The Mets are playing well enough to shrug off an injury to a key player. And better yet, team chemistry just took a huge leap forward…
The Mets received a blow to a key player on Sunday that could cripple a team in most years. The injury occurred when Robinson Cano pulled up lame rounding first base, heading for a double. An MRI detected a torn hamstring, an injury that will keep Cano out of action for several weeks. At 36, there is also the possibility we have seen the last of Cano for the 2019 campaign.
Robinson Cano, you’ll recall, was the centerpiece of a trade with the Mariners that set Brodie Wan Wagenen off and running as the GM of the Mets. Once the season began though, the holes in both Cano and Van Wagenen’s armor began to show. Still flashy with the glove, Cano’s bat speed had de-escalated.
In 258 at-bats in the first half that included two stints on the injured list, Cano managed only seven home runs, with 18 RBI and a puny .240 batting average. Interspersed were two incidents of loafing that did not go unnoticed by fans or Met’s management.
In sum, it is fair to say Robinson Cano checked out when the Mets needed him most in the early part of the season. No one who has followed the career of Cano was shocked by this. And sure enough, typical to form, Cano was waking himself up to join the party in the second half. (check his splits here)
While no one wishes a player injury, Mets fans have reason to rejoice in the fact that the elephant in the room is nowhere to be seen. Cano is not a fit with the Mets. Argue the point. Go ahead. I won’t give in.
This is a young brand of Mets players out to prove themselves. They are hungry, and they play hard. If Robinson Cano ever played with that spirit, he left it behind him long ago when he signed that ridiculous contract given to him by the Mariners. This, after the Yankees, said thanks but no thanks.
What this means for the Mets on the field now is that Jeff McNeil is back to where he belongs at second base. No more fooling around in the outfield, third base, first base, solely to accommodate Cano’s presence.
What’s more, McNeil is a gritty “I’ll get to that ball, get outta my way” fielder. No flash, he gets the job done.
As insurance, the Mets called up Luis Guillorme from Triple-A Syracuse. In 69 games at Syracuse, Guillorme hit .307 with a .412 on-base percentage, and a walloping .864 OPS.
Only 24, Guillorme joins a team of hungry players, like Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, and Amed Rosario, looking to make their mark in the major leagues. At Syracuse, Guillorme played second, third, and shortstop – making him an ideal bench player for Mickey Callaway to rotate at will.
The Mets current run has now reached 17-5. More than the number of wins though, there is a new and different “feel” about the team. More relaxed, with contributions coming from everywhere, they’re scoring runs to back up starting pitching that consistently works into the seventh inning.
Weaknesses in the bullpen are less noticeable, and even Edwin Diaz is finally settling down a bit to complement the efforts of Seth Lugo, the NL Relief Pitcher of the Month for July.
Want more good news – I’ll leave you with this. Of the Mets remaining 50 games, thirty-two will be played at Citi Field, leaving only 18 on the road. Presently, the Mets are shining both home and away. But when the September crunch arrives, every slight advantage goes in the bank as an asset…