Because this has been a fairly dismal season so far, I find myself constantly clamoring to find the positives. One that I don’t see getting too much attention is the hot hitting of catcher Rene Rivera who, with his home run last night, is riding a 10-game hitting streak.
Rivera, 33, has been known for his defense for most of his career. Currently, however, he has adjusted his hitting philosophy and it has shown. Instead of swinging for the fences with two strikes, he has shortened up and put the ball in play. The result? Since April 30, Rivera has gone 16-for-39 (.410) with two home runs, a double, and 11 RBIs.
When Travis d’Arnaud has been healthy, he has been in the starting lineup because he hits better than Rivera. With d’Arnaud working his way back from a hand injury, he might return to find that his spot as the every-day catcher has been swept out from under him.
Rivera is much better defensively, and if he is hitting better than d’Arnaud, there is no reason for Terry to want to start Travis over Rene except to get the veteran some rest. This Mets team must scrape its way to a win any way it can, and in order to do that they must start the hot bats. Right now, that’s Rene Rivera.
So far this season, Rivera is batting .324 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 68 at-bats.