Another Early April Off Day And Time To Kill

Whilst the debate continues as to whether Whipping Boy Rollins should be castigated and mocked for his ridiculous "team to beat" observation of his Phillies and the Mets had the day off, I spent time glancing through the minor leagues to catch up on what's going on with the affiliates.

I had to do a minor double take when reviewing the box score of the Mets' Triple AAA New Orleans Zephyrs game the other day. It's easily lost in the focus on the Majors but have you seen the New Orleans batting order lately?

Batting 6th and playing left field, Ricky Ledee, former Yankee, Indian, Ranger, Philly, Giant, Dodger and last season, Met. 838 career games in the Major Leagues. .244 liftime hitter at age 33. Two time member of the World Champions. Ok, no Mel Ott to be sure but certainly a Lou Clinton, at least...

Batting 7th and playing third base, Fernando Tatis, former Ranger, Cardinal, Expo and Oriole. 691 career games in the Major Leagues. .260 lifetime hitter. And wow, just 8 years ago he was having that killer season with the Cardinals: 34 homers, 107 RBIs, .298 batting average. What a fall from grace...32 years old.

Batting 8th and catching, Sandy Alomar Jr. of the Alomar Brothers fame. Minor League player of the year in 1989. American League Gold Glove at catcher and AL Rookie of the Year in 1990, All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 1997. Six time All Star. Veteran of two World Series'. Former Padre, Indian, White Sock, Rockie, Ranger and Angel, Junior is 40 and has played 1,369 games in the Major Leagues punctuated by 1997 when for the Indians he hit 21 homers, knocked in 83 runs and hit .324. He's hitting .429 this season so far.

And it isn't just former Mets flowering in this batting order.

There is the likes of the never-to-hit-again Anderson Hernandez leading off and playing shortstuff, a lifetime .131 hitter with a current Triple AAA batting average of .200.

There's the Royal refugee, Ruben Gotay, batting second and playing second but hitting .071.

Carlos Gomez, 33 year old 3B and former Expo and Rockie, Andy Tracy and The Ben Johnson Project all fill out the batting order which appears to be more an emergency restocking centre for the Mets than a developmental squad for the future.

It didn't help them much at all last night when they were pounded by Memphis, the Cardinals affiliate, 14-3 in a game in which former Cardinal pitcher and Rick Ankiel had three hits, including a homer and drove in four runs. Rick Ankiel, mate. The crazy guy who forgot how to pitch is now pounding Zephyr pitching waiting his big break to return to the Majors as a hitting hero...

And hey, the Zephyrs' starting rotation of Chan Ho Park, Phillip Humber, Jorge Sosa and Jason Vargas has to be at least as good as the starting rotation of the Nats.


Rumour has it wunderkind Lastings Milledge may be joining that lineup if Shawn Green continues hitting as he has, even if Shawn struggles with catching fly balls so much he almost reminds me of good ole Victor Diaz. Remember Victor? He's off malingering with the Texas Rangers this season.


Tonight's rematch against the Phillies will feature another start from the enigmatic Oliver Perez, who shocked us all last time out by allowing only one run and five hits against the Braves in his first 2007 start. I'm withholding judgement on his Cy Young candidacy just yet. The potential to suddenly morph into Victor Zambrano is always looming on the horizan, the suddenly wild and uncontrollable Oliver Perez...remember him?

He faces Adam Eaton, the righty the Phillies signed this offseason as a free-agent, one of the muppets Mr Team To Beatwas no doubt relying upon to help win the NL East. Eaton was not so impressive in his Phillies debut, 7 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Braves.


And the Braves of course, won their game against the Triple AAA Nats with ease last night increasing their NL East lead over the Mets to 1 1/2 games. For now.

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