Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's so funny 'bout singles, doubles & triples?

More wisdom from the Book of Mex this weekend, as he recalled that the Cardinals teams he played on were pretty successful and they didn't have a lot of power. But they played in a big ballpark, and had a bunch of guys who could get hits, including doubles and triples, and there was nothing wrong with that.

So here we have the Mets, winners of six of their last eight and now a game removed from .500 (again), who in their recent run of success have slapped around opposing pitchers without getting the knockout punch. Their hit totals of the last four games: 12, 10, 13 and 11.

Other than the back-to-back homers by Scott Hairtson and Jose Reyes, which were icing on the cake of Sunday's 7-0 shutout, the Mets have gotten by with singles, doubles and triples, and lots of them. They have even showed an ability to get two-out hits, which at the beginning was as foreign to them as  humility is to LeBron James (we are all Nowitznesses).

The power drought is no surprise considering the lack of David Wright and Ike Davis, and the struggles of Jason Bay, but one of Terry Collins' strengths is not bemoaning what he doesn't have, and focusing on what he does have. And it turns out he has quite a bit.

Jose Reyes had three hits and has 33 multiple-hit games, tops in the majors. The guy is just awesome, no other way to put it.

Daniel Murphy is hitting better than .400 for the last three weeks, and Justin Turner continues to rake, getting a clutch, two-out double that kick-started a four-run eighth that put the game away.

I'll admit I wasn't crazy about pinch hitting for Chris Capuano in that inning. He was dominating the Pirates and his pitch count was low, and Willie Harris is far from a sure thing pinch hitting with two outs. But this decision went Collins' way, as Harris got a single, Reyes got a single, and then Turner doubled, followed by a two-run single by Beltran, and then the weird play where Jason Bay scored Murphy on a sac fly, but Angel Pagan was called out for not tagging second on the way back to first.

Capuano's start was just the lastest in a string of quality starts by Mets pitchers, and it's to the point now where — so unlike where things stood in April — I am confident with any Mets starter now.

Pelfrey may be the only one where you wonder what you're going to get, and he's been much better lately. Niese? Consistently good. Capuano? Solid. Dickey? He's had some troubles so far but you know he's got the ability to shut a team down. And Gee? He's been unreal. Just tremendous.

If you're a Mets fan, I don't know how you don't love this team. Young guys stepping up. A manager who holds everyone accountable and keeps everyone involved. An MVP-like year from Reyes. Great starting pitching, including a player who came from nowhere.

I've said it before, that for a team that had no expectations, there has been a ton of pressure placed on it, especially by the media. Which has put the team in the position of "searching for light in the darkness of insanity," to quote Mr. Costello.

They're finding that light. And if they can ever get Wright and Davis back (and Santana), it's going to get a whole lot brighter.

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