Thursday, May 25, 2006

Soler Satisfies Hunger

"Tasty, toasted Cuban sandwiches have a submarine-style layering of ham, roast pork, cheese, and pickle between a sliced length of Cuban bread. The key to a great, versus a good, Cuban Sandwich lies in the grilling. A great Cuban sandwich is grilled in a sandwich press (called a plancha) until the ham, pork, and pickles have warmed in their own steam. Cuban restaurants use a sandwich press, but you can substitute a waffle iron. These sandwiches use no mayonnaise, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, or tomatoes; however, butter and mustard are optional. Cuban sandwiches are sold hot (pressed) or cold (room temperature)." -from the What's Cooking America website.

Where will Metstradamus go with the Cuban Sandwich reference?

  • He will say that Alay Soler and Orlando Hernandez will now form the perfect Cuban sandwich at the back of the rotation.
  • He will note the size of Soler and observe that he is a couple of Cuban sandwiches short of Sal Fasano.
  • He will tell us that Cuban sandwiches come in three sizes: Small, Medium, and Bartolo-sized.
  • He's never had a Cuban sandwich because he doesn't care for pickles, and he'd rather have a White Castle cheeseburger with onion rings.
  • Metstradamus would never resort to a cheap joke.

Yes he would.

But Soler impressed in his long awaited debut tonight, in a game which needed a strong performance by a Met starter after last night's marathon. He gave up five hits and walked four in six innings, but much of the damage was done in the first inning when Alay was certainly a bundle of nerves, walking the bases loaded right off the bat. All three walks would score as Pat Burrell, who resumed his anti-Met crusade tonight, singled home a run and Chris Woodward's error allowed two runs to score. But after that, Soler shut the Phillies down impressively. Only Burrell cost Soler his first major league victory with his dinger off Pedro Feliciano in the seventh. Yet I'd say that Soler ha's earned another start or two, in what could be a complete re-working of the back end of the rotation.

Offensively, well...what's Carlos Beltran been eating? (Oh sorry Jon Miller: What has Carlos Bel-TRAN been eating?) Another first inning homer for Carlos, who usually fares better the second time he faces a pitcher (.385) rather than the first time (.236). But now, first inning home runs off Randy Johnson and Jon Lieber. Add that to his high average in the 16th inning or later (1.000 this season) and you have a superstar in the making.

And give credit to Chris Woodward for making up for that error, tying the game in the third.

But the game winner, which came after Burrell's home run, was delivered by David Wright in the seventh with an RBI single. Wright is starting to make a habit of these big hits, which is starting to worry at least one Yankee fan. He was chatting with a small group of people which included yours truly earlier this week, and talked about Friday's Yankee/Met game. I now pharaphrasically quote:

"If I'm Mariano, I pitch to Carlos Delgado. If Delgado beats us, fine. But to let David Wright beat us, it holds an even further significance that it was their golden boy that beat us. I can live with Delgado beating us. But David Wright? Met fans loved that a whole lot more than if it was Delgado, and that makes me sick."
Personally, my standards aren't very high when it comes to who beats the Yankees. I can pledge to you that Carlos Delgado beating the Yankees is as sweet as David Wright beating the Yankees, is as sweet as Carlos Beltran beating the Yankees, is as sweet as Cliff Floyd beating the Yankees, is as sweet as Jose Valentin beating the Yankees.

I really have no preference as to who or what beats them. I learned not to think like that the hard way. When I was sitting in the upper deck, and Mike Scioscia hit that home run off of Gooden in the playoffs, my thought was "Good. This gives Kevin Elster a chance to beat them in the ninth." I don't know why I thought this way, but the fact that I did think that way at least makes me partially responsible for the fate that befell me that night...that cold, dark, scary night. So no more picking and choosing my heroes.

But it's nice that Yankee fans are starting to dread the fact that David Wright is becoming one of those home grown special stars on our side of town. Hopefully they'll start to familiarize themselves with the sick feeling that I get when Derek Jeter is up in a walk-off eligible spot in October, and the same thought runs through my head in a CNN-type news ticker: "anyone but him...anyone but him...anyone but him."


jabair said...

hey john.. do you write for a living??

jdon said...

i like soler. takes a little off his fastball, just like pedro. guys like that can throw it down the middle and get grounders to second base. Hey, he does facially resemble Roger Clemens. Probably weighs the same too. and you can tell by looking at him that he is a competitor. he might turn out to be something pretty, he has a better swing than matsui.

Adoniram said...

The best Cuban sandwiches are the pork and cheese between two halves of a plantain banana variety. You have to be mighty hungry to be able to finish the whole thing.

That said, Soler showed guts tonight after getting off to the sort of start that makes you wonder if maybe Jose Lima really is our best option. Ron Darling (Ronnie if you're Mex) pointed it out several times, but I really liked the fact that Soler seemed personally invested in his performance. The guy has some pride and that's really what divides the Julio's and the Zambrano's from the Wagner's and the Glavine's.


If one more announcer says that the Mets overpaid for Beltran because of the October he had with Houston I will become homocidal.

The Mets paid Beltran what he got because he is a CF just hitting his prime who (last year not withstanding) is a lock for 30 HRs, 30 SBs, and a .280, .365, .550 line.

He also has a 4.000 slugging percentage after the 16th inning. What more do you want?

Ed in Westchester said...

Ah, sweet win. Come back from 3 down. Pop from C-Bel and DW (he is starting to carry my fantasy team this week). Wags lights out.

Toasty Joe said...

Hi Mestradamus! Nice Cuban sangwich. I put a pic of Fidel himself on my blog today. I figure he deserves a shout-out.

Metstradamus said...

jabair, no. I just write for fun (and to vent).

jdon, I think I have a better swing than Kazuo right now.

adoniram, agreed on Beltran. The Mets overpaid because the had to overpay to get him. They didn't expect his postseason in Houston, they just expected Beltran numbers. And this year they are getting him.

ed, I don't make it a habit of drafting Mets, but I too have DW. Delgado too, in another league.

Metstradamus said...

And toasty (hit the publish button too soon), nice job. Fun to see all things cuban on the blogs today. The only Cuban reference I didn't see was a Mark Cuban reference.

New York Sports Page said...

Just linked you up at the New York Sports Page, a daily column/sportsblog roundup I've started up for AOL CityGuide.

Great stuff. If you have any questions or tips, feel free to drop me a line at NYSportsPage at aol dot com anytime.


Metstradamus said...

John, thank you so much! Much appreciated!

CarolynVB said...

I'm enjoying your blog! And the Mets this year. I could do without all these late inning early for crying out loud! lol...hey, have you checked out this contest?

They just picked the finalists for this round, but they seem to have them quite frequently. Could use a few more Mets fans!

This is my blog...on most things NY.

Go Mets!

CarolynVB said...

Oops! Not sure why that url got cropped but here's the rest: