The Mets begin a three-game series with the Miami Marlins tonight at 7:10 PM in a game that the Mets need to win if they want to escape the doldrums that have followed a 7-3 start to the season. Of course, the big event tonight will be the return to Queens of Jose Reyes, who as a free agent signed a deal with Miami this off-season. Once viewed as a “franchise” player for the Mets, Reyes has more triples, stolen bases and runs scored than any player in the team’s history.
So how will he be received by the Citi Field crowd? That’s what I’m most interested in seeing. I’ve gone back and forth on whether Reyes deserves to be booed or cheered when he steps to the plate tonight. On one hand, he made the logical decision to take more money to play for a better club. On the other, he took himself out of what turned out to be his last game as a Met last season.
I guess if I was at the game, I would do the “right” thing and give Reyes a decent applause, but he still rubbed me the wrong way the way he left his last Mets game just to ensure he could win the batting title. Not only does the decision put into question his motivations for playing, but it makes me wonder if Reyes ever really understood how important on-base percentage is.
No matter how the crowd reacts, I’m not really sad to see Reyes in another uniform. Sandy Alderson was not about to buy into an injury prone player coming off of a career year. Even if the Mets had the money to offer Reyes a huge contract, that wouldn’t make it the right decision. The Mets may very well be better off without Reyes in two or three years.
Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog shares his opinion on the situation.
He’s a star player, who left my favorite team to join the Marlins. The MARLINS. So, while I’m not going to boo – because I rarely boo, and because I don’t blame him for taking the most money available to him in free agency – I’m also not going to cheer, because I just can’t bring myself to cheer for someone on the Marlins.
I really like that Cerrone still holds the Marlins in contempt for what happened in 2007 and 2008. I think a lot of Mets fans only count the Phillies and Braves as big rivals, but Cerrone is right in saying that the fish have been “a thorn in our sides for years.” Nowhere in my reasons for cheering or booing Reyes did I list the team that he chose to play for, but now that I think about it, it is kind of a big deal that Reyes chose a division rival. I doubt, however, that Reyes even put rivalries into his thought process when choosing a new team. Maybe Mets fans at the game tonight can give him a little wake-up call.
As for the game, Johan Santana gets back on the mound after being crushed by the Braves in his last start, while Josh Johnson will be on the hill for Miami. While two of Johnson’s three starts this season have been “quality starts,” his stuff has been less than quality. Johnson has only struck out eight batters in 16.2 innings while allowed six walks.
In an interview with Amazin’ Avenue, Marlins blogger Michael Jong had this to say about Johnson’s struggles:
Johnson says he is healthy, and there is no word of concern from the organization, but the signs are a little concerning. His velocity is down about one mph from his usual 94 mph comfort zone, and his complete lack of whiffs and strikeouts is alarming. As of right now, we may still be able to chalk it up to being rusty on account of missing ten months with injury, but his health and performance are so crucial to the Marlins’ playoff chances that the team has to be watching carefully, and so are the fans.
I’d be very surprised if Johnson continues to not strike people out, because his stuff has been so nasty in the past. However, this is clearly more than a BABIP problem like it was for Lincecum, which gives me hope that the Mets might actually be able to put up a crooked number against Johnson tonight.