You don’t know if you should envy Terry Collins these days or if you should pity him.
Poor Terry. How do you keep everyone happy and hitting as the Mets go into their most important series of the year?
Poor Terry. How can you pull Wilmer Flores from the lineup the way he is hitting, but also make sire Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Neil Walker are in the starting eight as well.
Maybe he should like petition Commissioner Rob Manfred to add the designated hitter to the National League.
But short of that, he has a dilemma.
But after two homers from Flores and two doubles from Reyes, he has to start them tomorrow against the Nationals, right.
“I don’t know,” he said when asked about tomorrow. “I haven’t looked at it yet. It’s going to be hard.”
A Cabrera sickness facilitated Reyes and Flores in the lineup today, but you know that’s not going to happen forever. Yet, having Reyes is obviously a good problem to have. It gives Collins the ability to put different pieces in every day, something he did in the second half last year when Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson came to the team.
“Cabby was in the lineup and just before, I was on the bench, the trainer came out and said, ‘Cabby’s sick,’” Collins said. “I walked in and told Jose he’s going to short and he smiled and told Flo he was going to third and he smiled. That’s what made us good last years, we were able to move pieces around and when we took somebody out of the game, we has a good piece to go in. That’s what made us so successful in the second half. I see that happening again.”
All of this looks great on paper. The Mets have their interchangeable parts, which keeps everyone tanned and rested, but making this last will be the trick.
Flores, especially, because he seems to be the one who gets the hottest when the chips are the most down. You almost have to threaten him with the waiver wire to get him to produce.
“It’s the same observation we had. He came in here, not playing very well. He was having a tough time in the backup role,” Collins said. “David goes down and he’s playing third. He was doing okay. All of a sudden, we sign Jose and he got hot. These guys are very proud. They don’t go down without a fight. He was probably thinking if he didn’t get it together, he was going to lose some playing time. And he swung the bat great in the last five days.”
Flores also said getting playing time has helped him with his hitting especially with the adjustments at the plate. Something that was lost with him on the bench.
So giving Cabrera another day off tomorrow will not kill his season. And Walker can sit every once in a while too. You need to keep everyone fresh for October and of remember, these are the Mets so injuries will happen.
Reyes can look to play the outfield and Flores can spell James Loney over there at first, especially against a tough lefty.
“I never think about that,” Flores said of his position. “I just go out there and play.”
But the bottom line is that he needs to keep hitting, like he did for the past few days.
“The easiest explanation is that he’s not missing the pitches he can handle,” Collins said. “When you are hot when you get a pitch you don’t miss it. You square it up. That’s what he is doing right now.”
“I feel very good,” Flores added. “I am getting good pitches to hit and seeing the ball well.”
So for the next four games, Flores has to be in the lineup, but so does Reyes, who looked as every bit of the catalyst that he was during his first tenure with the club.
“I talked to him before the game today and he was a lot calmer,” Collins said. You will see a lot more of that. Even the ball in right-center field, it that got through, it would have been pretty fun to watch. It might have been he was more comfortable because he played shortstop. He’s going to bring something to the table.”
And let’s not forget Cabrera and Walker were probably the most consistent Mets the first half of the year.
So what do you do?
Fortunately you or I don’t have to make that decision.