El Tigre del Noche
His teammates call him Sr. Perfeción....some call him Hans Moleman....I call Carlos Beltran El Tigre del Noche. You won't hear or see him coming, but he will make the kill. According to Gary Cohen during last night's broadcast, Beltran is the first big leaguer to hit grand slams in back to back games since '02 when David Eckstein did it and the first national leaguer since Robin Ventura in '99. Last night's bomb traveled 449 feet and brought him within four of the National League lead in homeruns.
Beltran is 5th in homers in the NL with 27, 5th in the NL in RBIs with 78 and nine behind the leader, 4th in the NL in runs scored with 71 and six behind league leader Jose Reyes, 11th in the NL in walks with 54, 2nd in the NL in SLG and waaaaay behind Albert Pujols, and 3rd in the NL in OPS and is one of three above the 1.000 mark. Throw on top of that the fact he is playing gold glove caliber defense and is on pace to steal 20+ bases and it is hard to think of more of an all around contributor. In fact, only David Wright comes close as an all around contributor in the NL, but I still give Beltran a slight edge.
Beltran is on pace for a career highs in homers, runs scored, RBIs, and walks and is on pace to break through the first three categories by a lot. His previous high in runs was 114 and he is on pace for 131,which would be a Met record if Jose Reyes was not on pace for more, his previous high in homers was 37 and he is on pace for 50 homers, which would be a Met record, and his previous high in RBIs was 108 and his is on pace for 144, which would also be a Met record.
It is mind boggling that this is the same guy that put up 16 homers, 78 RBIs and 83 runs scored last year and just absolutely looks locked in. He is averaging 4.25 pitches per plate appearance and has never topped 4.00 pitches per plate appearance before and came closest in 2004 with 3.99. Beltran likes to do things under the radar and seems like a quiet guy who just shows up and plays the game with as much skill as anyone in the game. As good as Albert Pujols is, Carlos Beltran belongs in the same sentence when talking about the 2006 National League Most Valuable Player and he has been an absolute joy to watch so far this season. Now about that mole.....
But something important has come gift-wrapped to the Mets along with the latest bit of bodily misfortune to inflict Martinez. And that is opportunity. The Mets, with their big lead, get to see more of John Maine and Mike Pelfrey. That is both intriguing and, possibly, helpful. Very, very helpful.
Right now the starting pitching trade market is slender. The starter the Mets are most associated with is Washington’s Livan Hernandez. And short of the Nationals just giving him to the Mets and paying a substantial piece of his $7 million for next season, that feels like a really bad idea.
"I told him, 'I'm going to sit right in the middle of the plate and you're going to throw a fastball right by him,'" Lo Duca said. "He reared back and put something extra on it."
He was throwing mostly fastballs (and by mostly fastballs I mean about 90%) and his 95 mph heater breaks up the normally soft throwing rotation. Give the kid five more starts and he just might be this team's third best pitcher.
"Luckily there were seven guys behind me who played good defense," Pelfrey said. "I'm just a work in progress."
Do not confuse Mike Pelfrey with a strikeout pitcher. He throws hard, but that is not his game as his fastball is thrown in the zone with heavy sink and that is not a bad thing. His 6-1 groundball to fly ball ratio last night was just freakishly good and the Reds wish they had a pitcher of his ilk so they can have a young stud succeed in that ballpark. He induced a few groundball doubleplays which helped him get out of trouble early, but last night's game was certainly promising.
The Mets may be No.1 in the standings, but the Yankees remain champs in the hearts of New Yorkers, a new poll has found.
Almost half of those surveyed - 49% - say they are Yankees fans, with 42% considering themselves Mets fans, the Quinnipiac University poll found.
And more New Yorkers would want the Yankees to win in a Subway Series between the two teams, 46% to 37%, the poll of 1,041 New York City voters found.
"The Mets can win in the ninth inning day after day after day, but they can't win the Quinnipiac poll," said polling institute director Maurice Carroll. "It's still a Yankees town, has been for years. Maybe it's [Derek] Jeter, maybe it's [Joe] Torre, maybe it's the fact that they win year after year."
Last year I'm sure the poll would have been more skewed. Two years from now, it could be the Mets. But for now, all Yankee fans are still douchebags.
Despite losing two of his last three starts, Hernandez hasn't allowed an earned run since June 26, and is 1-2, 0.00 with a 16-3 strikeout-walk ratio in 20 July innings. After scuffling through April with a 6.48 ERA, Hernandez has lowered that number consistently over the last three months, down to 3.24 through 111 innings.