Here’s a postgame update from Kevin:
The Mets beat the Rockies tonight, 6-1, at Shea Stadium behind 7 2/3 quality innings from John Maine and home runs from Jose Valentin and Carlos Delgado.
Some interesting tidbits and a little of my own perspective on the game:
Ã¢â‚¬â€ First, it’s worth mentioning that Moises Alou went 3 for 3 with two doubles and two runs scored. It was his seventh muti-hit game in the last eight contests.
Now, I’ve followed Alou’s career back from when he was with the Expos. But I never realized what an outstanding hitter he really was. He can hit in any situation, any count and on any pitch. He drives the ball when he gets fooled, goes to all fields and still has quick hands, even at his age.
When the Mets signed Alou in the offseason, I felt they were wasting their time and were just delaying the inevitable arrival of Lastings Milledge. And, though spring training, I thought I was right. But Alou has been outstanding, especially of late. Of course, he’s a swift wind away from an injury and is a liability in the outfield. But he looks like a great signing at this point.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Jose Reyes stole two bases, something he’s now done 29 times in his career. Even on a night when he didn’t swing the bat that well, Reyes still found a way to contribute. Sounds like an MVP to me.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Carlos Delgado hit his first homer of the season, a two-run blast in the seventh. He hadn’t homered in 117 at-bats dating back to last season, the longest such streak of his career.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ As much as people believe it, Jose Valentin isn’t going to play his way off the roster. For whatever reason, so many people I talk to don’t like Valentin and are obsessed with acquiring some young, flashy second baseman to replace him. I’ll take Valentin any day, especially with how he’s hit of late.
Valentin has rebounded from a slow start (.167 in first nine games) and is 11 for 27 (.407) with nine RBI over his last seven games. It reminds me a lot of Valentin’s start last year. He was horrible in April before breaking out and securing an everyday job.
He’s one of the smartest players on the team and has such an unselfish personality. He doesn’t need to be the center of attention. He’s just a solid, underrated No. 8 hitter on the best team in the National League.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ John Maine went 7 2/3 innings tonight and has now gone at least 7 innings in three of his four starters. Compare that to last year when Maine only pitched past the sixth inning in 6 of his 15 starts. That’s a remarkable turnaround.
Maine has made a concerted effort to be more efficient with his pitches, something he’s been working on since last year. The Mets have a great bullpen (save for the last two Sundays) and they could afford it if Maine was the six-inning pitcher I believed he was. But with this staff, they need somebody to go deep into games and Maine has taken on that challenge.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ David Wright is hitless in his last 15 at-bats with 8 strikeouts. He doesn’t seem too concerned, nor does anyone around the team. It’s not a big deal. He said he’s swinging at bad pitches and letting good ones go. “Not a good combination.” Wright will break out in the next few days and we’ll all be laughing about it.
Ã¢â‚¬â€ Finally, I was walking out of the Mets locker room tonight and noticed Aaron Heilman standing near the door with a perplexed look.
“Are you serious with this guy?” Heilman asked. I assumed he was grilling us because we waited around for 20 minutes to talk to Wright about his slump.
“Who?” we asked.
“A-Rod,” Heilman responded. “He hit two more tonight.”
Heilman’s face was priceless. It’s amazing to me that even fellow Major Leaguers can be in awe of eachother. That’s what hitting 14 homers in less than a month will do. As much as you Mets fans might despise the guy, you’ve got to respect the start A-Rod is off to.
Respect it… and laugh at the Yankees’ 8-10 record at the same time.