New York Mets Stir-Up Sunday: Wright, Turner, Collins

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     Hello again fans, and welcome on back to another edition of New York Mets Stir-Up Sunday! It’s been a mixed bag week on the soil of Metland. There have been downs (stars hit the DL, relief pitchers notching game-winning hits against us) but there have also been ups too (subsidiary players stepping up, superb bullpen work.) And despite the uneven course this season has taken, the Mets are just one game beneath .500, and really aren’t far out of a playoff spot either. For all the talk about the Mets dealing this guy or dealing that guy, why not wait until the team is actually OUT of the playoff picture? Because thus far, the Mets are far from a dead team. Let’s move on to the news items of the past week!

     Of course the biggest story of the week was the insertion of David Wright on the 15-day DL due to a stress fracture in his lower back. Wright originally suffered the injury on April 19th trying to make a diving tag on Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros. This is only the second time in his career he’s been on the DL, so hopefully the durability of Wright upon returning doesn’t become an issue. Since David injured his back that day in April, he’s only hit .205. Overall on the season, Wright’s average lies at a very subpar .226. While it’s not an excuse especially since Wright was scuffling prior to the injury, it may very well be a contributing factor. A little R&R for the man who carries the team on a daily basis may not be the worst thing in the world. It hurts having both him and Ike Davis out of the lineup at the same time, but it’ll force the Met backups to stay on their toes and step up, and quite honestly speaking, they have done just that.

     In particular, you know I’m speaking about Justin Turner. How hot has this guy been for the Mets? His slash line over the past 12 games is a robust .405/.457/.619. His 7-game RBI streak is a brand new Mets rookie record. Frankly speaking, he’s been a godsend for this ballclub. With the injuries, it was absolutely imperative that someone would step up and fill empty shoes. Turner has just done that. And of course, the Mets cannot afford to remove his hot bat from the lineup when Davis and Wright return. We’ve got to ride this hot hand out, so Daniel Murphy’s simply going to have to grab some pine and return to his role as a pinch hitter. No shame there however, as Murphy’s been a successful pinch hitter over the course of his career with a .296/.361/.519 line overall. Turner also has excelled against both righties and lefties this season. He’s hit .273/.360/.364 against southpaws, however the more surprising and encouraging line comes against Turner’s fellow righthanders (.405/.436/.622) He’s been absolutely brilliant so far, and I look forward to watching him in the lineup every single day. Keep it up!

     And of course, we can’t discredit the role that Terry Collins has played in the 2011 Mets season thus far. With all of the injuries the club has suffered, you’d think a different cast of characters would bumble and stumble, but they really haven’t. Since starting 5-13, the Mets have gone 17-10, and have quietly been winning over the past month’s worth of ballgames. Terry’s been pushing the right buttons, and you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. He’s kept the team focused and attentive. The club could have mailed it in after its abysmal start, meeting offseason expectations stating that the Mets would be a complete nonfactor all season. That hasn’t been the case; the Mets are pretty darn close in the NL Wild Card race so far. Let us also not forget the whole ownership situation looming over the Mets heads, which was expected to be a distraction for this club, and really has not been so. Sure things haven’t been perfect, but Collins has kept this team’s head above water so far, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen. The players seem happy too, which of course is most important.

     What say you friends? Will the time off for David Wright help him get back to the player he was in the past? Should Justin Turner remain the fulltime starting second baseman when Wright and Ike Davis are ready to return? And what do you guys think so far of the job Terry Collins has done for the Mets? Comment below, and thank you so much for taking the time to read!