Latino Sports writer Rich Mancuso has time to reflect on the fortunes of the Mets as the long awaited April showers turn into a rainout at Shea Stadium.

NEW YORK: Jose Reyes has provided limited production from the top of their batting order, Carlos Beltran has not been a furious home run hitter and David Wright at times shows some promise of being the offensive threat he can be. As for Carlos Delgado, the New York Mets hope the two home runs he hit Sunday in a series win over Atlanta will lead to more.


For Delgado, the home runs were the first he hit since opening day. Indeed, as manager Willie Randolph says, “Carlos is the guy we have been waiting for because his bat means so much to our lineup.” A Mets lineup that is next to last in home runs in the National League certainly needs Delgado’s bat to get going.


The single by David Wright in the third inning Saturday in the Mets 5-2 win over the Braves snapped his 0-for-19 skid stretching dating back to April 20th at Philadelphia. He finished the game 2-for-4. That also showed some life in a Mets lineup that has been without Moises Alou., disabled since the first game after undergoing hernia surgery.


And the latest with Alou is a probable end to a season that never started. Alou last week was diagnosed with a possible fracture of his left ankle.  Cause for concern and at 42-years of age a possible career ending injury.


And the promising signs that should not have Mets fans panicking is they are in a division where the Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are struggling to take position as the first month of the long season concludes. They also have four come from behind wins this season which also leads the league.


The Mets as a team will take a record of 13-11 in their first 24 games, even with a struggling lineup and a pitching rotation that has an earned run average of 3.70.  And if the bullpen didn’t have Billy Wagner the ERA and record could be worse.   


The bullpen that has been a concern since the collapse of last September still has questions.


Though closer Billy Wagner has pitched scoreless ball and has six straight saves. But Aaron Heilman with a (6.42 ERA) and Jorge Sosa at (7.36) are always an adventure when Randolph calls on them from the pen. The bullpen and pitching staff also have surrendered a Major League leading four grand slam home runs.


Randolph, overall, after every game remains optimistic and it is heard in his post game comments to the media. On a Carlos Beltran double in the third inning that scored two runs in the four run inning Saturday, “He’s out cleanup hitter and big batter at the time. You expect hits to come like that for him”


On pitcher John Maine’s five good innings Friday evening against Atlanta, lifted after throwing 100 pitches, Randolph said, “John is going to have some games where he has to make more adjustments.


Duaner Sanchez came out of the bullpen and for the first time this season pitched back-to-back games and got Jeff Francoeur to hit a double-play ball in the 8th inning Saturday.


“You just go with the situation. I’m in the bullpen and ready. It’s going to take some time to be where I was in 2006. I’m in the bullpen and whenever they need me I’ll be ready,” he said. And it appears Sanchez is showing form as the setup man for Wagner, just like it was when the Mets went to the NL Championship Series in 2006.


“We got the guys, the horses,” says Randolph. “We’re confident,” commenting about the bullpen. “Duaner has come in and done the job.” No mention, though about Heilman and Sosa, and surly if the Mets are to be realistic about taking the NL East General Manager Omar Minaya may have to find suitable bullpen help by July..


Wagner on his success this April also had a suitable answer. “Just trying to be smart and make the right decisions and execute. I’ve had bad situations and good ones. Can’t worry about how bad you can be. Just worry about the batter.”


So the Mets, especially their fans can’t ask for more in April. 



About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]