Monday, May 24, 2010

Picking Your Spots

I wonder if it took facing the Yankees, a familiar foe from his Red Sox days, for Jason Bay to finally start to get on one of his hot streaks. After a 4-hit game on Saturday night, Bay finally flipped that power switch and knocked out a pair of HRs, not only aiding the Mets to a game and series win, but also tripling his HR output for the season and (hopefully) signaling that he's finally going to go on one of his tears.

I haven't especially worried about Bay or his slow start, because he really doesn't seem like he's pressing or bothered by any of this. Pressure doesn't seem to wear on him like it does on a few of his teammates. It's as though he knows the hits will come, just be patient and stick with it and the numbers will go up. But he certainly knows when to step it up and get some big hits, and last night proved that.

I still maintain that Bay just makes the Mets feel a little more professional. I wouldn't get down on him at all even if he goes back in the tank, because in the long run, I'm pretty confident that we're going to like this signing. I can see him maybe having a Beltran in '05 season, not quite right, and then coming back the next year and lighting it up. Hell, he could come back in the 2nd half and light it up.

Then, there's Johan Santana, who had a lot to prove himself, given that the last time he took the mound in The Biggest Game In The Galaxy, he got lit up by the Phillies, and the last time he took the mound against the Yankees, he got lit up. But, with the Mets primed to steal this series (one in which they were one stupid error and one key hit away from sweeping, honestly), Johan came out and looked like the Johan we're used to seeing. He was unusually economic with his pitches and he kept the Yankees off balance and off the scoreboard and basically just wagged his finger at everyone as if to say, "Don't write me off just yet..."

This rubber game business has seemed to always be a problem for this particular incarnation of the Mets, so it's particularly important to look at the performances by Santana and Bay last night and see how they stepped it up a little bit when the Mets needed them to. I'm not totally convinced that the Mets are going to go on another hot streak just yet, if they come back on Tuesday against Philly and knock them around, maybe I will be, but if they are, you can look to a game such as last night's as an instance where the Mets best players played their best and basically willed them to victory.

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