This is getting to be a pretty familiar sight in the New York Mets‘ young season. John Buck has been getting big hits and doing all the right things to help the club win, and on Sunday against the Washington Nationals, he stepped up again.
This time, it was in the form of a second-inning home run off Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann that traveled an estimated 460 feet. The Mets would add another run in the fourth, on a Mike Baxter sacrifice fly, but the bomb off of Buck’s bat would be be all they needed and set the tone for the day early on.
To go along with Buck’s solid play, which has been consistent all year, the Mets also enjoyed a couple other things that have been non-existent so far. They got good pitching from their bullpen, and they got a decent start from a pitcher not named Matt Harvey or Jon Niese.
Dillon Gee was able to stymie the Nationals’ bats for most of the day, allowing three hits while striking out six. The only trouble came when he took the mound for the sixth inning and walked three of four batters. Still, he did not allow a run, and the four relievers that followed were able to get out of the jam, and hold off Washington for the remainder of the game.
I don’t think anyone expects Buck to continue this hot start much longer, but Mets fans can certainly enjoy it while it lasts. After all, Buck, with his seventh home run on Sunday, has already surpassed the home run total produced by the Mets’ trio of catchers last season of five.
And while his play has been a pleasant surprise over the first 16 games, it is the pitching and defense that need to be on point for the Mets to surprise the league with any kind of success this year. Their bullpen has been questionable for a few years now, but the starting rotation is supposed to be their strong point. Sunday was a good start for Gee and can hopefully help him gain some confidence and provide some support to Harvey and Niese.
While the bullpen is still considered a major concern, if they can do what they did Sunday it could take some pressure off the starters and the bats as well. Washington is considered to be one of the top teams in the National League and in the majors, and the Mets just closed out a series victory in dominant fashion and in front of their home crowd.
So, while the bullpen still needs work and Buck’s play will most likely drop off, the Mets have proven what they can rely on to hang with and beat a top-tier team.