Talk about a bummer of a road trip… The only good part of it was yesterday’s get-away day.
I’m totally excited about the Mets coming home to begin weekend series against the San Francisco Giants, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some inhibitions about Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana based on their last poor starts. It’s nothing that a 1-2-3 first inning wont cure though.
My biggest concern going into tonight though, really centers around Jose Reyes and Jason Bay.
I must first admit that Jeff Francoeur and our catching tandem have met my expectations, Luis Castillo and Angel Pagan (hurry back Beltran!) are doing pretty what we thought they would do, and I’m happy to say that David Wright is well on his way to a 35 homer, 125 RBI season if his current trends stay the same.
What I’m most disappointed by is Jason Bay’s lack of production in the power department. My colleague Ed Leyro writes more about that here.
When Jerry Manuel decided to make the switch and install Jose Reyes into the number three spot of the lineup, his logic behind it made so much sense to me. His reasoning was that Jason Bay would see more fastballs, and to an extent Bay has seen a few more heaters than usual. But, those extra fastballs have not really translated into the gaudy numbers all of us anticipated.
In addition to the lack of production from Bay, moving Reyes out of the leadoff spot has absolutely led to a major drop-off in production from the top spot when leading off the game. According to Patrick Flood, batters making the first plate appearance in each game are hitting a combined .115/.179/.192 in those 28 first inning plate appearances. (Anybody remember the last time Jose Reyes led the game off with a homerun? Damn, I miss those little bonuses Reyes used to give us when he was leading off…)
Reyes is swinging away like a lumber-jack in the three hole, and despite the occasional hit, the fact of the matter is that we are now getting little to no production from the leadoff spot, the number three spot and the cleanup spot. In other words, three of the top four spots in the lineup are simply not cutting it, and if it keeps up you can expect a downward slide in the standings to continue. As you’ve all seen, Reyes is clearly out of his element batting third and the move has altered his swing and approach in some very negative ways.
We used to boast the game’s most electrifying leadoff man in Reyes, but now we’ve not only wiped out the leadoff spot, but in doing so weakened the number three spot as well.
I was completely on board with the whole lineup switch initially, but as you do with any plan, you have to evaluate as you go along, and upon further review the evidence clearly shows that putting Jose Reyes back at leadoff would be in the team’s best interest. It was a worthwhile experiment that did not provide the desired results.
Moving Wright down to number five spot has seemed to jump-start his bat, and for the time being, Wright is without question the team’s best hitter and should go back to hitting third.
Maybe the time has come to get Jason Bay out of the cleanup spot and batting fifth until he gets things turned around?
Until then, bat the youngster Ike Davis cleanup against right handers, and Jeff Francoeur cleanup against left handers. Both Francoeur and Davis should do infinitely better than Frank Catalanotto who has already had a one day stint batting fourth this season. (Thanks for that by the way, Jerry)
What I’m basically trying to say is that just because we are back at Citi Field, where the Mets have enjoyed some great success so far this season, let’s not simply sit on our laurels and gloat on that past success. Instead make some changes that can put the team in a better position to continue their impressive home streak.
It’s time to shake things up again with this lineup… We need to restore some order back to our… ehem… order.