Let’s take a brief look at some of this weekend’s highs and lows in this edition of 3 & 3.
1. Curtis Granderson needed to turn in a great series and that is exactly what happened this weekend. The veteran right fielder went 5-for-12 (.417 Average) with a double, two home runs, six RBI and three runs scored. He was also able to draw two walks. As of yesterday, Curtis is tied with Mike Trout for 3rd in walks among all major league qualified outfielders with 72 on the year. When looking at his numbers in comparison to the other major league outfielders ranking in the top 10 in walks, Granderson is one of 3 players with a BABIP that’s lower than .300. In fact, his number (.249) is drastically less than the other two, with St. Louis’ Matt Holiday coming in at .295 and Toronto’s Jose Bautista generating a .291 in-play average. Curtis’ BABIP has been heavily cited throughout the season as a sign of bad luck, but it also could speak volumes to his need to adapt to defensive shifts used often on the slugger. If he can work in the offseason to evolve as a gap-to-gap doubles hitter at home, while still pulling pitches on the low and inside part of the strike zone, it will give the Mets a more realistic version of the player Sandy Alderson expected to be signing. Against righties, Granderson is slugging .846 from that portion of the plate this year (ESPN.com), so developing a game inside the ball park for pitches on the rest of the plate will benefit his game tremendously.
2. Six different Mets took a pitch out of the yard this series, giving the team a total of seven home runs, with notable blasts coming from up and comers under the age of 30. Travis d’Arnaud hit his 13th on the year and continues to lead all NL rookies in the category. Dilson Herrera hit the second long ball of his brief career, helping to generate a .500 slugging percentage in his first 34 major league a- bats. Lucas Duda added his 27th home run in the ninth inning of Friday’s matchup and is now 3rd in the National League in homers, 2nd among first basemen to Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo (30).
3. Matt den Dekker and Juan Lagares are both doing excellent jobs of translating their speed and overall baseball IQ from the outfield to the basepaths. While he didn’t have his best offensive performance this series, den Dekker has gotten on base at a .370 clip in 22 games since being recalled from AAA Las Vegas in August. More importantly, his ratio of walks to runs scored during that time is nearly 1 for 1, having sprinted across home plate 15 times compared to his 16 walks. His batting average is ascending slowly, but still only at .261 since the call up, so he is still finding a way to make an impact offensively, while continuing to adjust to major league pitching. Matt scored two runs off of his two walks in Friday’s game. Meanwhile, Lagares has been unbelievably efficient with the use of his explosive speed, going 3 for 4 in stolen bases this series. The lone failed attempt came in Saturday’s game and marks the only time he’s been nabbed in his last 10 attempts.
1. Jenrry Mejia managed to record a save in yesterday’s 4-3 victory, but just barely. The closer allowed 4 hits, including a home run to Jay Bruce, while surrendering 2 earned runs before shutting the door. In the month of September, Mejia is 3 for 3 in save opportunities, but is doing so with an ERA of 6.00 and an even WHIP of 2.00. My concern is that a much needed bout of luck is overshadowing the fact that he is not in a healthy enough condition to finish out the season. As always, it depends on the results. If he is able to finish out the season strong and battle through adversities such as injury and strong hitting opponents down the stretch, then it could be beneficial. However, if pitching through physical duress creates an issue that lasts into next season, it would be wise to preserve his body for 2015 and shut him down. Also, I love the intensity, but tone down the celebration dance when you nearly blow a 3 run lead my man.
2. Home runs were equally helpful and hurtful in this series. Dillon Gee failed to hold on to a one run lead during his outing on Saturday, giving up home runs in the 6th and 7th innings en route to his 7th loss of the season. Dillon will always be a pitcher who relies heavily on location, not power. He must be able to keep the ball down and reduce the number of fly balls, particularly in situations like Saturdays where his offense has given him a lead against a formidable opponent in Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto.
3. The team batted .242 with runners in scoring position this series, with that average being propped up heavily by Friday’s 14 run onslaught. Looking specifically at the latter two games, the Mets were 2-15 (.133) with a total of 18 men left on base. For the series, the Amazins’ left a total of 31 men on base.