Just wanted to update this post and say that Daniel Murphy has been named National League Player of the Week for the period ending September 1.
Congrats to Murph and nice job by Steph for making a great call!
There were close games, there were blowouts. There was dominant pitching, there was offensive outbursts. This week in Mets baseball was mostly 50/50, splitting the series from the lowly Phillies and taking 2/3 from the recently surging Nationals. If you take away the game that Dice-K Matsuzaka pitched, Mets starters combined for an impressive 2.20 ERA in the past week; not to mention they finally got some run support! The offense scored 11 runs twice in three days and a total of 38 runs overall. This is a pleasant sign from a starting lineup lacking its star hitter and consisting mainly of rookies and bench players. Choosing three standout players in a stretch of play like this is tough, but not impossible. Here are your Players of the Week!
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: DANIEL MURPHY
The Murphster is on another unique hot streak. The second base slugger is 12-21 with 6 RBI and 7 runs in his last 5 games; which includes going 4-5 with 2 RBI in Thursday’s 11-2 whooping of the Phillies, going 2-4 and scoring 2 of the 3 runs in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Nationals, going 3-5 with 2 RBI in Saturday’s win and going 2-5 with 2 RBI in Sunday’s late 6-5 loss to the Nats. With David Wright‘s return date still up in the air and Marlon Byrd having flown off to Pittsburgh, Murphy’s bat is the one that needs to stay consistent in order for this team to produce a decent amount of runs. Batting in the 2 hole, getting on base and moving the leadoff man over is crucial, even without a true 3 hitter hitting behind him. In another perspective, with John Buck and Marlon Byrd gone, a lot of veteran presence has been lost. It would be so important to the young hitters if Murphy took it upon himself to act as a guide to them; to lead by example. He could offer a lot of valuable advice on how to handle and break out of a slump.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: JUAN LAGARES
How predictable is this becoming? The young outfielder took on a new role in right field with the call up of Matt den Dekker; and he couldn’t have looked more comfortable. He notched his NL leading 12th outfield assist on Saturday, throwing a perfect relay to Murphy to tag out Bryce Harper at third. The most mind-blowing thing about Lagares is that he has only played 95 games at the ML level and he is already leading the NL in OF assists; not to mention he spent a good chunk of that time platooning with Rick Ankiel and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. You could put a blindfold on this kid and he could still run down the ball as perfect as anyone. Juan Lagares has given Mets fans every reason to believe that he has many Gold Gloves waiting for him in the future.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: DILLON GEE
Dillon Gee‘s resurgence has been nothing short of spectacular. Not only is his win-loss record over .500 (10-9), he is third in the NL with a 2.48 ERA since May 30th. He tossed 7 2/3 innings of dazzling ball on Friday, coaxing 14 ground ball outs. He got into a jam in the 8th inning, giving up a solo homer to Steve Lombardozzi and back to back singles with two outs before handing the ball over to Scott Rice for the last out. He is 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA this season against Washington and starting to solidify his spot in the future rotation. Gee’s status as a middle of the rotation guy while we wait for AAA arms like Montero and deGrom to come up is incredibly important for the organization, especially with Matt Harvey‘s incredibly questionable future. Gee needs to pitch like he has been since the end of May for the entire 2014 season. He doesn’t need to throw 99 or rack up 10 K’s a game to be dominant, and he’s done nothing but prove that to everybody each time he takes the mound.
Just when you think Jon Niese couldn’t top his last outing, he goes ahead and 3 hits the Phillies. Niese hurled his second career shutout on Tuesday, walking one and striking out 5 on 113 pitches. His cutter was expertly located it to produce groundouts, flyouts and strikeouts. This feat would have certainly given him the pitcher of the week honors, but unfortunately he got tattooed for 10 hits on Sunday. If there’s one thing to nitpick about Niese, it’s the minimal use of his curveball. He’s shown the ability to throw it for strikes and getting hitters to chase it, yet he seems to have grown in love with the cutter. There isn’t a problem with him using a pitch he obviously feels very comfortable throwing, but admittedly, it would be nice to see him use the pitch that got him into the major leagues more often. I’m a sucker for a good curveball!