It's Go Time
When things start getting hot, good players rise to the occasion. When the rumblings of Cammy to leadoff and Tracshel on his way back and ahead of scheduled start to disseminate, it reminds certain people that they cannot take what they have for granted and some people need to prove themselves and prove they want to be where they are.
My biggest criticism of Jose Reyes this season was his ability to get on base and create for the baseball team. Lately he's has been doing just that and the Mets still are not having an easy time scoring runs which brings up a much larger problem. Since May 1st, Reyes has played in all 29 games. In the first fourteen, he put up a line of .236/.300/.255 with five runs scored, one double, no triples, one RBI, three stolen bases, and five base on balls. Since that time in the next fifteen games, Jose has gone absolutely off. He has put up a .344/.373/.594 line, with nine runs scored, two doubles, seven triples, nine RBIs, three base on balls, and seven stolen bases. With his stolen base binge, he is on track to swipe 40+ bags, but the way he is going, he is going to be stealing a base or two every game and could easily eclipse 50 or maybe even 60. Is this another hot streak for Jose like he had at the beginning of the year? Or, has Jose turned a corner and learned something. At some point, it is going to click for Jose.
Last night's game was great. Good defense, especially on Doug Mientkiewicz's double play in the seventh inning. Victor Zambrano faced one batter in the ninth and left with 99, yes, 99 pitches and he threw 60 for strikes. The Diamondbacks will have to face Pedro Martinez tonight and face the second filthy pitcher in two days. Also, as Jeremy pointed out on Metsgeek.com a few weeks ago, Victor has not been as bad as people make him out to be. Sure his WHIP is Joe Torre ugly, but if you take out his one start that he got shelled, he's 3-4 with a 3.46 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 6.58 K/9, and an average game score of 50.4. He basically has been giving the Mets a chance to win in nine of his ten starts. He gave up two runs or less in five starts, three or less runs in nine starts, and got shelled in only one start. The problem is the innings he gives, but he has not been as bad as people make him out to be. Yes, he was not worth Scott Kazmir who should have only brought back an ace that was already established, but that is not the point. Victor belongs in the rotation by his performance this season even without the gem last night.
However, no one is more under the gun than Kaz Matsui. This is probably his last shot to stick in the starting lineup. The Mets are 13-7 when Miguel Cairo starts and those numbers are going to be hard to ignore for Willie Randolph who definitely has a soft spot for the former Yankee. Cairo came up lame with an injured hammy and Kaz will most likely get a string of starts that he might not have gotten otherwise. Being the Randolph has unofficially decided Cairo is his starting second baseman no matter what he says, Matsui has a last chance to impress. He has one last chance to be the guy that hit .282 in the second half of the season and smacked over thirty doubles in only 114 games. If Kaz has any guts and has a competitive streak, now would be the time to show it. Now would be the time so eschew the boos and start being a productive player and claim his rightful spot in the starting lineup. If he falls on his face again, he may never get another chance to get up. I guess it is time to see what Kaz Matsui is made out of.
EARLY LEADERS: Mike Piazza and Carlos Beltran lead NL players in voting at their positions in the first totals released for the July 12 All-Star game in Detroit. Piazza leads Paul LoDuca of the Dodgers, 447,259 to 291,123, while Beltran leads Jim Edmonds of St. Louis, 527,433 to 402,419. Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (570,004) leads all NL vote-getters. Doug Mientkiewicz (185,924) ranks third at the position, two slots ahead of Florida's Carlos Delgado (106,632). ... Backup catcher Ramon Castro is expected to be activated today.