Chuck 'n' Duck

"I'm a very optimistic person. When you're optimistic, the good opportunities, good fortune, good everything will come with it." - Jae Seo Chuck 'n' Duck: the New York Mets from an Eternal Optimist's P.O.V.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Mr. Inexplicable

Every year there's always that Inexplicable Pitcher, a guy that keeps getting starts despite just horrific numbers. Guys like Brian Anderson in 2004 (6-12, 104 earned runs in 166 innings pitched, 26 starts) or our own Danny Graves in 2003 (4-15, 100 earned runs in 169 innings pitched, 26 starts). Kaz Ishii is starting to walk (no pun intended) down that path as well. How does this guy keep getting starts? Not only is Aaron Heilman pitching far better than him in the bullpen, Jae Seo has been pitching great in AAA. He's currently 6-2 with a 2.99 ERA (1.92 since being sent down after his seven innings of one-hit ball), and just last night went into the ninth inning winning a 2-1 ballgame against our old friend, Matt Ginter.

Seriously, what is the deal here? Not only do the Mets have a better option, they have multiple better options. Omar has been one to admit his mistakes, but the fact that Ishii keeps getting run out there every fifth night is mind-boggling, especially seeing that there are now three things in life that are for certain: death, taxes and Kaz Ishii losing a baseball game. Ugh.

What does Kaz have to say for himself?

"I just get too cautious. I think I need to be a lot more aggressive. I want to pitch really well for this team. It's important for me. I think I can bring my level up instead of being so evasive with my pitches. I need to be better."

Uh, ya think?

Ishii hasn't looked like a consistent major league pitcher, let alone a starter this season. If the Mets are serious about competing this season (and Omar certainly seems to be set on doing so), then Ishii can absolutely not be getting any more starts. Trade him, DFA him, drop him in the Atlantic, I don't care. But the Mets have already allowed Ishii twelve big league starts too many. If you're looking to field a competitive team, start by cutting bait with 2005's Mr. Inexplicable. Whatever you were looking for in the beginning of the season obviously ain't showing up this year.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Trading Tom

In the immortal words of Ron Burgandy: "Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast!"

The Mets are now 1 and 1 on a trip of games I said they needed to go 16-3 on. Only two more losses allowed or the seasons over, men. Keep that in mind.

That being said, an interesting article over at ESPN.com by Jayson Stark where he runs down some of the most attractive and likely to leave names that will be bandied about at the deadline. Of course we'll all hear Clemens and Zito, but the chance of them actually being dealt is very slim, and with that in mind Stark goes about picking some names out. His number one guy? Our good friend, Tom Glavine.

In this quote, Stark gives us the inside scoop: GM Omar Minaya keeps saying the Mets plan to be buyers, not sellers. But when an official of one club that has spoken with the Mets was asked if Glavine could be had, he replied: "Yes. Absolutely."

Glavine may not be much to us, but he could mean something to somebody else. While we've seen Glavine pitch horrendously this season... and last season... and the season before that... there are still some who view Tom Glavine as "Tom Glavine!" The guy is a left-handed starter who is thirty-four games away from 300 wins. What I'm assuming the Mets are really interested in is getting rid of that contract option, and not what they'd get in return.

Steve Phillips really bit the big one with Glavine's contract, of course, and gave the guy a full no trade clause. Would Glavine waive it? Like most New York Mets, he more than likely would. But to where? The article says nowhere west of Georgia, which means Boston and Atlanta would be the most likely of destinations (though the Orioles are always looking for some arms, as well)

Personally, I'd love to see Glavine go. He seems to be a nice enough guy and all, but there's just something about that 5.06 ERA, that .323 batting average against and those 112 hits in 85.1 innings that screams "Trade him for anything with a pulse" to me. But that could just be me.

Obviously the Mets aren't going 15-2 over the next seventeen games, which means Omar should be shaking things up Jim Duquette style (2003, not 2004) by the All-Star break. The Mets have a couple guys that can bring in a lot of good for the future, but there are even more guys that need to be dealt for the sake of dealing them. Not all trades are good because of what they bring in, some are great just based on the fact of what they got rid of. If Omar can find somebody gullible enough to take on Tom Glavine, I'll drive him to the airport myself.

And he can even ride shotgun, so as to protect his front teeth.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Get It Dunn

Now that's what I'm talking about.

