One characteristic of the 1986 Mets was their explosiveness. Not only did they dominate with pitching and the ability to manufacture runs, but they could take over a game with one big inning.
On this day in 1986, that inning was the third when the Mets broke through for five runs on consecutive homers from Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry and Kevin Mitchell en route to a 5-1 victory at Atlanta.
Rick Aguilera gave up eight hits in the complete-game effort.
With the victory the Mets moved to 64-30 as they ran away with the NL East.
The Mets announced today Johan Santana will make his first rehab start Thursday at Port St. Luice and make 45 pitches. Figuring no setbacks, perhaps we’ll see Santana by mid-August. What do the Mets have to gain by pitching Santana with the season all but lost by then?
SANTANA: Expected to pitch this week.
Obviously, Santana will not have pitched enough by the end of the month for anybody to risk a trade. The key for Santana is to gain peace of mind so he won’t have to go through the winter wondering about the spring.
Pitching this year will also enable Santana to judge where he is physically and what his off-season pitching workouts will be like.
It’s tempting to say watching Santana could help the Mets gauge their pitching needs over the winter, but he wouldn’t have made enough starts for them to get a definitive picture. Even if Santana pitches well the last six weeks of the season and during spring training, he’ll need to go deep into 2012 before we know if he’ll hit the wall as pitchers often do the year after surgery.
I chuckled this afternoon when I read an account suggesting the Mets could non-tender Angel Pagan this winter after this disappointing season. Pagan has not built on last year’s strong showing, but that hardly means the Mets are looking to dump him. If they were, they’d be shopping him now, but aren’t.
PAGAN: Odds say he'll stay.
Pagan is making $3.5 million this year and arbitration eligible. It isn’t as if he’ll break the Mets’ bank this winter.
The Mets are precariously think in the outfield now, and will only get thinner once Carlos Beltran is traded. Fernando Martinez is hardly proven he’s ready to play full time next year, let alone stay healthy.
Jason Bay has a spot in left because he has a contract that can’t be traded and maybe they’ll give Lucas Duda a chance in right. Who’s going to play center all season? Jason Pridie? Scott Hairston? Hardly.
Pagan has been a disappointment, but showed us something last summer to warrant another chance. Of course, all of this would be a moot point if the Mets signed a free-agent outfielder or traded for B.J. Upton.
It’s not happening. Expect to see Pagan again in 2012.
Here’s tonight’s lineup for the Mets at Cincinnati:
Jose Reyes, SS
Justin Turner, 2B
Carlos Beltran, RF
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
Ronny Paulino, C
Jason Pridie, CF
Jonathan Niese, LP
Have the Mets lost their best chance to make a strong deal for Carlos Beltran? Did they hold on to him too long? Depending on whom you read, the favorite to obtain Beltran appears to change from hour to hour.
BELTRAN: Where's he running to?
And, none of the reports is glowing with young talent coming to Queens. A similar thread to most of the reports is a reluctance of any of the contenders to offer top prospects, although they might be will to assume more salary.
It is an impressive list from which the Mets have been asking – and being rebuffed.
The like Atlanta’s Mike Minor, Julio Teheran or Arodys Vizcaino; they are intrigued by the Phillies’ Dom Brown or Jarred Cosart; from the Giants they’ve inquired about Zack Wheeler, Brandon Belt and Gary Brown.
Not all of them, mind you, but they can’t seem to get a nibble on just one of these prospects.
The problem is these teams believe they can contend without Beltran, so why should they give up future chips for a rental?
So those earlier reports about the Mets raking in several prospects look frustratingly premature.
At this point, saving a few bucks hardly does the Mets any good. The Mets clearly have a bat teams covet, but that doesn’t mean they have leverage.