1.6.07

Another Outfielder Bites The Dust

Losing Moises Alou created hardly a blip on the worry radar. We all expected as much, given his advanced age and Endy Chavez filled his post so capably it might be said that Moises wasn't missed.

And Shawn Green went down and even then, impressed as we were with the kid Carlos Gomez, we could point out that yeah, whilst the batting order might have suffered, the outfield defence was significantly improved. If we missed anything it was the suspense of the unknown every time a fly ball was popped Shawn Green's way.

Chavez was moved to right field and a host of other characters filled in over in left; Damon Easley had his stint, Gomez and Ben Johnson, another kid from nowhere was called up.

Even our top outfield prospect, Lastings Milledge was hurt.

But no matter, we still had Carlos Beltran in center and with Chavez in right and the all-night auditions in left there still wasn't as much as a sputter.


The visions of an All-Minor League Outfield

So when Beltran collided with Giants first baseman Rich Aurelia
in the 1st inning and then exited the game with a bum knee after scoring on David Wright's double, there were finally no starting outfielders left in the Mets lineup. The DL trio complete.

Yes, El Duque settled down to pitch seven brilliant innings of 2-hit ball and the Mets took another from the Giants and another series for the season to climb to a dizzying 34-18, 2nd best in baseball behind only the Boston Red Sox.

Yes, Joe Smith and Billy Wagner pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

But still, depending on the MRI results on Friday for Beltran, the Mets outfield might be experiencing the unique trifecta of a DL berth for every outfield position.


Will Mets be running nekkid in the outfield?

Sure, you could warily point out that Beltran has been hitting just .226 in May, but you'd be whistling in the dark, forgetting his team-leading 35 RBIs. Gomez, although exciting on the rare occasion he gets on base, is in the midst of an 0-for-14 slide at the plate including 8 strikeouts in 29 at-bats. Ben Johnson earned his first hit as a Met last night but the pedigree of a lifetime .236 Major League batting average will hardly cause hearts to flutter.

Of the replacement trio only Chavez with his sturdy team-high .323 batting average and stirling glove is of any particular Major League calibre.

A team can lose Moises Alou, Shawn Green and even Carlos Beltran for a spell but if the Mets are forced to field an all-replacement outfield for very long, eventually a few cracks are going to start to show. Not only in the batting order but from the bench as well where there aren't too many more options to draw from.

Let me be the first to say, Ricky Ledee, Ricky Ledee. As if sensing the opportunity on the horizan, Ledee has hit .435 with a pair of homers, 8 walks and 5 RBIs over the last 10 games...

Moises is due back shortly, Green by mid-June and Beltran's MRI fate might not be so bad after all so perhaps this is indeed just a little blip on the worry radar.

And hell, blowing away the competition like the Mets have of late, perhaps a blip or two on the worry screen is needed, just to keep the regular season interesting.

*****


Goddamn, forgot to take my anti-balking pills this morning...

And whilst this game was going on, the worries growing, Armando Benitez became another team's headache.

Amazing what a few balks can do for you these days...

*****

Next up at Shea are the Arizona Diamondbacks who have won five of their last six against the likes of the Astros and the Phillies.

As a team, the D'Backs are hitting almost 20 points below the Mets, have a third of the number of stolen bases and have scored 20 fewer runs despite playing 3 more games than the Mets. Given Mets pitching and the state of their outfield, I suspect this will be a series of low-scoring thrillers, especially considering the D'Backs pitching ranks 4th in the National League, just behind the Mets.

Over the last month however, the D'backs are on par with the Mets at the plate, both teams hitting .267 over the last 30 days, both teams with 27 homers.

The biggest question, after Carlos Beltran's MRI results will be how Willie juggles the batting order now.

4 comments:

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Henry Aaron said...

The mets fucking suck. Long live the Braves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eddie Matthews (3rd base 4ever) said...

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