Mets Gotta Move On from Night at the Circus
Oof. That was uuuuuugly.
New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor, fresh off a hopeful slump-busting 3-for-4 night including his first home run with the team, put it best after Wednesday’s debacle in Chicago, “You learn from it. You flush it.”
Woof. We can all collectively say that again. Tie it to a rocket headed to the sun, if you’re asking us.
In about an ugly game as you can imagine, the Mets fell flat for their second consecutive loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Still, at 7-6 on the year and 149 more to play, it’s just another loss. But, man, that was a nightmare.
“It was a tough night for us. It wasn’t our night,” New York Mets starter David Peterson said after Wednesday’s 16-4 bludgeoning. “I felt like I was prepared for the start. I felt like I had my stuff. It just didn’t go our way tonight.”
That, it did not.
The highlights of the night were Lindor’s home run in the first, Pete Alonso’s third homer of the year in the fifth (115.4 MPH exit velocity, 1.000 expected batting average), and James McCann standing around for a solid 30 seconds after home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman called all four of these pitches to Anthony Rizzo in the second inning balls.
Oh, how we love a peaceful protest.
Peterson performed well, holding the Cubs hitless until Willson Contreras’ one-out single in the fourth. From there on it was basically an avalanche of really tough breaks for the 25-year-old left-hander.
Literally. Peterson didn’t record another out. We’re not going to play-by-play the follies. We’re not masochists.
And what transpired shortly after doesn’t all fall on Peterson. A steady stream of Little League defensive displays — even more after Peterson left the game — is what mostly sealed the Mets’ fate.
A total of four errors on the night led to five unearned runs crossing for the Cubbies. Even playing in temperatures pushing freezing, that’s just unacceptable.
J.D. Davis’ ongoing struggles at third base this season were magnified by his booting of a potential inning-ending double play in the fourth and things didn’t get much prettier as the frigid night wore on.
Davis stayed hot at the plate with a 2-for-4 night including his first double and third run batted in of the season, raising his early batting line to a productive and aesthetically pleasing .412/.500/.647 through his first 20 plate appearances.
But that defense…
There’s no debate as to the value that Davis’ offensive profile brings to the Mets’ lineup. The phrase we’ve continued to use here is a net positive when comparing his exploits at the plate to his deficiencies in the field. And that’s still a valid conundrum.
How this scenario shakes out is squarely on Davis’ shoulders. If he can bring even close to average defense in the field (a lot to ask, but not out of the question), his damage quotient at the plate will afford him playing time.
And no one should expect Davis to make a half-dozen errors a month (nearly the pace he’s on with three gaffes under his belt so far) moving forward. It’s just not feasible for a professional ballplayer.
But if his defense doesn’t improve to the point of justifying him being in the lineup — a more-harm-than-good type of situation, which is very tough to accomplish considering Davis’ offensive contributions — Mets skipper Luis Rojas can’t continue to wait for a train that ain’t coming.
And with a perfectly capable replacement in Luis Guillorme (.462/.588/.462 in 17 plate appearances this season and without glaring glove issues) at his disposal, that shift in approach could arrive sooner rather than later.
On days when the Mets send one of their groundball machines in Marcus Stroman or Jacob deGrom or David Peterson to the hill, Guillorme’s glove at third could be the difference between racking up a victory or letting one slip away.
We know all too well how games that could/should have been won can end up hurting a team down the stretch (paging the 2007 and 2008 Mets; 2007 and 2008 Mets to the blue and orange phone, please).
Gotta take them when you can get them. And before the circus began on Wednesday, this was one the Mets could have had. Get it back today.
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