For a fourth-string shortstop, Omar Quintanilla has been pretty good. After injuries felled Tejada, Cedeno and Turner, the Mets turned to the veteran Qunitanilla, who has gotten the job done both in the field and at the plate. After 55 PA, Quintanilla has a .326/.436/.478 line with the Mets and in 129 innings in the field, he has a +1 DRS and a +1.1 UZR.
A supplemental first-round pick of the A’s back in 2003, Quintanilla apparently caught a lucky break when he was traded to the Rockies during the 2005 season. Quintanilla showed he could hit in the minors and he went from an organization whose major league team played in a poor hitter’s park to an org with one of the best hitter’s parks in the majors around.
But Quintanilla never got hot at the right time. In brief trials over his first three seasons in the majors, he posted a combined .259 BABIP. He got decent playing time in 2008 but didn’t take advantage, as he posted a .635 OPS over 234 PA. He essentially got labeled a AAAA hitter and he logged just 92 PA in the majors the past three years.
Contrast Quintanilla with Ronny Cedeno, another middle infielder one who is a year younger than the 30 year old Quintanilla. When Cedeno came up he posted a .338 BABIP in 2005 and rode that to 572 PA the following season. Essentially he’s been a major league player ever since. The last four years, Cedeno has made a little over $5 million while Quintanilla has been on split contracts, likely making less than $1 million over the same time frame.
At some point the injured infielders will return and Quintanilla will find himself back in the minors. Hopefully his hot stint in 2012 with the Mets will earn him a major league contract with some team next year. You would think a lefty-hitting middle infielder would be a desirable thing and Quintanilla has certainly paid his dues, having logged 1,431 PA in Triple-A alone.
RAUCH RUNS OVER THE RAYS – I don’t know about you but I was pretty nervous when the Mets brought on Jon Rauch in yesterday’s game with no outs and the bases loaded. But Rauch retired the side in order and did not allow a run. Not only that but he recorded two strikeouts in the process. Perhaps the most shocking thing was the radar gun readings. Eight of his 14 pitches were in the 90s and he registered 93 with one pitch. Earlier in the season, Rauch was in the mid to high 80s with his fastball. If he can consistently throw in the 90s, that’s an entirely different pitcher, one that can definitely help the club.
MORE AWESOMENESS ABOUT DICKEY – The complete-game victory by R.A. Dickey over the Rays on Wednesday registered a Game Score of 95, tied for the fourth-highest mark this season. He now has four straight games with 0 ER and 8 or more Ks, which ties 2002 Pedro Martinez for the longest streak since they began keeping track of ER in 1912. Martinez went 20-4 with a 2.26 ERA that season. Dickey threw 100 knuckleballs against the Rays and 55 of those were up in the strike zone, coming in above the belt, a marked contrast to how most pitchers attack hitters. Of his 12 strikeouts, 11 came on swings and misses. Since May 17th, Dickey has thrown 512 knuckleballs and has recorded 93 swings and misses (18.2%).
METS NOW HAVE POSITIVE RUN DIFFERENTIAL – After sweeping the Rays by a combined 29-9 score, the Mets now have a +1 run differential, with 291 runs scored and 290 runs allowed. It’s the first time since April 16th (36-31) the have been in the black in regards to runs. Earlier in the year, the Mets were winning all of the close games and had a poor record in blowouts. Now they are 9-8 in one-run games and 11-11 in blowouts, having won seven of their last eight games which were decided by five or more runs.
SHOULD WE PUT TEJADA’S PICTURE ON A MILK CARTON? – Raise your hand if you thought that when Ruben Tejada did a face plant on May 6th that he would be out for any extended amount of time. That’s not many hands. It’s almost reminiscent of last year when Ike Davis ran into David Wright on a pop-up and we thought his down time would be brief. Davis ended up missing the rest of the year. Tejada is working out in Port St. Lucie and is unlikely to be activated soon in his quest to recover from an injured right quadriceps muscle.
BAY GOES DEEP – If a slumping batter hits a HR in a day game and nobody sees it, does it really count? Jason Bay homered early in yesterday’s afternoon game against the Rays. Bay homered in the top of the second inning, his first home run since April 20th. I turned on the game in time to see Bay steal second in the fifth inning. The two ABs of Bay that I saw both ended in strikeouts. Since coming off the DL earlier in the month, Bay is 2-25 with 6 Ks. He has a .315 OPS in that time span. With Davis starting to hit, all of the negative attention will be focused on Bay. It would be a good idea to get some hits that we all see in the series against the Reds.
A PAINFUL ANNIVERSARY – Speaking of the Reds, it was 35 years ago today that the Mets dealt Tom Seaver to the Reds, bringing back (among other stiffs) the immortal Doug Flynn. They say time heals all wounds but I can tell you from experience that this one still hurts.