- Last Updated: 2:02 PM, April 24, 2012
- Posted: 3:38 AM, April 24, 2012
These are the nights when Jose Reyes’ free-agent flight can be felt throughout a dead ballpark.
This has nothing to do with Ruben Tejada, who is proving to be a competent replacement for the Mets, but Reyes always brought a large amount of energy to the team. On this cold night when Citi Field was nearly empty, energy was desperately needed against the Giants.
The Mets started yesterday’s doubleheader giving up two runs in the first inning, then faced Tim Lincecum. They were crushed in both games, losing 6-1 in the opener and 7-2 in the nightcap.
They struck out 13 times in that first game, when Lincecum consistently threw fastballs past hitters, getting 11 swings and misses, nine on fastballs, while striking out eight over five innings. In the second game, the Mets managed three singles against Madison Bumgarner, who lasted seven innings. Ike Davis was called out on strikes to end the eighth with the bases loaded and flung his bat in disgust at the call. It was that kind of night as Davis left 11 men on base in five at-bats.
Only about 1,000 fans were at Citi Field at the start of Game 1. Late in the second game, the Mets announced a fantasy crowd of 23,866.
The Mets offense was as dead as the ballpark was, except for the Giants fans, who were breaking out “Let’s Go Giants!’’ chants and cheering on Pablo Sandoval, whose 16-game hitting streak at the start of the season equals the best since the team moved to San Francisco, tying Willie Mays’ 1960 mark.
Terry Collins said it’s time his hitters get their act together.
“We’ve got to do a better job of studying our films and making sure they are trying to attempt and execute the things we are trying to get them to understand,’’ the Mets manager said.
There is no one to ignite the offense with Reyes gone from the leadoff position.
“You just take what they’re showing you in the game, and if they’re late on it, you keep going with it,” Lincecum said of his fastball success.
There will be more energy tonight when Reyes makes his much-anticipated return with the struggling Marlins. A video honoring Reyes will be shown and general manager Sandy Alderson said he hopes the shortstop gets a “positive reception.’’
Reyes played nine years with the Mets, compiling 99 triples, 222 doubles, 1,300 hits, 735 runs, a .292 batting average and one batting title. For that, he should get a short tribute.
Reyes has been looking forward to this night since he signed with Miami, getting a six-year, $106 million contract to try to energize the Marlins.
“I can’t wait,’’ he said last month. “It’s going to be crazy.’’
Noted Alderson: “[Reyes] played well here, a dynamic, exciting player, won the batting title last year. I think he deserves a warm reception from our fans. On the other hand, he’s playing for somebody else now, so that will cause some people to react differently, but I hope he gets a positive reception.’’
That would be the classy move from Mets’ fans.
It will make for good theater and Reyes once again will energize a Mets’ crowd, one way or the other. There will be boos. There will be cheers. There will be life in the ballpark.
After winning their first four games, all at home, the Mets have lost five of their last six home games to fall to 8-8. A loss tonight would drop the Mets into fourth place in the NL East.
The Mets have honored at least nine former Mets in their New York returns via video tributes, according to a Mets official. That list includes Todd Hundley, Al Leiter, Robin Ventura, Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry, Edgardo Alfonso, and one video when Dennis Cook, Turk Wendell, and Todd Pratt all returned with the Phillies.
Reyes’ return promises to bring life to Citi Field after a terrible night in which there was no life — in the Mets’ bats or in the ballpark.Follow @NYPostsports