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Game Notes: Mets vs Nationals (04/05/2006)

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I wrote a bit of a recap today at MetsGeek, so be sure to check that out.

Despite all that went wrong last night, one of the most encouraging things I saw was Jose Reyes' approach at the plate. Here are the CBS Sportsline game charts of his five at-bats:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Source: sportsline.com

Just look at all of those pretty dots! Reyes saw 30 pitches in his five at-bats, an enormous improvement over the thirteen he saw on Monday night. His first plate appearance was just as you might draw up the first at-bat of the game: ten pitches, a bunch of foul balls, and a line drive single to left. Reyes stole second and came around to score on David Wright's two-out RBI single.

The best part about Reyes' night at the plate was that every single one of his at-bats was solid. He saw at least four pitches in each, he only swung at one pitch out of the strike zone (first pitch of fifth plate appearance), and he took seven strikes, an indication that he wasn't just up there hacking at anything in the strike zone.

I wish I could say the same for his double-play counterpart, but Anderson Hernandez has looked awful at the plate. He's swinging at pitches out of the zone, and when he actually makes contact it's of the weak groundball variety. He's 1-for-30 in his short time in the major leagues, but he's going to have to to much better than that to keep a job at this level. He'll be given some time to settle down and get his wits about him, but if he's hitting less than .200 at the end of April you can count on Chris Woodward getting some playing time there. Regardless of how terrific Hernandez' fielding has been (and it has been terrific), no defensive advantage is going to make up for a 200-300 point deficiency in OPS.

If the Mets had to lose one of their first two games in miserable fashion (which apparently they did), I'm grateful that it came last night, since they have an opportunity to go out tonight and make amends. It would have been gut-wrenching if I had to stew over this loss for two days, but at least this way Pedro Martinez gives the Mets a great chance to turn things around.