Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Granderson Stays Hot as Mets Sweep

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Granderson Stays Hot as Mets Sweep

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI - After the Mets welcomed back Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes from the disabled list last month, it didn't take long to realize the team found a combo that worked atop the order.

With the top three spots secured, it's now become a matter of trying to find the right protection behind Cespedes in the cleanup spot. It's a debate that may be coming to a close soon as Curtis Granderson is enjoying one of his patented hot streaks that includes a barrage of homers.

Granderson hit his fifth homer in his last eight games to trigger a 6-3 win over the Reds and complete a three-game sweep Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park. Coupled with St. Louis' 4-3 loss to the Pirates, the Mets are now tied with the Cardinals for the second wild card.

Granderson has scored nine runs and driven in 10 in those eight games. Winner Noah Syndergaard (13-8) tossed five scoreless innings and boasts a 1.00 ERA in his last four starts.

The Mets (74-66) have won five straight games and swept a series for the first time since June 30-July 3.

"It just changes the whole lineup," Mets manager Terry Collins said of when Granderson is in a groove. "When he starts producing runs, you can't keep pitching around Cespedes. You've got to give Cespedes something to hit. When you've got to pitch to the middle of that lineup because they're all protected, that makes a big difference."

Granderson always has been a streaky hitter who can carry an offense at times, but his cold streaks have outweighed his hot streaks this season.

Those extended slumps created the difficult decision of where to bat him in the order after Reyes claimed the leadoff spot, and Collins has experimented with Granderson in each of the first seven spots.

The top spots in the order can negate Granderson's struggles with runners in scoring position, but batting lower in the lineup provides more chances to drive in runs.

When Granderson enters one of his hot streaks, though, he can be a run-producing machine, and over the past week and a half, the veteran has started hitting with authority.

He blasted two homers Aug. 30 against Miami, drove in five runs in the two wins over Washington over the weekend, and added a homer Tuesday. …

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