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Leave 'em Smiling

Mike SteffanosMonday, June 2, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

Game 55: Mets 6 - Dodgers 1

There were a lot of things that have gone right for the Mets all of a sudden since their return home this week, and that carried over into last night's win. Once again, timely hitting, good pitching and some really solid defense carried the team.

There were more good signs. Reyes, Wright and Carlos Beltran have continued to hit after experiencing their respective early season woes.

After bottoming out in late April with an OBP in the .270s, Reyes has been getting on base with regularity again. Jose had a hot month of May, hitting .310/.379/.534, with 5 HR and 15 RBI. He also crossed the plate 20 times last month after scoring only 13 times in April.

Wright's batting average was in the .260s when the Mets returned from their first west coast trip earlier last month. He's been striking out way too often with 40 Ks in only a third of a season, which explains some of his struggles. He had hits in every game of the home stand, including a big game last night and a 2-homer game on Friday. His average is back over .290, and if he could cut down on the whiffs he should get back over .300.

Beltran had a terrible April, hitting .200/.364/.365 with only 2 HR and 13 RBI. That continued into early May, but a hot finish put him at .306/.374/.491 for the month. His 6 HR and 34 RBI on the year aren't up to par, but he's heating up and could be due for one his famous hot streaks.

All three had big nights in their first June game, and Ryan Church returned without missing a beat.

The Mets aren't a great offensive team this year, but with those 3 going better (and Church back) they aren't quite the pushovers they were early on. Actually, the way key Mets have struggled it's amazing they were even a .500 team in the early going.

And the question becomes, once again, can they sustain a run? In my mind they're not a real contender for anything unless they can prove they can stay hot for a couple of weeks. Still, it's become a lot more fun to watch Mets games lately.

A couple of quick notes.

I agree it's a concern that Santana has lost velocity over the last couple of seasons, but Pedro has proved you can win without 95 mph stuff. Perhaps Santana will need to expand his pitch repertoire to make up for the diminished fastball.

Luis Castillo has cojones the size of manhole covers. He's obviously in pain -- and I still think the 4-year deal was a mistake -- but he finds a way to get on the field and get it done. I thought his double play turn in the sixth was one of the finest I've ever seen.

View Johan Santana's Full Season Stats

Box Score

Comments (3)

My own idea of a good sign was back in the Marlins series, when Hanley Ramirez ignored baserunner Reyes at second base and Jose took third. It was an alert play, or an unforgivably sloppy play, depending on your rooting interest.

Most of us held some unkind thoughts regarding Jose Reyes up until a few weeks ago. And for reason; Jose brings it upon himself with his brain-lock play at times. But I am glad that his failures don't seem to rob him of his initiative the next time he stands in to the plate or leads off first. That's the guy I want playing shortstop for my team: THAT Jose Reyes, attentive but fearless.

Hey: let's applaud Oliver Perez, for seeing to it that all his Mets fans back home got plenty of shut-eye last night. Seriously, isn't it time Perez skipped a start and spent the time in remedial class, watching the tapes, figuring out where he lost his point of release? Just a thought.

And since I am unloading thoughts, how about that Ryan Church? Stepping right back into the lineup and threatening to take over every game. But I wish he would take to wearing the batting helmet all the time, a la Johnny Olerud.

Also in the "good signs" category is the way the entire Mets team keep fighting last night after Oliver Perez had staked the Giants to a six run lead. That sort of effort will yield results, wins.

It was what it was. Perez remains what he is, " inconsistent", and with his inability to get out of the 1st against a "sub-par" team, I'd have to agree with dd about some relocating the release point time. The Mets did have yong Sanchez on the ropes in the top half of the first, but let him off, and it was a tremendous fight to climb out of the hole. I expected more than 6 hits and 2 runs, but I understand how rough that climb was. I went to bed after the 5th, and glad I did not waste any more time, because when I saw the final this morning, I just shook my head. Oh well, Pedro tonight I say 6 1/3, 2 runs, 5k's, and a win. Mets take it to the Giants 8-3.......Lets Go Mets!

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