Monday, July 10, 2006


Mets take a break, sort of

Met fans must be red all over from pinching themselves. It's All-Star Break, and the Mets (53-36) are atop the NL East by a dozen games. They have the best record in the NL (St. Louis is 4 games behind them) and the 4th-best record in the majors behind the Tigers (59-29), White Sox (57-31) and Red Sox (53-33).

Four Mets were voted on to the NL's starting All-Star lineup (David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Paul Lo Duca), amd two more pitchers were selected (Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez).

Injuries to Reyes and Martinez, and Glavine's decision to withdraw from the team because he pitched yesterday, reduces the Mets' on-field contingent to three. Tonight, Wright competes in the Homerun Derby. Perhaps his game-winning HR yesterday against Florida will provide the Mets' MVP candidate momentum to win the long-ball contest. Wright's numbers at the break are staggering: .316 BA, 20 HR, 74 RBI. At this rate, he'll break the Mets' all-time RBI record for one season (120 by Robin Ventura in 1999).

The news is virtually all-good for the Mets. Yes, Martinez is hobbling a little and the 5th starter situation has yet to be resolved, but rookie Mike Peltry should be fun to watch for a few starts in that role. Aaron Heilman's been off his game somewhat, but not enough to spoil the team's fortunes. Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd are both hitting around .250 (could do better), but Delgado has plenty of HRs and RBI. Floyd, if he stays healthy, could have a big 2nd half.

Will the Mets make a major trade before the July 31 deadline? There's still talk about them trying to acquire Dontrelle Willis. If he were available, Lastings Milledge and Pelfry might both need to be in the package for the Marlins' lefty ace and occasional slugger (see his grand slam against Jose Lima on Friday). Other pitchers' names being bandied about are Washington's Livan Hernandez and the Orioles' Rodrigo Lopez.

But for now Met fans should just sit back and enjoy the All-Game featuring a rare trio of Shea Stadium starters. An NL victory equals home advantage in the World Series, a destination the Mets have their sights firmly set on.


My favorite intersection of Mets history with the All-Star game was the Sunday afternoon before the All-Star game back in 1976 or 1977 (?) when Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Jon Matlack all pitched in the same game. Quite an afternoon in Flushing!
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