Doug’s Dugout: Seeing Red, Mets Slayers, Yard Sales
In Doug’s Dugout today we discuss: The Reds, The Sellers, Met Killers, and Carlos Beltran.
While the current version of the Cincinnati Reds are not the re-incarnation of “The Big Red Machine,” they can mash with the best of today’s MLB contingent.
Currently on a pace to smack 200 homeruns (have 104 after Monday night’s win over the Mets) and factoring in their friendly Great American Ballpark dimensions (and the steamy Ohio summer) and the Reds just might bludgeon the rest of the National League into submission.
Led by all-star snub du jour, Joey Votto, two home runs last night, and 21 in half a season, and a healthy Scott Rolen (17), along with an entire outfield of double-figure contributors (Drew Stubbs had three alone last Sunday).
Make no mistake, the Redlegs are for real. Walt Jockety (ex-Cards GM) has done it again. They could be in a market for a pitcher and their bullpen is decent led by an all-star set-up man, and seemingly social security eligible, 40-year old Arthur Rhodes. He still brings the heat.
They had their way with Mike Pelfrey last night, but so has everyone armed with lumber his last five starts. His all-star snub aside, the break could not come at a better time for him. Let him exhale and gather himself and regain his ten-win form in the second half.
Because last night we saw the old Pelf re-emerge, coming unraveled over a horrendous umpire overturn (you just don’t see a second base ump overruling what has always been the home plate’s call) and a missed strike three.
As always, the Mets fought back. Hopefully Jose Reyes returns tonight.
That can’t be said for Carlos Beltran. Word is he will join the ranks after the mid-summer hiatus. Hopefully he (finally) is ready to go fulltime for the remainder of the sked. Mets fans have been patient and a handful of games, if Beltran and the medical staff concur, should not matter. Providing he is healthy for the entire second half
Needless to say, I was disappointed to hear he won’t be back for the rest of the Cincy series and the weekend clash with the first-place rival (hated) Bravos. Okay, Carlos, you have had your rehab time, now be the impact player you are paid to be. All hands on deck for the second half.
Speaking of beefing up the troops the Mets cannot compete with the Twins for Cliff Lee if the reports they offered the catching stud Wilson Ramos for the talented lefty. The Mariners have made it clear that they want a catching prospect and Ramos easily trumps Josh Thole.
Moreover, if the Twins are making a pre-eminent strike, they could be willing to pay more to bolster their staff. Lee gives them a chance against the Yankees in post-season play. Without him they are first-round fodder (again) for the Bombers. The Twinkies are also always stacked with prospects-it’s how they’ve competed as a small market club all these years.
Besides Seattle, the AL sellers could be Baltimore, Kansas City, and Cleveland. In the NL maybe Florida, Milwaukee, Houston, Pittsburgh (sadly, always), and Arizona. That means the Mets hope to add another starter lies in the second tier of talent, such as, the Tribe’s Jake Westbrook.
The Diamondback’s Dan Haren would be a fine addition. He devours innings and keeps his team in most games. Omar has to make a bid on him if he hits the market.
The Marlins, Orioles, and Pirates are perpetually in austerity mode come July. However, Florida won’t trade with the Mets, and the Birds roster is dreck, excluding Adam Jones and Nick Markakas.
Finally, what constitutes a Met killer? Back in the day it was Tommy Hutton when he faced Tom Seaver. Or the Expos’ Ron Fairly verses any Mets hurler. Today it seems like the entire Marlins roster and most of the Nationals. Each team plays the Mets like their life is on the line.
For some reason the Mets go into a shell against both teams and can’t administer the knock-out blow. Could be Cody Ross or Josh Willingham one night, Dan Uggla and Willie (Bleeping) Harris the next.
It’s not fair to include the ultra-talented Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Zimmerman into the lump, because they have proven to be MLB killers, not just NY. But they always seem to be in the mix along with Adam Dunn and a cast of 50.
You can add Joey Votto to that list (of Mets and baseball killers). They can’t get him out for beans, and he should be the fans’ choice for the 34th and final all-star roster spot.
About the Author: Doug Branch
Doug has been sports writing since 1983. He first wrote about the Mets at spring training that year, and his first interviewee was surly catcher Ron Hodges. He currently writes for Mets Inside Pitch, among other magazines published by Scout Publishing-which is owned by Fox Sports. He began following the team during the Wes Westrum era, and redeemed many Borden milk coupons for free Saturday baseball. The night of Tom Seaver's imperfect game against the Cubs, he was in line to buy a ticket when the windows slammed shut and abject disappointment ensued.
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