Hustling or Lack Thereof, Reyes Can’t Catch a Break

May 14, 2009

For those Mets fans that have been following the team either in passing or until they’re blue (and orange) in the face, it won’t be difficult for them to notice that the finger-pointing has once again begun to resurface around Citi Field. This time, it is being directed at, you guessed it, Jose Reyes. In the past, some of you may have experienced an ill feeling caused by numerous amounts of baseballs popping up compliments of the Mets leadoff man. Well, you can now add another layer of suffering to your everyday list. Most recently, Reyes’ base running has been the focus of debate.

As Mets fans have gotten bored with coming up with one cheap joke after another regarding their starting rotation, Reyes, their superstar shortstop, has been under intense scrutiny. With the inability for him to correct mistakes that were magnified the night before, Reyes has been wearing the “blame me” tag since the Mets ended their seven-game winning streak. They have dropped two of their last three games.

Following Tuesday night’s walk-off-walk win, Reyes was in full agreement with his critics who were concerned with him being tagged out trying to stretch a double into a triple in the eighth inning. “Good hitting, stupid base running,” Reyes said. His overly aggressive base running removed him as the potential tying run and allowed for Mets manager Jerry Manuel to begin second-guessing certain aspects of his ball club. “I think Reyes got a little too happy on that play,” Manuel said. In Reyes’ defense, he did knock in two very important runs and his double gave the Mets offensive which was dead in the water against Braves starting pitching a much needed lift. The Mets also won the game but if you asked Braves third baseman Chipper Jones he’ll tell you otherwise.

Heading into Wednesday’s game, all things Reyes were forgiven. His failed attempt to arrive safely at third was now seen as just a footnote in a long list of Mets base running blunders. Unfortunately for Reyes, his aggressive-style of base running did him in again. This time, Reyes didn’t even have a chance. With a ball hit to the third base side of the infield you are taught to hold up at second. At least until the shortstop unleashes the throw to first then perhaps you could make a run for it. Other than that, nine times out of ten, you’re a dead duck. Reyes was just that.

His second mistake came in the bottom of the twelfth. In this instance it was Reyes’ lack of aggressiveness that raised some eyebrows. After smacking a drive that hit off the top of the left field wall resulting in a lead-off double, Reyes was questioned after the game why he was seen jogging instead of running. The Mets manager added his two cents by saying, “It looks like the harder he runs, the more trouble he gets in.” The only sentiment I can extract from that statement regarding Reyes is you’re damned if you do or you’re damned if you don’t.

The Mets will be playing their next seven games out West on the road. Perhaps some time away from the fan-friendly confines of Citi Field will allow Jose Reyes and his teammates a chance to take a deep breath and concentrate on building their lead atop the NL East.

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