Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cliff is MOST Valuable indeed

If you drove by Shea Stadium tonight and heard the chant of "M-V-P! M-V-P!", I bet you would have thought the chants were for Carlos Beltran or Pedro Martinez. I bet you that Cliff Floyd wouldn't have entered your mind.

But on this, the 4th of May, the year of 2005, Cliff Floyd is the National League's MVP.

Floyd is hitting .391 with 8 homers and 25 RBI's, and won Wednesday's game against the Phillies practically single-handedly. In their 3-2 victory, Floyd singled home a run in the fourth off Randy Wolf to extend his hit streak to 20 games, then tagged Wolf again with a long HR to right to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. But most impressively, Floyd saved two runs by robbing Jason Michaels of a home run high over the left field wall and kept Jae Seo's shutout alive. The Herculean catch prompted the well deserved M-V-P chants.

Floyd has been hit with some tough injury luck throughout his career, especially over the previous two seasons with the Mets. In only three seasons since Floyd's debut in 1993 has be played over 125 games, and garnered over 500 AB's. Health will always be an issue as the "brittle" tag follows him around, and the magical ride could unfortunately end at any time. But what works in his favor is this: Beltran's presence in the lineup takes some pressure off Floyd to be a run producer, while in turn provides protection for him in the lineup and gives him RBI opportunities. The expectations seem to be high for the New Mets, and not so much the old stand-bys. But this production is what the Mets expected from Floyd all along and then some. Also, Beltran's presence in center field takes some pressure off Floyd to run around the outfield all day. Sure, Mike Cameron was in center last year, but even his defense struggled last year, and every time Floyd high-tailed it after a ball in 2003 and 2004 you thought he was going to collapse in a heap of body parts. Floyd doesn't have to be Mr. Range in left anymore with Beltran, a more confident fielder so far at Shea, patrolling the area formerly known as a landfill.

Cliff Floyd has been Most Valuable up until this May 4th. Come October, the Mets will settle for Most Healthy. Lookin' good so far.

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