Rey Sanchez Batting Second???

Batting Rey Sanchez 2nd in the Lineup Was Puzzling

The Mets are tied for first place in the National League East at 4-3 thanks to a win over the Marlins. Looking closer at some of the choices made by the Mets and some of the plays, one has to wonder; "how?"

The Internet has become an amazing store of information to be called forth at the touch of a button. And being that the Internet is such a plethora of assorted knowledge, and given that it was created by Al Gore (so he says) and is used by the masses ad nauseam, news on the Internet has generally been accepted as truth without question. There is the rare instance, however, when an item is discovered on said Internet that asserts the statement into the reader's head "this can't be true." It hits you like a frying pan to the face. You look down at the box scores and see Rey Sanchez batting second.

Sanchez went 1 for 5 on Tuesday's win over the Marlins, and realizing what Sanchez is capable of (or more aptly, incapable of), 1 for 5 is a good day for him. At the same time, Rey Sanchez is easily one of the worst hitters in all of baseball. So why bat him second?

That answer is simple; obviously Art Howe thought his glorious .130 on-base percentage coming into Tuesday's game would spark numerous rallies throughout the game leading the Mets to a landslide victory. Sure. Ok, that's not entirely fair. He only had 22 at bats coming into the game, so it would be fairer to use his mighty career OBP of .310.

.310!

Mike Piazza's career batting average is eleven points higher! What was Howe thinking? Let's back up. What was Steve Phillips thinking? Well, his thought process might have gone a little like this, "We can't keep Rey Ordonez because of his bad public relations, but gosh, the team would sure miss his bat."

Ok, again that was not entirely fair, Sanchez is not as bad as Ordonez, but the difference is small. Suffice it to say, Rey Sanchez is a waste of a plate appearance, and batting him second in any lineup is a poor strategy. Allowing him to be a starter is a poor strategy. The only use he has for the Mets would be to help ease in Jose Reyes, yet Sanchez has started all seven games so far. He leads the Mets in at bats, and not surprisingly, he leads them in outs. In 28 trips to the plate he's gone straight back to the bench 24 times. Along with that he has been caught in his only attempt to steal a base. Rey Sanchez is not looking like an all star.

Even with Sanchez in the lineup, the Mets are 4-3, and tied for first. Remember though, the Royals are in first place, so keep in mind how little that means at this point in the season. The funny thing is that the Mets have played poorly through these seven games and still have managed to win most of them. As a team the Mets are batting a whopping .238 with a .302 OBP and a .377 SLG. Meanwhile, the Mets opponents have hit .274 with an OBP of .355 and a SLG .378. The SLG is insignificant but a .053 difference in OBP is huge. Likewise opponents have scored eight more runs than the Mets, which is rather significant in a season consisting of seven games.

So looking at those numbers, it's a little puzzling how the Mets managed to win four games. Ah, but this is where the statistics can be a little misleading. Yes, the Mets' opponents have outscored the Mets as a whole and by a large margin, but most of that can be attributed to the season opener; a 15-2 loss to the Cubs. Taking out that game, the Mets have outscored their opponents 23-18. Quite the change from an 8-run deficit… As a matter of fact, without that game, the Mets have a .725 OPS while their opponents have a .633 OPS.

Still, no Mets' fan should get excited yet. The Mets have played good baseball for six of seven games, and that is a refreshing site, but still, it is a long season.



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