It's Monday, I have to work today, and I'm still happy?
First, I am ecstatic that Baldwin has finally been designated for assignment and has hopefully seen his last opportunity as a Met. Although I would expect him to clear waivers rather easily, I only hope the Mets just release him. We'll see though, I'd rather not give the Mets front office too much credit.
Secondly, Clemens did not get his eighth win this year at the expense of the Mets. If only we would have handed him his first loss, but I will still take this victory. Piazza, with first base open in the ninth inning and a man on second was pitched too. I was a bit surprised that he even got that many good pitches to look at, but I guess Christmas came early. He pounded a Dotel offering over the deepest part of the fence in right center with leadoff man extraordinaire on 2nd base, Eric Valent. That 2 run shot pushed the game into extra innings when Mr. Mario Mendoza incarnate, Jason Phillips, then pounded a 335 foot blast over the wall, which proved to be the winning run.
Hopefully, not lost in all that, was the pitching on the day. Ginter, got his first ML start. In that start he faced Roger Clemens, in a hitter's park, and against a hitting team that is also in first place. He surrendered 8 hits in 5 2/3 innings but managed to only give up 2 runs, only 1 being earned. He has done what Baldwin has failed to do. Give the team a chance.
After Ginter left the game, the bullpen managed to throw up goose eggs for the remainder of the game. Looper was dangerously close to giving up his first earned run of the season, but got himself out of a jam that he created in Benitez-like fashion.
This upcoming week a couple of x-Mets from the '03 team come back into town. Both will get vastly different receptions. The first that will come back into town is Roger Cedeno. My guess is, that he will be wildly booed as usual. He has not been gone long enough for people to erase the horrible memory of him 'patrolling' the Mets outfield. The second will be Jeromy Burnitz. I do believe he will receive a much warmer reception as he left the Mets on a high note and was respected for his hustle.
38 games into the season, the Mets are 18-20 and 3 1/2 games out of first. At this point, the team has to be very happy with their position. They just faced the hardest stretch of pitchers on consecutive days that I can remember, and came out on top winning the majority of the games going an astounding 4-1 in those 5 games. Reyes has yet to play this year, and Floyd missed 28. When Reyes comes back, it will be just like picking up a star for the final stretch of season at the trading deadline. He is going to provide a huge spark when he comes back and energize this team. I do not think a surprise run at the NL East is out of the question. I guess we will just have wait. Afterall, these are the Mets, anything (bad or good) is possible.
2004 Amateur Draft:
With the draft coming up in about a month, the Mets have their sights on 1 of 3 players who seem to be head and shoulders above the rest. Luckily, the Mets have the third pick and are guaranteed to have a shot at one of them, unless some of them decide to return for their senior year, which is highly unlikley. The consensus top pick in the draft is erratic major leaguer Jeff Weaver's younger and just as risky brother Jared Weaver. He is a junior at Long Beach State where he is compiling a tremendous season. He is 13-0 with a 1.29 ERA, he has 163 k's versus and astounding 13 BB in 104.1 innings, and has held opponents to a .147 BA. The problems I see with him are as follows and in no particular order: His agent is Scott Boras, has a ego the size of his brother's ERA, and I see him as being a potential hot-head like his brother. He will most likely be off the board with the first pick going to Padres. The next guy is Justin Verlander, who is currenlty a Junior at Old Dominion. His stats are not as good as Weaver's but he plays on a bad team that gives him very little support. His ERA is 3.33, he owns a 6-4 record, K'd 135 people in 92 innings and has a .221 BAA. He has downright nasty stuff with a fastball that can touch 100 mph. He has plus stuff across the board and is guy you'd love to get into the hands of Rick Peterson. The third guy is Jeff Neiman, who is a junior at Rice. Prior to his arm surgery, he may have been the consensus favorite. When young pitchers go under the knife, they seem to scare everyone off. He has a 2.51 ERA, 67 K's in 57.1 innings, and has held batters to a .178 ERA. The guess is the Mets will be picking up any one of those three, which is win-win situation to me. They should all be able to get to the majors with relatively few minor league stops, and will add another strong pitching prospect to our system.