Ryan Braun is going to have to come with his game face tonight if he wants a batting title.
Mets manager Terry Collins (whose 2013 option was just picked up) decided to pull Jose Reyes following a bunt single in the first inning, to a chorus of boos from Mets fans. It will likely be Reyes’ last game in a Mets uniform, as he’s a free agent after the season. So I guess if you’re the Mets, why not one final act of disappointment to compound all those endured by fans during the season?*
In any event, Collins’ decision means that Reyes will finish the season 181-537, a .33706 average. Braun currently has 187 hits in 559 at-bats (.334525939), so he’ll need at least three hits tonight in order to finish ahead of Reyes. Let’s hope Pirates manager Clint Hurdle doesn’t decide tonight’s a good night to walk Braun.
Collins’ cowardice isn’t an insurmountable obstacle, though. Braun has at least 3 hits in 15 games this season, including three in September. He has never faced Pirates probable starter John Locke.
Whatever happens with the batting title, you have to give both Braun and Reyes a lot of credit. Both have raised their averages by 5-6 points since mid-September, no easy feat this late in the season.
*That may have been a cheap shot. I’m just very irritated that the Mets wouldn’t let this play out. And in any event, a batting title for Reyes is sort of counterproductive for the Mets, who presumably would like to resign him this offseason.