Towel waving Mets surging with offense

Rich Mancuso

Maybe the white towel wave movement for the New York Mets works. The last two games the Mets have scored 21- runs against the Marlins and the Oakland Athletics. The offense was not evident until the towels in their dugout became a routine down in Miami over the weekend.

You ask the Mets, the towels are just one of those things that happen during the course of a long baseball season. Tuesday night at Citi Field, against the Oakland Athletics, a team with the best record in baseball, they hit a season high four home runs, two from Chris Young in a 10-1 win.

Towel waving or not, New York finally got production from Young. Curtis Granderson hit a long home run to right and continued to be one of the hottest hitters in the National league, Travis d’Arnaud returned to the big leagues and hit one out of the yard, and Bartolo Colon remained the hottest pitcher in baseball and is 6-0 in his last seven starts.

“It’s nice to see,” said the manager Terry Collins. Everything that has happened during this season-tying three-game winning streak is what the Mets were looking for in their 77th game. Granderson and Young, their two key free agent acquisitions hitting with authority and power is what was expected in the middle of the lineup.

Call it a superstition, but the towel waving will continue. And why not, because for the first time this season the Mets resemble a team that can score runs and an awful lot of them. It was the first time since June of 2011 that they have scored double-digits in two consecutive games.

 The production from Young, whether it be the towel  thing or not, In particular, has been the subject of rumors as the one player being released when the crowded outfield gets back to normal this week with the return of Juan Lagares from the disabled list. The Mets hope this offense continues Wednesday night when the brief two-game series with Oakland concludes.  

Thursday they hit the road again with a seven-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Atlanta. They say the towel waving from their dugout will continue.

"You’re a big leaguer and you're not doing good, sometimes things are said," Collins said. "And I'm sure he (Young) just said, 'Well I'm gonna go play,' and he went out and played and had a big night for us. He showed exactly why he's here. And hopefully, while he’s not gonna get two homers a night he'll continue to put good at-bats together and good swings, because he can be productive."

Young has a one-year 7.5 million dollar contract. And until Tuesday night, it looked like a bust for the GM, Sandy Alderson. Collins was going to speak with him before the game in the outfield and that never transpired. 

Young just did what he has been expected to do, and it came against his former team that failed to give him another contract. Granderson and Young went back-to-back in the second inning that gave New York a 3-0 lead, and they did it against Scott Kazmir the former Mets farmhand who was 4-0 in his past five starts, with a 1.27 ERA.

He was hitting .201 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 59-games and almost had the first Citi Field three-home run game for a Met in the seventh inning when Coco Crisp got the ball in deep center.

“Those decisions,” he said about playing time, “aren't in your hands. So you stressing about it isn't going to help the situation. All you can do as a player is just come out and do the same amount of work you do every day to prepare for a ballgame and be ready for whatever opportunity comes your way."

It may take another few games for the Mets to make a decision. They would rather not eat the salary and hope Young has finally become more comfortable, as has Granderson, with his new surroundings. They were supposed to be the catalyst in between David Wright to scoring runs, and Wright has also picked up the pace and extended his hitting streak to eight-games.

And the Mets were all waving towels when d’Arnaud took Kazmir fastball deep to left. The rookie catcher was dispatched to Triple-A Las Vegas where he made some adjustments in the Pacific Coast League where hitting is the theme. Before he left town earlier this month, d’Arnaud was hitting .180 with three home runs and nine runs batted in.

In Vegas, he made the adjustments and hit six home runs with 16 RBI. He quickly adjusted to his familiar surroundings. The towel waving went an extra mile after that home run.    

“I forgot how fun this game really was," d'Arnaud said. “I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. Now I’m just relaxed, having fun. They were all just waving their towels so I winged it. It was fun.”  He went through a dugout of teammates waving the towels that the Mets say is the car wash.

Said Collins, “He's always been a confident kid but I think what we saw tonight it wasn't just the home run, it was the swings total. Every time up, even if he didn't hit the ball he took better swings, more aggressive swings. I think maybe the time down there really did help him."

Young and his career game as a Met was significant. D’Arnaud hitting that home run may have been more important as he will now get his opportunity to be that Mets catcher of the future, a key principle in the trade that sent pitcher R.A. Dickey to Toronto.

Oh, don’t forget about Colon (8-5) who continues to get fastball outs, along with a nasty slider. He tossed a season tying 8.0 innings against his former team, allowed one-run with a .158 ERA in his last seven starts.

Yes, the towel waving will continue in the Mets dugout. And why not, because it certainly is producing hits and runs for a Mets team that waited for a night like they had Tuesday in Flushing.

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