|Jose Reyes leads the Mets offense with two hits, a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. Meanwhile, R.A. Dickey quiets the Atlanta Braves' bats for eight innings at Citi Field. (NYDailyNews.com)|
Reyes sparked an early-inning explosion to give R.A. Dickey the run support he needed, and the Mets withstood a Braves rally to hold on for the 6-4 win on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
The Good Stuff:
- Jose Reyes got going from the very beginning, leading off with a single and scoring on a Carlos Beltran double. Beltran later scored on Angel Pagan's sac fly.
- In the 2nd, Jason Pridie led off with a base hit. Reyes walked with two out. Justin Turner came up and delivered his 21st RBI in 21 games to score Pridie and send Reyes to third. With Beltran up, Braves' starter Tim Hudson threw a wild pitch. Any other player in the league would have been out on the throw back home, but not this guy. Reyes' flashing speed capped a 4-run outburst in the first 2 innings.
- Ruben Tejada singled with one out in the 4th. After Dickey advanced him to second, Reyes slashed the ball over shortstop Alex Gonzales' glove. Tejada scored and speedy Reyes raced to second for the double. He finished the day 2-4 with that RBI and those two runs.
- The Mets picked up another run in the 5th when Tejada walked with the bases loaded.
- Daniel Murphy also continued his recent hot streak, going 2-3. He's hitting .481 in the past 15 games.
- But what stole the show tonight on ESPN was the dancing knuckleball of R.A. Dickey. He baffled Braves hitters for 8 innings, giving up 1 run and 4 hits, walking just 1 and striking out 3. It was Dickey's first home win of the 2011 campaign and the longest outing by a New York starter so far.
- Of course, what would a Mets game be without some unnecessary drama? Manny Acosta made his season debut on the hill in the 9th and proceeded to put runners on second and third with one out. Fransisco Rodriguez was brought in and promptly gave up the three run homer to Diory Hernandez (his first of the year). Acosta's ERA is the true casualty here, standing at a monstrous 54.00. Something tells me it'll go down, but it sure ain't pretty. But K-Rod dug deep to strike out the next two batters and deny Met-killer Chipper Jones the chance to hit in the clutch. I almost expected the Mets to collapse again and embarrass themselves, so I was pleasantly surprised when they bended but didn't break. But the heart palpitations experienced by a healthy college student make it Bad Stuff.
- The injury bug refuses to go away. In the same at-bat where Reyes scored on the wild pitch in the 2nd, Carlos Beltran fouled a ball off the insight of his right leg. He finished the 11-pitch at-bat, but left and was replaced by Willie Harris. He is day-to-day.
To the non-Mets fan, tonight's team was JOSE REYES and friends (Just who is Justin Turner? Daniel Murphy? Ruben Tejada?). But solid play through 8 innings and not-as-horrible-as-they've-been play in the 9th were enough to give the Amazin's the win. I'll bet a lot of people were surprised by this result, and I'll bet legions more think this team would be nuts to trade #7.
Calling Wilpon's Bluff
Throughout the Sunday Night broadcast, cameras focused on all the "Don't Trade Reyes" signs in Citi Field. In the 6th inning, ESPN asked the question that has been engrained in the subconscious of Mets fans: keep Jose Reyes or keep David Wright? After the Baseball Tonight crew weighed in, they sent it back to the broadcast team for their input. All of a sudden, color commentator Bobby Valentine finally shouted some sense into the whole situation: "Keep them both!" Bobby V claimed he didn't buy into Wilpon's "We can only keep one" talk. When play-by-play man Dan Shulman brought up all the money that was coming off the books (Beltran, Castillo, Perez), Valentine pointed out that Reyes already makes $11 million a year, and the Mets could up that by $4 million easily. Fellow color man Orel Hershiser agreed that the Mets could still build around both Wright and Reyes.
This could turn out to be extremely significant in the effort to keep Jose Reyes in the orange and blue. Not only did those comments come on a night when Reyes was at his best in a nationally televised game that was billed from the start as The Jose Reyes Show, but they came from a very respected name in the Mets community, from a man who managed the team during their most recent World Series run, from a man who knows the inner-workings of the franchise. A voice this prominent, combined with the voices of every Met fan from Long Island to Lafayette, may be enough to convince Wilpon that sending Jose Reyes away would be the biggest mistake he could possibly make.