(Photo: Bill Menzel)
The offensive heroes for the New York Mets Friday night at Citi Field were David Wright and Curtis Granderson who drove in six runs in their 9-3 win over the Kansas City Royals that made this a World Series again. Noah Syndergaard did his job on the mound and gave the Mets a significant boost.
Then there is the veteran Juan Uribe. He has participated in two World Series with the White Sox and Giants and his veteran leadership since his acquisition from the Atlanta Braves at the trading deadline was a significant part of the Mets run to October.
Uribe sat out the NLDS and NLCS, and did not play the last two weeks of the season because an injury to a cartilage in his chest got worse after pinch hitting in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. There was discussion about whether his leadership and bat off the bench would be available and it was a last minute decision to put him on the roster.
Friday night when manager Terry Collins needed a pinch hitter in the sixth inning, Uribe got the call to hit for Syndergaard. Uribe went back to work and did what he does best in the postseason and delivered an RBI single against Franklin Morales that extended the Mets lead to 6-3.
The hit provided more momentum for the Mets. The Mets bench jumped in jubilation for the veteran and Uribe was just as emotional as he ran out of the batter’s box and to first base.
“I felt happy that I was helping my team,” Uribe said in the Mets postgame clubhouse meeting with media surrounding him. “That showed I’m helping my team again. This team has a lot of talent, good pitching and could make it.”
And for Collins, Uribe is the guy the Mets need off the bench. If the series goes back to Kansas City for a sixth or decisive seventh game, Uribe with that hit may have put himself in position to be the needed designated hitter that makes a difference in the American League ballpark. He has done it before and if healthy there is every reason to put Uribe in the lineup.
Uribe described the sequence of pitches off Morales before the hit. It was, as he said, four fastballs and then the curve.
“I knew it was coming, he said about the curve. And then he got some laughs, commenting, “I told you I was looking for the curve I be lying to you. I have to look at the first pitches and see what the pitcher has for me.”
Said Collins, “When you’ve had the career like Juan has had he’s done amazing things. So he told me the other day he was ready. We were looking for the situation to get him in and we thought tonight was the example.”
And there may have never been any hesitation as to who Collins wanted in the situation. Uribe has been working himself back in shape on a daily basis as his teammates disposed of the Dodgers and the Cubs in the NLDS and NLCS over the past three weeks.
“When Morales came in the game we needed somebody to hit fourth which meant somebody was going to be on base when he got up and fortunately we had two guys on,” Collins said about putting Uribe up at bat.
He added how important he Uribe presence is in the lineup or off the bench. “He’s such a good guy to have on your club and be in the clubhouse. It’s nice that he had a chance to contribute.” More importantly that presence of Uribe has meant so much as the veteran to the younger players on this Mets team experiencing postseason play for the first time.
“What he did today was great,” Wilmer Flores said. “He hasn’t played a while but he stayed ready.” That has an impact on a young player like Flores and it has been a factor during this October run of baseball for the New York Mets. Uribe was also the first to console an injured Ruben Tejada when his season ended in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Dodgers with that Chase Utley controversial slide at second base.
Now the question is: Will Juan Uribe have more of an impact during the remainder of this World Series for the New York Mets?
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