Archive: April 19th, 2006

Game 13: Loss

Braves 7 Mets 1

I have to admit I did not watch this game live. It had something to do with the fact that Victor Zambrano was starting, and the game was already out of hand in the 4th. Further, the starting outfield looked like this:

LF Jose Valentin
CF Endy Chavez
RF Xavier Nady

Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltran are both out, subject to day-to-day, with minor injuries. Knowing that, the Mets thought it was more important to have lefthanded pitchers Pedro Feliciano and Darren Oliver on the roster, than have outfielder Victor Diaz. Diaz, of course, is the only legitimate backup OF with a legit Big-League bat. He’s now in Norfolk for a minimum of ten days. During these next ten days, Floyd and Beltran are day-to-day.

Will someone please wake up Mr. Minaya? There’s a season going on, and the Atlanta Braves are in town! And while you’re at it, can someone bring a baseball card of Jose Valentin over to Willie Randolph? He needs to know that the guy hasn’t hit in four years, and even back then he didn’t hit that well.

This starting outfield harkens me back to the days of Shinjo-Perez-Payton-Agbayani — only worse. Ouch.

No one knows why Victor Zambrano is in the rotation.

No one knows why Victor Diaz is in Norfolk for the next ten days.

No one knows why either Feliciano or Oliver are on a Major League roster, much less BOTH of them.

No one knows why Jose Valentin was given a guaranteed, one million dollar contract.

Those are some of the tougher questions, and they need to be answered quickly!


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)!