FOX Sports Exclusive
Extra Innings: MLB's Hawaiian punch
Bonus notes from our MLB on Fox broadcast of the Mets-Phillies game on Saturday…
No wonder Roy Oswalt was so eager to return home to Weir, Miss., after tornadoes damaged family property.
About a year ago, a tornado tore through Weir and destroyed the house in which he grew up. Oswalt’s mother, Jean, had to duck into a closet to survive.
White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy and Oswalt are close, and so are their families. Peavy told me last week that when his father saw what happened to Oswalt’s parents’ home, he could not believe that Jean had survived.
Umpire Lance Barksdale, who worked the plate Saturday, said three or four tornadoes came within five miles of his home in Terry, Miss. The damage was worse about 10 miles away in Clinton, Miss., where Lance’s brother, Steve, lives.
Oswalt is still scheduled to make his next start Tuesday against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies, though, can be flexible with their rotation — the team was off Thursday and will be off again Monday.
THE POST-STEROIDS ERA: A DIFFERENT VIEW
Mets GM Sandy Alderson offers an interesting observation on first baseman Ike Davis and the need for pure power at Citi Field.
“The more difficult it is to hit the ball out, the more important it is to be able to do it,” Alderson said.
To underscore his point, Alderson cites a statistic: A team that hits more homers than its opponents, Alderson said, wins 75 percent of the time.
It’s true: Entering Saturday, teams that hit more homers than their opponents were 3,976-1,280 since 2008 — a winning percentage of .756.
“The notion in the post-steroids era about pitching and defense, etc., etc.,” Alderson said, his words hanging in the air.
“As something becomes more difficult to do, it becomes more valuable. Ike Davis is one of those guys who can have that kind of impact.”
HERE’S TO AN UMP
Mets manager Terry Collins says he was taken aback Thursday when umpire Marvin Hudson strolled onto the field in street clothes to apologize for a call the previous night at Nationals Park.
The call occurred after Jose Reyes hit an apparent one-out triple with the Mets trailing the Nationals by one run. Hudson ruled that Reyes came off the bag during his slide. Replays indicated that Reyes stayed on the base.
The Mets ended up winning, 6-3.
“It was the most classy, professional thing that I’ve ever had happen,” said Collins, who previously managed the Astros and Angels for part or all of six seasons.
"He walked out and said, 'I missed it. I’m glad it didn’t cost you the game. Here’s what I thought I saw. It’s obviously not the way it happened.' I told him, 'Marvin, you don’t have to come out here and tell me that.'"
“I’m one guy who believes in the human element. Umpires make mistakes. We make mistakes. Arguing is part of the game. Replays today are so involved. These guys can’t miss a call, or it’s all over TV.”
YES, CHARLIE COUNTS PITCHES
Revisiting my column from Friday, I asked Phillies manager Charlie Manuel exactly how he views pitch counts for his starters.
Manuel says he is fine within any of his aces going to 125 pitches, but if they do it two out of three starts or three out of four, he starts getting concerned.
He also says he is mindful of not overworking right-hander Roy Halladay early, acknowledging, “He hit a stretch last year where he could have used a breather.”
Halladay actually had two rough stretches, if you want to call them that. He went 1-3 with a 4.03 ERA from June 15-30, allowing 38 hits in 29 innings, then 3-1 with a 4.55 ERA from Aug. 30 to Sept. 15, allowing 35 hits in 27 2/3 innings.
WHY PHILS’ OFFENSE ISN’T THE SAME
Two of their best on-base percentages. And two of their best runners.
Rollins currently is hitting third, further limiting Manuel. The Phillies are best when Rollins and Victorino bat 1-2, but their respective career OBPs — .329 for Rollins, .343 for Victorino — aren’t ideal for the top of the order.
Manuel exaggerates when he says the Phillies have lost 400 walks since the end of 2008, citing the injury to Utley, subtractions of Werth and Pat Burrell, and lower walk rate of Ryan Howard.
