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'Berry Worried about Beltran

Perhaps when the baseball team returns to Flushing they could sprinkle some pixie dust, or whatever it is they do at a Salvation Miracle Revival Crusade and heal Carlos Beltran's home sickness.
 
The splits are both alarming and amazing. Consider the following stats after Tuesday's win.
 
Carlos Beltran in road games:  .346 BA, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 42 games
Carlos Beltran in home games:  .207 BA, 10 HR, 24 RBI, 40 games
 
Observing closely as I do regularly, I couldn't help but notice that Beltran's swing has appeared much smoother on the road. I'd be willing to bet he leads the Mets in home popouts (not talking about curtain calls) because he has a propensity to overswing to try to impress the denizens of the Queens ballpark.
 
This is not a new situation for the Mets. Many a quality hitter has been spooked by Shea and shined elsewhere, though this is certainly an extreme situation.
 
It is somewhat reminiscent of one overlooked by fans of the 1986 Mets. This was a team that had a great player who, statistically speaking, was Sheaphobic.
 
Through his first 46 games entering June 13, Darryl Strawberry hit a perfectly respectable .279, but with only 7 home runs. This was due in large part to his home numbers. Through his first 18 games in New York, Strawberry hit .217 with 1 HR and 9 RBI. To that point, he was hitting .314 with 6 HR and 22 RBI in 28 road games. Perhaps some off-field factors came into play here, though I suppose we'll never know that.
 
Anyways, not only was Strawberry struggling at home, but he was also struggling against lefty pitching, so he was likely quite happy to see soft-tosser Rick Reuschel working for the opposition, the Pittsburgh Pirates that day. The Mets contrasted that with Dwight Gooden, who opened the game by striking out a rookie named Barry Bonds, who was making his Shea Stadium debut in his 13th big league game. It was one of 13 punchouts that day for Gooden, who was unusually wild for a brief spurt. Four walks and a wild pitch in the 2nd inning helped the Pirates grab an early 2-0 lead. The Mets rallied quickly and evened things up at 3-3 by the close of the 3rd inning, than took a 5-3 edge in the 5th on a 2-run home run by Keith Hernandez.
 
The Mets had a chance to add to their cushion after Straweberry started a one-out rally in the 8th by doubling off southpaw Larry McWilliams, but they failed to do so and stranded the bases loaded. That came back to bite the Mets in the butt.
 
Jesse Orosco relieved Gooden in the 9th and allowed a single to Rafael Belliard and a walk to Met-to-be Lee Mazzilli. Pirates manager Jim Leyland, fearful of his rookie being overmatched against a lefty, than pinch hit Mike Diaz for Bonds (!) and Orosco walked him as well. Two sacrifice flies later, the game was evened at 5-5 and shortly thereafter headed to the home 9th.
 
Leyland chose lefty Bob Kipper to face a lineup in the 9th that would feature fellow lefties Hernandez and Strawberry in position to do damage. Mookie Wilson gave them a chance to do so, singling with one out and advancing to second on a Wally Backman groundout. The Pirates wouldn't give Hernandez a chance to beat them. With two outs and Wilson on 2nd, they purposely bypassed Hernandez to pitch to the struggling Strawberry.
 
Kipper, like Reuschel, was a soft tosser, and on an 0-1 pitch, Strawberry lined a curve into the outfield, easily scoring Wilson with the winning run.
 
"Tonight, I gained some respect," Strawberry told the media after the game.
 
Unfortunately, he didn't gain much statistically. Strawberry's home struggles lasted throughout the 1986 season, though they were overlooked due to the Mets great record. In the regular season, he finished with the following splits
 
Home: .227 BA, 11 HR, 33 RBI, 8 SB, 65 games
Road: .284 BA, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 20 SB, 71 games
 
The good news is that when the postseason came around, the numbers didn't tell the whole story. True, he had only 4 hits in 22 at-bats at Shea in the playoffs and World Series, but the significance of 3 clutch home home runs allowed us to overlook his foibles. Mets fans hope they'll be able to say the same thing about Beltran.
 
True Metberrys know...Darryl Strawberry's .227 batting average at Shea Stadium in 1986 was one point better than Sid Fernandez's batting average at Shea Stadium that season.

Comments

So the All-Star Game fiasco works in our favor, giving Beltran up to four road games to hit grand slams in the World Series?

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