The heartbreaking season of Tom Glavine continues. Glavine pitched into the 7th inning last night allowing 9 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 walks and striking out 5. But with Ken Griffey Jr. up with 1 out and bases loaded a routine fly ball to centerfield would change everything as Mike Cameron lost the ball in the sun and lost the Mets the game.
Will someone please remind me why the Mets acquired this guy? It can’t be for his scintillating offense. I mean, I know he’s been hot lately. In his last 12 games he’s brought his average up 21 points from .193 to a sparkling .214. (Mario Mendoza, eat your heart out.) And in that span he’s only struck out 11 times. That’s not a lot when you consider that during the previous 12 game stretch he struck out 15 times and has struck out 75 times in the 67 games he’s played this season.
No, it wasn’t his offense that brought him to New York. It was his defense. Maybe I’m being a little nitpicky about this but it would seem to me that someone who is as good a fielder as Cameron is supposed to be shouldn’t be losing the ball in the sun. I guess he’s out of practice with playing in the sun after spending the last 4 seasons playing in Seattle. I guess he’s not comfortable playing with sunglasses after spending so much time under Safeco Field’s retractable dome and Seattle’s eternally overcast weather.
Am I being too rough on Cameron? Maybe. But this isn’t the first time I’ve come down on him. Even if Cameron had made that play I’d still be opposed to him being the every day centerfielder. It’s not because I don’t understand the concept of defense in baseball. Quite the contrary. Defense makes the pitching better and helps put you in a position to win games. But it’s my belief that in this day and age you’re not going to win a lot of 2-1 ball games so a guy hitting around .200 doesn’t belong in the starting lineup. Forget all the pomp about not spending all that money on a player for him just to be a late inning defensive replacement. The goal is to win ball games and if benching Cameron helps you score more runs and win more games then so be it. (On the flip side of this, the team has nobody more qualified to play the position right now. That’s the biggest flaw of my argument.)
Anyway, if Cameron needs some help getting used to wearing sunglasses in the field I’m sure Kaz Matsui can give him some pointers. Oops, that’s a whole other rant.