Rookie T.J. Rivera Making An Impact With The Mets
The hype has always been there by either the fans that have watched him play during his time in the minors or by his family and friends that knew for a while that he belonged on the biggest stage in professional baseball. Well it’s no longer a hype as Mets third baseman T.J. Rivera enjoyed his first five games in the majors with Sunday afternoon’s Mets victory so far being his best game with the big club.
Rivera was called up on Wednesday August 10th and he recorded his first MLB hit with a single to center field. Then on Thursday, after Alejandro De Aza hit a lead-off single in the top of the 9th, Rivera followed with his second big league single, a ground ball up the middle that he beat out, putting two runners on. But the mini rally was quickly diffused as the next two batters would record outs on a fly ball and a double play ground out.
Rivera’s timely hit was rewarded on Friday with his second start at third base and placed in the two hole behind lead-off hitter Curtis Granderson. The Bronx native finished 0 for 3, but put the ball in play in all three at bats with line out to left field, and two ground outs before being lifted by pinch hitter Wilmer Flores in the sixth inning with runners on the corners and one out. Flores then hit a force out, scoring Matt Reynolds from third base. Then Neil Walker grounded out to end the inning.
On Saturday, Rivera pinch hit for pitcher Erik Goeddel in the bottom of the 10th, and recorded his first strikeout in 10 big league at bats.
Then on Sunday, Rivera started his third game at third base and had the best productive game of his time in the majors. And it is safe to say that after 10 big league at bats leading up to Sunday afternoon, Rivera is feeling comfortable in his role with the Mets, which will only be a benefit to the big club.
In his first at bat Rivera reached base after San Diego Padres left fielder Alex Dickerson couldn’t handle the ball hit to him, dropping it and allowing the 27-year old rookie to reach base. He was then stranded at third as the Mets failed to bring him in.
In Rivera’s second at bat he hit a two-out single on a line drive to center but was once again stranded on the bases after De Aza struck out to end the inning.
“I’m just trying not to do too much,” Rivera shared with the media after Sunday’s game. “You come to a new environment with guys you haven’t played with before, you want to prove yourself, say you belong and show you belong. My goal is just not try to do too much and to play my game and just go out there and compete and have fun.”
In the sixth inning, he grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning but would get redemption in the bottom of the eighth when he hit a line drive double down the left field line scoring two runners and padding the Mets lead to 5-0.
Rivera’s two RBI’s were the first of his major league career, as he finished the game 2 for 4, with two RBI’s and 4 for 14 on his first Mets home stand.
Rivera had a great take on what is most important to him.
“Hits are nice but as long as I keep putting good at-bats together and try to put the barrel on the ball. That’s all I’m looking to do.”
Now as the team travels to Arizona, Rivera looks to continue living the dream and be a major impact for the team in their playoff hunt.
Featured photo credit: Jim Mcisaac/Getty Images