A Happy Birthday shout out to my comrade and partner in crime, longislandmetfan.
Today Mets Ace Matt Harvey takes the mound to try and stop the hemorrhaging that has become the Mets season. Harvey, who was as close to perfection as Tom Seaver was against the Cubs in '69, has quickly become the Mets go-to-guy this season, and it has been fun to watch.
Harvey has electric stuff, and with the understanding on how to mix up his pitches, he has been beyond dominant this year. What has made Harvey so special this year? I believe there are two very important things that have aided this youngster this season: John Buck and a strong mental make-up.
Buck has been a fantastic back-stop for a young pitching staff. Granted, outside of Harvey, no one is stepping up the way they should be, but I do see something special in Buck and the way he handles this young staff. He has been a solid catcher, and has shown leadership behind the plate, and that all goes towards helping a young staff.
Secondly, Harvey has shown not only mental toughness, but intelligence on the mound. Longislandmetfan and I were discussing it a few weeks back, and we both came to the same conclusion: he reminds us of Tom Seaver - the way he dissects situations, and doesn't only rely on his tremendous stuff, but he seems to be a few steps ahead of the competition mentally.
The Mets need to have another great outing from Harvey today, and there is no reason to expect it not to happen.
Onto yesterday's debacle and the plunking of Valdespin. The kid was out of line Friday when he "pimped" or "showboated" a meaningless HR in an awful 7-3 loss on Friday. Granted, the youngster launched a moonshot into the Pepsi Porch, but the blast didn't win the game for the Mets, didn't tie the game, didn't even bring them close to a dominant Pirates team. It only made the game look more competitive than it actually was in the box score. As a fan and as someone who played ball competitively until my freshman year of college, I never liked showing up the other team. I always believed an athlete should "act like you've been there" after accomplishing something special. Valdespin didn't, and he paid for it on Saturday when Pirates reliever Bryan Morris drilled 'Spin in theright forearm with a 94 MPH fastball.
At the time Valdespin tried to stare down Morris while walking to first, and when he got there, he seemed to settle down. At innings end, Kevin Burkhardt tweeted:
Apparently Jordany slammed his helmet in dugout after the third out. I understand that no one wants to get drilled with a 90+ MPH fastball, but if Valdespin thinks he is such a special player that can disrespect an opponent by "pimping" a meaningless HR, then he has to be able to take a beaning or two.
Truth be told, Valdespin isn't that good. He is a good player when seeing limited playing time, but he isn't good enough to be an everyday player. He is good off the bench, and has good speed, but he has poor judgement, and at times poor fundamentals. His personality reminds me a lot of Timo Perez.
After the game, 'Spin refused to speak to reporters, so it was left to the Mets captain to address the expected question about his teammates behavior. As usual, Wright handled the question well by answering:
"Whether you like it or not, it’s just the way that it is now. I probably prefer kind of a different way, but each guy has their own individual thing. Pitchers have their thing, hitters have their thing. It’s personal preference. You never want to show anybody up, but with that being said, it’s done a lot. By a lot of people. Not just us or one individual person."Wright handled the situation well, like a captain should. He realizes this is the way the game is played, and didn't throw his teammate under the bus; a teammate that refused to answer the press, so he ran away, and let his captain answer for him.
One thing the young Valdespin must realize - if he offends an opponent by showing them up, they may very well take it out not on Jordany, but on Wright during his next AB. Valdespin isn't good enough to put a player of Wright's abilities in a position like that. Nuff said.
Here is today's Mets lineup V. Pirates:
Ruben Tejada - SS
Daniel Murphy - 2B
David Wright - 3B
Ike Davis - 1B
Lucas Duda - LF
John Buck - C
Mike Baxter - RF
Juan Lagares - CF
Matt Harvey - RSP
Sources: Mets Blog ESPNNY, NY Post, Star Ledger, Newsday