As often as I criticize Willie Randolph for his managerial diarrhea, it's only fair that I applaud him when he does something that is equal parts ingenuity and nonconformity. Intead of the usual OBP-wasteland at the top of the order, Willie rolled the bones and came up with this lineup:
For all of his talent and speed, Jose Reyes is not good enough to bat leadoff; at least not yet. By moving him down to seventh and shifting everyone up a spot, the Mets give their better hitters more plate appearances and the team a better chance to win. I have argued in the past that Carlos Beltran may be better suited to batting second on this team, which will take some pressure off of him and hopefully allow him to run more.
The new lineup has only been in effect for one game, but certainly the results were promising. It's never good practice to base too much, good or bad, on the outcome of a single game (or a few games), but you have to be excited by Willie's willingness to switch things around in an effort to generate more production.
Unfortunately, Willie has not managed to shake his childlike obsession with the staggered lefty/righty lineup. Under no circumstances should Marlon Anderson continue to bat in front of David Wright. Is it really necessary to split up two right-handed hitters? I can somewhat understand the desire to separate two lefties to avoid having them both face the LOOGY late in a ballgame, but two righties? Show me the map, Willie, because I just don't see where you're going with this.
In other goodly-related news, I am particularly impressed with yesterday's game because:
a) The Mets were playing the division leader
b) The Mets were on the road (at RFK where the Nationals were 29-10)
c) The Mets' worst pitcher was on the mound
Perhaps the worst thing that will come of yesterday's game is a renewed faith in Kaz Ishii. I have been half-rooting against the guy for the last handful of starts with the hope that the sight of meltdown-after-meltdown will be enough to have him expunged from the rotation, if not the country entirely. The "Deport Ishii" caravan is on hold for at least another start, it would seem.