The reason? Johan Santana. He can make a lot of problems go away. He helped put an end to a losing streak with a performance that may have stopped short of dominating, but was still very good; 7 hits (only one extra base hit, inexplicably hit by pitcher Tim Redding) and one walk, striking out four. He kept the ball in the park, which is key for a good Santana start, and even chipped in with two nice looking doubles.
Most importantly, the Mets scored first, which as I discussed yesterday, is so important in baseball. Not only did they score first, but after two dink hits and a double made the score 2-1 Nats, they came back the very next half-inning to tie the game, then took the lead for good one inning later. See? Heart. It’s funny how a bad game can make you forget the good things a team is capable of accomplishing. After two rough games in Chicago, all of a sudden here come the Mets with a good game.
It’s important to note that the Mets won this game despite a combined 0 for 9 from Reyes and Wright, the two young stars of the offense. Wright has had a bad stretch the last few games, but I’m confident he can come out of it because he’s played well for most of this year; he was bound to cool off. Reyes worries me a little, though. In 2006 and 2007, he showed great strides in being patient at the plate, taking walks and looking for good pitches to hit. This year, he seems to have regressed to his pre-2006 self, not taking pitches, not looking to get on base. The Mets need him getting on base; right now, he has the 2nd lowest on base percentage of anybody in the starting lineup, even lower than perennial MiracleMets.net whipping goat Luis Castillo. It’s all coming from walks; he has only four, lowest of all Mets starters. They need Reyes to start taking pitches again, looking for good pitches to hit, and if pitchers don’t want to give him any, settle for walking and wreaking havoc on the bases with his speed. I think Reyes is more fixable than Carlos Delgado, who just doesn’t have the bat speed he used to have; Reyes just needs some tweaking to his approach, and he’ll be fine.
Other than that, great Mets win. It’s nice to see some things go the Mets’ way, like the three runs the Mets scored in the 6th; the only ball the Mets hit out of the infield was Carlos Beltran’s leadoff single. They got some help from bad Nationals defense, but they also took advantage of good baserunning to push across three runs. Beltran scored from first on an errant throw to first base by Ray King, with Ryan Church advancing to third. After Church scored on a ground ball by Angel Pagan (Pagan beat out a throw to first, although King botched the throw, he would have been safe anyway), Pagan then stole 2nd and 3rd and scored on a groundout by Brian Schneider. So while the runs weren’t impressive from a hitting standpoint, the Mets still played good baseball in putting themselves in position to score, and then getting the runs home.
The Mets will look to sweep this 2 game series and put themselves over .500 for the series tomorrow in Washington, with a 7:10 start at Nationals Park. Shawn Hill will start against Oliver Perez, with the game appearing on all the regular outlets (SNY, WFAN, Extra Innings).