Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Can't Stop/Won't Stop

What's more exciting, that Carlos Beltran is doing what he used to do all the time back in the day (.273/.422/.576), or that his .998 OPS ranks 4th on the team right now? As a matter of fact, Nady, Delgado, and Wright are all over 1.100. That's bonkers, and while it can't continue all season - especially in Nady's case - it's a very strong indication that this offense is probably at least as good as advertised. Even Paul Lo Duca is dialed in.

On the pitching side, the old boys are looking spry. I can't remember the last time Tom Glavine had a double-digit strikeout rate, but it's encouraging to say the least. Pedro seems to be healthy and happy to have his 200th W (I just can't get excited about these "milestones", sorry), and Trachsel's first 11 innings have not left much to be desired.

I am going to abstain from the Brian Bannister Kool-Aid for the time being. The record and ERA are pretty, but the peripherals are borderline fuggly and with few exceptions (see: Rueter, K. and Buerhle, M.) the latter tell the better story.

The bullpen trio of Wagner, Sanchez and Heilman (plus Oliver?) have been great thus far. [Reference to Jorge Julio removed in the interest of not being accused of beating a dead horse, but such removal should not be construed as an indication that said horse is as dead as it should be, or that it doesn't richly deserve further beating.]

Some non-Mets related thoughts:

- Chris Shelton's start reminds me of Dmitri Young's start two years ago, but better. I thought he might hit 30, but it's clearly time to take those estimates up, even if he just has a mediocre year from here on out.

- Does starting pitching get any more erratic than Daniel Cabrera?

- Eric Karabell was reckless in advising fantasy leaguers to trade for Barry Bonds now, while his stock is low. Bonds is simply too old and his career too unique to assume that this slow start is just a blip on the screen. Legal issues aside, I think this may very well be the beginning of the end. I don't think he'll hit 40 HR this year.

- Mark Mulder just isn't that good.

- Kenji Johjima might be the first Japanese hitter whose first year numbers do not get lost in translation. He was a four-digit OPS guy in Japan and is looking like a solid bet for .900 or better for the M's.

Some SNY-related thoughts:

I was worried about Gary Cohen's transition to television for a minute there. Not all of it was his fault, I don't think. They had the in-booth camera set up in such a way that he had to lean to starboard (towards Keith) just to stay in frame, which heightened the usual awkwardness of two grown men sitting very, very close together. But there was more to it than that. It's not that Cohen's ugly, per se, but his default facial expression is totally humorless, and he doesn't have much of a repertoire beyond it. He has also looked horribly uncomfortable with the looking-at-Keith/Ron vs. looking-at-camera thing, shifting his intense stare back and forth every five seconds or so in a slightly furtive, unsettling way. As a huge Gary Cohen fan, I'd hate to see him be remembered as a poor TV broadcaster rather than one of the very best on radio.

Watching last night's post-game, he seems to have improved markedly since the first few games of the season. Most importantly, he's begun to sport the neutral smile that TV heads have to wear when they're not talking. That's a club he really needs to have in his bag. Cohen is sort of the anti-Harold Reynolds (who leads the airwaves in appearance:substance ratio). He has a phen0menal understanding of the game and an obvious talent for talking about it, so if he can get just his on-air appearance just to the point where it's not distractingly weird (and I think he's almost there), he'll be one of the best on television, too.

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