The Mets gambled bringing back Jose Reyes because they needed a leadoff hitter to spark their listless offense. What they envisioned came to fruition Friday night in Miami in what truly can be described as a must-win game.
Reyes ripped three hits, scored two runs, drove in another, stole a base and had several sparkling defensive plays in a 5-3 victory to pull them within a half-game of the Marlins for the final wild-card spot.
“I needed to step up my game a little bit and set the tone,” Reyes told SNY. “We know we had to win the first game of the series because they have [Jose] Fernandez going tomorrow and he’s one of the best pitchers in the league.”
The Mets’ offense still has holes, but if Reyes keeps having games like Friday’s, leadoff won’t be one of them.
“This guy produces runs,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “We have a lot of games left to play and hopefully he’ll be a big part of our line-up. … Hopefully, he’ll have a lot more like this.”
Reyes did commit a throwing error, but overall his defense at third has exceeded expectations. More games like Friday’s will greatly increase Reyes’ chances of coming back next year.
The following are the other two storylines in the game the Mets needed:
BULLPEN SCRIPT: In their perfect world, the Mets want a bullpen script of Hansel Robles in the seventh (he also got the last two outs in the sixth), Addison Reed in the eighth and Jeurys Familia in the ninth.
The bullpen picked up Logan Verrett, who gave up two runs in 5.1 innings, which should merit another start in the rotation. However, I’m not sure if he’s shown enough to prevent the Mets
WALKER STRUGGLES: Second baseman Neil Walker, who captivated Mets’ fans with nine homers and 19 RBI in April, continued to flounder as he went 0-for-5 to see his average drop to .242 and on-base percentage slide to .311.
Walker has only two hits in his last 32 at-bats in the last nine games he’s played.
With Fernandez being a tough nut to crack, it might not be a bad idea of resting him Saturday and letting Wilmer Flores play second.