I've already laid out what I thought the Mets needed to do for the rest of the season to be a success, and why they could do it. They've gotten a huge head start on that goal by taking a 9-game winning streak into the All Star break. (7-0 in their quest to go 46-28 over the rest of the season and get 90 wins to win the division.)
I will throw this caveat out there - the Mets won 8 games in a row in April, and then pretty much immediately afterwards tanked for two months. But this 9 game winning streak just feels different. I should also point out here that it absolutely drives me nuts that they're only playing like this now...this is the way they should have been playing all season.
But I've been talking about one thing for the past couple of weeks, and it's mind-blowing how these numbers play out - and that is just how valuable Jose Reyes is to this Mets team. Perhaps you've seen these numbers somewhere else - I've only seen them early last week on SNY, and I couldn't find them anywhere else at the break. So I apologize if they're wrong, but I had to do them myself, and I admit that I may have made some mistakes. Either way, though, they're incdredible:
Jose Reyes in Mets wins
(51 games) .330 average, 8 HR, 28 walks, 32 RBI, 57 runs, 23 steals
Jose Reyes in Mets losses
(42 games) .262 average, 2 HR, 14 walks, 11 RBI, 11 runs, 9 steals
The saying the past few years has always been, "As Jose Reyes goes, so go the Mets"...but I don't think it's ever been as clear as this. Reyes has missed two games this year - the Mets lost them both. Reyes has one game with 2 home runs - the Mets lost it. Every other game in which he has homered they have won. Basically, if he gets on and scores, the Mets win the game...and he's been getting on base plenty this year.
I was also blown away by Reyes' overall numbers - he's hitting .302, his on-base percentage is .367, and he's slugging .487! This is a leadoff guy!
This is MVP territory. And I bring it up because for the Mets to win the division/make the playoffs/win the World Series they need to ride Jose Reyes. There are good players on the Mets, but the David Wrights can't do much unless Reyes is getting on base ahead of them. And the past two seasons, when the Mets didn't get as far as fans wanted, fingers could be pointed at many players, Jose Reyes prime among them. In 2006 it was the playoffs where he was not effective. Last year, it was after the All Star break.
It seems Jose Reyes finds his own motivations. Last year it seemed he was lacking a motivation, or was distracted. So maybe not making the All Star team this year is the best thing that could have happened to him and the Mets. Maybe that will be the spark he needs to complete this amazing season he's having. And maybe that spark will lead the Mets to a 90+ win season and beyond.
SCHEDULE: If you're in the business of buying the excuses of ballplayers, there might be something to the fact that the Mets had a draining schedule this first part of the season. I think I first heard it mentioned on one of the radio broadcasts of the Mets games last week - remember, the Mets made 3 trips to the west coast over 7 weeks in May and June. Distance-wise, they don't have anything nearly as grueling over the final part of the season.
For what it's worth, the Mets played the Sunday night game heading into the break, and are one of just a handful of teams playing on Thursday coming out of the All Star break. That's one day less of vacation than other players are getting...but maybe it'll end up keeping them more rust-free...and they're probably anxious to get back to work with how hot they went into the break.
A GAPING HOLE: With Ryan Church out indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome, Angel Pagan possibly not coming back this year, and Moises Alou now out for the rest of the season, the Mets need an outfielder bad. The names that have come up are:
Raul Ibanez: Carlos Beltran has endorsed him - they played together in Kansas City and are still close. He would be a typical Mets pickup - effective enough, but in the end, not worth what the Mets gave up. He's probably the most realistic option for a Mets pickup.
Fernando Martinez: The Mets' prospect is only at Double-A. Bringing him straight to the majors would probably be a mistake. I guess he's had some injuries issues too.
Matt Holliday: This was big on WFAN last week. I would say do whatever it takes to get Holliday. He's one of the best players in baseball, and he would be around for a while. I don't know why the Rockies would trade him....but if they did, Mike Pelfrey would be a great fit for Coors Field. He is a groundball pitcher, and that's exactly what the Rockies look for. Matt Holliday would be huge for the Mets.
WRIGHT WATCH: David Wright added two more doubles since we last wrote about it - he's at 24 for the season.
All-Time Leader: 792
Wright's 2008 Total: 24
Wright's Career Total: 165
ALL STAR BREAK STATS: Just to clear up what I posted Monday night, and in response to the comment that was left - I never said it wasn't an impressive number that Josh Hamilton was putting up in the RBI department. I'm just saying that everyone should cool down when relating these numbers to others' numbers at the All Star break. It's not the mid-way point of the season - it's 96 games in. I agree he's on pace for a huge number of RBI, but it's not record-setting. I hope that clears it up.
Thanks for reading the three posts today. Back to baseball tomorrow.