d’Arnaud and Parnell’s return boost first place Mets
BY JOE RINI
It was a family reunion of sorts when the Mets hosted the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday and Tuesday in a rare inter-league meeting with their Canadian neighbors. 2012 Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey returned to Citi Field for the first time since earning his 20th win on the final home date of the 2012 season while Jose Reyes manned shortstop in Flushing for the first time since his lone season as a Marlin in 2012.
After being dealt by the Mets in exchange for a package that included Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, the 40-year-old knuckleballer has put together two solid 14 win seasons although he has struggled this year with a 2-6 record. Speaking before Monday night’s game, a come from behind 4-3 Mets win that snapped the Blue Jays 11 game winning streak, Dickey said, “It was pretty nostalgic coming in. It was a place where I was able to really kind of redeem my career.”
Reyes, who had been on a hot streak since coming off the disabled list on May 25, lead off the game on Monday batting .300 but was cooled off with an 0 for 5 against Syndergaard and the Mets bullpen. I asked Mets manager Terry Collins at Tuesday’s pre-game press conference how much he follows ex-Mets such as Dickey and Reyes, and he included Carlos Beltran when he said, “I follow them. I see what’s going on,” even if he doesn’t follow them everyday. He mentioned following Reyes because he has been hot lately and he watched Dickey pitch recently on TV because the Mets will be facing him on Thursday.
Speaking of Reyes and Dickey, Collins said, “I keep track of them. I had a great relationship with both of them,” adding, “As much as I loved them when they were here, we have to beat them now. We’ll have a coffee later. Right now, we have to get work done.”
The Mets have been getting “work done” lately as they concluded 5-3 homestand on Tuesday in first place. After dropping the first two games against the Giants last week (which included being no hit by San Francisco rookie Chris Heston), the Mets recovered to take 5 of their last 6, including a 10-8 win on Sunday after trailing 8-3. Noah Syndergaard gave Toronto second thoughts about trading him to New York when he held the Blue Jays to two hits and one run in six innings while striking out a career high 11 in the Mets 4-3 victory in 11 innings on Monday.
The return of Travis d’Arnaud and Bobby Parnell has also buoyed the Mets of late. d’Arnaud’s presence has had a positive effect up and down the lineup while Parnell picked up his first save in nearly two years when he preserved a 3-2 victory in relief of Matt Harvey on Tuesday. The performance of Harvey and Parnell, both coming off surgeries, had Collins especially upbeat after the game in saying, “To have them both pitch like they did tonight, consistently, is going to be really important.”
The Mets enter play on Wednesday in first place in the NL East with a record of 36-30, 1.5 games ahead of second place Washington. The Amazins hit the road against Toronto, Atlanta, and Milwaukee before returning to New York on June 26 to face Cincinnati and Joe Maddon’s Chicago Cubs.