It's September and this is where the schedule gets really tough. The Cardinals were just an appetizer for a tough month of baseball. This weekend brings the Mets. Like the opponent in every series that will come after this in 2005, the Marlins will face an above-.500 team.
Since the Fish are playing the Mets, we took some time to sit down with our friend Mr. Met:
That's Mike, Mr. Met, and Big Daddy in Suite 36 at Shea Stadium. As you can see, we FishStripers don't always get along with Mr. Met. The fuzziness of the picture (apparently - keep in mind that I wasn't invited to this party) tells the story quite well. Mr. Met had just finished trying to remove all of our Marlins' paraphenelia. He had Mike's hat and and turned Mike's shirt and Peter's jersey nearly inside out. But the boys were restoring order to the situation (and look at Beer God in the background - he's cowering in fear of Mr. Met).
On to the interview...
: Welcome back Mr. Met.
: Okay, then. The Mets aren't leading the race for the Wild Card right now, but some folks feel that the Mets have the best chance to win the Wild Card - at least looking at the other NL East teams.
: The Mets do have a more favorable schedule than the Marlins, but they also have to overcome some injuries to some key players.
Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron were injured a few weeks back when they collided in San Diego. Mike Piazza (that's not a picture of him getting injured - that's him fighting the Marlins Guillermo Mota back in Spring Training 2004, when Mota was still a Dodger) suffered an injury while behind the plate.
: The collision between Cameron and Beltran was ugly. It's really a shame to see that happen. I sure hope that both guys come back and return to their pre-collision forms. It's nice to see Beltran back already.
The Piazza thing was more of a freak injury. Catchers get knicked up like that all the time. The thing that's different this time is that Piazza could be out for the season.
: Let me change subjects completely - does Pedro Martinez deserve Cy Young consideration?
: In a normal year, he most certainly would. His numbers have been excellent. His ERA is under three. His WHIP is below 1. He's been remarkably consistent at Shea and on the road. He's even provided some much needed leadership in the clubhouse and with the other pitchers.
But this isn't a normal year. Roger Clemens is dominating the game - well into his forties. Chris Carpenter has been superb. Dontrelle Wills, sans a brief blip, has also been spectacular. Given the performances of those three (and you could probably even throw Roy Oswalt and a handful of others into the discussion), I think you'd just have to say that Pedro is having a great year, but it's not great enough to take home any hardware this year.
: I'm just glad that the Marlins won't have to face him this weekend.
Another subject change: it's starting to look like Miguel Cabrera will again become the Marlins regular third baseman. It might not be official until next season, but at this point it just seems to be a matter of time.
Once that happens, arguably the two best young (they're both 22) third baseman in baseball will play in the National League East. If you could only have one on your team, who would you rather have: Miguel Cabrera or the Mets' David Wright?
: That's tough, Grover. These two guys will probably share All-Star honors for some time.
Wright has a lot of tools. He hits for average and he has good power. He also is fairly patient at the plate - especially for a 22-year old. There also aren't the questions or the doubts about his glove, like there are around Cabrera. Although, those concerns may go away once Cabrera gets settled back in the infield.
Some might be concerned that Cabrera strikes out more than Wright, but Miguel also walks fairly frequently. Cabrera's batting average and onbase percentage are both higher than Wright's. What's most encouraging (maybe it's scary) about Cabrera is how hard he hits the ball. Sometimes you just have to worry about fielders getting hurt. Both Cabrera and Wright are going to continue to develop power as they get older and stronger, but Cabrera looks like he could have all-time great strength.
You can't go wrong with picking either of these guys. But if I had to pick one, I think I'd go with Cabrera. Both have shown a lot at a young age in the majors. Cabrera feels like more of a long range sure-thing, if only because he's had the opportunity to prove himself in the post-season - as he did in 2003. Maybe Wright will get the opportunity to level the playing field come October.
: Thanks for your time Mr. Met.