The Mets will have their former all-star centerfielder back in the lineup as they return from the all-star break with a western road trip that takes them to San Francisco, Arizona and Los Angeles.
Returning to the Mets lineup will be centerfielder Carlos Beltran.
Beltran appeared in only 81 games last season, plagued by an arthritic right knee which ultimately required surgery back in January. Beltran had hits in 68 of those 81 games in 2009, including 24 of the season’s first 25 contests. Beltran reached base safely in 74 of his 81 games but was out of action from June 22nd through September 8th. Before going on the disabled list Beltran was hitting .336 (81-for-241) with eight homers and 40 RBI’s in 62 games played. He hit .284 (19-for-67) with two homers and eight runs batted in during those final 19 games he played in last season.
The Mets were 34 and 33, two games out of first place in the N.L. East when Beltran went on the D.L. last June. When he returned in September, the Mets were 62 and 75, 16 and a half games behind. Beltran is currently 6th on the Mets all-time home run list with 127 and 9th in RBI’s with 466.
The Mets took three of four from the Giants last season when they played their four-game series there last May. The Diamondbacks beat the Mets twice in the three-game set last August in Arizona and dropped all three contests at Dodger Stadium a year ago.
So far this season on the road, the Mets have gone 17 and 24. They went 7 and 2 against the three A.L. teams they played away from home which leaves them with just a 10 and 22 mark vs. National League opponents on the road.
Ike Davis hit his 11th home run of the season this past Sunday against the Braves. Only Ron Swoboda (1965) and Benny Agbayani (1999) had ever reached double-digit homers as Mets rookies by the all-star break. Only 11 Mets rookies have hit more than 11 home runs in a full season:
• Darryl Strawberry – 26 – 1983
• Ron Swoboda – 19 – 1965
• Jon Milner – 17 – 1972
• Jay Payton – 17 – 2000
• Benny Agbayani – 14 – 1999
• Jim Hickman – 13 – 1962
• Jeromy Burnitz – 13 – 1993
• Steve Henderson – 12 – 1977
• Kevin Mitchell – 12 – 1986
• Gregg Jefferies – 12 – 1989
• Victor Diaz – 12 – 2005
The Arizona Diamondbacks new manager is Kirk Gibson. Gibson was the 1988 N.L. MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers and helped lead L.A. past the Mets in that season’s NLCS with a game-winning home run in the 12th inning of Game Four and a three-run shot in Game Five.
Gibson is one of three current major league managers who played against the Mets in the post-season. Gibson’s 1988 Dodgers teammate Mike Scioscia of the Angels and the White Sox’ Ozzie Guillen of the 1999 Atlanta Braves are the other two.
Gibson’s new 3rd base coach is one-time New York Met Joel Youngblood. Youngblood played for the Mets from June of 1977 through August 1982 and was the team’s lone representative at the 1981 All-Star Game in Cleveland. He was the last Met to wear uniform number 18 prior to Darryl Strawberry.
Including Youngblood and Mets hitting coach Howard Johnson, there are currently 20 former Met players currently listed as coaches in major league baseball:
• Mets: Howard Johnson
• Braves: Roger McDowell
• Marlins: Reid Cornelius
• Astros: Al Pedrique
• Brewers: Willie Randolph
• Cardinals: Jose Oquendo
• Pirates: Ray Searage
• Diamondbacks: Joel Youngblood
• Dodgers: Larry Bowa
• Rockies: Bob Apodaca
• Red Sox: Tim Bogar & Dave Magadan
• Rays: Don Zimmer
• Indians: Sandy Alomar, Jr.
• Royals: John Gibbons & Bob McClure
• Twins: Rick Anderson
• Angels: Orlando Mercado
• Rangers: Clint Hurdle & Mike Maddux
Schwei’s Hits, Runs and Errors:
Hits: Angel Pagan. Finished impressive 1st half of 2010 season hitting .462 (12-for-26) with two homers and four steals on homestand.
Runs: Johan Santana. Since allowing four 1st inning runs in start vs. Twins on June 26th, Mets ace has allowed just two runs in last 28 innings pitched.
Errors: Jason Bay. Disappointing 1st half of season ends with 2-for-19 (.105) homestand.