2008 New York Mets: Keys to Victory
1. Carlos Delgado
Carlos Delgado needs to have a bounce back year.
I am not expecting .300 BA, 40 HR and 130 RBI's, but I think he's capable of a .285 BA, 30-35 HR and 100-120 RBI's. Delgado was marred by a variety of injuries in 2007, but he didn't attribute any of his struggles to his injuries.
He said that he re-worked his swing during the offseason, and totally started over. Look for him to be big in 2008. Either he'll walk a lot, and pitchers will face Ryan Church, or Church will provide him some protection, and those numbers above could be reached.
2. Jose Reyes
Jose Reyes needs to get back to being the Energizer Bunny that he was in 2006 and for most of 2007.
He tried to lift too many balls in September. He has to be the spark plug that everyone knows and loves. When Reyes reaches base, it is almost an automatic run. He needs less of a stride, and more of a level swing.
If he can be that gap-hitting catalyst again, then I believe the Mets are well on their way to a great season.
The overall health of the team is very important. At one point in 2007, every one of the outfielders on the team was injured, including Endy Chavez.
It is to be expected that El Duque is going to get hurt, for at least one 15-day DL stint. It'll be up to Mike Pelfrey and Tony Armas Jr. to step in and give the Mets a few quality outings.
4. Duaner Sanchez
Duaner Sanchez coming back to be the primary set-up man for Billy Wagner will be another necessity.
Wagner, at points last year, really struggled because of what appeared to be a "tired arm." Sanchez coming back is a huge boost to Wagner, mainly because Wagner can get that casual day off when the Mets have a four-run lead.
Wagner really seems to struggle with a bigger lead. He doesn't have the same bulldog attitude, which generally makes him nibble a little bit too much. Pushing Aaron Heilman back to the seventh will take pressure off him and let him focus on being the best he can be.
5. Tack-on Runs
Tack-on runs are very important, and that is something that the Mets struggled with last year.
It seemed like they scored a chunk of runs in the first five or six innings, and then stopped scoring, leaving the door open for the opponent. It'll be up to Church and Schneider, or whoever mans the seventh and eighth spots in the order to not be automatic outs. That includes pinch-hitters like Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson.
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