Asked about rightfielder Curtis Granderson, Mets manager Terry Collins laughed heartily.
The question: What does he mean to the team right now?
The answer: It's obvious.
Granderson led off the first inning Friday night with a home run off Johnny Cueto, his 12th of the season and fourth in the last six games. He also walked in the fifth inning before stealing second.
"As you can tell, he means a lot," Collins said after the Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds, 2-1, at Citi Field despite mustering only two hits.
"There was a legitimate question asked yesterday about putting him in the middle of the lineup because the way he's been swinging drives in runs, which unfortunately we're not getting.
"He keeps driving himself in,'' Collins said. "But what he did tonight is exactly why we have him there. He can kick-start an offense to where, man, he gets us right out of the gate, we've got a lead. And that's hugely important. When he gets in those roles, he hits home runs in clumps. We're not hitting and he's the one guy that seems to be producing."
The Mets lost seven straight games, scoring nine runs in the process, before their current two-game winning streak. And they've totaled only four runs in those two games.
Granderson deferred individual credit to his team's "communication," saying that he and fellow veterans Michael Cuddyer and Bartolo Colon try to keep the roster focused and confident.
"I wish I knew the answer to it because I'd bottle it up and keep it," Granderson said of his performance. "It's one of those things where you try to understand what's going on. You never know what the magical answer happens to be, except for going out there and continuing to swing the bat."