I want to kick myself. I really do. Twice last night, when the Phillies fell behind, I switched over to take a glance at the NHL and NBA playoff games that were on. After the Phils fell behind 6-2, I began to watch the Heat-Hawks game, only to flip back and see Ryan Howard trotting around the bases and the score tied.
Then, when Scott Eyre blew up and put the Phils behind 11-7 in the 8th, I switched on over to catch some of the Blackhawks-Flames game. A little while later, Adam EatShit is yelling at me up the stairs, "You watching this!?!" I wasn't, let him know and he responded, "Ibanez just hit a grand slam!" Yeah, that's right, I missed both of these because I'm an idiot. Thanks a lot NBA and NHL. I blame you.
That was one hell of a 13-11 win. And it was yet another incredible game for Raul Ibanez, who went 3-for-5 with 2 runs, 4 RBIs, a double and that grand slam, not to mention yet another fine defensive play in left field.
Despite what some Mets fans might think, Raul Ibanez has been an incredible success so far this year. He's hitting .342 with 18 runs, 25 hits, 5 doubles, a triple, 6 home runs, 16 RBIs, 3 steals, a .402 OBP, .685 SLG and 1.087 OPS. And his defense, which was much maligned by critics, has been nothing short of stellar throughout the majority of the games, making some ridiculous diving catches, throwing out runners and tracking down balls Pat Burrell could only dream of getting to. Oh, and he also did this:
Basically, while people like RomanWarHelmet loved to point out how, "Raul Ibanez is a downgrade in Left Field," they couldn't be farther from reality. I watched Pat Burrell play his entire career in Philadelphia. I like Pat Burrell. I respect what he did here, but he is absolutely nowhere as good as Raul Ibanez in any facet of the game, with the exception of raw power. Ibanez is a better hitter, better fielder, better baserunner, faster, smarter and all around more complete baseball player. And unlike Pat, he's always up there to swing the bat, which is a good thing when protecting the likes of Ryan Howard.
Will he keep this pace up? Most assuredly no. But He'll put up better, more consistent numbers than Pat Burrell did, and considering he'll be seeing a lot more quality pitches with guys like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley ahead of him than he ever did in Seattle, a career year is not out of the question for Raul. He's certainly off to the right start.
It didn't take long for him to make left field his own.
Update: Thank the one, the only meech: