I guess that solves that debate...
People were concerned that with the huge lead and seemingly nothing to play for, the Mets would lose their fire. Quite the contrary has happened as the Mets just get better and better and players just continue to step it up. Last night, as I'm sure as 99.9999% of you saw, Carlos Beltran made one of the best catches of the year to save the game. In the ninth inning with a two run lead and one out, Carlos Beltran made a catch and slammed into the wall to save two runs.
"No, no. This is not that bad," Beltran said. "Then, I didn't know where I was. This time I knew where I was. When I heard the booing, I knew I was in Houston."
I'm sure that felt good for Carlos after getting undeservedly booed night in and night out. Is there anyone that will still argue that this guy is the MVP if the season ended today? If Carlos keeps this pace up, no one else would be more deserving and his 2006 season could quite possibly be the best all around single season performance by any Met player in their not-so-storied history.
Rubin thinks that Maine would be left off and really, I cannot see that happening. I put some thoughts out there the other day in regards to this and thought Roberto Hernandez would be left off. If Maine is left off, that would be totally inappropriate. It would be lewd, lascivious, salacious, and outrageous! The Mets top three in Glavine, Pedro, and The Duque have not exactly been the model of health and consistency. Carrying an extra starter and one that would translate well into the pen as well would behoove them. What if Trachsel gets bombed and needs to be replaced? What if Pedro goes down? Not starting him is bad enough. Leaving him off totally? Just silly. In the end, I would assume the right decision would be made, but you just never know.
Beltran's relationship with fans took some repairing, though. The boos from last season carried over when he started the season 0-for-9. When he homered in the third game, fans encouraged him to come out for a curtain call, but he refused until nudged by Julio Franco. Beltran was reluctant, he says, because "I'm not a friend only when you're having a good time. I'm a friend in good times and bad times and the fans sometimes don't understand that."
The next day, there were television shots of some fans holding up signs of apology. Beltran has flourished since and several teammates say coming out of the dugout was a big moment.
"It was the right thing to do," Glavine says. "Now he seems to have a much different level of respect from them."
What was going on early in the year was just plain dumb and really is a sad commentary on Met fans and I'm glad whichever mentally deficient people were booing him have stopped.
The Mets have a tentative return date in mind for Pedro Martinez after yesterday's side session in Port St. Lucie. It appears that he will get either three or four starts to tune up for the postseason.
Martinez took the mound for the first time since he landed on the DL and threw 38 pitches. (For those keeping score, that's seven short of his scheduled 45.) More importantly, Martinez apparently suffered no discomfort from the right calf strain that sidelined him after his Aug. 15 start.
"I just want to salvage something of a pretty up-and-down year - mostly down," Floyd said.
"Who would you take, the Mets' Jose Reyes and David Wright or the Phillies' Ryan Howard and Chase Utley?"
Without giving the topic much thought, I responded, "Howard and Utley."
The scout then said, "OK, Howard and Utley or the Twins' Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau?"
My response was Mauer and Morneau, but the comparisons were so fascinating, it inspired me to conduct an unscientific poll.
Over the several days, I asked 19 baseball people — mostly scouts and executives, but also a manager and a sabermetrician — to select their top young dynamic duo.
Wright and Reyes received the most votes with Mauer and Morneau on their heels. His choice? No votes. At 26 and 27, Howard and Utley are probably just about peaking. Not that it is a bad thing they aren't going improve by leaps and bounds at this point since they are already two of the best in the game, but the others are just so much younger with so much growth left.
Start with their ages — both are 23. The younger the player, the higher his ceiling. Power generally increases with age, and Reyes and Wright already are All-Stars in the game's most demanding market.
"I'd take the cats who are great players in the great arena," one scout says.
But the answer of the day goes to this guy...
Another exec declined to even vote, saying, "I don't have the mental bandwidth to distinguish between them."
In game two, Alay Soler picked up the win with five innings pitched. Soler gave up six hits, two earned runs, and two walks while striking out five. Milledge went 1 for 2 with a run scored and a walk to push his average up to .281.
St. Lucie beat Vero Beach 8-5 as Deolis Guerra picked up his first win in high-A ball. Guerra went five innings and gave up five hits, two walks, two runs, and one earned run while striking out two. Joe Smith threw two innings of relief and gave up one hit, one run, no earned run, and one walk while striking out four. Fernando Martinez went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a walk, Mike Carp went 1 for 4 with his sixteenth homer of the year, two runs scored, a walk, and two RBIs, and Jesus Flores went 1 for 4 with a run scored and a double.