Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Kids Are Alright

Games 47 through 51 - Mets

Marlins 5, Mets 1
Mets 7, Marlins 4
Mets 7, Marlins 3
Mets 8, Diamondbacks 7
Diamondbacks 7, Mets 2
Record: 31-20

Looks like I picked the wrong week to start sniffing glue, or whatever the hell it was that precluded me from blogging at great length about the comings, goings, ups, downs, and all-around happenings at Mets Central. So much has happened, there’s not enough time or room to expound loquaciously about it all – and I just saw you wipe your brow, relieved by that fact. Bastards.

Since we started to sweat it a few weeks ago, the Mets have managed to win two series against legitimate contenders and one against the team whose payroll mimics that of an elementary school. They have a chance to notch another series W tonight with Pedro on the hill; despite the fact that the Metros have lost the last four games in which our cure-all “Tylenol P.M.” has started, and despite facing the 8-0 Brandon Webb, I still like the Mets’ chances.

The loudest news around Shea is that prospect A-#1 Lastings “Greenwich” Milledge made his big league debut last night. With Xavier Nady shelved with an appendectomy (and a bad back), Milledge was called up for at least a fortnight. His premiere went reasonably well: he appeared appropriately nervous, drove the ball well a couple of times, and went 1-for-4 with a garbage time double. Obviously the jury will be out for a long while on this kid, but you have to like what you’ve seen of him in various arenas thus far.

Meanwhile, Brian “Months Over My Hammy” Bannister is now on the 60-day DL, Lazarus Valentin has supplanted Kazarus Matsui, Cliff Floyd has officially transferred the title of his slump over to Carlos Delgado, the old new kid David Wright has resumed his reliably clutch role, and Steve Trachsel has failed to do much of anything worth a damn.

The rotation remains in flux to some degree; El Duque was somewhat solid in his first start, but Alay Soler was hit rather hard last night. With Trax looking incredibly ordinary at the moment, the Mets need Pedro to have one of those masterful outings tonight to demonstrate a rock-solid 1-2 to offset a gravelly 3-4-5. The offense has picked up the arms repeatedly, though last night you could sort of see a look of “look, are you guys even going to try to keep their runs down?” emanating from the dugout.

The Mets as a unit remain a promising squad that has work to do. They haven’t run up an ostentatious streak lately, mainly due to the unrest in the starting staff. That said, it doesn’t take a math whiz to realize that a progression of taking two of every three will lead them somewhere very comfortable. Enough holes to occupy their thoughts, enough success to keep them from pressing, enough non-baseball items on my personal agenda to keep me from doing much except watching the games and nodding along.

I do have to say: watching homegrown talent come through is a more inherently rewarding experience than seeing store-bought production do its job. I can only hope that Wright, Reyes, and now Milledge will bring me infinitely more moments of enthused excitement. These boys are ready to play – they ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm team no more.

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