New York Mets
Josh Thole may have driven in Jose Reyes twice in his first game installed as the No. 2 hitter under Terry Collins, but the manager does not foresee Thole hitting second on a regular basis.
After the Mets beat the Braves 3-2 on Sunday to snap a seven-game losing streak, Collins said Angel Pagan primarily will be the No. 2 hitter. The manager wanted to try to limit the pressure on Pagan while he is struggling and batted the center fielder sixth on Sunday.
“You know, one of the keys to this club is the center fielder,” Collins said. “Make no mistake about it, we’ve got to get him rolling. In the spot where he hit today, I just wanted him to kind of take a deep breath and relax a little bit. But when he’s swinging the bat good and he’s at the top of that order, that’s a dangerous top.”
That doesn’t mean Thole did not like having the RBI opportunities with Reyes.
“I did it last year a little bit in Buffalo,” Thole said about batting second. “It’s fun, especially when I have Jose hitting in front of me.”
• Pagan went 0-for-3 as his average slipped to .169. After a leadoff double by Ike Davis in the sixth, Pagan even tried to bunt. Pagan ended up popping it up and Davis was doubled off second base.
Two innings earlier, Pagan also bunted after a leadoff walk from Davis, although he was credited with a sacrifice after getting thrown out at first.
The bunts were not Collins’ call.
“Obviously right now his confidence is down a little bit,” Collins said. “He did those things because he’s trying to help the club win by moving runners along. He’s not swinging good. He knows it. And he took it upon himself to say, ‘Hey, look, I’ve got to help the club here.’ I salute that. I really do.”
• Dillon Gee will get one more start while Chris Young is on the disabled list, but there are no assurances beyond that.
“Well, he’s going pitch in five days because Chris isn’t going to be ready,” Collins said. “I don’t have a crystal ball to look down the road and figure out what’s going to happen.”
• Jason Bay will meet with Collins on Monday in New York after playing consecutive rehab games in left field with Class A St. Lucie. The expectation is Bay will be activated for Tuesday’s series opener against the Houston Astros, but Collins allowed for the seemingly slim possibility Bay would continue his rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo.
“We’re going to see how he’s doing,” Collins said. “I just told him let’s sit down and talk.”
The hope is Bay’s return would relieve pressure on David Wright, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Sunday and hitless in the series against the Braves.
“I hope he’s ready to hit,” Collins said about Bay. “He’s got 15 at-bats or something like that in the last five days. But getting him back and getting him in our lineup, it’s going to mean a lot to us, to put guys in positions where everyone can really make a contribution. He told me this morning he actually feels great. He’s done everything. He’s been diving back into bases and running and playing the outfield. He says he’s feeling better and better each and every day.”
• Jason Isringhausen said he noticed out of the corner of his eye that Braves catcher Brian McCann had started to steal before Isringhausen even began his delivery. Knowing McCann is not the speediest of runners, Isringhausen said he took his time stepping off the mound to ensure he did not balk. He then made the pickoff throw and removed the potential tying run from the basepaths.
Isringhausen said he knows he’s susceptible to having bases stolen against him, even by less fleet of foot runners, and figured in that situation he would hold the ball longer than normal so that McCann couldn’t steal the base by timing his delivery.
“And I got lucky,” Isringhausen said. “I don’t know how many times I’ve ever picked anybody off. But I could see him out of the corner of my eye take off. It worked out for the best.”
As for serving up the leadoff homer in the eighth to Jason Heyward that allowed Atlanta to pull within 3-2, Isringhausen said he was just trying to throw strikes with a two-run lead.
“I know coming in with a two-run lead, the last thing I want to do is walk the leadoff guy,” Isringhausen said. “So I just tried to throw a fastball away and Heyward dove out there and hit it. I mean, if he tries to pull the ball, then he hits a groundball probably. He stayed on it well and hit a home run. And then I proceeded to walk the next guy [McCann], so it was pretty much the leadoff.”
• What happened to Wright during the hitless weekend?
“He’s going through one of those stages, but hell, he was almost the guy who did all the damage the first 10 days,” Collins said. “We need to pick him up.”
• Thole said he was surprised about the failed suicide squeeze bunt attempt with two strikes by Tommy Hanson that essentially ran the Braves out of a bases-loaded, one-out threat in the second inning. Eric Hinske was hung up between third and home.
“I didn’t think it was going to be a suicide squeeze,” Thole said. “I thought it was going to be sure he gets the bunt down and then take off home. It kind of caught me by surprise, but worked out.”