.

But I too am among those who a year later are scratching their heads asking why knowledgeable baseball people effectively exchanged Looper for Benitez.

The key difference is that when he is on, Benitez is unhittable. When he is tired or distracted his pitches go up in the strike zone and over fences.
If he had ever learned to how to say "send Franco in today, my fastball release point is off" (OK, I know baseball players aren't supposed to say that) we'd have near perfect memories of him and he'd still be a Met.

Edgy DC
Jun 27 2005 03:45 PM

rpackrat, that painting is beautiful. Could I ask you to resize it, though?

soupcan
Jun 27 2005 04:16 PM

I would say Benitez as well but only because the stats back him up. Not like I was ever supremely confident with 'Mando going to the mound in a game like last night's (not like last night's game was 'big' or anything...).

It looks like most of us would agree that if given the choice last night we would have gone with a vintage 'Mando over Looper.

Fine, but lets not pretend that we wouldn't be as nervous if not more so if it was 'Mando out there last night instead of Looper.

'Kay?

Which begs the question - when was the last time the Mets had a closer that you actually were pretty sure would get the job done no matter the situation when his number was called?

Franco? Orosco? McDowell?

cooby
Jun 27 2005 04:19 PM

I always felt safe with Jesse

Edgy DC
Jun 27 2005 04:23 PM

Yeah, but I reiterate that it's the nature of the job.

Who in Mets history would keep you from feeling nervous coming into a tie game in the ninth with a one-run lead and the Mets place in the race, such at is, tenuous?

The best answer I could come up with would be Dwight Gooden acting as his own closer -- and that's largely because his presence in the ninth inning would mean that he's dominated over the first eight -- not because I wouldn't be queasy if he was brought in for the ninth, say, for Ojeda or Fernandez or Darling.

I guess the same woudl apply to Tom Seaver.

soupcan
Jun 27 2005 04:54 PM

when was the last time the Mets had a closer that you actually were pretty sure would get the job done no matter the situation when his number was called?


Why you always gotta be difficult?

Frayed Knot
Jun 27 2005 04:57 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jun 27 2005 04:59 PM

]when he is on, Benitez is unhittable. When he is tired or distracted his pitches go up in the strike zone and over fences ... If he had ever learned to how to say "send Franco in today, my fastball release point is off" (OK, I know baseball players aren't supposed to say that) we'd have near perfect memories of him and he'd still be a Met.


But all of that pre-supposes the notion that Benitez knew (or at least had an inkling of) when he was going to be good and when he wasn't. I remember Seaver talking about his "feeling off" walking in from the pen that night in '69 of his near perfecto against the Cubbies.
And it also buys into the idea that Armando's failures only occured when he was "tired or distracted".

Two rules to remember:
Rule 1: Pitchers pitch and batters are occasionally going to hit those pitches
Rule 2: No pitcher is immune to Rule 1

Blown saves - particularly when there's only a 1-run margin and against good hitting teams w/the middle of their lineup due up - happen all the time, several times a week across MLB I'd guess. THAT'S why you're nervous when the gate swings open and that feeling isn't going to end so long as you have an emotional investment in the outcome. The better the closer, the less you'll have that dread but you're never going to not have it until Sidd Finch puts down his French Horn and returns to Queens.

rpackrat
Jun 27 2005 04:58 PM
Edgy

I will be happy to resize my avatar if you can tell me how.

seawolf17
Jun 27 2005 04:59 PM

Edgy's right; it's (at least partially) the nature of the post-Eckersley closer beast. There's a reason that Rollie Fingers is a Hall of Famer, and a reason why Bruce Sutter should be; they were closers, not ninth-inning pitchers. (And Sutter should be in the Hall for his beard alone, but that's another issue.) When you create high-risk, low-reward situations like today's closers face, failure is going to be magnified and remembered.

I'm not saying there haven't been lights-out closers recently; look at Rivera or Gagne or Hoffman. But even those guys blow games.

Edgy DC
Jun 27 2005 05:10 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Jun 27 2005 05:48 PM

The best extended stretch of relief pitching ever by a Mets pitcher was Tug McGraw 1971-1972. (And Mando was close.) Yes, I have heard peeps say they were nervous when he entered a game.

And that was before the era of the ninth-inning specialist, so he (and, more importantly, the fans) had the comfort of knowing he conceivably enter a game in the seventh, give up a lead, and the Mets could still answer and win.

Jesse was great, but part of his effectiveness was having Allen/Sisk/McDowell as his co-closer on the days he was off. These guys could bail him out (or he them), or they could share the blame when they combined to yield a lead.

Centerfield
Jun 27 2005 05:34 PM

No Mets closer has ever made me feel secure...and we were fortunate enough to watch a guy who notched 400 saves and another guy who won the Rolaids Relief thingy. When I have a rooting interest for other teams, (like when they play the MFY's) their closer makes me just as nervous, if not more. I could have killed Keith Foulke a million times last October.

Of course, this might just be me. I'm such a freak, when I watch replays of Game 6 of the '86 NLCS, I get nervous that this time Kevin Bass will knock one out of the park.

Edgy DC
Jun 27 2005 05:55 PM

My 1986 college roommate Joe Nani was rooting for Houston in 1986. He didn't know diddley about the Astros, but he liked the Yankees and rooted passionately for the Mets to fail.

As the Mets mounted a comeback against Houston, he screamed at the TV for Hal Lanier (not that he knew the manager's name) to put his ace in. When he ran out of breath, I finally let him know that Dave Smith, the brown/gray-haired shag on the mound, was the Astro ace -- was in fact an all-star that had saved 33 games

"This guy?!" cried Joe, "He sucks!! He's gonna give me a heart attack!"

metirish
Jun 27 2005 09:42 PM

Giambi claims he knew what pitch Looper was throwing, saw his finger placement and was waiting on it, on the FAN today a few callers were down on Looper for having "that stupid smirk on his face on the mound just like franco had...

Edgy DC
Jun 27 2005 09:49 PM

I think fans who complain about smirks are jerks.

Your problem is that he lost the game. Deal with that or don't. Don't retrofit a moral objection onto it to make yourself feel better about your anger.

"It's not the loss, it's his smirky attitude." Lover, please.

Spacemans Bong
Jun 27 2005 09:55 PM

seawolf17 wrote:
I hate Armando Benitez with the passion of a thousand fires. Last night, against the Yankees, on Sunday Night Baseball, I call on Looper. Benitez would have given up a 600-foot home run in that spot, because he would have been trying to throw 110-mph fastballs -- and he would have left one flat over the plate.

Isn't this basically what Looper did? Looper was trying to throw everything 95 mph, and couldn't locate his fastball.