Jo-zayyyyy, Jose Jose Jose, Jo – se, Jose ….
Only this time, the chant was not for Jose Reyes, but Jose Valentin.
Valentin WAS the Mets’ offense, driving in the first four runs of the game with a three-run homer and a sacrifice fly. He is now 11-27 in his last six games, and has raised his average to .281.
Carlos Delgado added another two by scooping a low inside fastball and drilling it into the upper deck of the rightfield stands in the seventh. The ball was hit so hard it said “ouch” twice — first when it was hit and again when it dented the wall. It was the first homerun by Delgado this year, as well as the first homer of the season by the Mets’ 4th and 5th hitters. Now if only homerun derby king David Wright can get ahold of one.
Reyes, by the way, was held hitless for only the third time this year. He did, however, walk once and stole two bases.
John Maine pitched another gem, going seven and two-thirds strong innings, allowing only one run on seven hits and two walks (108 pitches). He is quickly emerging as a bonafide stopper.
Pedro Feliciano threw one pitch to end the 8th inning, stranding runners on first and second. Ambiorix Burgos did his best to make the ninth inning interesting, but managed to find three outs without allowing a run to score.
Moises Alou remains hot, mashing two doubles and a single and scoring two runs.
Shawn Green lost his cap for the second and third times this year, first in colliding with Jose Valentin on a popup and second en route to catching a foul fly ball in the top of the fourth.
Green, by the way, is also red-hot, though the boxscore won’t tell you so. He slapped a hard single through the left side in his first at-bat, nearl missed a homer in the seventh, and dedicated his other at-bats to situational / team-hitting strategy. In the fourth inning, with Moises Alou on second base and nobody out, Green was clearly trying to pull the ball to the right side in order to advance Alou. That’s good baseball. As it turned out, he hit a bullet of a grounder back to the pitcher, but Taylor Buchholz flaked out and allowed Alou to advance to third base. He had the same approach his next time up, as he pulled a 3-1 grounder to second base after Alou doubled again. Those are two at-bats that he gave away for the sake of the team, but won’t show up anywhere in the box score other than as outs against his batting average. It’s little things like this — unselfish, smart baseball — that separate championship teams from everyone else.
Todd Helton looks downright stupid with that furry goatee. Someone should tell him those bushy facial accoutrements are SOOOO 2002. Try stirrups instead, Todd.
Crazy trivia mentioned during the SNY broadcast: 136 MLB players were not yet born when Julio Franco made his Major League debut on April 23, 1982 as a shortstop with the Phillies. That’s more than 18% of the league, folks.
What is up with one of Paul LoDuca’s entrance songs being Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” ?
Speaking of songs, as long as Shea randomly plays “Volare” (oh oh oh oh) when Paulie is up, why not start randomly playing “Hava Negila” when Shawn Green is at-bat? It would be especially fitting to start the tradition against the High and Mighty Christian Rockies.
Mets send Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez to the mound against Aaron Cook. Game time is once again 7:10 PM.