Last September, the Nationals came into Shea and played a few especially wacky games with the Mets in the midst of a Pennant race. The Mets played uninspired and lost all 3 games.
This September, the Nationals came into Shea and played a wacky game with the Mets in the midst of a Pennant race.
This time, the Mets fought them off.
As he did on Sunday night, Carlos Delgado stole the show, posting his 7th 2 HR game of the season, and as the Mets continue to win games and stretch out their lead in the East, however slim it may be, Delgado's HRs have become more and more impressive. Clutch, too.
Delgado's first HR banked off the American League side of the scoreboard, giving the Mets a 5-2 lead. When the pitching faltered and the Nationals tied the game, and eventually took the lead, it was Delgado blasting another HR in the 6th, this one clanging off the strikeout board in the Mets bullpen, and basically serving as a blow to restore order to the game. His HR extended the Mets lead to 10-8, and it stood up.
Last year, at this time, Delgado was in and out of the lineup, and not providing any bit of a spark to a lineup that desperately needed his thunder. This time, he's been the difference, and it's been going on all Summer.
Isn't that what defines an MVP? Someone who makes the difference between his team winning and losing?
There are other, perhaps more worthy candidates. Albert Pujols has had yet another stellar season in St. Louis. Ryan Braun's year for the Brewers has been excellent as they drive for their first playoff berth in 26 seasons. Chase Utley in Philadelphia has had some ridiculous hot streaks. Pick any one of the Cubs big 3, Soriano, Lee or Ramirez. All worthy candidates.
Nobody would have figured Carlos Delgado's name would be in the mix at all. Certainly not with a batting average in the mid-.260s. Certainly not after his first half, where he appeared a shell of his former, slugging self. But here he is, with a second half of the season that has been nothing short of unconscious. He has, quite literally, put the Mets on his back and run with them the past few weeks. The HRs have been there all season, but now, they're coming in huge spots, making the difference between inspiring victories and damaging losses. The smiles and the jokes that were absent in '07 are back with a vengeance. Where the pitching has been the subject of derision and has cost the team games, it's been Delgado keeping the offense solid, and keeping the team afloat. Think about it: Where would this team be, given the state of the bullpen, with guys like Wright slumping and Beltran streaky, without the resurgent efforts of Carlos Delgado?
The rumblings haven't drawn a great deal of attention, at least as far as I've noticed, in the media or on ESPN. But the big hits and the fans screaming MVP!! may now be becoming too loud to ignore. There are still games left to be played and still so much that can happen. We know that all too well around here. But if Carlos Delgado is going to continue to perform at such a lofty level, with a class of candidates that could very well cancel each other out, why not Delgado for MVP?
I'm starting to believe it.