For a Mets fan living outside the Tri-State area without the disposable income to spend on the Extra Innings package, I’ve survived via the MLB At-Bat app and listened to Howie Rose and Josh Lewin all summer.
A few weeks back, MLB ran a promotion with Wendy’s. Post a picture with a Frosty and get a free subscription to MLBTV for the remainder of the season. I jumped and my app was upgraded, bringing Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling into my home.
As wonderful as this has been, it’s also allowed me to witness some things in real time.
As Jose Reyes goes, so goes the Mets offense – As the leadoff hitter, he sets the tone for the team but when he struggles, it seems to bring everyone down. This has happened before. In 2007, he hit .135 (5-37) with just two walks in the final eight games, seven of which the team lost as they collapsed down the stretch.
He wasn’t as bad the following season, hitting .258 (8-31) with two walks in the final seven games, but the results were the same. I’ve watched Major League too many times and have Lou Brown’s doctrine embedded in my mind every time Reyes pops it up.
With your speed, you should be hitting the ball on the ground and be legging them out.
Asdrubal Cabrera is the team MVP – Yes, Yoenis Cespedes has the numbers and the big home runs, but Cabrera has been a linchpin towards the top of the lineup all season. He’s quietly having his best season since 2009 when he hit .308 with 42 doubles as a member of the Indians.
While he doesn’t have as many doubles (30), his 23 home runs make up for that and account for his career-best slugging percentage of .485. But two of his biggest additions have nothing to do with him at the plate.
IMO, Cabrera’s defense at shortstop has been outstanding. He entered the season with connotations like this from Mark Simon of ESPN – “Cabrera does not rate well by advanced defensive metrics.” This clearly still holds true since his Defensive WAR is 0.9, but his DRS (Total Defensive Runs Saved runs above average) is -8 and UZR/150 (UZR runs above average per 150 Defensive Games) is -6.1.
Nevertheless, it’s been way better than Wilmer Flores and/or Ruben Tejada.
The second thing is his greeting for anyone returning after a home run. I look forward to the helmet flip to the bat boy more than the blast, something that shows a unified dugout and one that seems to be having fun despite all that’s gone wrong this year. Speaking of which…
Terry Collins showed why he should be fired last night – I know, I know, it’s easy to call for his head after a loss. There are plenty of us who have been calling for it after a win and during last night’s 7-3 loss to the Marlins, he showed everyone why.
In the second inning, Bartolo Colon was getting tagged. Darling could clearly see that Big Sexy didn’t have his best stuff as each Marlin hit 85 MPH fastballs all over the field. Gabriel Ynoa started warming up and I just hoped they could escape the inning.
Colon struck out Destin Hood, at-bat number 15 for the 26-year old, and got out of the inning. He was scheduled to bat second in the top of the third and I was already wondering who Collins could use to pinch hit that wouldn’t be needed later on. Maybe Kevin Plawecki?
Needless to say, I was shocked when Colon waddled up to the bat and quickly swung and missed three pitches. This goes to Collins’ undying belief in his veteran players, regardless if that derails the progression of quality young players behind them.
Curtis Granderson has been the biggest beneficiary and it took too long before Jay Bruce found the bench, but on this night it meant sticking with a starter who clearly didn’t have it. Colon nearly gave up a towering home run to Justin Bour before allowing a run-scoring triple and making way for Ynoa.
Ynoa, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are not what Collins left Port St. Lucie with back in March. The fact that he was working without four of the five members of the Opening Day rotation is admirable. That the team hasn’t collapsed under the weight of losing everyone around the infield except Cabrera is impressive.
Something has to happen with the sudden gluttony of starting pitchers. With everyone healthy, the team will have Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zach Wheeler, Lugo, Gsellman and hopefully Colon as a failsafe. I don’t trust a man who’s twice allowed a young pitcher to dictate whether they should take the mound overseeing a season where the majority of the staff will either be coming off injury or pitching off their longest season to date.But that is now and next year is the future.
The future of this team is found with the same young players that helped mount the comeback on Saturday. T.J. Rivera deserves to get a shot as the right-handed professional hitter that Daniel Murphy was. Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto can’t prove anything more in the Pacific Coast League and Gavin Cecchini may need to learn another position or be traded, but something has to happen.
At my core, I’m a positive thinker. So when the Mets make the playoffs, Collins will receive a lot of credit and I’m sure earn a top 5 finish for NL Manager of the Year. Hopefully that acclaim will make it easier for him to find a new position, either within the organization or with someone else. Just so long as it’s not inside the Citi Field dugout.