The veterans Colon and Abreu lead Mets to win over Padres

Rich Mancuso

 Perhaps if New York Mets manager Terry Collins had the veterans Bartolo Colon and Bobby Abreu on his lineup card every day that would be a formula for more wins. Based on what Colon and Abreu did at Citi Field Friday evening, his team, would be in better position. But one can’t assume that the veteran pitcher and outfielder are capable of retiring 18-consecutive hitters and going four-for-four at the plate.

It was that combination that paved the way for the Mets to take the first of three games over the San Diego Padres, 6-2 and it was worth waiting out a two-hour rain delay before the veterans went to work.

Collins, looking for offense, spoke to the 40-year-old Abreu prior to putting the lineup together. It was his second straight start, and he may be used more with Curtis Granderson on the sideline a second straight game with a tight left calf. But the way Abreu has been hitting the ball, maybe Granderson could take his time getting back in the lineup.

Collins said he had a talk with Abreu.

“I talked to Bobby today about being honest with me. If his legs start getting tired or a little run down, he's got to say something, because I know that leg injuries… if they come to him they're going to be an issue. He told me he'd be honest if he started to get tired or if his legs started getting a little run down.”

Abreu showed no signs of being a utility player. It was his first four-hit game since May 30th of 2012 when he was with the Angels. He also batted cleanup and started in right field, knocked in two runs and scored twice.

You listen to Abreu, and he wants the opportunity. More importantly, if he can continue getting hits in the cleanup spot, there is no room for debate. Again starting every day may be asking too much, even for a team that is desperate to finding ways getting runs home.

“I'm fine. I'm fine,” commented Abreu who has also been a great addition as the veteran in a Mets clubhouse looking for more than one leader, the other being the captain David Wright.” I take care of myself. I know my job over here is to be a pinch hitter and once in a while in the outfield. Any time they need me there, I'm always going to be ready to play the game.”

When the Mets departed spring training in late March, Abreu was the last player they expected to be on the roster. His pinch hits off the bench, lately have been impressive and Collins knows he has a veteran that could offer a spark.

The other veteran, Colon, (6-5) has proved over the past few years that age has not caught up to him. He won 18-games last season with the Oakland Athletics with a career low ERA of 2.65. The 41-year-old right-hander on June 2 became the oldest Met to collect a win.

Friday night he got the run support, located the fastball and retired 18 straight batters after giving up a two-run homer to Rene Rivera in the second inning. The Padres got two runs on four hits and one walk off the veteran in 7.1 innings and in five starts at Citi Field he has a 2.34 ERA.

Impressive, and something Collins would love to have more often, especially with a bullpen that has been overused and still trying to find some answers.

"I got a little mad," Colon said through an interpreter. He said the home run to Rivera provided the momentum to get better as the game progressed. "I was meaning to throw that pitch outside and it was thrown in a little too much, so that really got me fired up."

The Mets and Collins would love this veteran combination to have continued success. But it would be going in the wrong direction as they get younger. At least for one night it worked and in baseball you never know.

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