Elster's World

Monday, July 16, 2007

Impressions From The Weekend

Some thoughts on that baseball team I occasionally follow:

- Huge West Coast swing for the Mets. 3 against the Peavey's followed by a 4 game set against LA. In the olden days, the Mets would head off on these trips treading water in the East and then come back nursing their wounds from a 2-5 trip - totally out of the race. Last year they would have gone and won 5 out of 7. This year, who knows? It's impossible to know what the team has. 6-1 wouldn't surprise me, but neither would 1-6. With the Braves only a game and a half behind and playing St. Louis and the Reds, the Mets can easily come back from this trip in second place if they don't play well. All in all, this trip should tell us a lot about the team.

- Tom Glavine wants 300 wins bad. I have never seen him as focused as he is right now, as locked in. It's make a good pitch, get the ball back, lick your fingers and throw another. No wasted time, no wasted pitches. And he's been really good recently, shaking of a couple of hellacious outings with three really good ones, including his 8 inning, 2 hit, one run job this weekend. I cannot wait to celebrate 300 for Glavine, who seems to be a good guy and deserving of his accomplishment.

- I think what we have in El Duque right now is a very, very good number four starter. A guy who, when he has his stuff, can just destroy a bad team's lineup - but who can't pitch to a team of good, patient hitters. And since John Maine's and Oliver Perez's emergence, maybe that's not such a terrible thing. I don't want him starting game 2 against the Dodgers in a playoff series, but maybe it won't be so bad to send him out for game 4.

- The new and improved, and seemingly humbled, Lastings Milledge is really showing me something. He's getting timely hits, looks more comfortable in the field, and isn't displaying that cockiness that made him so unbearable last season. Right now, he's a more polished Carlos Gomez. He has 4 RBI in his last three games and looks to be a good fill in until Alou returns (or maybe to replace Alou's lost at bats when management finally admits that Alou won't be coming back from the quad). Either way, he's a huge upgrade over David Newhan and Friends.

The timing also works out nicely for him as well. Do to the dearth of outfielders created by injury, Milledge has a real chance to prove he deserves to be a permanent part of the Mets outfield for the next X years - as opposed to being trade bait for a starter or hardy reliever. With his new attitude, I have decided I'd much rather see Milledge play in Queens for the next 10 years than destroy the Mets when he visits.

- The captain has now officially turned off the "Carlos Brothers Issues Are Minor and They Will Soon Snap Out Of It" Sign. Beltran and Delgado are officially killing the Mets. Look no further than these two for reasons why the Mets are not driving in runs. When these 2 are mashing, it makes Wright, Green, Milledge/Valentin/Gotay/Gomez/Alou all that more effective. They take lots of pitches and wear down pitchers. Oh and they hit lots and lots of home runs and drive in a lot of runners. When they don't, it becomes the David Wright,/Jose Reyes show and the team has to scratch out three runs a game.

- Aaron Heilman is entering that part of the season when he remembers that he's much more effective when he actually concentrates. This is the point where his fastball gains 2 or 3 miles an hour, his change up dives and he goes on a scoreless innings streak. Sadly, this will be followed by the gives up game changing home run in huge game phase of the season which inevitably follows.

- Speaking of relief pitchers, 2 guys need to get special mention - Pedro Felciano, who has transformed himself from "lefty specialist" to "late innings lights out guy" and Billy Wagner. Wagner has converted 20 or 21 save opportunities (he still can't pitch well in non-save situations) and the good thing is he's not putting himself in trouble before pitching out of it. he looks a lot more dominant this season. Could be the effectiveness of his slider which makes the fastball (still humming between 94 and 97) all the more devastating.

Sorry the postings have been so uneven lately. There is alot going on for Elster and there is not nearly enough time to write. Keep checking though. With Joe out of commission recently, I will need my "other" faithful readers to pitch in.


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