For one night Jose Reyes offered a glimpse of the offensive sparkplug he used to be. Based on how good he says his legs feel these days, Reyes thinks this also might have been a peek into his future, too.
In the Mets’ 8-0 victory over the Phillies last night, their leadoff hitter turned back the clock by bunting for a hit, lining a triple to the right-centerfield wall, stealing two bases and scoring three runs. It was a reminder of how dynamic he once was, and also of just how it’s been since he’s been that explosive guy.
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Reyes, who has seven hits in his last 15 at-bats, believes the reason for his recent offensive surge is his legs, which he said finally feel back to normal. He missed most of last season because of hamstring injuries.
“The last two or three weeks I’ve been feeling very good on my legs, no doubt about it,” Reyes said. “There’s a lot of comfort there. I’ve been telling Louie [Castillo] every day that I can’t wait to get on base two or three times during the games because my legs feel so good right now.”
That’s good news for the Mets, who have been lacking consistency on offense. Twice last night Reyes led off an inning with a hit and produced a run with his legs, exactly the jumpstart this offense could use on a nightly basis.
Reyes led off the first with a single to leftfield, advanced to second on Castillo's sacrifice, stole third and then scored when Jason Bay grounded out to third base. Then in the fifth Reyes led off with a bunt single, stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Castillo and scored on a single by Bay.
“That’s a big part of my game, getting on base and running like crazy,” Reyes said. “Lately I haven’t been doing that too much because I was struggling at the plate but it’s coming together now.”
Bay said the Mets “are a completely different team” when Reyes is playing like he did last night. “You can see when he’s out there getting hits and stealing bases, he’s making pitchers uncomfortable,” Bay said.
Reyes’ statistics are still shockingly bad, but his average has risen from .210 to .232 in just these past three games. Mets manager Jerry Manuel thinks Reyes’ legs also is the reason behind his recent surge of hits.
“I think that had a lot to do with the ability to hit like he wanted to,” Manuel said. “So now he’s hitting balls, hard line drives, bunts for base hits. Hopefully he’ll get it going and keep it going for a while.”