Game 12: Win
Mets 4 Braves 3
Pedro won his 200th, and the Mets made their first move in attempting to unseat the Braves and simultaneously turn around the Tomahawk Jinx.
Once again, Pedro was masterful, and once again, the Mets won a game that they would have lost in 2005. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Braves were without both Chipper Jones and Edgar Renteria, but we were without Carlos Beltran, and Cliff Floyd was gone after straining himself on a 4th-inning double, so the players missing on both teams kind of evened out. It also doesn’t hurt to have Duaner Sanchez and Billy Wagner in the bullpen this year.
Sanchez was lights out — again — getting out of trouble when Pedro left with two outs in the 7th. Personally, I would have left Pedro in the game, but I suppose Willie wanted to do whatever he could to get Pedro #200, and to nail down the Braves. Sanchez is quickly establishing himself as one of the top setup men in the NL, and at the very least providing the Mets a fine consolation prize for losing the Danys Baez sweepstakes.
The only negatives — besides losing Beltran and now Floyd — was seeing Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez in the outfield. Chavez has some speed and can play the field, and is fine as a backup to Beltran; we’re assuming of course that Beltran won’t miss more than 10-15 games during the year. However, the only reason Chavez looks like he might be a Major League hitter is the fact that he bats before Anderson Hernandez, who looks like he’d struggle against American Legion pitching. Having to put Chavez and AHern in the same lineup means that #1-6 HAVE TO hit well, as 7-8-9 are automatic outs.
Furthermore, Valentin is a non-entity. He can’t hit, he’s not particularly adept in the field, and he’s only an average runner. He brings inadequate skills to every facet of the game, and performs mediocre at several positions. Omar Minaya, on several occasions in the offseason, bragged that although he likes to make the big deals (i.e., Wagner, Delgado), that he finds true joy in putting together the “little pieces”, such as the bench players. Well, if the ONE MILLION DOLLAR signing of Valentin is any indication, Omar’s joy is not necessarily a strength. In fact, it so far appears that Omar’s ability to put together a bench can be called an ineptitude.
Even the last time Valentin was 100% healthy, he hit only .216, and struck out once every four times up. Take that ballplayer, add a few years and injuries, and tell me how he turns into a legitimate pinch-hitter and utility man? He’s been the Mets’ number-one man off the bench, and number-one pinch hitter, yet he’d have trouble hitting water after falling out of a boat. Some may argue that it is only the second week of the season, that you need to have patience, but my argument is that we have no past history to look at to believe Valentin will do any better than he’s doing now. Pretty scary.
Well let’s stick to the bright side: the Mets are in first place, and off to the best start in franchise history (10-2)!