First, since this post--like every post--is all about me, let me go ahead and rehash a comment I made in a previous preview. I basically said that the Mets might be the only team in the National League without any gaping holes in their lineup. Well, for the most part it's true. Their four best hitters (in no particular order) are: Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Carlos Delgado (.289 BA, 124 HR total). That's nasty, no argument. But, the real question is about the other four guys: Paul LoDuca, Jose Valentin, Shawn Green and Moises Alou. Average age: 36 (aka well past their primes). I guess they're all serviceable but I'm not sure I'm real excited about a lineup with LoDuca hitting 2nd in the order for a full season again. Plus, wasn't Moises Alou supposed to have retired like three years ago?
That argument aside, the guy who's really giving me a brainfuck here is Jose Valentin. Living with Trout on the outskirts of the Chicagoland viewing area I watched my fair share of White Sox games in 2003 & 2004. He batted .237 with 114 K's one year and .216 with 139 K's the following year. Holy shit that's an awful year. I mean, just painful to watch. Seeing Valentin come up to bat in a crucial situation always induced a faint vomit taste in the back of my mouth, and it's not even my team. He had more holes in his swing than I have in my abused liver. It was an absolute train wreck.
So, what happens last year? After an injury-shortened season in LA, Jose comes out last year and hits .271 with a mere 71 strikeouts. 45 points increase in the batting average and a ridiculous drop in strikeouts. And, this is from the age of 34 to 36. Have you ever seen a player improve his play so dramatically at this age? I certainly can't think of anybody. This is unnatural and I'm calling "bullshit." Let's get that Mitchell investigation running 24-hour surveillance on his ass because there's some foul play involved here. I think we can all get on board with this one.
As for this team, two words: shitty pitching. Their starters are shit. Glavine is 41 on Sunday, El Duque claims to be 37 so he's probably at least 40. John Maine was real solid last year, but I'm not quite sure how. And, well, do you want Chan Ho Park in your rotation? I won't even mention you-know-who because there's slim to none chance that a 35 year old comes back from shoulder surgery in under a year. So, my prediction: second place in the division. And I predict that if you bet the over in every Mets' game for the first month of the season you'll make money.