Who would have thought, a disappointing start to the 2010 season would have Mets fans ranting about anything but starting pitching. Mike Pelfrey has been lights out thus far posting a 0.86 era in 21 IP. Johan Santana seems to have achieved 2006 euphoria; and aside from some inopportune home runs, the bullpen and Japanese born product of the Nippon Professional Baseball League, Ryota Igarashi has really shown strong stuff in his set-up role for the New York Mets prior to injury.
Following The 20 inning marathon in the series vs. St. Louis, the game served as capital water cooler talk for casual baseball fans, but for those vested in the Mets, the lack of offense throughout the series was baffling.
The Mets Cardinals early season affair had many Mets fans seeing signs of positivity holding the powerful Cards line-up at bay for the length of an almost 2 ¼ game rally, whilst taxing almost every arm under contract in the building. The unfortunate truth is that yet another series loss doesn’t bode well for the Mets ‘bigger picture’ ambitions.
Thankfully the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, and although the Mets bats have been slow to come to life, that trend may soon change. The current Chicago series is showing signs of offensive life coming from some unusual sources with deep balls thus far from Fernando Tatis and Angel Pagan. The team collectively is finally showing some run support necessary for their pitchers to play with confidence and finish outings strong. Jason Bay’s bat is particularly slow to develop, but one must keep a couple things in mind.
Power hitting righty Jason Bay is having some trouble “making it” in New York, averaging just .235 in 51 plate appearances and no dingers. Bay is finding home-runs particularly illusive this season which comes as no surprise given the softening markets he’s played in. The powerful righty was blessed enough to be able to trot the basses with a 310 ft. Fly ball at Fenway. The less forgiving Citi Field requires about 25 more feet to reach the bleachers. His strength and ability as a hitter afforded Bay the right to hit to center (389) while at Fenway, as opposed to Citi (408). He’s even talented enough to homer off-field to Pesky’s Pole (a measley 302 feet), whereas he’d have to put a good 30 more feet into the ball to do so at Citi. These 20-30 odd feet are the difference between an out and 3 runs on the board. Citi field is not conducive to home run hitting as we know. It’s big, awkwardly shaped, and low angles expose balls to the elements. If he doesn’t believe so he can ask David Wright who reached many career lows hitting through Citi’s inaugural season of 2009.
It should also be noted that this is Jason Bay’s first experience with a Market this big. Bay is a small town guy who established himself in the low stress environment of Pittsburgh; and Boston manages to keep its “blue collar” label through strong community involvement, strong rosters of similar players and urban stadium. Although the previous sentiment is highly arguable it’s undeniable that the New York market is the most stressful to play in as an athlete. Jason Bay is going through growing pains, and he’s evidently becoming more comfortable with playing at Citi Field with recent success at the place against Chicago, Bay is returning to form daily.