Still, here are the Phillies’ annual team OBPs under Manuel from 2005 through Saturday: .348, .347, .354, .332, .334, .332, .327.
IBANEZ: NOT HIS FIRST ROUGH START
Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez was 0-for-30 when Manuel sat him Saturday against left-hander Jon Niese. Ibanez’s replacement, John Mayberry, had two hits off Niese, including a leadoff homer that tied the score in the seventh inning.
Manuel says Ibanez is still his left fielder, .465 OPS and all. If it’s any comfort, Ibanez has started slowly before.
In 2002 with the Royals, Ibanez was batting .198 on June 5. He finished at .294. In 2007 with the Mariners, he had six homers on Aug. 5. He finished with 21.
Ibanez is older now — he turns 39 on June 2 — but he says his track record gives him confidence that he can rebound.
Not that it makes his slump any easier to endure.
“It still sucks,” Ibanez said.
THE MEANING OF BAY
Yes, Jason Bay lengthens the Mets’ lineup, but it’s not just his bat that the team missed.
Remember how Bay’s defense was an issue for some clubs when he was a free agent after the 2009 season? Well, the Mets hardly see him as a liability.
Bay made a strong impression with his fielding and base running last season, and has helped stabilize the team’s defense in left field since rejoining the club.
Alderson says Bay’s mere presence also is meaningful. He is well-liked in the clubhouse, a positive influence who has a calming effect on the team.
IZZY’S UNLIKELY RETURN
Mets reliever Jason Isringhausen only was willing to attempt a comeback for a few clubs. The Mets actually were second on his list.
Isringhausen’s agent, Danny Horwits, first called the Reds — Isringhausen pitched last season for them at Triple A, and knows Reds GM Walt Jocketty from their days together with the Cardinals. Jocketty, though, told Horwits that the Reds didn’t really have a spot.
Horwits then contacted the Mets; Isringhausen knew assistant GMs J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta from his days with the A’s. A tryout was arranged, and Isringhausen — wearing a T-shirt, shorts and spikes — threw for Ricciardi in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He then met his old Cardinals teammate Chris Carpenter for a cookout at Carpenter’s house in Jupiter that night.
Ricciardi called during the cookout and told Izzy to show up at 6 a.m. the next day for his physical.
Isringhausen took a deep breath and said, “OK.” His comeback was on.
VICTORINO: THE ALL-TIME HAWAIIAN?
Forget Derek Jeter’s countdown to 3,000; Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino is just 89 hits short of breaking Mike Lum’s all-time record of 877 hits by a native Hawaiian.
Victorino has achieved other milestones — he was the first Hawaiian to make an All-Star team, and is the Phillies’ all-time leader with 28 postseason RBI. He says he doesn’t dwell on such things, but enjoys setting a standard for others to follow.
Victorino, A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki and Victorino’s cousin, recently demoted Royals reliever Kanekoa Texeira, all are natives of Maui — an island that in 2010 had a population of 154,834, according to Wikipedia.
PROUD MOMENT FOR PRIDIE
At age 27, Mets center fielder Jason Pridie has played in 943 games in the minors and just 18 in the majors. How has he endured? With support from his family.
Pridie mentions his parents, Keith and Catherine; his older brother Jon, who pitched seven years in the Twins’ system; and his girlfriend of 4 1/2 years, Bianca Cruz, a former third baseman for the Arizona State softball team.
Pridie says Bianca doesn’t sugarcoat her criticism: “You’re pulling your head!” she will tell him. “You’re pulling your shoulder.”
Still, the message from his family is overwhelmingly positive: Hang in there, they say. You know what kind of player you are.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins issued this tweet on the Royal Wedding: “All the way from across the pond in the 215, congrats to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. That was a beautiful ceremony.”
First baseman Ryan Howard was less enthused. He said his fiancée called him at 7 a.m. Friday, asking him to set his DVR to record the wedding. Naturally, Howard was asleep.
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