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The Longball Returns

Mike SteffanosThursday, April 17, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

Game 13: Mets 5 - Nationals 2

Sorry for being so late with this. It's been a brutal week with the real job.

John Maine has struggled somewhat in the early going after looking like he was going to dominate coming out of spring training. It looks like his command comes and goes at times, but what is most hopeful is that he seems to manage his struggles a little better than last year. He's becoming a smarter pitcher all the time, and I could see him putting a nice run of games together some point soon. As it is, he deserves to be 2-1 on the year.

Jose Reyes continues to benefit from the short hamstring-induced break. He hit his first homer of the year and had another hit. He came back from the 3-game absence with his average hovering perilously close to the Mendoza line, and after 2 games has pushed it back up over .290. I suspect the "what's wrong with Jose" speculation will die down for a while, at least until he slumps again.

If you missed it, there's a nice story on Reyes by Marty Noble at Mets.com.

I assumed that whenever Matt Wise returns to the bullpen that Joe Smith would be on the shuttle to New Orleans, but he's making a strong case for himself after another strong outing. He looked so lost early in the spring, now he looks as confident as he did when he was hot for the first two months last year. Other than Wise himself, the only two guys who have struggled in the early going are Heilman and Sosa. Aaron isn't going anywhere, and Sosa is fairly valuable as the long guy.

Part of the Mets problem last year in my mind was over-dependence on the Longball. They always seemed to be waiting around for someone to hit a 3-run homer. I think they might be better off this year hitting less home runs and taking better at bats consistently. Still, it was nice to see a few balls sail over the fence that weren't hit by the opposition.

The Mets did a good job taking the first two games in this series. I'd love to see them go for the jugular and sweep these guys.

View John Maine's Full Season Stats

Box Score

Comments (2)

Mike, We can't afford to let Smith go to the minors now. I say if we keep Wise, then Sosa is the odd man out. Sometimes he's brilliant but to only those who aren't looking slider when at bat. Anyone whose been around this league knows that. Wise wouldhave to be the long guy and they better make sure he's healthy to go since Sosa will not clear wavers.

Sosa is the only one in the bullpen that can give you more than a couple of innings right now. And you're right, he won't clear waivers.

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