The Mets are now down Yoenis Cespedes, who was put on the disabled list Wednesday. Todd Frazier is also on the disabled list, and is eligible to return on Friday. As a result, the outfield and infield will be a bit mixed up and needing support for at least a few more days.
That said, Jose Reyes probably shouldn't even be be on the roster -- let alone starting at third base for Frazier as he did Tuesday. Instead, especially when a left-handed starting pitcher is on the mound like Wednesday, Wilmer Flores or Luis Guillorme should be at third, with Flores or Jay Bruce at first base, and Juan Lagares always in center field.
Case in point, on a night when the Mets had 16 hits and scored 12 runs with a lefty starting the game, Reyes was 1-for-5. Flores started at first base, leaving Bruce, Brandon Nimmo, and Lagares in the outfield. Cespedes (hip) and Michael Conforto had the night off.
The thing is, Nimmo is hitless in nine at-bats this season when facing a lefty, against whom he has mostly struggled against during his short career. And, while Reyes is historically a better hitter against lefties than righties, he's mostly struggled against everyone this season.
I realize this reads as ridiculous considering the Mets scored 12 runs and won Tuesday night's game. However, despite the offensive explosion, Reyes and Nimmo contributed just two hits in 10 at bats. And at a time when winning is vital and the Mets need to get a grip on their season, this is not the time to try and get Reyes and Nimmo going against lefties. It worked out for the overall team last night, but I wouldn't count on it always ending in a 12-2 blowout win. I'm glad to see Mickey Callaway making different choices Wednesday...
Speaking of Lagares, he is 9-for-27 (.333) this season against lefties, against whom he's always been a more productive hitter than he is against righties. This is just another reason why he should be in center field when the opposing team has a left-handed starting pitcher going.
Lagares has started to shake off his recent slump and is back to producing like he did earlier in the year. In late April, early May, he hit under .200. However, he was batting .408 before that stumble and now has six hits during his last 13 at-bats, including Tuesday's four-hit, three-RBI night against the Blue Jays.
"You try to mix and match the best you can to put him in a good spot, but it seems whatever spot he's been in he's done a heck of a job," Mickey Callaway said after the game.
Lagares is also entertaining to watch. Obviously, he's great with the glove, but he's also aggressive on the bases, where he's not afraid to showboat a bit. If he's going to hit, he has to play. The Mets have been waiting far too long for this kid to put his entire game back together. If he's finally in gear, Callaway shouldn't miss the opportunity to take advantage of him.
It is looking like LHP Jason Vargas will return to the starting rotation early next week against the Marlins at Citi Field.
Vargas is 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA during three starts this season. He was skipped in the rotation last week so he could work with pitching coach Dave Eiland during two bullpen sessions in hopes of improving his approach on the mound.
Vargas threw an 80-pitch, simulated game Tuesday.
"It was definitely a productive day," Vargas later said. "I am glad that we got some really good work out of it... I am looking forward to the next time out."
Vargas is very important to any hope the Mets have of turning around their season.
When at his best, Vargas uses a Max Scherzer-like strategy of swings and misses on the corners of the plate and timely ground balls.
To turn his season around, Eiland hopefully worked with Vargas on returning to this approach, which worked so well for them together in Kansas City. In three starts for the Mets, he's essentially done the opposite and the results speak for themselves.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!