The Binghamton Mets looked like a juggernaut while smothering the New Britain Rock Cats by a score of 8-3 on Monday night in Eastern League action. Now that their hitting has caught up with their formidable pitching, the B-Mets are beginning to steamroll the rest of the league.
Fresh off a three game sweep in Altoona over the weekend the Mets continued to surge in New Britain despite the fact that their bus didn’t arrive in town until 4 am, effectively canceling infield and batting practice before the game. You wouldn’t have known it by their performance, a true team effort in which they banged out 11 hits with seven different starters scoring at least one run.
Monday’s game extended the Mets winning streak to four and gave them 17 victories in their last 20 games. The B-Mets presently find themselves in second place in their division trailing the Portland Sea Dogs by five games.
In Monday’s game right-hander Rainy Lara (5-2) made the start for Binghamton and pitched well for six innings, giving up one run while scattering five hits, with a walk and five strikeouts to earn the win. The one blemish was a mammoth home run to left field by DH Reynaldo Rodriguez in the second inning. Rodriguez had a huge smile as he rounded third-base and jawed with the B-Mets dugout on his way to home. And he wasn’t done talking. He would later add a ninth inning solo shot off of righty reliever Randy Fontanez for his 14th HR of the year.
That was the lone bright spot for the home team as the B-Mets, who drew first blood in the second inning, never trailed in this one. It looked like New Britain starter Taylor Rogers (7-5) would wriggle off the hook in the second inning. Binghamton had the bases loaded with one out but Rogers was able to retire catcher Xorge Carrillo bringing shortstop Rylan Sandoval to the plate with two outs. Sandoval worked the count before stroking a ground ball single up the middle to plate the first two runs of the night.
The game was tight at 2-1 until the seventh inning when the B-Mets made some two-out noise. With two out and nobody on Rogers started to unravel. He hit right fielder Kyle Johnson with a pitch and then walked Dilson Herrera on four pitches before leaving the game for righty Adrian Salcedo.
First-baseman Jayce Boyd lined a pitch hard to left-center field to score Johnson making it 3-1. Slugger Dustin Lawley, batting out of the clean-up spot then drove a ball deep into the gap in left-center for a two-run double and a 5-1 lead.
Another RBI single for Sandoval in the eighth inning would make the score 6-2. The Binghamton onslaught would continue in the ninth as Lawley drove a pitch from former Met farmhand Jim Fuller deep into the New Britain night for a two-run smash, bringing the score to 8-2.
The B-Mets are doing it with a superb starting rotation featuring six starters, and a deep bullpen of seasoned pitchers. Their rotation presently consists of Hansel Robles (5-5), Tyler Pill (6-5), Greg Peavey (6-1), Steve Matz (1-0), Matt Bowman (6-5) and Lara. Mix in a now potent line-up and it translates to a lot of victories. UPDATE: Peavey was recalled to Las Vegas yesterday. Go get ’em Greg!
One reason for the sudden rise in offense is the influx of players from the Florida State League. Middle infielder Dilson Herrera is tearing it up so far in his first go-round through the league. After hitting .307 at St. Lucie, Herrera is slashing .356/.408/.489 through his first 45 AA at-bats. And the emergence of Dustin Lawley as an advanced power threat has been a very pleasant side note to the B-Mets season.
Lawley who had come off the D.L. at the beginning of June has been absolutely on fire this month. In 100 June at-bats, Lawley has a slash line of .280/.330/.570 with 19 runs scored, eight doubles, seven homers, and 18 RBI. If he can improve his K/BB ratio he will be given a chance to show what he can do for Wally Backman‘s squad out in Las Vegas.
Also the recent addition of Brandon Nimmo to play LF basically gives the Mets three center-fielders, Nimmo in left, Johnson in right, and Ceciliani in the middle. That’s an outstanding defensive alignment. Combine that with Herrera now manning second base and you have the makings of a very good defense.
The pitching staff also received a recent transfusion with the addition of southpaw starter Steve Matz and relievers LHP Chase Huchingson and RHP Randy Fontanez from high-A. After talking to some of the players yesterday you can tell that the confidence level of this B-Met team is very high right now, with a good mix of Eastern League veterans and recent St. Lucie additions. Manager Pedro Lopez has them playing hard, intelligent baseball, and has them believing in themselves and their teammates.
The fun and excitement continues tonight at 7:05 in New Britain, aka Tool City, with right-hander Hansel Robles (5-5 4.62) hurling for the Mets against Rock Cats left-hander Jason Wheeler (1-1 2.92). I’ll be back there again tonight because I have no life and even my dogs refuse to talk to me.
If you have any questions you’d like me to ask the B-Mets players or coaches this week, just send them to the website or hit me up on Twitter.