Translated into English, El Duque means ... THE DUQUE
Oh what a difference a day makes. On May 16th, Orlando Hernandez left his start early due to a strained back and had struggled mightily all year. In his one start back since then, he was very impressive in seven innings of work and gave up one run while striking out nine. His velocity was up and was sitting in the 89-91 mph range with his fastball topping out at 92. His bread and butter is changing speeds throughout the game and he was executing with all his pitches. He looked worlds better after healing and all the Mets had to give up was Jorge Julio. The Mets traded their headache for the Diamondbacks headache.
"He's a competitor. He's a winner. I have a long history with Orlando and I talked to him and he's very happy to be coming back to New York, a place he knows and a place that knows him. He basically said 'Thank you for bringing me back.'"
Yes, Orlando Hernandez may in fact be 60 years old, he has not been fully healthy since 2000, and hasn't been really effective since 2004. However, with everyone trying to extort Omar for mediocre pitching, this was a tremendous move. The Mets give up nothing in Julio, possibly open a spot for Heath Bell (I still believe in you buddy) and the chance to have seven effective relievers out the bullpen, and get a guy who might be able to give them six innings and keep them in the game every fifth day and at this point, everyone would love that.
The same day Omar makes that trade, Alay Soler looks like a stud in his first start. He started the game very shaky and could not get ahead of any hitter or put his fastball over the plate. A few batters into the game, something clicked. His slider started darting all over the zone, he was spotting his fastball, and he was getting ahead of hitters. He ended up with two earned runs given up in six innings with five hits allowed and five strikeouts. He looked fucking swell against a very good offensive team.
"I was a little nervous at the beginning," the 26-year-old righty said through a translator, "but then when I found the zone and got control of my emotions, you could see the result after that."
Now the rotation situation looks a better with Orlando and Alay in the mix with Brian Bannister and John Maine down the line. The Mets have viable arms and we should never see the names Jose Lima and Jeremi Gonzalez again after today's game. A smart move by Omar and a great start by Soler changed everything in an instant.
According to several Fenway Park sources, Alex Rodriguez called Doug Mirabelli over late yesterday afternoon and challenged the Red Sox' backup catcher over what Mirabelli said about A-Rod's actions at the plate Tuesday night, when A-Rod homered but looked around for the ball as if he didn't know where it went.
"He told him he should know better than that," the source said. "He told Mirabelli that he wouldn't disrespect the game or show up Tim Wakefield. He told Mirabelli he should know better to say anything like that because they played together."
Mirabelli, a teammate of A-Rod's in Texas, was miffed that A-Rod didn't know he went deep. His comments indicated Mirabelli believed A-Rod was grandstanding, one of the few acts A-Rod hasn't been accused of by his legion of critics.
"The guy's got 450 home runs," Mirabelli said. "He doesn't know when he's squared one up? I don't believe that."
A-rod miffed at Mirabelli...Mirabelli miffed at A-Rod....Mr. Met miffed that people actually use the word miffed....
"I was surprised by it," A-Rod said of being asked about Mirabelli's quote. "Especially since the other guy [Ramirez] stood there like the Statue of Liberty."
Boston just does not like this guy. However, if you did not see the hit that Mirabelli is talking about, it is funny. A-Rod 100% had no idea where the ball was and he just turned his palms up the air in display of confusion with people yelling at him telling him to run. He looked ridiculous and I loved it.
While on the subject of hot-dogging, The Metropolitans fully endorses it to a degree. Let's get some flavor in the game. Let's get a little showmanship and flair in the game. Especially in a big games, people's emotions are high. What else is better than Carlton Fisk waving the ball fair and then jumping in the air after a huge homerun? Yes, the stakes on that hit were much higher, but you get my point. Enough of the ass-slapping of the other team and asking them how their wives are and more finger pointing and threats of going balls deep.
With Jeremi Gonzalez warming in the bullpen early yesterday morning, Pedro Martinez assured manager Willie Randolph that he would be ready to go today if needed. The Mets have been very protective of Martinez -- giving him an extra day of rest whenever possible -- but if Gonzalez had to be used during the 16-inning marathon, they would have had no choice. "That's what winners do," Randolph said. "I wasn't surprised. We were just thinking on the same page."
Martinez had no problem with adjusting his schedule, but took exception yesterday when a reporter asked about the Mets' efforts to give him extra rest. One word he particular disliked was the perception that he is "fragile."
"Fragile? Because I have a day off, I'm fragile?" Martinez said. "If you want to argue with the way I've pitched, look at the numbers."
I heart you David Wright.
"Sometimes you get lucky," Wright, who considers himself a gap-to-gap hitter, said of his home run.
Oh you....sugar pants, it's not luck. It is something I like to call skill.
"We're going to expect to go out there and win," Wright said. "Winning two out of three is great, but we want to go out there and win [today] as well."
Xavier Nady was benched again last night so he could rest his sore back. "He was fighting me a little on it," Randolph said. "But I wanted to give him an extra day." Nady usually ices his shoulder and neck after diving for a ball, but the problem with his lower back is something new. "I can't seem to find a good way to dive," Nady said.
John Maine, on the DL with inflammation of his right middle finger, pitched five innings in a minor-league rehabilitation start Tuesday for Class-A St. Lucie. GM Omar Minaya said no decision has been made as to where or when Maine will pitch next.
Sucks for you bro. You had a chance to earn a starting spot but your middle finger of all fingers had something to say about that. I think the rotation is set and with Bannister above you on the totem pole with possibly no where to go, it's back to Norfolk for you.
Note to the ‘others’:
Touch a hair on Kate’s head, you will have to deal with me.