April 26, 2007

Older Duo Off To Great Start

Anthony Di Como at Mets.com, writes about Shawn Green, Jose Valentin and how good they are doing in the begining of the season:

The top six command attention -- it's as simple as that. But a lineup is nine batters long, and even the strongest core can't hide a bottom without any punch.

And that's where those cringes turn into unabashed horror. For there's no doubt that this bottom has punch.

Plenty of punch.

Consider that Shawn Green, the regular seventh hitter, is batting .351 on the year. His three home runs rank second on the team, his 13 RBIs third. Then there's Jose Valentin, a rock in the eight hole. Valentin clocks in at .281 -- paltry by comparison, though his 12 RBIs stand as proof of his clutch start.

They will rarely be top priority on an opposing pitcher's agenda -- there's simply too much else to worry about. But take them lightly, and you're bound to regret it.

"It's fun to be in a lineup like this because you can't blink," Valentin said. "Anybody can make you pay."

Green and Valentin both know what it's like to be the centerpiece, so if anything, flying under the radar is a breath of fresh air. It's not as if these two are fringe hitters just happy to crack a lineup. They're former sluggers, still plenty productive in the latter phases of their careers.

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