The New York Mets were likely cautiously optimistic once Jay Bruce finally started swinging the bat better a couple of weeks ago.
On April 20, Bruce, 31, was hitting just .190/.288/.328 with one home run, seven runs batted in, five doubles, just two walks, and a whopping 14 strikeouts in just 58 at-bats.
Since then, the Mets’ (usual) right fielder is slashing .320/.382/.500 with two homers, seven RBI, five walks and just eight strikeouts in 50 at-bats.
Now that he seems to be fairly locked in and playing without any ill-effects of the plantar fasciitis that was plaguing him early on (and that he is likely still playing with, admirably at that), it gives this Mets team another intriguing wrinkle to their on-again, off-again offense.
The team used Bruce at first base on Friday night, to a box-score-wise perfect performance. He had a shaky moment when a pop fly dropped in between him and Brandon Nimmo (and Asdrubal Cabrera) early in the game, but otherwise, he was solid.
With him at first, it gives the New York Mets a ton of other options when trying to piece together their day-to-day lineups. Manager Mickey Callaway clearly likes the idea of using Brandon Nimmo more, or else he wouldn’t be playing Bruce at a position that he’s only played 16 games at in his 1,414-game career.
With Adrian Gonzalez now slowly finding his way (.283/.333/.565 with four home runs and 10 RBI since April 18; 46 at-bats), it muddies the situation a bit more, as far as the decision-making process, but in a good way.
If Callaway can take advantage of the daily matchups effectively, as he did last night taking Gonzo’s career numbers against Homer Bailey into play and bringing his plan to fruition, it could have astounding effects on this team.
The mix-and-match approach, with current performance and prior success as the determining factors (which admittedly has had mixed results whenever it’s been employed thus far this season), could end up working out pretty well if everyone is doing their respective jobs.
It seems as if all of the Mets’ moving parts are working up to snuff, the machine that Sandy Alderson has pieced together will perform as its intended to.
If the New York Mets are firing on all cylinders, as they’ve shown they most certainly can do at times, that’s an exciting notion for us as fans, a motivating one for the team themselves, and a terribly frightening one for opposing pitchers.