Yeah, it hurt me to write that headline as much as it probably hurts you to read it. But it is true — Jason Bay is the key, probably has been all along.
It is no secret that the Mets are vulnerable to left handed hitting. They are 12-20 against lefty starters; no team in baseball has more loses in that category. Their best lineup features five left handed hitters.
In an effort to combat this, Terry Collins often sits some players against tough lefties, but that produces a less-than desirable lineup. Against Clayton Kershaw earlier this month, for example, Collins sat Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in favor of — get ready — Justin Turner, Ronny Cedeno and Andres Torres. Does that inspire confidence? I don’t have to tell you that the Mets lost that particular game.
That’s why the Mets need a power-hitting Bay in the middle of their lefty-heavy lineup. Certainly Scott Hairston has filled that role admirably so far, but he is just not an everyday player.
The Mets have fared very well thus far this season with virtually no production out of Bay, but they need him to hit to take that next step to true post-season contenders.
It is fairly certain that Sandy Alderson will not be trading for a difference-making power hitter at the trade deadline; at most we can hope for a veteran reliever or two and maybe a backup catcher. So that leaves it up to Bay. We’ve been waiting for him to produce for two and a half years — now is the time to finally do it.