The New York Mets will look to get on track against the Minnesota Twins this weekend after dropping their last two games. In order to take the series, the Mets will have to utilize their strengths against the Twins.
New York has posted a .346 on-base percentage through nine games this season. That statistic is good for second in the National League behind only the Arizona Diamondbacks (.350 OBP). The Mets also rank fourth in Major League Baseball with 36 walks, one ahead of the Twins. This means New York’s greatest strength is their ability to get on base, something they must take advantage of every chance they get in the series.
It will be difficult for them to exploit this considering Minnesota’s pitching staff has only allowed 23 walks in nine games this season. Not to mention, Twins’ Vance Worley, the starting pitcher for the first game of the series, has only surrendered two walks in 11 innings. With that being said, the Mets can take advantage of the 18 hits he has surrendered. In fact, as a team Minnesota has posted a .284 opponent batting average, the fifth worst in all of baseball.
In order for New York to truly be effective in the series, they must settle on a consistent leadoff man. The Mets have used four different players in the leadoff spot in five games, but that must end over the weekend. It is understandable why manager Terry Collins is switching the lineup around, but he is doing nobody any good by not allowing the batting order to form correctly.
Left fielder Jordany Valdespin led off Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, but right fielder Mike Baxter is another solid option.
“They’re two different guys,” Collins told Mets.com. “Baxter gives us that steadiness. Jordany, because he’s a different kind of player can maybe ignite you early by hitting a double or hitting one over the fence in the first inning. He’s got that kind of capability.”
Valdespin has posted a .471 on-base percentage in 15 at-bats this season, while Baxter has a .563 OBP in 11 at-bats. Both players have swung well at the plate so at this point it appears to be dealer’s choice.