An interesting development occurred on Saturday in Milwaukee. The Mets put out their lineup, and it looked like this:
Tonight's #Mets lineup vs. Yovani Gallardo: Young 7, Murphy 4, Wright 5, Davis 3, Byrd 9, Nieuwenhuis 8, Recker 2, Quintanilla 6, Marcum 1.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) July 6, 2013
Then, all of a sudden, it looked like this:
CORRECTION on #Mets lineup tonight: Young LF; Murphy 2B; Wright 3B; Davis 1B; Byrd RF; Nieuwenhuis CF; Buck C; Quintanilla SS; Marcum P
— Kevin Massoth (@KevMassoth) July 6, 2013
Why the change? Did Anthony Recker cut his hand making peanut butter? Did he go on paternity leave? Was he traded for a Tickle Me Elmo and a Soft Rock Hits of the 70's CD set? None of the above:
Lineup change: Buck catching, Recker sitting. Collins said it's because Marcum prefers Buck behind the plate.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) July 6, 2013
Mets have switched catchers. Shaun Marcum wanted to throw to John Buck. Recker will catch Sunday instead. #mets
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) July 6, 2013
So this is what it's come to. Shaun Marcum has become Dudley Moore in Arthur, and Terry Collins is Hobson.
This was a serious douche move by Marcum to put on Collins. I understand Marcum had a good season with Buck in 2010. And while it seems a little strange that a guy with an ERA over five would require a personal catcher as if he was Greg Maddux, hey … a manager's job is to put his players in the best position to win. And if Marcum works better with Buck, bless him. Give him all the Buck he wants. But to go crying after the day's lineup was already released and force Terry into changing the lineup, and then explaining publicly that it was because a pitcher with an ERA of five needs his favorite catcher in there, puts Terry in a really bad position. And this is on Collins too. With the way Collins has been acquiescing to everybody this season, was there any doubt that Marcum would get away with it? Collins couldn't just say to Marcum "look, I feel Buck needs a day off so suck it up this one time and I'll take care of you the rest of the way"?
Think of the fallout that this would have if it mattered in the long run? And let's face it, it doesn't. We're talking about a pitcher who isn't going to be here next season, a manager who I would lay odds wouldn't be here next season, and two catchers who might not be here next season … one of them definitely isn't staying of Travis d'Arnaud (remember him?) stays healthy. Think about that too. What if d'Arnaud was the backup instead of Recker and Marcum pulled that stunt. Then what? This is going to die down if it already isn't D.O.A., but if that was d'Arnaud? Marcum might have been released tomorrow. Bad things happen to players who piss off the future core of the team. (Ask Jon Rauch.)
As it was, the only fallout was that Marcum put a huge target on his back for Saturday's start against the Brewers. And not only did multiple Brewers hit the bullseye, but so did a dragonfly.
(No truth to the rumor that this was Shaun Marcum's personal insect.)
Maybe the dragonfly threw off Marcum's equilibrium during the first inning when he gave up the first run of the game. But once the insect figured out it wasn't Harvey or Wheeler he was resting on, he said "screw this, I'm outta here." So no excuses for Marcum's piss poor performance the rest of the game as he gave up five more runs, including a home run to Jonathan Lucroy which has just landed at a Hardee's on I-80. The final run Marcum gave up wasn't his fault, as he shouldn't have been on the mound to begin with. The Mets had closed the gap to 5-4 Brewers in the sixth on the strength of a John Buck home run and two run single (so Marcum got lucky with his whims, what can I say) when Collins had a chance to pinch hit for Marcum with Buck on first and didn't. So Marcum started the sixth by giving up a base hit to Logan Schafer and Yovani Gallardo, already with two hits against Marcum, sacrificed him to second base. Problem being that Daniel Murphy, while covering first base, dropped the freakin' ball and Schaefer came all the way around to score as the ball rolled far, far away. That would pretty much be your ball game as the Brewers scored one more run and the Mets, despite a rousing comeback, lost 7-6 as Frankie Rodriguez worked around a Marlon Byrd home run and struck out the side in the ninth.
As much as I thought the post game was going to feature Marcum field a question from a beat reporter, and squashing said reporter like a bug causing SNY to cut back to the studio to a shot of Jim Duquette perfectly still with his mouth wide open, it didn't happen. Neither was Marcum asked to go pick up McDonald's for the rest of the rotation only to be locked in a room with Brandon Lyon to wait to be traded or released. First off, Marcum has to be here at least until Jon Niese is back in the rotation, and probably until Niese shows he's fully healthy. Second, and speaking of fully healthy, Marcum clearly isn't 100% as he's pitching through some numbness and tingling in his hand and it would look bad if the Mets just released him while he was going through that. So if there was a way to get rid of Marcum, it would more likely be to put him on the DL. The problem is that there aren't a lot of great options for the Mets to fill that spot until Niese gets back so as long as Marcum says he's going to pitch through it, the Mets are stuck with him. And they will probably have to pay him some bonuses for innings pitched as the season goes along, which might be a reason why Marcum wants to pitch through it. For once I'd like to see bonuses for good innings pitched, but the players union would probably have something to say about that so all innings, even Shaun Marcum innings, count.
But the good news is that David Wright and Matt Harvey are officially on the All-Star team, with Harvey still being the odds on favorite to start the game. More good news: Nowhere near the National League All-Star team are Matt Cain and Tony La Russa to screw this up.