Sunday, June 5, 2011

Terry > Jerry

Last night, the Mets scored five runs in the seventh inning to defeat Jair Jurrjens and the Atlanta Braves, 5-0. The big blow was provided by Jose Reyes, whose bases-loaded triple stretched a 1-0 lead to 4-0. Reyes later scored on a sacrifice fly by the current National League Rookie of the Month, Justin Turner.

Reyes has been the team's best hitter all season. He currently owns a nine-game hitting streak, batting .462 over the nine games (18-for-39). Over that stretch, Reyes is slugging .744 and has an otherwordly 1.231 OPS. Those numbers are more common for a middle-of-the-order hitter than a leadoff hitter.

So of course, during last night's post-game interview session, Terry Collins was asked if he'd consider moving Reyes down the batting order into the three-hole, especially since Reyes has been one of the team's top run producers, to which Collins responded,

"He's going to stay where he is. I don't think you ask those kind of players to do things they're not comfortable with."

That's the perfect response by a man who clearly knows how to get the best out of his players. Jose Reyes would not be a good third-place hitter, even with the injuries to David Wright and Ike Davis. The Mets have been there and done that with Reyes already.

Last year, Jerry Manuel (a.k.a. Dead Manuel Walking) attempted to bolster the offense by moving the speedy Reyes from the leadoff spot to the three-hole. In 20 games as the Mets' No. 3 hitter, Reyes was not exactly the answer, as his .207/.253/.280 line in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage were not exactly what the Mets wanted from that spot in the batting order. In fact, R.A. Dickey's offensive numbers (.255/.296/.294) were better in every category. Dickey even had a better eye at the plate than Reyes did as the No. 3 hitter, as the knuckler drew three walks, while striking out eight times last season. Reyes, on the other hand, walked once and whiffed 11 times in 20 games batting third.

Jose Reyes should not bat third. Ever. Jerry Manuel failed to see that and it showed in Reyes' performance on the field. Terry Collins knows how not to mess with a good thing. Perhaps that's why Terry has a job now and Jerry doesn't. When a player like Jose Reyes is on fire, you can't mess with a good thing. Jerry Manuel played with Reyes' fire and he got burned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ed, I could not agree with you more!
Phil Groh