Sunday, August 28, 2005

Getting Ahead Of One's Self
By Ben Valentine

There’s an old saying in life, “you have to be able to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run.” No, that isn’t some fancy way of introducing the fact Jose Reyes doesn’t see enough pitches at the plate. It’s to sum up my sentiments on this Mets' recent 5-2 road trip.

On my favorite radio program last Friday evening, I heard one of the hosts mention that the Mets had to take “a minimum of two out of three against the Giants”. His thought process was after sweeping the Diamondbacks, anything less would be a disappointment against the below .500 Giants. I saw his point, but I disagreed, especially after realizing the Mets were going up against Jason Schmidt and baseball’s hottest starter in Noah Lowry.

So after a thrilling 1-0 win on Friday, the Mets lost the next two, 2-1 and 4-1 respectively. I was disappointed, but not exactly surprised.

I tend to look at the big picture a lot, often a bit too much. This usually makes me look pessimistic, but that isn’t the case today. The Mets have been a putrid road team all season (23- 35 overall). If someone had told me they would go 4-3 on the road trip, I’d have taken it. Every Mets fan would have. 5-2 is gravy.

I know they were playing the sub .500 NL West. But a few weeks ago the Mets could only take two games out of six against that division. Whether or not the Arizona series excited people, the fact is the Mets took a huge step towards the postseason in these seven games.

Now they have to beat the teams in competition with them. They’ll get that chance this week against the Phillies at home and on the road in Florida. Then they’ll see the Braves and Cardinals. Most likely, by the second week of September, we’ll know whether or not the Mets are here to stay. And it will have a lot more to do with a Friday night in Florida than a Sunday in San Francisco.

This road trip the Mets learned how to walk. It’s a good sign. Now if the Mets want to make the playoffs, they’ll have to run through their next four series.

Off The Beaten Trax?

I heard today during the Mets telecast Steve Trachsel will be sent to the pen, despite his stellar performance Friday night. I don’t understand it. Victor Zambrano did pitch well in his last performance, but regardless I don’t have much confidence in the guy. Trachsel has never pitched out of the pen in his career. Zambrano has. Of course Zambrano was throwing in the pen in the 8th inning today, though it was tough to see if was just to get work in or if it were serious.

Bottom line, Trachsel to the pen makes no sense. I still think someone will be traded.

Jets Finally Whole

Jets defensive end John Abraham reportedly will end his holdout Monday and sign the one year qualifying offer, worth $6.67 million dollars. Overall, I don’t know how the holdout will affect Abraham. He’s already an injury prone player, so I doubt holding out will make him any worse in that respect. I do expect big things from him, because he knows the only way he’ll get a long term deal out of any team is to play at least 14 games and produce double digit sacks again. I think this season we’ll learn a lot about whether the problem with Abraham is worth ethic, or brittleness. Either way, the Jets finally look complete. Now I can start to get excited again.

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