Three Mets’ Storylines: Flores, Bullpen Bail Out Colon

Just before the Mets were swept last week in Washington, manager Terry Collins said the 14 games leading into the All-Star break were “very important.’’

He didn’t call this stretch “critical,’’ but his message was understood just the same.

FLORES: Does it again. (AP)

FLORES: Does it again. (AP)

After being destroyed in DC, the Mets responded with a four-game sweep of the Cubs; winning two of three against the Marlins, and powering their way in the opener of this four-game series, 9-7, over the Nationals. With the victory, the Mets pulled within three games of first-place Washington.

Thursday’s win came on the heels of the sobering news Matt Harvey might be lost with season-ending shoulder surgery.

Things didn’t look promising for the Mets after the Nationals took a 4-1 lead in the fourth, but they responded with four homers and a strong showing their bullpen. Travis d’Arnaud, Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores – again – and Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the Mets.

They also caught a break when Jayson Werth’s take-out slide of second baseman Neil Walker was ruled interference, so instead of runners on the corners with no outs the Nationals had the bases empty with two down.

Earlier in the game Werth was called safe on a similar play. Of course, this rule was a by-product of the Chase UtleyRuben Tejada play last year in the NL Division Series.

The following are the three main storylines from tonight’s game.

FLORES STAYS HOT: After a pair of two-homer games on this homestand, Flores did not get the start. Collins’ explanation, in part, was to give him an at-bat against one of Washington’s lefty relievers.

It sounded like he was blowing smoke, but sure enough, Flores hit the first pitch thrown to him by former Met Oliver Perez for a three-run homer in the fifth to put New York ahead to stay. It was his sixth game-winning hit of the season.

Flores has five homers during this homestand, which begs the question: Where will he play Friday?

COLON ROCKED; PEN ROCKS: Colon has been one of the most reliable starters this season, but was shelled, giving up six runs on ten hits in 4.2 innings. Three of those homers came in the fourth by Clint Robinson, Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper.

Colon was bailed out by the offense and the bullpen.

With the bases loaded in the fifth, Jerry Blevins struck out Rendon to end the inning. Hansel Robles struck out Jayson Werth to end the sixth; Addison Reed retired four hitters; and Jeurys Familia recorded his 31st save in as many opportunities.

GRANDERSON RED HOT: “Red hot,’’ haven’t been the words to describe Granderson many times this season, but he reached base five times on three hits – two doubles – and two walks.

In his last five games, Granderson is 8-for-19 (.421) with two homers and five RBI.

Granderson’s surge coincides with the move to second in the order behind Reyes.

4 thoughts on “Three Mets’ Storylines: Flores, Bullpen Bail Out Colon

  1. The double play at the end of the game is the right call

    Yes it was not dirty, but hard. New rules and all

    Good call

    • If that happened the other way around, I’d be crowing about the lack of consistency, and the lack of common sense during the review process. The Nationals have a legitimate gripe, because the runner was going to be safe at first. But whatever – I’ll take it. Not going to complain.

      The MVP on that play though, aside from the umpires, was Cabrera at SS. He’s been a huge, huge compliment to this team’s defense. No, he’s not Ozzie Smith out there. He’s not going to blow your doors off. He just gets to the ball, and he gets the outs. As much of a sure thing as there is on this team. Glad we have him.

      • I am happy with Cabrera
        He has been a nice surprise considering the critic who said he sucked

  2. Absolutely the correct call by the umps on the 9th Inning slide, but Keith Hernandez is correct when he argues that some of the most exciting plays in the game are being stripped away. The rule should not disallow sliding past 2nd Base, but it should be against late slides. And it has to be a judgment call by the closest ump or a bevy of on-field umps, not from Chelsea.

    Flores is so hot right now, that it is really tough to keep him off the field. So, he and all the other infielders play 4 of 5 games. Against southpaws, he should always play 1B. Luckily, Wilmer is versatile. He is also a fan favorite.

    Yoenis Cespedes is proving to be one heck of a catalyst and MVP for the Mets. When all is said and done, he is really putting on a powerful display of bating prowess while moving between two OF positions, something very few MVPs have ever had to do.

    Don’t underestimate the Nimmo effect on this team. Can anyone remember seeing a youngster so thrilled and happy to be in The Show? His demeanor is infectious to the fans, so it must be a real shot in the arm to his coaches and teammates.

    Right now, it is pretty obvious that the four main outfielders (Cespedes, Granderson, Nimmo & Lagares) are integral to the equation. Kelly Johnson has also become the main lefty pinch hitter and super-sub even in the corner OF slots. De Aza’s time with the Mets will end no later than the end of this month. And the versatility of Johnson and Flores means the Mets can carry 13 pitchers for the stretch run. This could help save the arms of the entire staff.

    Reyes leading off with Grandy in the two hole may be the hot hand Collins has been looking for. And the more Reyes gets on base, the more fastballs the fastball-hitting Granderson will see. Now, if Jose can pick up his BBs (always a weakness in his game), we may see lots of runs in the second half.