Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lineup Shakeup

The lineups that Terry Collins has been throwing out there in the early going this season seem to be something out of the book of Bobby Valentine. Every day there's something different. This can get somewhat annoying to the players, I might think, because it prevents them from getting into a real rhythm, but I don't mind it so long as it's just his way of discovering the means to an end. Except when he bats the Pitcher 8th. Collins had to do some crafty shuffling with David Wright now on the DL and Eric Campbell up in his stead. Campbell, though not completely useless, isn't Wright and isn't a #2 hitter. The first experiment in the #2 spot was Travis d'Arnaud.

d'Arnaud, who was already raking out of the gate, responded to the move with 2 hits and his first Home Run of the season. He can stay there.

Behind him, and off to an equally hot start was Lucas Duda. I've already been through the "after so many years of trashing him..." speech, so I don't need to go into how he's proven his worth. But what he needed to do was get off to a good start this season so it didn't seem like last year was a fluke. After whacking 2 hits, including his 1st Home Run of the year, a moonshot that would have been in the seats of the original Citi Field, I think it's safe to say that Duda's not just off to a good start among his teammates, but he's off to the races as one of the hottest hitters in Baseball. True, he'll likely cool at some point, but right now at .353 and even hitting lefties, he's proven that last season wasn't an aberration.

Elsewhere in the lineup, players like Juan Lagares were contributing to back Jon Niese, who pitched just fine for 6.1 innings and even chipped in with an RBI hit of his own, as the Mets scored often and finished off a sweep of the moribund Phillies with a 6-1 victory.

The game was the first Citi Field affair of the season that I wasn't present for (in spite of the way it sometimes appears, I don't actually go to every game), and thus the first time I was home to see a game on SNY with the dulcet tones of Gary, Keith and Ron providing the soundtrack to my Wednesday evening. Of course, I was late to the proceedings, a detour to go grocery shopping meant I didn't get home until the 2nd inning, at which point the Mets were trailing, but at some point they tied the game, then went ahead, and slowly but surely put the Phillies to rest; their first series sweep of Philadelphia at Citi Field since the shutout series way back in 2010.

But the Phillies are basically patsies this season, and the Mets should be handling them. A better test of where things sit might be this weekend, when the Mickey Mouse Marlins, who've put together a cute little team that's gotten people a little too excited, come to town. This should be a good snapshot of where things stand.

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