What can I say about Rene Rivera? How about I told you so? I know it is only game one of a new season for the Metropolitans, but as I’ve been saying since the Mets signed him as a free agent on April 5, 2016, the skills I saw in him as he handled the young pitching staff, when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays, would be more valuable to the Mets than his bat.
He is the best catcher in baseball for a young pitcher. Look at the numbers of everyone of the young Mets pitchers pitching to Rivera vs. the other guy. Look at his stats as a receiver, when he was guiding those big young arms of Tampa Bay Rays. It is in the book and as Old Casey Stengel would say “You can look it up.”
I am a Rene Rivera believer.
Noah Syndergaard is for real and six innings, seven strikeouts with no runs and no walks is common for him. But if you think that is only because of him, you are mistaken.
The pitcher- catcher part of baseball is a game within the game. When a pitcher gets a catcher, that he trusts in his pitch selection for every situation, that is gold. When he looks in and sees the catcher steady in his stance, not moving around, and sees his eyes focused on him, that is the best feeling a pitcher can have.
There is more to catching than framing and blocking balls in the dirt. When you add the fact that Rivera also frames very good and blocks balls in the dirt as well, it gives the pitcher the confidence to throw a down in the dirt splitter or slider on a 3-2 count with the tying run on third and two outs in the ninth. That my friends, is platinum on top of gold.
With the line-up the Mets have, they don’t need a Roy Campanella or Thurman Munson type bat. Obviously he can’t catch every day and he will have some off days here and there, just like every other player in the big leagues. This is such a good fit for the young Met arms.
If Rivera stays healthy and gets some rest and help from Travis d’Arnaud, the number one pitching staff in baseball, will blow enough clubs away to walk away with some heavy hardware at the end of the season, as well as a ring.
As for the win today over the rebuilding Braves, they need to beat teams like this every series. Last year the Braves swept the Mets at Citi Field twice at the end of the year. That was embarrassing and brutal to the Mets last season. The Braves were 10-9 vs the Braves last year. a team who was dead last in the NL East.
That is unacceptable this year. They finished eight games behind Washington. The Nats were 15-4 vs the Braves. The Mets need to beat-up on the bad teams . So today was not a great win. They need to have a 15 -4 record vs the bad teams in order to win the pennant.