Game 113: Win

Mets 7 Padres 3

El Duque enjoyed another strong outing in his bid to be a playoff starter, as the Mets swept San Diego for their first 2006 Shea broom job.

It was a close game until the bottom of the seventh, when the strange Mets lineup exploded for four runs.

In fact, the starting lineup looked more like a split-squad spring training game, with Jose Valentin batting fifth and followed by Ricky Ledee, Mike Tucker, and Mike DeFelice.

However, it made no difference, as the top of the lineup had a strong day, beginning with Jose Reyes’ 2-5, 2-run, 2-RBI performance. Endy Chavez stayed hot in the two spot, going 2-4 with a run, an RBI, and two SBs. Oh, and then there was David Wright, who went 2-3 with two walks, an RBI, a run, and a stolen base. With numbers like that in the top three spots, who needs the rest of the lineup?

Though batters four through nine weren’t too shabby either. Carlos Delgado and Jose Valentin both walked twice, and The Stache added a hit and 2 RBI. Michael Tucker, in his first game as a Met, blasted an RBI double to keep the rally going in the seventh. Even El Duque had a hit and a run scored.

A nice, breezy sweep for the Mets … bring on the Nats!

Notes

After getting pounded by the Cubs on July 16th, Orlando Hernandez has really turned it up a notch, going deep into games and looking dominating at times. Hopefully he can keep building his strength and be primed and ready come October; in my mind he is the key to the Mets’ World Series chances.

Aaron Heilman pitched a nearly perfect 8th inning, walking one and striking out two. However he threw too many pitches — 26 — and hopefully won’t be needed tomorrow (fat chance). Pedro Feliciano was equally effective closing out the game, striking out two and allowing one hit on 19 pitches.

Michael Tucker not only delivered the blast in the seventh, but made several nice catches and threw out Dave Roberts trying to stretch a single into a double in the third. He knows he has a very small window of opportunity to impress Mr. Willie, especially with Randolph’s old favorite Ricky Ledee in the dugout. If given the chance, who knows, Tucker might play his heart out and find a spot on the team. As much as I think Lastings Milledge is a future star, it becomes clearer every day that he probably doesn’t belong on a playoff team this year. A solid veteran like Tucker or Ledee might be a safer option … though I can’t imagine a lefty-lefty platoon with Endy Chavez. As much as the Mets think they needed a lefty bat off the bench, I’d have to think that Omar has been sifting through the waiver wire looking for a righthanded-hitting outfielder — someone along the lines of a righty Todd Hollandsworth, who apparently made it through waivers in being dealt to Cincinnati.

By the way, Ricky Ledee’s last name is pronounced “luh-DEE”, not “luh-DAY”. He’s Latino, not French, and you’d think that at least the Mets announcers would have figured that out.

Tommy Glavine vs. former Met phenom Billy Traber in Washington DC tomorrow night.

Traber brings up an interesting point: just because you’re tabbed as a future mound star, doesn’t mean you’ll get there. Traber was among the same line of great young arms the Mets produced but never quite materialized as billed, joining Bill Pulsipher, Jason Isringhausen, Paul Wilson, Reid Cornelius, David West, Grant Roberts, Jeremy Griffiths, Jason Anderson, Tyler Yates … the list goes on. (Sure, Izzy and Wilson have turned out OK, but nothing near what was predicted.) I bring this up to point out that even if you have a few good young arms, it’s better to have a lot of good young arms, because so many fall by the wayside (often to injuries). That said, I like the Mets chances in the coming years, assuming they hold on to the young guns. While I don’t see all of them reaching expectations, you’ve got to think at least one or two solid starters will come from this pack: Brian Bannister, Mike Pelfrey, Philip Humber, Evan MacLane, John Maine, Alay Soler, Matt Lindstrom, Oliver Perez, and Kevin Mulvey. Sure, there will be some Pulsiphers in there, but if we can squeak out a Seaver, a Koosman, or at least a Bobby J. Jones and a Sid Fernandez, we’ll be all right. It’s been a long time since the Mets’ organization developed a solid starter—and kept him.

Mets’ magic number is 36 ….

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.