Me, Elsewhere: Chatting with Mets Today

With the Mets in town, Joe Janish of fellow ESPN SweetSpot blog Mets Today invited me to answer a few questions about the 2010 Padres, and so I did. We’re all a bit puzzled by the club’s hot start, but here’s something just as puzzling to me:

Bottom of the ninth, two outs, tie ballgame, and Adrian Gonzalez is standing on third base. What Padre hitter do you want to see in the batter’s box?

I’ll get killed for this, but there’s no question it’s David Eckstein. That won’t happen because of the way Black constructs his lineup, but Eckstein is the one guy on this team who can put the ball in play with consistency. When the winning run is 90 feet away, that particular skill takes on greater importance than it does in other situations, where you might prefer to see someone who can drive the ball more. But if all you need is a single or an error, give me Eckstein.

I know it’s in vogue to hate on Eckstein, and maybe this is as much an indictment of the Padres’ offense as anything else, but can you think of another guy on the current roster that you’d rather have up in that situation?

Read the entire Q&A at Mets Today, and big thanks to Joe for having me on the show.

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16 Responses »

  1. At least David (probably) won’t strike out.

  2. Eckstein has been a pleasant surprise this season. It seems as if every Padre blog I visited back in March was advocating a replacement for him. I certainly didn’t expect to see him playing as well as he is.

  3. I never thought I would have said this before the season (when I was hoping that Eckstein wouldn’t block the playing time of Zawadzki and Antonelli), but I completely agree with wanting Eckstein up in that situation. I have more confidence in him than anyone else to put the ball in play, and sometimes it travels far enough for even Adrian to be able to score from third.

  4. If the AB is in the last two weeks, Hundley.

  5. It may be in vogue to hate on Eck for the statheads who see nothing else, but the rest of us appreciate David for what he is. There is still room in baseball for players like Eckstein. They don’t put up great numbers consistently, aren’t superstars, certainly don’t stimulate discussion of their great upside. But they get the job done, help the team, study the game and prepare themselves to play each day- giving their all. There is a reason he is a World Series MVP.
    I am reminded of Tim Flannery. They are cut from the same pattern. Not the most talented but the hardest working, gutsy players on the field. What’s that word again? Scrappy?

  6. I think it was vogue to hate on Eckstein 4 years ago, then it got kind of tired, then he came to San Diego and the cycle repeated itself. But now he’s hitting well so there’s less of a reason for people to fall all over themselves making up excuses for Eck to be on the team. So for those keeping score, it was never as much about making fun of Eckstein as it was about making fun of his supporters.

  7. Ha- funny, and there goes David tying the game up in an eerily similar situation to your hypothetical. Though, it must be said, the attempt to run home was a bad decision.

  8. I thought the same thing about sending Eck there but on replay it appeared to me that he actually could have been safe had he slid right of the bag and gone for the touch instead of sliding into the catcher. Of course, that’s tough for the runner to know in the moment.

  9. The on-deck hitter should have been (and maybe was, I don’t know) been signaling him to slide to the outside. I was surprised to see him slide right into the tag. Nice it’s a moot point thanks to the GS!

  10. So, even if the Padres lose and any of the Reds, Cards and Braves win, we will have at least a share of “The Best Record in The NL” with 1/3 of the season complete, and we very well could have the record all to ourselves. I have no response to that.

  11. Yay, we won a game started by Johan Santana without having to sign Darrell May just for the occasion.

    A couple of interesting facts:
    - Luke Gregerson didn’t strike out any batters in this game. The last time he didn’t, it was Cinco de Mayo.
    - Eckstein OPS-ed more than Hundley in May, so perhaps it’s time to switch their spots around Gonzalez.

  12. Never have I read a blog post that was so prophetic. Geoff, it’s like you’re psychotic, errr

  13. If it’s a left-handed pitcher, I’ll take Scott Hairston. If it’s a right-handed pitcher, I’ll take Chase Headley.

    I’m still very impressed with how David Eckstein has played this year.

  14. @Melvin: So, where does that leave us? Do we make fun of the people who make fun of his supporters?

    @Didi: Nice Darrell May reference. If memory serves, Dave Roberts homered off Johan in that game.

    @parlo: You had it right the first time… we’ll stick with psychotic.

    @Jacob: I’ll go with Hairston if a homer is needed.

  15. Other than the second question, and your answer of pitching, the interview never really got deep into WHY the Padres are winning, or how to play them. I guess that’s not surprising, since Joe isn’t exactly a Mets scout, and you admitted your pre-season skepticism at the very beginning. Did that cause a change in the questions, or was Joe just reading his pre-selected questions off his notes? You did just fine, and you can’t go very deep with just eight questions, but the Q’s didn’t seem to give online Mets fans much insight into the Marvelous Phenomenon that is the 2010 Padres. Lemme ask ya, what eight questions would you ask of a Cincinnati writer about the Reds?

  16. @Larry: It was a straight email Q&A, with no follow-up; really just a series preview type of thing. As for the Reds, I’d have to think about that a bit. Probably something about Rolen’s resurgence, and I’d be curious about guys with local ties (Hernandez, Leake, Harang). Beyond that, I’m not sure…