I was half paying attention to the game last night as I did other things, among them voting for Placido Polanco for the All-Star team, since he’s only 8k votes behind Robinson Cano and I really don’t want him to win. I also wrote in votes for Boston’s Kevin Youkilis, because with the year he’s having, it’s a shame he’s not even on the ballot at the position he plays. It’s a lost cause, but I’ve been voting for Endy Chavez too.
And It’s even more of a lost cause now, as he grounded out into a triple play yesterday, Reyes out at second, Chavez out at first, and Chavez’s hamstring out running down the line. Without thinking about it, it seems like losing your fourth outfielder shouldn’t be that big a deal, but we all know it is. The Mets have their star outfielder playing at about 85%, and lost their second and third outfielders to injuries, and now their fourth. Endy means so much more than that, which is almost impossible to put into words. Luckily it’s not major, and he will be back for the bulk of the end of the season to contribute the way he contributes.
I don’t even know what to say about Alou, but Green and Valentin will be back soon. Maybe between Easley, who’s also injured with tendinitis for the past two weeks, and Newhan and Johnson and Gomez the Mets can piece together that third spot for whatever time Alou needs to get healthy, as long as what he needs isn’t a time machine. It sucks for Lastings Milledge, who if he wasn’t injured would be getting a lot of chances to play. Even if the Mets don’t want to keep him, him playing here would be a great bargaining chip. I really think we need to keep Ruben Gotay around, who I liked in spring training and really have kept liking since he’s been up. Jose Valentin has played some left field before, most notably six times for the Mets last year, maybe he could fill in there too.
After their first three game losing streak, I expect the Mets to wake up from this lackluster daydream they’ve been having. I know they’ve lost practically no ground in the division race, which says loads about the Braves, but losing three games the way they’ve been playing is a disgrace. Losing Endy Chavez and the prospect of being swept at home will jolt the Mets into action.
I’ve been talking about, and waiting for this moment all year. When the Mets put together one of those swagger-filled, “You can’t touch us” streaks of great baseball. It’s coming now. The Phillies aren’t a threat, and the Mets don’t view them as part of this tough stretch of schedule. They are going to rise to the occasion to play with the best teams of 2006. I fully expect that by the time July 1st roles around, we’ll barely be able to see the next team in the rear view mirror, having put together a 17-6 stretch of games.
It’s hard to say they’ve been cruising, but they pretty much have been. Now with some serious concerns, it’ll wake them up and they’ll begin to show why they’re a championship caliber team. Who knows, maybe we can have Lo Duca start some games in left field and get Castro some at-bats.
Apr 30, 2007 11:19 AM
Teams slump. This is a known fact; the season is 162 games long and no one stays hot for that entire time. Some immortals come close, but as a team it’s hard to always string together hits, always pitch well and always play well. They’re only human after all.
Good teams still win. The Mets are a good team, and despite the lackluster hitting this weekend they won two out of three. Obviously the Washington Nationals aren’t the cream of the crop, but they’re still professionals. They’re still going to win at least 50 times this year. Saturday night, even down 2-1 in the ninth against a closer that has previous been great against them, they managed to scratch out a run to tie it. Even after Moises Alou erased David Wright by grounding into a double play; a rally killer if I ever saw one, and with Cordero only needing one out to seal the deal, the Mets get that run across. Once they pushed it to extra innings, even being on the road you just had the feeling that the Mets weren’t letting this game get away. They didn’t, they put up the best offense of the whole series in that 12th inning to win 6-2, with Billy Wagner closing it out, probably silently wishing they could’ve scored one less so he could have a save.
The Mets helped him out the next day, or more precisely, John Maine helped him out by keeping the Nationals from scoring. A brilliant performance by Maine highlights what just may be the most reassuring part of the Mets this season. Everyone that thinks, or thought the Mets weren’t going as far this year as last cited the starting pitching as the reason. John Maine is putting them to shame with the way he is pitching, and putting Baltimore to shame too, for letting him get away.
The baseball season is a grind, and what makes champions is being able to minimize the damage when you’re down, and capitalize when you’re up. So far this year the Mets seem to be doing that. Despite the minuses from this weekend, namely Jose Valentin, Aaron Heilman and Orlando Hernandez, the Mets showed me plenty to be optimistic about.