Odds & Ends from Opening Weekend

A nice win by the Mets on Sunday, following up on Saturday’s win to take two of three from the Marlins. R.A. Dickey appears to have picked up where he left off last season, going six innings and allowing just one unearned run.

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Ike Davis and Willie Harris both homered, and the Mets were able to take advantage of the Marlins’ usual lousy defense — three errors led to five unearned runs.

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Speaking of lousy defense, did Scott Cousins make the stupidest decision on Saturday that you’ve ever seen on a baseball field? With the score tied at three, first and second with no outs in the top of the tenth, David Wright lofted a fly ball into foul territory. Right fielder Cousins chased it down but then pulled up, allowing the ball to fall safely to the ground. Wright then followed that with a tie-breaking single.

Mets Marlins Baseall

Cousins said after the game that he decided not to catch the ball to prevent Jose Reyes from tagging up and getting to third with one out. “I absolutely could have made the play. I made a game-time decision. … Looking back, yeah, I should have made the play now, but in the moment I thought I did the right thing.”

Huh? If Reyes was on third it would have been the right decision — he would have walked home. But with the runner on second? No way. Sure, catching the ball would have resulted in Reyes on third, but it also would have resulted in taking the bat out of Wright’s hands — the best hitter on the team. That is an easy trade-off.

“A guy like that, you don’t give him second chances,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said, stating the obvious.

Just a dumb play.

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Speaking of dumb, that leads us to Brian Cashman. I hate all things Yankees, but I always liked Cashman. He seemed like a nice, bright guy, but I am rethinking that after his comments over the weekend about Pedro Feliciano.

Feliciano started the season on the disabled list with a strained left rotator cuff. Cashman said the injury was as a result of the way the Mets used him last season, saying the Mets “abused” him. Feliciano pitched in 92 games in 2010, making him just the fifth pitcher on history to appear in at least 90 games. He pitched in 86 and 88 games the previous two seasons.

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Cashman knew all of that, yet elected to sign Feliciano to a two-year, eight million dollar contract anyway.

“It’s a thin market when you’re looking for lefties, and he’s one of the better ones out there. But you don’t typically go after a guy who’s been used like that,” he said. “The use pattern was abusive.”

So now Cashman is blaming the Mets for what could turn out to be a bad signing? Ridiculous, said Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen.

“They didn’t know that when they signed him? … He volunteered for the baseball every day. He was asked whether he was able to pitch. He said ‘yes’ every day — every day — and wanted to pitch more than we even pitched him,” Warthen said. “That was part of the reason we decided to not re-sign him, because we knew we had used him 270-some times in the last three years.”

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Now to the stupidity of the people who make the MLB schedule. I’m sure putting together  a 162-game schedule for 30 teams is a difficult assignment, but the continued lack of common sense is baffling. With the earliest-ever start to the season this year, it meant it would be even colder in Northern cities. Why not have every team open in either a warm-weather city or in a stadium with a dome?

Instead, the following happened this weeekend:

— The Brewers played in cold Cincinnati while their nice, warm dome in Milwaukee sat empty. Why not switch that series?
— Sunday’s Rockies-Diamondbacks game was snowed-out on Sunday. Of course it was — they were playing in Denver in early April! Yet the stadium in hot, hot Phoenix — which also has a roof, by the way — would have been a nice setting for a game.
— The warm weather Padres and Angels both traveled to cold Missouri.
— Retractable roof stadiums in Houston and Seattle were vacant.
— The warm-weather Dodgers and Giants played each other.

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This is mind boggling. There are enough warm weather cities/domed stadiums for every team to play the first week of the season without braving potential bitter cold conditions. Why not just do it?

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