Omar Quintanilla gets hot, Dickey stays hot and Tejada stays missing

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.

10 comments for “Omar Quintanilla gets hot, Dickey stays hot and Tejada stays missing

  1. Bobby Townsend
    June 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Remember June 15, 1977 well. I was living in an apartment about 10 min. drive from Shea Stadium, was in the process of moving out of it and into one adjacent to the St. John’s campus.
    What kind of got lost in the shuffle there was that they fired Joe Frazier as manager, Joe Torre announced his retirement as an active player to take over as the full time manager. But the Seaver move (I think the Mets got Steve Henderson in that deal) was felt everywhere around town during that time.

    The Mets were not very good during that time (with or without Seaver) but after the trade, people stopped coming to Shea as the Yankees were making their run to the pennant.

    But with that Berkowitz guy on the loose, the blackout that happened about a month later, trying to make the adjustment of living in New York was just bad timing. But I got through it and now I can reminense (sp) and laugh about it a little (except for the Berkowitz part)

    • June 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Bobby, I was at the game when Torre took over as manager. Of course we had no idea – didn’t know until we got to our seats and saw the note up on the scoreboard. Torre actually was a player-manager for a brief time, but he did not play in his managerial debut.

    • Bill Sylvester
      June 15, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Regarding June 15, 1977 let’s not forget that true villan in this was the one and only M. Donald Grant (M. Donald Donkey?) You mentioned “Time heals all wonds”. In this case I perfer to think another philospher who also played at Shea. John Lennon said best “Time wounds all heels”. Grant is dead and not missed by anyone…..

      • June 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        I wish we had comment rating so I could give this a +1

  2. Chris
    June 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Great story Brian! Qs AB in the top of the 4th yesterday was truly magical even though its not on any highlight reel and no one seems to be talking about it. And it is the seed that led to winning yesterdays game. With 2 out and 2 strikes, he kept the AB alive with fouls through 10 pitches then hit the chopper with an aggressive run to 1B that finished a committed head first slide. In that count his hit could easily have been out 3 without a full tilt desire to beat it out. Then Kirk unloads his 2-run bomb, Valdespin gets hit and steals second, Wright walks, and Duda doubles in 2 more runs. That classically Metsian 2-out rally won the game on Qs GREAT AB — and closed down our run differential for the moment.

    I also loved the Mets fans that cleanly and in good-fan-spirit blocked the third base guy from catching that foul ball off Kirks bat! Beautifully played!!

    The call to Rauch terrified me, but we saw a new guy, and that was the relief effort of the year IMO. RA superlatives will continue to come. Ruben who??? I think a milk carton campaign is in order as is an Amber Alert at this point. Didnt he just fall on first base?

    Trading Seaver is an experience that can never heal.

    • June 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

      I was in favor of the Cedeno signing and don’t even recall when I first learned Quintanilla was added. But having seen Quintanilla in action, I would be perfectly happy with him as our backup middle infielder. Valdespin figures to be the first guy to go to the minors but once two guys come back Quintanilla will probably be sent down. He’s done a good job – even playing with the injury – and Mets fans should definitely appreciate what he’s given them. It’s a nice change from 2009 when all of the injuries hit and the Mets had to go out and pick up Wilson Valdez from the Indians.

  3. michael
    June 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

    i had gone to philly to see the mets a few weeks before. i met torre in the parking lot with his wife ( real nice guy -got autograph), ralph kiner came walking by said hold my beer kid ,as he signed my allstar ballot. (nicest guy you woul want to meet). i got on the team bus asked kingman for autograph -he wouldn’t -i tell him we ,the fans pay his salary. he yells to joe mcdonald is that right joe ?. managed to get felix milan and ken sanders. got off the bus and one guy is rushing to the bus pushing people and not saying a word . would not even acknowledge anyone . he stared out into the distance as he sat. it was tom seaver. he was my boyhood idol and ignoring me . i still remember to this day and i still have that alltar ballot with joe torre, ralph kiner, felix milan and ken sanders on it

    • June 15, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Hey Michael – thanks for reading and commenting.

      Gotta love the 1970s! Can you imagine what would happen today if you tried to get on the team bus? Glad to hear that Kiner treated you right.

  4. Metsense
    June 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Tejada’s injury has produced some interesting results. The Mets miss Tejada (.762 OPS) in the field and at bat. Cedeno(.658 OPS) is a major league shortstop as he proved during his time. Turner (.658 OPS) can play shortstop on a very limited basis. The avg NL SS has an OPS of .689. Quintanilla (.915 OPS) has been outstanding and deserves the backup middle infielder role. This is similar to Mike Baxter deserving the 5th outfielder’s spot. There are some contending teams that could use a shortstop so maybe Cedeno can be moved to open a spot for Quint.
    And yes, 35 years ago was the saddest day in Met history. Why would you ever trade a future hall of famer? A real tragedy.

    • June 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Chris will correct me if I’m wrong but I think Turner has an option remaining. So another route the club could take is to have Cedeno and Qunitanilla as the backup infielders and have Turner at Buffalo.

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