Thursday, April 10, 2014

Winning Time

Generally, a lot needs to go right for the Mets to win a series in Atlanta, and fortunately, a lot went right for the Mets in the past three games. Even in the one game they lost, last night, they got off the mat and got some hits off "Mr. Unhittable" and made a lost game interesting at the end. Tonight, they played a game that they could have easily lost, but thanks to a pair of clutch performances from Juan Lagares and Eric Young Jr., and an amazing 4 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, they won a back-and-forth affair, 6-4.

I was out a majority of the night and missed the hot action, but some helpful text messages from a friend kept me abreast of what was going on, until I arrived home just in time to see Jose Valverde close things out with a surprisingly dominant 9th inning.

What I missed was a standout performance from Young, who managed to interject himself into the Outfield conversation after three rather good games in Atlanta. He peaked tonight, with 3 hits and 3 stolen bases, capping off a fine series where he stole 5 bases and managed to raise his batting average above the Mendoza line.

Young, lest we forget, did have a reasonably respectable season last year and did lead the league in Stolen Bases (though a third of his season was spent with the Colorados), and lest we forget, he has some position versatility, since he can play any Outfield spot (or at least I assume he can play any Outfield spot) as well as 2nd Base. It's worth bringing up because at some point Chris Young is going to come back from the DL and one can assume that he and his $7,000,000 contract will get every reasonable shot to play, and who knows, maybe he'll play well. Having 3 quality players for two positions (Lagares being the 3rd) is a reasonably good problem to have, and perhaps it's been pushing Lagares and now Young to play well in the early going this season. Or at least this week—can't really discount the fact that Young started out 0-for-16—these guys are playing for jobs.

Lagares, on the other hand, has played well from day 1 this season, and I'd have to think he's the decided favorite to take the CF job full time. The drawback to this is that should Collins name Lagares the full time starter, it leaves them shorthanded at the leadoff position. Young, despite his sabermetrically-challenged numbers, is the closest the Mets have right now. Lagares has hit like he means it, at least to this point, and although there's no guarantee that he'll keep it up, this start at least proves that he's capable of going on a good hot streak. Lagares also has either Young beat defensively, where he only had 15 assists last year and routinely makes highlight reel catches. This might be better known as the "Rey Ordoñez Corollary," wherein one particular player is so spectacular on defense that it takes away from his complete offensive ineptitude. Lagares isn't quite as putrid as Ordoñez was with the bat, but you get my drift.

The other wildcard here is actually Curtis Granderson. Granderson, who is, of course, the established, high-priced veteran, who to this point is barely batting his weight. You'd have to assume he'll heat up at some point, and it's also only been 11 games, but if this holds, not only will mass panic ensue from those of us still suffering from PJBSD (Post-Jason-Bay-Stress-Disorder), but would it force Collins to consider throwing Granderson into this Outfield revolving door, thus creating a 4-men for 3-spot rotation? It remains to be seen but I would have to imagine we all hope it doesn't come to that.

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