Schott: Walker, Cabrera The Mets’ Strength Up The Middle

In baseball, teams look at how they are set up the middle from catcher to second base and shortstop to center field.

The middle of that equation, Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker, has been the constant in an unsettling season for the Mets.

With all the moving parts in the Mets’ lineup, manager Terry Collins knew he could put Cabrera at shortstop and Walker at second base every day and they would do the job.

Both veterans are in their first seasons with the Mets and have provided great leadership

In the first inning on Sunday,the one thing that has given the Mets security was put in danger.

Walker launched a double into the gap in right field, and Cabrera hustled all the way from first to score.

As Cabrera came to the plate, he came up lame, and clutched his left knee. He hit the ground before reaching the dugout and was carried off.

Cabrera was diagnosed with a strained patella tendon in his left knee.

This is the same knee that Cabrera injured in spring training, but this appears to be worse.

“Yeah, we didn’t have to carry him off the field in spring training,”Collins said. “I’m really concerned about it, really concerned until he sees the doctor tomorrow. He was in a lot of pain, a lot more than I’ve ever seen him. He’s had a couple of times so far this summer where it kind of flared up, give him a day off, it seemed like he bounced back really good and, talked to him this morning, felt great. I’m really concerned right now.

With Cabrera out for a while, and third baseman Jose Reyes placed on the disabled list yesterday, the Mets are left, for now, with Wilmer Flores at short and Kelly Johnson at third base.

The only thing the Mets are lucky about is that this occurred before the deadline, and they could acquire another shortstop that could play there significant time if needed..

The Mets and Rockies went back and forth, and Colorado had a 4-3 lead in the seventh.

An Alejandro De Aza walk with one out gave the Mets their first baserunner since the third inning. Kelly Johnson hit into a force out, and James Loney worled out a walk to give the Mets two on and two out for Walker.

Walker came up and hit a bomb to deep left to give the Mets a 6-4 lead, and he received a curtain call after his 17th home run of the season.

“I felt pretty good,” Collins said of his reaction to the home run. “Pretty excited about it. I didn’t ask anybody else because I didn’t care about anybody else. I’m sure there were a lot of guys that were really, really happy.”

Walker is starting to get it together after Collins gave him a few days off earlier in the week to re-charge the batteries.

“There’s a lot, he’s got a lot going on,as we know, at the plate,” Collins said of Walker. “I think the days off that we gave him just kind of let him ease him mind a little bit. He’s come back and he’s swung great from both sides of the plate. It just tells you that those days off can be important sometimes, even though they don’t seem like they give you a break because it may be one or two days, but a lot of times, they do.”

Early in the season, it seemed like Walker got the big hit whenever the Mets needed it, and this was one of those moments as they were staring at a sweep.

The Mets held on for the 6-4 win, as Jeurys Familia recorded the save in his first outing since blowing back-to-back saves a few days ago.

Walker and Cabrera have lifted this team all year, and Sunday was no different.

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