So far this year the Mets pitchers have had zero answers on how to pitch to Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton. Coming into Wednesday night’s game, Gordon was batting .440/.440/.520 against the Mets with three RBI and two runs scored. Stanton was batting .292/.320/.625 with two mammoth opposite field homeruns, five runs scored, and five RBI. Both players were at it again last night as Gordon finished 2-for-3 and Stanton went 2-for-4, driving in the first three Marlins runs and crushing a homerun to left field in the first that brought back memories of Albert Pujols and Brad Lidge in Houston.
You’ll probably read this a lot from me this year, but it was the defense that cost the team early. Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy couldn’t turn a double play in the first that led to Stanton batting with a runner on. Flores wasn’t particularly aggressive in either trying to charge that ball or expeditiously toss the ball to Murphy, but the good news is that he recorded at least one out, so there’s that. In the fourth he made his fifth error on the season on a weak grounder by Ichiro Suzuki. He did charge that one. Maybe that’s the end result if Flores has to charge the ball, and the one sure out was the priority.
In any event, Stanton came to the plate with a man on, and for the only time all night Bartolo Colon (4-1) decided to challenge him inside. That worked about as well as you’d expect. On Tuesday, Rafael Montero had some success coming inside, but he had Stanton fooled enough early looking for that slider on the outer half. Needless to say, for the rest of the game, Colon threw Stanton a steady diet of high 80s fastballs on the outside corner.
I don’t want to get too deep into any of this. It was a relatively horrid road trip with the Mets going 2-4 and looking completely lost in the field at times.The team has now lost their third straight series on the road, and this is one of those streaks I hope ends soon.
Defense is going to be an issue for this club—as I’ve noted many, many times—so I want harp on that because, honestly, what’s the point? Defense undermined a great start by Montero on Tuesday. Defense ruined any chance the team had on Sunday. Defense cost the team early last night after Michael Cuddyer spotted the team a two run lead with a homerun in the first. I feel a little like Jan Brady discussing baseball here: “Defense! Defense! Defense!” There’s really little left to do other than sit quietly and hope for the best with each play.
There was one decision that left me puzzled, however. In the eighth, with two outs and Cuddyer on first, I was wondering why Terry Collins didn’t bring in John Mayberry to pinch run. The Mets were down 4-3 at that point, and if Murphy hit a ball into the gap it was less likely that Cuddyer would score from first than Mayberry. Mike Dunn was pitching and he was all over the place in the inning, so there was also the remote possibility of a passed ball or one that bounces away from J.T. Realmuto. Cuddyer had hit the ball well early, but it was late in the game and Mayberry’s defense would have been an improvement. It wasn’t as though Collins didn’t have other players to pinch hit in the ninth.
Murphy ended up grounding out to Martin Prado at third, so it didn’t amount to much, but it seemed like a wasted opportunity.