Mike Baxter making the most of his time

What’s not to like about the Pride of Whitestone, Mike Baxter?

The man could never play another single game again in his life and he’ll still be a celebrated Met for his lunging catch (which would knock him out of commission for a few weeks) that preserved the Mets’ first no-hitter thrown by Johan Santana.

Aside from that terrific catch, Baxter is making a name for himself with his recent play on the field. Baxter, who was initially used as a pinch-hit extraordinaire, is now finally getting regular playing time-at least against righties-and is pouncing on the opportunity.

For a season that is going down the drain, Baxter has been a beacon of pride for a terribly slumping Mets’ squad. With the Mets’ 6-1 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night, the Mets have now dropped five out of their last seven games and now find themselves seven games below .500 for the first time on the season.

While the Mets struggle, it’s no fault of Baxter, who is doing his best to keep this team energized.

Ever since coming off the DL, Baxter has given this team a boost and even set a Mets’ record when he recorded five walks in a game vs. the Padres on August 4. In his last five games Baxter is 7-16 and has raised his batting average to .312 in the process.

Baxter is the ultimate gamer and he has become an integral part of the Mets’ offense of late. Just like Scott Hairston is a terror on lefties, Baxter is starting to become a nightmare for opposing righties. Against righties Baxter sports a sterling .338/.443/.500 slash line. Facing off against lefties is Baxter’s kryptonite, though, since he hast to get a hit off a lefty and has drawn just three walks in 12 plate appearances.

At this point, though, I’d rather have Baxter face off against lefties than having Jason Bay take his at-bats.

I don’t know if that’s more a testament to how much contempt I have for Bay or my curiosity to see if Baxter can right himself against southpaws.

It’s hard to say if Baxter is really going to be a fixture in the Mets’ future plans or if he’ll be anything more than a fourth outfielder and left-handed, pinch-hit specialist. Baxter is not one for power (he has yet to go yard this year and only has one home run in his career) or speed, but he is solid contact hitter who could spray hits to all parts of the field.

Regardless, watching Baxter play is one of the few bright spots in which has been an otherwise gloomy post all-star break swoon.

It’s nice to see Baxter get a chance to carve out a niche for himself and not only be remembered for saving Santana’s no-hitter. Not that that’s a bad thing.

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9 comments for “Mike Baxter making the most of his time

  1. NormE
    August 16, 2012 at 9:56 am

    “Contempt” for Bay? Try “disappointment” or “pity” or some other word to indicate that you’d rather not see Bay in the line-up or even in a Mets uniform. But, how can you have “contempt” for a guy who hustles and crashes into fences? Yes, he can’t hit, but that is not worthy of “contempt.”. Sure he’s being paid a lot of money, but he didn’t hold a gun to Minaya’s head.
    Come on, Dan. You can do better than that.

    • Dan Stack
      August 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm

      I guess contempt can come off as harsh. I didn’t mean in that sense.
      I fell terribly bad for Bay, as I know he’s trying. I just meant that considering how bad he is playing including against lefties of late, I’d rather see Baxter get his chance.

  2. Metsense
    August 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Mike Baxter should be playing every day so that he can be properly evaluated. In 2010, while in the Padres AAA system he had a .301 BA with a .382/.517/.899 line with 18 HR’s and 22 steals. He really isn’t a power hitting corner outfielder but the Mets need two of those and they’ll be lucky to get one this winter. At the worst, the Mets keep Baxter cheap for the next 5 years, as a 5th OF and LH PH. He seems to be well coached, accepts his role and knows what he is doing.Who knows how well he will do until given the chance and what better time than now.

    • steevy
      August 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Baxter hit well at every level,including his small sample in the bigs so far.I like him and certainly root for the local kid.

    • August 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Not to mention he plays solid defense out there.
      I look forward to having Baxter on the team for a while, even if it’s in a reserve role.

  3. steevy
    August 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Who’s a player who had a short stint for the Mets that you would have liked to see more of?For me one is David Segui.

    • August 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Amos Otis.

      • NormE
        August 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm

        Harry Chiti.

      • steevy
        August 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

        Gah,that was an awful trade.I wasn’t big on giving up Ken Singleton to get Rusty Staub either(I know Rusty is beloved but..)

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