Thursday, May 10, 2007
Good Ol' Armando!
I know I'm about a day late with this one, but I just wanted to talk about how good it was to see our old friend Armando Benitez come into Wednesday's game in the 9th inning, with the game tied. I know, it wasn't those save situations we know Armando has thrived in, but, golly, just watching the big ol' sweaty guy out there again just warmed my heart. And the results were just the same as they'd always been. Armando, you old rascal! You haven't changed a bit!
All sarcasm aside, it really wasn't too surprising to see Benitez melt down in a non-save situation. I guess you can't argue the move too much. I don't know too much about the Giants bullpen, but why not bring in Kline in that situation? I know, conventional wisdom says live or die with your best, and there wouldn't be a save situation for the Giants anyway, and he hadn't pitched in the series...but you knew he was going to melt down in that spot. No, he wasn't helped when Durham didn't pull up on Reyes's fly ball (he claimed to not have heard Linden calling him off), but once Armando walked Chavez, you knew he was screwed. It was just a matter of when.
Good to see Wright come through with the big hit when it was all said and done. I'll recycle a comment here and say that now Wright's had a couple of nice games in a row. But let's see him make it a third one, and maybe a 4th and a 5th before I'll say he's officially back. Same with Delgado, who popped one into the Bay, and also came through with the big double to tie the game in the 8th inning, although the run was more due cause of Beltran's speed as opposed to a true long hit...I heard it on the radio, and then seeing the replay, Tom McCarthy made it sound like the ball was hit much further in the gap.
This game was another example of the type of Willieball that I really like: I know it's a day game after a night game, I know it's getaway day, and I know there's a long, cross-country flight after the game. But damn it all, Willie goes for the jugular. LoDuca's in there. Alou's in there. Green's in there. Even the one bench guy he started, Ruben Gotay, chipped in with a HR off Morris.
(And, perhaps I'll eat a little crow for the guy who called me out for omitting Gotay from my capsule on Jose Valentin in March...I didn't figure Gotay to be much of a factor at all, but then again, when the other option, Anderson Hernandez, is barely hitting .200 in AAA, Gotay may well have been the only viable option. I still don't think he's going to stick, but he could prove himself to be another one of those heady, intangible guys that comes off the bench and always does something. Only 3 hits so far, but he's made them count.)
Do whatever it takes. Just keep winning. And games like Monday look like a mere hiccup in the larger picture. 5 of 7 on the West Coast, and now back home for a nice 10-game homestand with Milwaukee (bring me the head of Jeff Suppan on Friday night), Chicago (Welcome back, Cliff!) and the first installation of the Madness that is the Mets/Yankees series (where The Ballclub will be fully represented on Sunday Night).
A Scorching Case of VD...
Completely and totally unrelated to anything involving the Mets, but it does involve a much-ballyhooed ex-Met who never panned out, but our old friend Victor Diaz hit his first HR of the season for the Texas Rangers this afternoon, a pinch-hit grand slam off of Sean Henn in the 8th inning of a 14-2 wipeout of the Yankees in the Bronx.
I have to say that I wish Diaz well; he hasn't done much for the Rangers since being called up a couple of weeks ago. I remember him singlehandedly wrecking the Cubs season in 2004 with a 9th inning 3-run HR off of La Troy Hawkins, leading to a Mets victory in late September, and thinking he might well be ticketed for stardom. But weaknesses were exposed when he was starting full time in 2005, in particular his inability to recognize off-speed and breaking pitches, and, more alarming, his inability to adequately field any particular position. He again had a chance in 2006, but he had a miserable spring, got buried on the bench when Nady started off hot and then got buried in the minors, and eventually dealt to Texas for peanuts (unless Mike Nickeas surprises me). Oddly enough, he hit cleanup for Texas in his first start, which also happened to be the night Philip Hughes injured himself during a no-hit bid.
Enough e-ink on marginal ex-Mets. Bring on the Brews!