Things are starting to look bright. Despite David Wright landing on the DL and speculations about him not coming back for the season, the Mets seem to be doing just fine without him. Completing a sweep of the Rockies (who had won 8 straight against the Mets at Citi Field prior) and taking 2/3 from the fading Diamondbacks was a pleasure to watch. Dominant pitching matched with timely hitting, aggressive baserunning and great defensive plays were what gave the Mets a string of wins in the past week. Of course, you can’t win 5 of 6 without having a few standout performances. Here are your Players of the Week!
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WILMER FLORES
Well, we all wanted him here, and we couldn’t have asked for more. Although the rookie only batted .261 in his first week (with 6 hits in 23 AB), almost all of his 6 hits came at the opportune moment. Having been greeted with the bases loaded 3 times, he was able to be productive with it almost every time: a three run double in Wednesday’s win against the Rockies, a two run single in Saturday’s win against the Diamondbacks, an RBI groundout in Friday’s loss and a popout in Sunday’s win. In addition to coming up with the bases loaded, he was also at the plate with RISP seven different times, though he only notched one RBI in those situations. If he continues to get opportunities like this as he adjusts to major league pitching, we could start to see his total of 8 RBI climb higher and higher. And if all of this isn’t enough, he has some power too. Flores smacked his first career home run in Sunday’s win… to the opposite field. Showing the ability to go oppo against ML pitching this early is a huge bonus (granted, he homered off of Heath Bell). He’s the third Met to have 8+ RBI in his first 5 games with the team and has already had two 3 RBI games, which says a lot about his straightforward ability to drive in runs. Even if he’s not too flashy with the leather, he’s up here to drive in runs– which is exactly what he’s doing.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: ERIC YOUNG JR
Speed kills, on the basepaths AND in the outfield. It’s not a stretch to say Eric Young single-handedly won the opener of the series against his former team on Tuesday. Not only did his hustle around the bases score the go ahead run, his amazing diving play with the bases loaded in the 6th inning saved what could have been two runs for the Rockies. Throughout the next 5 games, he played a consistent left field, using his speed to catch up to balls and not making any mistakes. The Mets haven’t had too many dazzling plays in the field lately, but EY’s game saving catch from Tuesday night was definitely enough to win him the DPOTW title.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: MATT HARVEY
His speed kills in a totally different way. The Rockies had no answers for Matt Harvey as he hurled 6 strikeouts on 106 pitches for his first career complete game shutout. (Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Only 6 K’s?) He yielded just 4 hits and was able to bounce back from getting struck in the knee with a comebacker in the 9th to complete his shutout. The most amazing part about Harvey getting hit in the knee was that on the next pitch, his 101st, he threw a fastball at 96 MPH. He doesn’t lose velocity as he goes deeper into games. Another amazing thing: The Mets actually scored a decent amount of runs for him: 5 (backed by a Wilmer Flores 3 run double), but this time (of all times!) he didn’t even need it. Previous to this start, he had taken a no hitter into the 7th inning twice, struck out double digit batters six times, and carried a one hitter into the 9th, only to end up with a no decision in an extra inning victory. He had never pitched a shutout. He may not have struck out 12, or given up less than two hits, but he was as dominant as ever. This start could definitely rank as one of his best all year. Oh yeah, and did I mention he didn’t walk anybody?
Ike Davis is finally starting to show signs of life. Batting an astonishing .583 with 6 hits and 4 doubles, Ike is showing patience at the plate and not lunging at the ball as Keith pointed out to us in the booth. Another sign of his plate discipline can be shown with a mind-blowing .762 OBP; the partial result of 9 walks. He is no longer swinging at pitches out of the zone, and somehow pitchers have not seemed to get the memo on that yet. In the booth, Keith has mentioned dozens of times that pitchers are still fearful of his power and are pitching around him; but I respectfully disagree. Ike hasn’t hit a home run since July 26th. Prior to his demotion, Ike was swinging at what seemed to be every single pitch out of the zone; pitchers are merely trying to get him to chase. Once pitchers start to realize that he isn’t going to take a loose cut at a breaking ball in the dirt, they’ll start challenging him in the zone, and that crazy OBP will come down to earth.
Pedro Feliciano has been wonderful since he came back from injury; so wonderful that he has yet to allow a hit. Although he has faced a small amount of batters, he has come in during big situations and is able to get the job done. If he can keep that up, he will be a great guy we can rely on when we’re looking for that one important out.