Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Heilman, and the Beasts of the (NL) East

I've disagreed with some of the things Andrew at Chuck 'n Duck has had to say recently, but I have to give credit where credit is due: He has been the driver of the Aaron Heilman bandwagon, and it's starting to pick up passengers.

He cruised into the sixth inning, but after allowing a Neifi Perez double (shame on you), and a walk to Derrek Lee (not a bad idea right now), he was pulled for lefty Dae-Sung Koo, who had what Paul Simon might call a little bit of a breakdown. Thus were two more runs added to his tab, and the win forfeited, but nonetheless Heilman's outing was eminently serviceable.

At the very least, he's looking a whole lot better than the nameless one. I'm not getting on any vehicle which has "Aaron Heilman: Cy Young Condender" on the side, but I'm considering a seat on the "Aaron Heilman: League Average Starter" bus.

In offensive good news, the Mets are now leading the National League in home runs. Shocking, yes, but delightful. Now about that OBP...

Mike Cameron has yet to put up an O-fer since his return on May 5th. Come to think of it, he hasn't put up a 1-fer yet either, collecting exactly two hits in each of his five games. 5 singles + 3 doubles + 2 homers = helpful. I'm aware of at least one miscue in right field, but I'm not too worried about that transition.

Meanwhile, it turns out my eulogy for Mike Piazza the Power Hitter may have been premature. He's hit four home runs in the past 5 games, and has slugged .690 in 29 May at-bats. His BA for the season still stands at an unsightly .238, but things are looking up.

I think it's fair to say the NL East has lived up to its offseason billing. Collectively, the division is 19 games over .500, with only the Phillies (my preseason pick) having more Ls than Ws. The Braves are once again, somehow, setting the pace; the Marlins rotation has been Eliott Ness, and the Nationals still haven't executed what I still say is their inevitable swan dive.

Benson makes his second start tonight against Greg Maddux. I'd love to see the fellas take the Bulldog for a walk.


Uncle Salty said...

And now we're insulting the canine community, waffling on the Cliff Floyd issue (I actually voted for the guy who breaks down every July with hamstring and attitude problems, before I voted against him), and essentially removing Tom Glavine ("From?" "Biiiilll-eeee-RICK-Aaaaaah!") from Cooperstown consideration, whistling past the ballyard while even now Leo Mazzone is formulating a word count for the induction speech.

2nd Paragraph:
I've got a little "progressive indexing" proposal for you, Doyle (if that's even your real name). Progressive index the odds of the O’s taking the A.L. East this year versus the odds of Pedro Martinez’s rotator cuff not limping through August like a piece of overcooked free-range chicken peeling off the bone. Means-test the notion that Mike Piazza has anything left as a big bopper (not topper!) against the notion that Jay Payton (2 HR, .207) has anything left at all.

3rd Paragraph:
They sent spumes of flatulent vapors my way, Doyle, told me Kevin Millar was washed up; off the sauce and thus off the stick. They tufted rich, cumulonimboid formations of specious Kool-Aid in my direction, and yet I held fast, clinging, bound to the mast of Millardom like Odysseus resisting the Sirens of Naysaying (who look suspiciously like Curly-Haired Boyfriend and Globe scribe Dan Shaughnessy). I resisted. Like Macaulay Culkin confronted with a foreign object of somewhat more objectionable but no less murky consistency, I did not inhale.

Doyle said...

Look I know Cuz would be (is? What's the ISP situation in heaven?) mortified at selling a local boy short, but damn. Are you telling me I'm supposed to keep even a flicker of hope that the St. Lunatics don't tear him a bevy of brand new orifii on Friday? He was great, he's no longer adequate.

And where, exactly, did I waffle on the Cliff Floyd issue? Can't I acknowledge his current contributions without suggesting (or even implying) that they won't be cut short at some point by a gruesome leg injury?

As for Pedro's arm, he's been treated as carefully as can be. Peterson's crunched all the scheduling numbers, and has somehow come up with a way for the PM to get more rest between starts while still starting 33-35 games. Genius! No wonder he hasn't found the ten minutes he needs to fix Victor Zambrano!

Uncle Salty said...

Somewhere in this favored land luckier folks than I can sleep off their Friday nights, and somewhere hearts are light.

But to open to D4 of the Globe sports section this morning (no Intranet at home, and the ESPN is too bright right now) and see "Glavine silences Cardinals" atop the NL roundup was to feel, well, redeemed. Whether the Old Boy has access or not (are upload/download reversed? Are there firewalls there?), he, too, feels redeemed, perhaps for all eternity.

Floyd continues apace, while that ticking noise you hear is only his hamstring biding its time.