Monday, July 23, 2007
Goodbye, Mr. Chip
Sometimes, you just need a little luck.
Sometimes, the unexpected happens.
Sometimes, it's the little guys who come up big when it's needed most.
For the Mets on Sunday, it was a case of all 3 combining in a game where they trailed most of the way, but chipped away at a tenuous Dodgers lead, tied the game in the 9th and won it on the 10th on a hit from a guy who hadn't had a hit in 2 seasons.
It would be a gentleman by the unlikely name of Raymond Payne Ambres, "Chip," to most of us, a name synonymous with someone we don't like much around here, who would come up with said hit, a screecher under the glove of Nomar Garciaparra in the 10th inning on Sunday, chasing home Milledge with the game's winning run. Ambres would be collecting his first hit since October 2, 2005, as a member of the Kansas City Royals, a far cry from having been a #1 Draft Pick by the 1998 Florida Marlins. A long trip that saw him muddle through the Marlins system at a time when even an adequate outfielder would have made the club, through the Red Sox system, to Kansas City, and now to the Mets, where 2 months ago, I scoffed at the mere thought that he could have possibly been called up, let alone playing with the Mets, and yet here he is, in a spot where he finds himself in the thick of things, and comes up with the key hit.
There was another one of the Little Known guys playing a key role on Sunday. Yes, it was the return of Anderson Hernandez to the club, called up in Valentin's stead. A-Hern hadn't exactly been lighting it up in AAA, hitting .277 with 4 HRs, and although his sample size with the Mets has been brief, we know what to expect from him, and, well, we can't really expect too much. Some nice defense. That's about it.
But when last we saw A-Hern, he was standing on first in the 9th inning last October 19th, and here he was again, standing on first in the 9th inning, running for Delgado, advancing on a Wild Pitch from Broxton, moving to 3rd on a LoDuca ground out (the ever-popular Productive out) and dashing home when Matt Kemp (and not Shawn Kemp, as the update guy on WFAN has been calling him all night) dropped Green's fly ball, scoring the tying run and allowing Ambres to play his part one inning later.
Little guys doing little things to win games. Maybe Hernandez will struggle to bat his weight again. Maybe Ambres is sent back to AAA with Alou set to return on Tuesday and never heard from again. But they've done their parts, taken their names out of the agate type and made sure the Mets came out of LA with the solid 3-1 series victory, heading home for Pittsburgh and Washington in far better shape than when they left.