Valentin Provides Stability
Starting Thursday, May 21, the Bisons played host to the Columbus Clippers in a four-game home series. What made this match-up something of interest is that the Ohioans have ironically played more games in Buffalo, New York, rather than the land of the Buckeyes.
You might be curious why this is, and the reason is simple: the Clippers are the Bisons from yesteryear, becoming the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians in 2009, while the Bisons went to work with the New York Mets. The fact that the majority of players on the Tribes' Triple-A team are former Herd members made for an exciting Memorial Day bit of play between the two clubs.
When Saturday rolled around, the Clippers had taken the first two games from the Bisons; 6-4, 10-4 before the Bisons won 5-3 on Sunday. It's an all too familiar beginning to an opening home-stand for the Herd.
With Saturday however, the atmosphere was much different, heightened by the fact that former Mets slugger Darryl Strawberry was in town promoting the new affiliation between Buffalo and New York.
After starter Nelson Figueroa gave up a single that scored a run for the Clippers, the Herd came back, scoring in the next two innings, which prompted a lead they held until the fifth when Columbus' Trevor Crowe rocketed off a solo shot.
The Bisons and Clippers traded runs again, when Javier Valentin stroked a double and was knocked in by a 325-foot single by Mike Lamb. Despite being up on the Clippers, former Buffalo Bison Jordan Brown tied the game up in the eighth with a towering boom over the right field wall.
Resiliency and fortitude are words that typically avoid the Buffalo Bisons, yet, in the bottom of the eighth, answering back to Brown's homer, Javier Valentin cracked a deep blast over the right field fence, which put the Herd up 4-3 and ultimately gave them a much needed victory.
After the game, Javier Valentin spoke about his at bat and what he has done to keep himself competing at his age.
"I've started seeing things a lot better these past couple days and you think it will be hard, but I have been working hard in the cage with our hitting coach and what I have to do with strength and stay strong and aggressive."
"I guessed fastball and hit it, that's my pitch and I know what kind of hitter I am and that kind of pitch like that you know I have to make contact because if I miss it I'm not going to see that pitch anymore."
Manager Ken Oberkfell chimed in on the performance of the Valentin, "He's done a nice job, I mean, he's a good hitter from both sides of the plate and he's done a nice job at first, he's been working a little bit behind the plate trying to get back into his catching shape, but, he was clutch today."
Javier Valentin has really come to the aide of a struggling, sub-par and underachieving team this season since he signed as a free agent with the Mets organization May 14th. He's batting .343 with three home runs and .465 on-base percentage and Valentin was not even going to play this season and seriously contemplated retirement.
After he spoke with his older brother Jose, a long time Mets infielder, he convinced Javier to get in touch with Mets Vice President of Player Development Tony Bernazard about playing with this organization. The two sides came to an agreement and Valentin has since become a member of the Buffalo Bisons.
That discussion has since paid for Valentin and the Mets as he has provided leadership both at the plate and stable presence behind it with a Bisons pitching staff that figures to get younger as the season rolls along.
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