The Mets scored runs. Honest to goodness runs! Against a pitcher who's been dominant this year! And even the dead weight (Mientkiewicz, Daubach, I'm looking at you) managed to do some good! This is terrific.

The Mets needed a game like the one last night like no other team in baseball. They looked absolutely dead coming into tonight, but they really managed to put some excitement into Mets fans. And I think we can all thank Willie Randolph for pulling Aaron Heilman out of the game against the Mariners in favor of Mike DeJean, because he really came up big against the Phillies tonight.

Oh... wait a second...

Anyways, despite the offensive surge by the boys in blue tonight, there's no denying the Mets still need some pop in the middle of that order. Beltran should be on the DL right now, Mike Piazza is hitting like Mike Bordick, and the Mets can only depend on Wright and Floyd for so long. So, what options is there for a Mets team looking for some thump?

Enter the Reds.

The Mets need some power, and the Cincinnati Reds have plenty of it. In fact, they have so much of it that Austin Kearns, once considered the best offensive prospect on the Reds, has been sent back to AAA. The Reds are an absolute mess, and it's only a matter of time before they realize that they'll need to start trading off some big names in order to guarantee a better future. The Mets are in an interesting position as well, because their minor league system is flush with some terrific pitching prospects -- exactly what the Reds are in need of. A match could definitely be made here.

But for who? The Mets need a guy who can hit fourth or fifth and protect Beltran and Wright this season and next. There's one guy that really fits that description: Adam Dunn.

Dunn would look terrific in a Mets uniform, for numerous reasons. Dunn's a tremendous power hitter, but with a terrific on-base percentage to boot. The Mets have sorely been lacking in both departments, and Dunn could help out the team greatly in each. While Dunn strikes out a ton, there's reason to believe he can improve in that department -- he's still young (only 25), and once he learns to lay off the breaking stuff he will develop even further as a hitter.

The major knock on Dunn (or any power hitter rumored to be coming to the Mets) has been that with a move to Shea would come a decrease in the homeruns they'd be hitting. Not the case, however, for Dunn. While a small sample size, over the past three years these are his numbers at Shea: .297/.366/.595 with three homeruns and nine RBIs in 37 at-bats. Also take into consideration that Shea Stadium favors lefties when it comes to home runs, and you have a match made in heaven.

So, why would the Reds would be interesting in trading Dunn? Because the Reds have no discernable future, and if Dunn puts up anywhere near the season he did last season (and he is on pace to hit 40+ HRs) then the Reds are going to have to pay somewhere in the range of 9 million dollars or more when it comes to arbitration this offseason. If Omar could swoop in and offer something even somewhat nice (say a package of Petit, Jae Seo and perhaps a promising arm like Coyler or Lindstrom), the deal could probably be made. Meanwhile dam Dunn is unhappy with the direction the club is going, what with the constant losing and the release of his close friend Danny Graves and the demotion of his other friend Austin Kearns. If you're Dan O'Brien it makes far more sense to get something promising for him now before they have to start paying him ridiculous sums of money and then letting him leave via free agency.

It's a deal that could work out well for both teams, and especially the Mets. A power hitter with on-base abilities, protecting our future for the forseeable future.

Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?


***

Also, be sure to check out The Musings and Prophecies of Metsradamus sometime. He came out of nowhere and apparently didn't let anybody know, but he has been posting some great (and hilarious) stuff daily. And besides, he supports Gil Hodges for the Hall of Fame, so how could not like him?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Huh?

What are you doing here?

How could you possibly want to read about this team?

The Mets are absolutely awful, and are playing the worst stretch of baseball than I can ever remember. I'm longing for the days of Jeromy Burnitz (take your pick of either era). I finally realized the problem with the Mets today, is it's not the losing -- it's the frustration of it all. While in 2002 it became abundantly clear very quickly that we shouldn't expect anything out of Steve Phillips' wacky rotisserie team, this team by all means should be playing well. Maybe not winning the division well, but at least .500 well. Right now they're getting beat by a Beltre and Sexson-less Seattle Mariners team, with 2-8 Ryan F'N Franklin on the mound. AND PEDRO MARTINEZ PITCHING FOR THEM. How can this be?!

