Sunday, April 27, 2008

I told you I was good luck

The Mets' performance over the weekend wasn't exactly dominating, but it was certainly an improvement over the previous week. Facing the three best pitchers the Atlanta Braves had to offer, the Mets managed to take two out of three with neither Johan Santana nor Oliver Perez taking the mound. The starting pitchers only pitched fifteen and two-thirds innings, but the bullpen was solid (Jorge Sosa didn't pitch and Aaron Heilman only gave up one run in one inning of work). And while thirteen runs in three games is hardly an offensive explosion, the bats did show signs of life.

David Wright broke out of a five-game hitless streak with a pair of singles on Saturday. Raul Casanova had four hits in two games including his first home run of the season. And Carlos Delgado smacked a pair of long balls on Sunday, thus igniting the stupidest controversy of the day.

The Mets have now scored 113 runs in 24 games, 4.71 per game. This is only the sixth best mark in the league. While it's too early to declare Delgado reborn, I have little doubt that the offense as a whole will improve, even if Moises Alou never returns.

Although no other starter has had the sort of prolonged bout of uselessness that plagued Delgado, there are still several key players who are underperforming. Jose Reyes is foremost among these, hitting just .237/.272/.392. Reyes has only drawn five walks so far, so perhaps part of his struggle could be chalked up to his approach at the plate, but he's also been somewhat unlucky. He has a batting average on balls in play of just .250 compared to a league average of .291. Carlos Beltran, hitting .224/.359/.412 with a BABIP of .270 is another Met whose numbers should improve as his luck begins to even out. And as evidence that Carlos Delgado's slump isn't entirely the result of having gotten old and/or hating the fans, I point to his .221 BABIP, lowest on the team. He's probably not going to revert to the form of his glory days in Toronto, but at the very least I think a few more ground balls might start finding some holes.

The Mets (13-11) and their offense will try to take a few more steps forward starting Monday as they welcome one of the worst teams in the league to town. The Pirates (10-15) come to town holding the distinction of being the only sixth place team in the major leagues. They will have to tangle with Johan Santana (3-2, 3.12, 32:5 K:BB), Oliver Perez (2-1, 3.62, 24:16) and Mike Pelfrey (2-1, 4.43, 10:10). The Met bats will try to keep up Sunday's good work against Ian Snell (2-1, 4.45, 21:9), Tom Gorzelanny (1-3, 8.46, 13:22) and Zach Duke (0-2, 5.34, 9:8).

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