Tonight, is the first of many “What If’s”. The inaugural What If is one that I have been wondering for a long time; what if Duaner Sanchez gets into a different taxi cab?
Duaner Sanchez had be lights out as the set-up man and bridge to Billy Wagner. At the time his stats were:
5-1, 2.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 44 K’s, in 49 Games and 55.1 Innings.
Then, Duaner decided to get into a Taxi Cab in the early morning hours of July 31, 2006. The taxi crashed and Duaner injured his shoulder. In a hurry to get a reliever, the Mets traded Xavier Nady to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez. Aaron Heilman was named the new set-up man for the rest of the season.
We all know what came next. Ollie pitched in 7 games for the Mets in 2006. He went 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA and a 2.4 K/BB ratio.
In Game 7 of the NLCS against the Cardinals, Yadier Molina came to bat against Heilman with a tie game in the 9th inning. He hit a two run home run. The Mets went on to lose that game, and Heilman never recovered.
So, what if Duaner doesn’t get hurt?
Here’s how I picture it:
· Duaner finishes the season in the set up role and continues his lights out pitching.
· Xavier Nady (who already had 14 homers) has a career year as the Met Right Fielder.
· The Flushing Faithful never see the likes of Shawn Green.
· Aaron Heilman isn’t put into the setup role.
· Not being the setup man, Heilman never faces Molina.
· Duaner puts the Cards in the Deck in the top of the Ninth.
· Mets win the NLCS and go on to win the World Series.
· Mets do not have to deal with the hangover of losing that game and there is no 2007 or 2008 collapse.
· Aaron Heilman doesn’t have “Brad Lidge Syndrome” and is still a productive reliever.
· 2008 Mets bullpen is much better and Mets make the playoffs.
· Oliver Perez is never a Met, and Derek Lowe is now the Mets second starter. And, with Ollie never a Met, there is no huge contract that prevents the Mets from signing free agents.
But sadly, there are no mulligans in life. Duaner Sanchez DID get into that Cab. Aaron Heilman DID give up that Homer.
What If Duaner Sanchez doesn’t get into the cab? We will never know.
-Written By Matt Grasso