You want to talk about Make or Break series, you've got a bunch of them coming up. If the Mets want any excitement back, if they want anybody to care about this ballclub, they need to sweep the Phils. I'm not even standing for 2-1 anymore, they need to those guys out. Then they need to go 2-1 against the Yankees. And then they need to go 2-1 against the Phillies again. Sweep the Marlins, take at least three of the four against the Nationals, and then pummel the Pirates into oblivion. That means in nineteen games they need to go 16-3 over their next six series. With the pitching the Mets have been getting (and even better if Heilman or Seo take over for Ishii), this is extremely do-able if the Mets... start... to... hit.

This is, of course, a gigantic IF. Outside of Wright and Floyd I have no faith in anybody on this team offensively. And while I'm as big a Mets fan as anybody, Jose Reyes is the most overhyped player on the planet. He can run fast and he has a cannon for an arm, but I'm pretty sure I could outhit him right now. I'm finally beginning to see what everybody who doesn't view this team through Mets-fan glasses saw in him. This team needs a shot in the arm, and while they may just need off the West Coast, either way Hosie ain't cutting it. He shouldn't be hitting second, he should be hitting seventh, and his once-a-week three hit game isn't going to change my mind.

So, hopefully the Mets go out tomorrow and get swept. Then get mad, and go on a tear the likes we haven't seen since 2000. And then maybe it'll be fun to be a Mets fan again.

Though there's plenty of reason to think otherwise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Are the Mets even aware they had a game tonight?

This is embarassing.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Leiter Side of Leaving Pt. II

All right, so here's the deal: the Mets aren't playing that great right now. They have their problems like they can't hit with runners in scoring position, the infield has problems catching the ball, and their is a pitcher that gives them no chance to win that's run out every fifth day while a suddenly dominant dorky 6'5" righthander sits in the bullpen doing nothing. But, you know what, that's all fine. Why?

Al Leiter is in the bullpen.

Yes, that's correct. Al Leiter isn't starting for the Marlins anymore.

You see, the Mets weren't expected to do anything this season, and therefore some people thought that re-signing Leiter made sense. I distinctly remember Michael Kay calling out the Mets for this "stupid" idea. I remember Sean Casey on WFAN, ragging on Mac and Sid because "this is how the Mets expect to compete? By letting Al Leiter go?" And while I don't remember the people around these parts who thought Leiter was a good move, there were plenty of 'em.

Can we just take a moment for how great "Full Autonomy" is? Rememer when Omar came into power, and gave his little song and dance about how the baseball side of things was his show? About how he didn't come back from Montreal to take orders from the Wilpons on how to run this team? Remember how we all laughed and giggled? How we all assumed that the speech was written by the Fred himself, and that Omar delivered it pitch-perfect? How the Mets were all geared to end up with Moises Alou and Craig Counsell?

Next thing we know, the Mets seem primed to make a run at the 2006 Division Title on the magical right arm of Pedro Martinez, and in Florida?

"With his experience, maybe he can help us out of the bullpen," McKeon said.


And all of a sudden, this season doesn't look so bad.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Letter to Cliff Floyd

Dear Cliff,

Wow.

If you ever need a kidney, let me know.


-Doug Mientkiewicz


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Friday, June 10, 2005

Fonzie Come Back!

Edgardo Alfonzo is my absolute favorite Met of all time. "Fonzie" was what everyone complains the Mets don't do: he was a guy the Mets signed, developed, and brought to the big leagues where he inevitably became an All-Star, a Silver Slugger, a should have been Gold Glover, and a team anchor. His '99 and '00 seasons at second base were like something out of a fairy tale, and seasons we haven't seen around Shea since. The guy posted a .425 OBP one year! Over the course of a season! Needless to say, there hasn't been a Met that's come close to that number since.

And Fonzie was ours. He was a tremendous guy, a team-first player and completely unselfish. And he loved us! He really did! Even when the Mets gave him a lowball offer and publicly questioned his health, age and hitting ability, he still took out ad space on the top of taxi cabs for a month, with the simple but poignant message: "FONZIE LOVES NEW YORK"

What a fella.

So, of course, when I read over at Gotham Baseball that there was a rumor floating around that the Mets may be looking into a Alfonzo deal, my heart skipped a beat. Could it be true? Could the Lord be shining down upon me this day? Would I be able to get my Edgardo Alfonzo jersey (still the only authentic jersey I own) out of the closet and look forward to that grand return? Would I get the chance that so few baseball fans ever get, to actually to see their favorite player don their old team's uni one more time?

I know Fonzie's not the same guy we all remember. His power is gone, his range is limited, and his numbers while wearing that always uncomfortable looking Giants uniform have been pretty average. He won't be hitting anywhere near 25+ HRs or 40+ doubles. And his slugging percentage will be sticking around the .400 range and not his old familiar .500.

That being said, Fonzie does bring something to the table that the Mets have been desperately lacking -- the ability to get on base. No matter how much a player's power may disappear, the ability to get on base usually sticks around, and that's been the case for Alfonzo. This year he's hitting a very nice .312/.378/.412, something that would look just splendid between Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. And let us not forget that it would get Cameron some at-bats in some situations where guys are on base more than thirty percent of the time.

The big question is whether or not he could handle second base. Last year he played five games there, and he looked pretty awful, commiting two errors for a not so nice .882 fielding percentage. Of course, five games is a small sample size, and that doesn't mean Fonzie would be that horrific at second. It's still something to take into consideration, especially if that's where the Mets are looking to slot him (though those sure hands and decent range might make a solid first basemen).

For me, this has to come down to the prospects the Mets would be talking about. As much as I love Fonzie, this team just doesn't look like a "this year" team, and Edgardo would be a "this year" move. Next year and beyond is where Omar should be (and from all indications is) looking, and while Alfonzo will no doubt one day make for a terrific "Rusty Staub Returns to the Mets in the Twilight of his Career"-esque story, if we're talking Yusi Petit in a deal, then just forget it. He'll be a free agent in two years, and the Mets can (and likely will) sign him on the cheap. But if the Mets could get a deal done for a Jae Seo or something along those lines, then by all means, I don't think anybody would decline a return for the Great Alfonzo.

I'll admit that I'm more than biased about this situation, but I do feel as though Edgardo could help this ballclub out in the long run. Even as a platoon or bench player, he'd be of great use to this team. I'm all for making the deal.

Oh, and just for the record, Fonzie's numbers at Shea since leaving the team: .333/.407/.500 with two homeruns in 48 at-bats. Sounds like a Fonzie-of-Old season to me.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ick

Ugh.

Just a not fun game.

I can't argue with success, but a message for you, Brandon Backe: THROW... THE... BALL. You make Steve Trachsel look like the Jose Reyes of the mound.

And now, with Piazza probably out for a bit, the Mets are without a true four or five hitter for the upcoming series against the Angels. How much you want to bet we see Chris Woodward or Marlon Anderson there before David Wright gets a chance?

I'm just disappointed. The Mets should beat up on these Astros. Hopefully tomorrow's another 12-1 blowout. I'll be back tomorrow with an actual piece.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Danny Dilemma

Pedro Martinez who? We've got much bigger things going on then Pedro Martinez. Like, Danny Graves, for one.

But all kidding aside, according to Peter Gammons on Baseball Tonight, Graves called up the other interested teams and let them know he has decided on the Mets. Gammons commended Omar Minaya for his determination and his sell job, and thinks that Graves is a good fit.

I, too, think Graves is a good fit. In fact, all day I had been talking about how Danny Graves to the Mets was a nice move. $300,000 is a drop in the bucket to the Mets, and it's either $5,000,000 next year or a $500,000 buyout. So, essientially, what it boils down to is that the Mets get a chance to see if taking a former All-Star closer out of the Great American Bandbox and moving him to a pitcher's park like Shea Stadium can work, all for the low, low price of $800,000. Meanwhile it also means bumping Mike DeJean or Manny Aybar out of the bullpen. Just good stuff all around.

But then Harold Reynolds came on the screen, and the problems arose, because, you see, Reynolds agreed that it was a great move. In fact, he said it was a "power shifting" move. The Mets are now in the driver's seat because Danny Graves chose them. Uh oh.

It's not that I dislike Harold Reynolds, in fact he seems like a really nice guy. It's just that he is usually inevitably wrong about everything. It's almost as though ESPN keeps him around so the viewing public knows what not to do if they ever got the chance to run a baseball team. So, when he called Graves a terrific signing, I grew a little nervous.

The thing is, I'm just not a "stats" guy. I'm sure if I understood math, I'd be far more hesitant about this move, as my fellow MetsGeeks OFF and Jeremy were all over me when I declared the Graves signing a nice move. I'm sure there are tons of numbers that somebody could pull out and show me that Graves is a horrendous reliever and he'll do no good for the Mets. But then I think about Mike DeJean 2004, who came into Shea with an ERA of 6.13 and 49 hits and 28 walks in 39 innings, and then put up a 1.69 ERA with 21 hits and 5 walks in 21.3 innings. Why can't Danny Graves, a two time All-Star, and a consistent bullpen arm, turn it around the same way?

So, I'll continue to think that Danny Graves is going to help us out. For pete's sake, the Braves wanted him, so he can't be all that bad. And if he is, then it cost the Mets nothing financially and a playoff spot nobody thinks they're going to get anyway.

And if he pitches well, who knows? Maybe we're here in October talking about the day Omar Minaya landed a tremendous middle reliever mid-season for absolutely nothing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What Would You Do?

So, this question keeps popping up, and although there's a chance it won't happen, we all know deep in our hearts it will, so let's stop delaying the inevitable.

Let's say the Mets are at the trade deadline, they're within two or three games of first (if not in it), and they're looking to pick up something for the stretch. Omar Minaya is a smart guy, and you know he won't be pulling another "Kazmir-for-Zambrano" doozy out of his hat, at least not this season. So, let's say he keeps the damage to one move. What would you be looking for? Lefty relief? A big bat? A first basemen with offensive potential? Another reliable starting pitcher? Perhaps a Molina? What do you do?

I've been struggling with this, because it's hard to pinpoint what to do with this club. It's a solid ballclub, but the way it is currently conceived will more than likely not beat out the Marlins, Braves or even the Phillies for a playoff spot. They need some shakeup. A power bat would probably be the nicest commodity to add, but where to squeeze one in? And then it hit me.

Trade for Chipper Jones!

...okay, no, not really. I'm not Steve Phillips.

Here's what I am thinking: Sean Casey.

The guy is a consistent hitter, has some pop, is a true team leader, plays hard all the time, already has a good reputation with the New York media, hits lefty, and just so happens to be a member of the Cincinnati Reds -- a team that's looking to fit four outfielders into three positions. Moving Casey could mean keeping Dunn, Kearns and Pena together. Meanwhile Casey's salary is a managable for the Mets $7,800,000 (especially when you take into consideration Omar has money left over from the offseason), and it wouldn't take much to get him from a team that's looking to dump salary for prospects. Instead of trading off prospects like Petit or Milledge for Lyle Overbay, the Mets could ship off something like Jae Seo and Royce Ring for Casey.

And, over the past three years these are his numbers against interdivision competition:

Atlanta: .279/.303/.459 with 2 HRs and 11 RBI in 61 at-bats
Florida: .362/.429/.594 with 4 HRs and 16 RBI in 69 at-bats
Washington: .377/.406/.574 with 2 HRs and 10 RBI in 61 at-bats
Philadelphia: .328/.373/.525 with 3 HRs and 12 RBI in 61 at-bats

Except against the Braves, these are some terrific numbers against teams the Mets are going to face the rest of the way. And besides, for what the Mets usually muster off the Braves, those numbers would be an improvement as well. And, at Shea Stadium, he's hitting .333/.360/.583 with two homers and six RBI in 24 at-bats. Nice numbers despite the small sample size.

I know I was a huge Mientkiewicz supporter over the offseason, and I still love the guy. But a .205 average out of a premium offensive position like firstbase just isn't going to get it done in the long run. The Mets need to look to somebody who can provide some offense, while not being too significant a drop defensively. While Casey lacks the range and hands of Douggie M, Casey can pick it with the best of 'em, so he'll still help out Wright and Reyes the rest of way.

Casey may not be the absolute be-all-end-all piece the Mets are looking for in order to reach the playoffs, but he certainly wouldn't hurt matters.

And besides, I think we all remember what happened to the last team that used Mientkiewicz as a late-inning defensive replacement.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Looking Ahead

Perhaps because I've been burned so many times in the past, or perhaps because I'm just nervous by nature, but the past couple days I've seen every game the Mets play as "Must Wins". I know it's only June (the beginning of June, no less), but I also know the Braves. And the Marlins. Even the Phillies. They're sneaky teams, that are rarely this close at this point in the season, and if they are close, that just means they're getting ready to rattle off twenty wins in a row.

So, I've sat and watched the Mets, in the hopes that they could do it first. And, surprisingly, they've been doing a pretty solid job of it. Since that disgraceful, horrendous Braves series almost two weeks ago, the Mets have played three series, and won all three. Next up is the Houston Astros, who they should take at least two out of three from, if not all three. Then the Angels, and then, next thing you know, the 23-33 A's and the 24-31 Mariners (and perhaps they'll forget Eddie Guardado behind while they pack).

The Mets are looking at a chance to really make up some room in the standings before taking on the Phillies, the Yankees, and then the Phillies again (followed by the Marlins, four game set against the Nationals, Pirates, and then the Braves). No time like the next month to beat up on some interdivision rivals.

Now the teams coming off a nice win. The pitching staff has looked good (with the exception of Kaz Ishii). The bullpen could certainly use another arm to beef it up some, but it hasn't been as atrocious as the talking heads screamed it would be in the offseason. And here we are, with both Cliff Floyd and David Wright seemingly getting hot again. This seems to be Put Up or Shut Up time. It's time for the Mets to let us all know where they plan on being not only a month from now, but two or three months from now.

Before we trade off Lastings Milledge and Yusmeiro Pettit for Lyle Overbay.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Pedro Love

I can't think of anything to say that won't be said by tomorrow.

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So instead, I will simply say: I love this guy.

Thank you, Omar Minaya.

From the bottom of my sprinkler-soaked heart.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Zamby's Awakening

Fourteen years ago, when I played Little League baseball, there was this kid who pitched for the Blue Jays. Though he didn't have a spectacular arm or anything wonderful athletic ability, he threw a curveball, and that essientially made him unhittable.

The thing was, the kid had no control. If the pitch was a strike, you had very little chance of hitting it, but it was so rarely a strike that by the end of the game he would have walked throughout the seven innings. Our team would win games by a a run or two without ever mustering more than two hits off the guy.

This reminds me greatly of Victor Zambrano.

Last night Zambrano pitched eight innings of shutout ball, and would have left the game without ever giving up a run if Braden Looper wasn't doing his best Armando Benitez impression this season. So what did Zambrano do that changed the results so greatly from his past starts? He appears to have learned how to pitch.

As you've no doubt read in papers or scouting reports, and as I've said many, many times, Zambrano's gift is his curse. His stuff is electric and his natural movement is amazing. But more often than not we've seen Zambrano pitch like a Little Leaguer, winding up and firing with absolutely no idea where that ball was going. He'll attempt to paint the corners, but his inability to control his pitch will leave his slider nine inches off the plate, or his fastball four inches over the hitter's head.

Tonight, while he was still wild (and that will more than likely never go away), he was effectively wild. He didn't have nine or ten at bats where he wasted ten pitches or more. He refused to work the corners or try and fool hitters. It was simply, "Here's the pitch, now hit it", which should have been his gameplan for the past five seasons. Hopefully it wasn't a one game fluke, but the implementation of a new way of pitching. Because if it is, then this rotation keeps looking better and better.

But if not, then Victor would sure look nasty against a bunch of seven year old hitters. Even though he'd probably lose by one or two runs.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Where's Carlos?

Carlos Beltran looked ugly tonight.

I remember an article in the Kansas City Star that came out a few days after the Mets signed him, one that I can't seem to track down right now for the life of me. In it, a man who had followed Beltran's career essientially stated that Beltran is a very streaky hitter. That he had seen, time and time again, Beltran put on a show like the one he did during the playoffs, and now he was going to get paid an extra thirty million dollars for being lucky enough to pull it off on national television.

After watching Beltran hit the emptiest .300 I've ever seen up to last night, I'm beginning to think that guy was correct. Beltran looked lost at the plate yesterday, and he's looked pretty unclutch since that John Smoltz homerun in Game 6.

Certainly, last night's performance can be chalked up to the fact that he sat out the past week with a strained quad. And I'm sure that by the end of the season, Beltran will have put up his usual .290, 25+ HR, 100+ runs, 100+ RBI line.

Hopefully, however, that hot streak that Beltran rides three or four times a year is right around the corner.