Ahhh, what a week! Taking 3 out of 5 in Atlanta AND 2 out of 3 in Philly is a huge breath of fresh air for this slumping ballclub (and maybe another sign of the decline of western civilization!). Even though they stumbled out of the blocks at the start of the week, not giving Gee any run support and losing on a walk-off by Chipper—I mean, Freddie Freeman, they were, for the most part, able to pull themselves together and put the pieces together.
Stellar defense, timely offense and sharp pitching all worked together to give us 5 wins in our last 8 games. In fact, everything was working so well this week that I thought I’d shake things up a bit by splitting up the Player Of The Week honors into three categories: offense, defense and pitching. So without further ado, here are your players of the week!
LF ERIC YOUNG JR.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: This player wasn’t even a Met until Wednesday, but his punctual hitting when he WAS here gives Eric Young Jr the honors this week. Although his line of .294/.368/.412 isn’t exactly eye popping, we have to look beyond the numbers to truly appreciate what he contributed this week. A game-tying single on Friday, a double with the bases loaded that brought the Mets within three runs of the Phillies on Saturday and a double to drive in Matt Harvey on Sunday, were all key hits that put EYJ above the rest. He was able to come through in clutch situations with RISP, something that the Mets have had trouble doing. In addition, his blazing speed on the basepaths give him an advantage over the rest of Mets players and the perfect fit for that ever unproductive leadoff spot.
CF JUAN LAGARES
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The defense this week was a pleasure to see. Slick plays from the middle infield and a few fine plays from the hot corner were a great treat, but weren’t enough to surpass what one young center fielder did. Juan Lagares continues to show why he deserves to be starting every day. His ability to cover a vast amount of ground and read balls off the bat is almost mind boggling for a player as young as him; but by far his most impressive play was a running grab that very well saved the game for the Mets on Friday. On a ball that was corked to dead center, seemingly on pace to sail far beyond his head, Lagares instantly takes off, never taking his eye off the ball and making an incredible catch over his head that kept the game at a 3-3 tie. Take his talent of being able to read a ball off the bat and add his speed, agility & throwing arm and you get an outfielder who isn’t going to let a ball get past him anytime soon. Of course, his relay skills may still need some improving, but that’s a relatively easy skill to fix and, for a kid who takes his job very seriously, shouldn’t be a problem at all.
RHP MATT HARVEY
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Is there even any competition anymore? Matt Harvey is simply mind boggling. On Tuesday he struck out a career high 13, on Sunday he struck out 6 (it probably would have been more if it weren’t for a rain delay), and he hit 100 mph. Twice. His 90 mph slider was absolutely filthy and his curveball proved to be a very effective strikeout pitch that often gets lost in the hype of his other pitches. Undoubtedly, the most impressive feat of Harvey’s week is the fact that he took a no hitter into the 7th inning for the third time this year that was once again spoiled by an infield single—no help from Lucas Duda there. It seems like every other start, Harvey has some kind of no hitter going; it’s even gotten to the point where we start to expect these kind of things to happen every start, and go “What? How did that happen? He can’t let that happen!” every time he gives up a hit. It’s something we as fans could really get used to seeing every 5th day for years to come.
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HONORABLE MENTIONS: In his major league debut, Zack Wheeler was nothing short of spectacular; despite the 5 walks, he held the first place Atlanta Braves scoreless over 6 strong innings, all while fanning 7 with a fastball that reached 97 and a slider that hit 90. The most impressive factor to note was his ability to get out of tough situations. He never lost his composure and when the going got tough, the tough got going. That’s exactly what Zack proved to be that day: tough.
As for the position player side, Omar Quintanilla quietly had himself a steady week, batting .375/.407/.417 and making some slick plays at shortstop. His sac fly on Tuesday and a single to get on base and score an important run on Friday proved to be very important, both contributing to one run wins. With Ruben Tejada still far from a return, it is very important to get both defensive and offensive production out of the shortstop position.