Terry Collins went back on what he told reporters last night and again earlier today, and just announced that Ruben Tejada will start at shortstop tonight and NOT Wilmer Flores.
Flores is not sick. More in the game notes.
Things have been going pretty good the last couple of days. After losing five games in a row, the Mets have now won three straight including the first two games of the Subway Series. They have scored 26 runs during the current 3-game streak which is just five less than the first nine games of the month.
It has been refreshing to see some offense, which brings us to the realization that it has been there the entire time. Why is it showing up all of a sudden? Is it here to stay or is this something that will show its face for a few then disappear? Some would say that the opponent has something to do about it. Who wouldn’t want to travel to the Bronx and put a whooping on the Yankees? Some could say that certain players don’t feel that their job is safe anymore due to the flurry of roster moves over the last week. Which brings me to the point of this post.
Ruben Tejada was handed the starting shortstop job over when Jose Reyes departed for Miami. Things haven’t really gone according to plan which have led the Mets to discuss other possible options. Names like Stephen Drew and Nick Franklin have been tossed around as players to sign or trade for. Names within the organization have been discussed with no movement on it until recently. Tejada has flashed some leather making some outstanding plays in the field. Unfortunately the bat hasn’t come around as quickly as everyone had hoped. Prior to May 9th, Tejada was hitting just .183 on the season. He was 0-for-May and was showing no signs of that changing.
Insert Wilmer Flores. Flores was tearing things up in Las Vegas for the 51’s. In 29 games he was hitting .307 with five home runs and 25 RBI. The Mets made the move to promote him from Triple-A on May 9th and planned to hand the starting job over to him. Unfortunately for Flores, the moved had to wait due to an illness so the job again went back to Tejada. In the three games he has appeared in so far he has gone 2-for-12 which isn’t a big enough sample size to see if the move made sense.
If the sole purpose of calling up Flores was to give him the starting shortstop position, the decision should be easy for Terry Collins now that Flores is healthy again right? Probably not. With the job his again (for the time being), Tejada has done nothing except hit. During the current Mets win streak, Tejada is 4-for-12 with two doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored, which was the most production out of him since late April.
Some might say that Tejada lacks the work ethic and desire to excel at the major league level. He has given the appearance perhaps of not trying as hard because he was handed a job he didn’t necessarily have to fight for out of spring training. Now with his back against the wall and Flores breathing down his neck, we are seeing what he is actually capable of. Is it a coincidence?
“He’s hit it square, he’s hit it hard,” Terry Collins. “He’s played very, very hard defensively. Again, I don’t know the reason necessarily why, except the perception would be he got a wake-up call. And sometimes that makes a big difference.”
“The only thing you can assume — and you could be wrong — is Wilmer came in and all of a sudden he lost his job and he said I got to win it back. Maybe he got focused.”
So the question is this. Has Ruben Tejada finally put it all together, or is it merely a case of fighting for his life? Would you sacrifice Tejada’s defense for Flores’ bat?
Whatever the answer, Flores is feeling better and will be back at short tonight.