When Jose Reyes was thrown out trying to advance to third on a ball hit to the left side with one out in the seventh, a voice from the Mets' TV broadcast booth called it a "bonehead" play. I would not expect that from one of the regular announcers, nor would I want to hear it. I think the Met announcers do a good job of being pro-Met without being homers.
But when guest in the booth John McEnroe spoke up about Reyes, it was hard to argue with him, especially since Reyes had admitted he made a dumb running mistake only the night before. And then Reyes made yet another baserunning error in the 12th when he hit a ball to the wall and did not run hard out of the box, ending up on second when the ball did not leave the park.
After the game, Jerry Manuel bizarrely defended Reyes on the latter play, saying that it was better than trying to stretch a double into a triple and being out at third, as has happened the night before. Whether or not it could have been a triple, Reyes should have been running as if it were a possibility, not assuming it was a home run. Had Reyes been on third instead of second with none out, Luis Castillo would not have had to bunt him over and might well have driven him home.
Reyes went 3 for 5 today and has had five multi-hit games in the last six. In the last ten games, Reyes has stolen seven bases in seven tries. So he is still doing very well lately overall. Let's hope he continues his hitting and base stealing on the road trip, and leaves the bonehead plays in New York.
With Reyes on third and one out in the 12th, the Mets had their 3 and 4 hitters coming up. Could not ask for more than that, right. Well, the cleanup hitter today was Gary Sheffield. And this was not a lefty-righty thing, with David Wright hitting fifth and Fernando Tatis sixth.
Yes, Sheffield went 2 for 6 with an eighth-inning game-tying homer. And that brought his average all the way up to .196. Wright may not always be clutch, but he is hitting .315. And after going 3 for 5 today, Tatis is at .358.
Sheffield now has 51 at-bats. He now has two homers and six RBI to go with that .196 batting average.
Mark Teixeira is hitting .191 in 110 at-bats, but Teixeira has seven homers and 17 RBI. And Teixeira is still in the prime of his career.
You bat Teixeira in the middle of the lineup because you expect him to regain his All-Star form. Does Manuel expect the same from Sheffield?
The 40-year-old Sheffield is approaching the end of his career. Last year, Sheffield hit .225 with 19 homers and 57 RBI in 418 at-bats. That's one homer every 22 at-bats. He had an on-base percentage of .326 and a slugging percentage of .400.
After today's game, Sheffield has a homer in every 25.5 at bats, an OBP of .349 and a slugging percentage of .392. His batting average is lower, but he has a lot more walks.
In other words, Sheffield's numbers are now in line with what he did last year. He is performing up to expectations, probably beyond expectations considering that he was a DH the last two years.
Maybe Sheffield needs to play more with Carlos Delgado out, but it's time for Jerry Manuel to realize that Sheffield's days of being a cleanup hitter for a contending team are long gone.