May 09, 2007

Not Quite Maris & Mantle...

Over at Fox, baseball writer Kevin Hench, in his latest Beyond The Boxscore column (click here for a link), has fun comparing Mets' relievers Joe Smith & Pedro Feliciano's scoreless streak and inter-squad competition to that of the late Yankees' sluggers Roger Maris & Mickey Mantle.

From Hench:

While it hasn't — and will never — grab the headlines of that epic contest, there is a fairly amazing intrasquad competition under way in New York. Mets setup men Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano have made it all the way into the second week of May — 31 appearances — without allowing a run.

He continues:

When the Mets lost righty setup man Duaner Sanchez last year, it put a huge dent in their chances at winning a title. When Sanchez underwent shoulder surgery last month, the NL East champs with the potentially shaky rotation found themselves in dire need of a quality middle reliever. Enter Joe Smith. The drop-down righty has started the season with 17 straight scoreless appearances as part of a lights-out Mets pen. In addition to his 0.00 ERA, he has a sterling 0.98 WHIP, 18 Ks in 15.1 IP and a .154 OBA. Righties are hitting .132 against him and, get this, slugging .158. While not quite as dominant as Smith's start, New York's lefty setup man Pedro Feliciano has begun the season with 14 straight scoreless appearances, holding lefties to two singles in 15 at bats (.133). It may not be Maris-Mantle '61, but Smith and Feliciano's scoreless streaks are a New York intrasquad competition that bears monitoring. (Though it's worth noting that a mention like this in Beyond the Box Score should knock one or both of these guys off his perch in the next 48 hours.)

Let's hope he does NOT jinx this scoreless run, on our way to the return, shortly, of Mr. Mota and, we hope, eventually, Mr. Sanchez.

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