Interleague play is finally over. Petty grievances aside about whether it should exist at all, both local teams feasted against their respective opposite league. The Mets finished with a 13-5 record vs. the AL, which is their best mark since the interleague play started in 1997. They also completed a 4-2 home stand, giving them six straight series wins at Citi Field. The Yankees also were a big success, going 11-7 against the NL, and 4-2 for the week. And now on to the festivities. This week's Player of the Week is ...
David Wright: It's time to step back and start appreciating Wright for who he is - the greatest non-pitcher in Mets history. Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza can stake a claim to that title, but Wright is a better all around hitter than Strawberry, and he's passing Piazza in the great seasons/longevity department.
We want him to be perfect. We want him to get the game-winning hit in the ninth inning every time out. But he doesn't, so he gets booed. Mike Schmidt was booed. Mickey Mantle was booed. Even the golden god, Derek Jeter, was once booed (and, of course, Santa Claus, too - hey, what did he ever do to anyone? How many times did he strikeout? How many interceptions did he throw?).
Wright's presently in the top 10 in the NL in OBP (seventh, .386), slugging (10th, .542) and OPS (eighth, .928), leads the league in RBIs with 61, has impressive numbers with runners in scoring position (.325/.386/.566), has 13 stolen bases and has hit 14 home runs (maybe this year's power resurgence is due to that weighted prosthetic leg he swings in the on-deck circle). It's his strikeouts (88) and late and close stats (.146/.234/.195) that are skewing our view of him. This week, he batted .500, scored seven runs, hit two dingers, drove in eight and banged out four doubles.
Let's accept and appreciate him for what he is, and not what we want him to be.
Alex Rodriguez: He can't win. If he hugs Joe Torre, he's a phony. If he ignores him, like he did before Friday's game, he's petty. A-Rod's "no comment" is louder and more controversial than most people's colorful quips. The Yankees' third baseman got his revenge on Friday night against the man who had the audacity to bat him eighth, when he hit what turned out to be the game-winning home run in the sixth inning.
He didn't pull a Darryl Strawberry and take 10 minutes to round the bases, but you know what he was thinking, and it didn't have the respectful Jeter moniker of Mr. Torre anywhere in those thoughts. And once he had that homer under his belt, he did acknowledge Torre's existence before last night's game. And then he hit another dinger, just for good measure. For the week, he batted .381, bashed three homers and drove in nine, while scoring seven runs.
R.A. Dickey: The phenomenon known as R.A. Dickey continues. As the bandwagon gets bigger, everyone's getting into the act - even China has announced that 2010 is no longer the Year of the Tiger but has been changed to the Year of the Knuckleball.
After tossing eight shutout innings (four Ks and only four hits allowed), Dickey is now 6-0 in seven starts, with a 2.33 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He didn't even start throwing a knuckler until 2006, so while everybody waits for him to fall back to earth, maybe he's finally mastering the newish pitch and he won't just be a flash in the pan. That could just be wishful thinking, but he is a freak of nature, born without the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and all. So maybe a 35-year-old journeyman pitcher can re-create himself and go on to have consistent success.
CC Sabathia: Here comes Second-Half CC. He slowly works himself into shape during April and May, and then in mid-June, he has his annual wrestling match with a bear to gauge his strength and stamina, and then just rolls the rest of the way. The big man threw eight innings on Friday night, only allowing one run while striking out seven. So that's 16 innings pitched and only one run allowed in his last two starts.
Jose Reyes: Heeee's Baaaack. The Mets shortstop is fully recovered from his thyroid issue and all the missed time due to his ailment. What was Jerry Manuel thinking batting him third? (What is Manuel thinking most of the time - nobody knows, but he usually gets a good chuckle out of it.) Reyes is too fragile to be goofing around by taking him out his comfort zone, and he's too good at the top of the order to have him hit anywhere else. He gets everything started for the Mets, and he proved it again this week (well, except for the last two games), when he got on base 11 times in the first four games and scored eight runs. He batted .320 for the week and homered and tripled.
Mariano Rivera: Old reliable Rivera is so successful that he has to challenge himself by loading the bases on purposes to see if he can get himself out of the jam, as he did in Wednesday's game. Of course, he got the next three outs to pick up the win. He struck out three for a save in Friday's victory, and then pitched two more innings last night for another win. Five innings, no runs, two wins and a save. Just another week's worth for the best closer since the invention of closers.
Other Notables: After being called up from Buffalo to replace Jenrry Mejia this week, Bobby Parnell pitched four scoreless innings, striking out six and only walking one. Jesus Feliciano stepped in for the injured Angel Pagan, and went 6-for-17 in five games. Even the backups to the backups are hitting for the Mets this year. Ruben Tejada has a 10-game hitting streak. Ike Davis batted .333, with a home run and seven RBIs. Curtis Granderson hit the game-winning home run on Wednesday and went three for five. Brett Gardner had a four-for-four game on Monday. And Robinson Cano was the hero last night, with a two-run game-winning homer in the top of the 10th.