Mike Francesa: Stop While You’re Ahead
For most of Monday afternoon, Mike Francesa had well-placed criticism for the New York Mets. However, he was way off the mark in his analysis of David Wright vs. Carlos Beltran.
Francesa had this to say about Wright, who he sees as a guy who is “not clutch” and who cannot take the Mets to the playoffs:
“He did not hit down the stretch … he did not come up with the big hits in the last week of the season.”
Check the stats, Mikey boy. Wright hit .417 in the last seven games of the season, with 6 RBI, 4 runs scored, and a 1.307 OPS. Beltran wasn’t quite as good, but not bad either — .346 / 4 RBI / 3 runs / .913 OPS. Looks to me that in the last week of the season, Wright outperformed Beltran. My eyes told me the same thing. Could Wright have been more clutch? Could he have driven in a few more runs? Of course he could have — but so could have Beltran.
Francesa went on to claim that
“year after year, Wright and Reyes fail down the stretch”
For the record, Mr. Francesa, you’re correct on Reyes but again COMPLETELY WRONG about Wright. David Wright was the ONLY batter performing down the stretch in 2007, hitting .394 with 6 HR and 20 RBI in August and then .352 / 6 HR / 21 RBI in September. This September was nearly identical: .340 with 6 homers and 21 RBI.
It’s crystal clear that Francesa watched ONE Mets game all season — the last one. Because he kept harping on the fact that Carlos Beltran hit a homerun in game 162, and Wright didn’t. He then gushed and gushed about how Beltran is such a “big time player” and such a “clutch” guy. Further, every time Francesa criticized the Mets players and their choking, he made certain to absolve Beltran from responsibility.
Francesa just can’t understand the Mets fans who “pour on Beltran” but continually “defend Wright”. Perhaps that misunderstanding is due to the fact that Mets fans watch every game, while Francesa only watches Mets games when the Yankees aren’t on. Because Mets fans know that, #1, Beltran cannot hit unless he has someone like Carlos Delgado batting behind him, because he doesn’t have the psychological acuity to be “the guy” in the middle of the lineup. Secondly, we have seen that Beltran is a remarkably streaky hitter — he’s either hot, or he’s not. Despite the nonsense Keith Hernandez speaks about Wright being a “streak hitter”, the fact is, Wright has been the most consistent hitter from wire to wire, whereas Beltran has been maddeningly inconsistent. All an outsider such as Francesa needs to do is check the stats (if he’s not going to watch the games):
As anyone can see, Wright’s average does fluctuate from month to month, but he never hit under .270, and was usually .280 and above. He’s no George Brett, but he’s pretty solid from games one through 162. Beltran, on the other hand, has a 140-point difference between his highest and lowest points. If that’s not streak hitting, I don’t know what is. What Francesa missed were those consistent failures by Beltran in April when the Mets were floundering near the NL East basement. Beltran’s slump in July was unnoticeable because Carlos Delgado and Fernando Tatis were unconscious.
This isn’t to say that Beltran is a bad player — not by any means. He is what he is, and that is a guy with a lot of talent that we generally see perform offensively in spurts. I don’t think Beltran is a “money” player; rather, I think that he is a guy who just happened to get hot this September, and just happened to catch fire at the end of September 2004, and Mike Francesa just happened to be watching a team other than the Yankees both times.
I realize Francesa takes these idiotic points of view to make Mets fans crazy, and more importantly, to keep people listening. But he should at least pick topics and sides that can be logically defended.