Carlos Beltran knows things do not always unfold as anticipated, because he is living proof. After he scored three runs with aggressive base running in his first three plate appearances last night, he was booed when he rapped into a double play his fourth time up. He finished 1 for 3 as the Mets silenced the Cubs, 6-1, at Shea Stadium.
(Beltran, reaching first on Aramis Ramirez’ throwing error in the first inning Sunday night)
At the time of the above mentioned double play, the Mets were winning 5-0. As Curry cites, Beltran was instrumental in building said lead, his first-to-home dash on Cliff Floyd’s first inning liner showcasing the sort of speed that Jose Reyes aside, Shea patrons have rarely been treated to.
Beltran’s salary is impossible to defend, his signing completed by a club absolutely desperate for credibility. But Mets “fans” would be well advised to remember that the center fielder didn’t really come into his own for the Astros until last October, nor are his numbers so far in ’05 a particularly accurarate reflect of his true value given his time spent on the DL and subsequent inability to go all-out while healing.
Is Beltran the sort of player capable of putting a team on his back? The 2005 playoffs excepted, perhaps not. But as time goes on, what a full-strength Beltran can accomplish hitting in front of Cliff Floyd and David Wright (as opposed to being sandwiched between Kaz Matsui and Mike Piazza earlier in the year) should silence those quick to charactize him as a bust. That is, if they’re actually paying attention.