The Kris Benson Reunion: Just Like They Drew It Up In The Winter

Remember all off season how much teams whinged and pitched fits when the Mets signed Kris Benson for 22.5 million over three years? Oh how they wailed about the Mets artificially inflating the starting pitcher market! Oh how them moaned that the Mets were throwing money at an unproven entity, reckless ratcheting up the value of starting pitching at a time when they'd thought they'd had a lid on it all.

Now, in yet another Mets hour of need (one of many that have popped up this season already), Benson justified a little more percentile of those millions with a gutty, less than stellar performance which was sufficient to lead the Mets to a 6-2 victory over the Pirates.

With a waning fastball forcing him to rely on speed changes and location, Benson still held his former teammates to 7 hits and two runs whilst knocking in a pair of runs himself in the bottom of the decisive 4-run 2nd inning to improve his record this season to 9-4 with a 3.49 ERA. Not bad for the money. Almost a bargain.

The second inning outburst came after the Pirates had already pushed two across in the top of the frame and the turning point was a scuppered double play ball hit by Victor Diaz which should have helped the Pirates out of the inning quickly and would have changed the face of the game. Instead of one man on third and two men out, the Mets had men on first and third with only one out.

Pirate starter Mark Redman, who gave up only 5 hits but allowed 4 untimely walks, then allowed the Mets to push four runs across, two of which were driven in by Benson himself.

It was one of those nights. The opposite of so many other excruciating nights the Mets have gone through, last night they managed two less hits than the Pirates, made two more errors than the Pirates yet still somehow managed to score four more runs than the Pirates. Go figure.

Roberto Hernandez and Bradon Looper closed out the game for Benson without causing too much of a stir for a change and the Mets have now moved within 3 1/2 of the Houston Astros wildcard spot.

With Mike Cameron's number 44 hanging in the dugout along with the reappearance of Carlos Beltran, the Mets, who for all their flaws, have never quit on the season at any point at all no matter how dreadful and dreary their chances have seemed, continued their struggle onward. Last night was another example of the doggedness of the Mets spirit as well as the timeliness of their return to Shea, road woes still unsolved.

Yesterday, as if to inflate Met spirits further, Carlos Beltran announced, like a true team leader, that he would forego surgery on the bone fracture below his eye and might be back in the lineup as soon as tonight against the Pirates.

"I decided not to," Beltran said of the surgery that would have put him out at a time the team desperately needs him. "I really want to be out there and be with my teammates."

If it was time for the team leader to step up and lead, Beltran has certainly proven he is indeed made up of leadership material. Lesser men might have tossed it in, opted for the surgery, team concernes be damned. But even at the vague risk to further damage to his pretty face, Beltran has held firm.


Glavine (8-10 4.41) will take his turn for the Mets tonight against Josh Fogg (6-7 4.94). Glavine's ERA over his last six starts is 3.07 and he has surrendered only two walks over his last five starts and 35 innings.

Fogg has allowed 13 homers over his last 10 starts. Since July he is 2-3 with a 6.85 ERA.


Hard to imagine that after all his false starts, all his hamstring and leg injuries, Jose Reyes passed the 500 at-bat mark for the season two games ago. If there were one thing that seemed also a bankable certainty this season it was that Hamstring Jose would find another frustrating leg muscle injury to cripple his season.

Not only that, but his 117 games are more than any other Met, a new-found endurance we didn't expect from him.

Over the last 30 days, Reyes is hitting .315 with a .347 OBP, including 15 stolen bases over 26 games.

Cliff Floyd his hitting .318 with 5 homers and 20 RBIs over his last 25 games.

Believe it or not, since the middle of July, Kris Benson is 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA over his last six starts, a team best, whilst Pedro has struggled with a 1-2 record and 4.37 ERA over his last five starts, despite last Sunday's brilliant near no-hitter.

No comments: