Here’s tonight’s lineup for the Mets in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Dodgers:
The Mets’ indisputable ace threw over 120 pitches – who would have thought it? – over seven scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS. Kershaw and Zack Greinke were to slice through the upstart Mets, but they didn’t buckle.
DeGrom was beyond special, and it wasn’t just because he struck out 13. The Dodgers had numerous opportunities, but deGrom refused to cave. As aces do, he didn’t just close the door on the Dodgers, he slammed the door on them.
Game 1 gave us an glimpse into the Mets’ future.
The Mets can only hope deGrom, Saturday’s starter Noah Syndergaard and Monday’s starter Matt Harvey, will be here in five years. Wright will be at the end of his contract, and Murphy – whom the Mets are expected to lowball as they did Jose Reyes – will be gone.
You had to feel good for both of them. The Mets have alternately tried to trade and find a position for Murphy for years. The Mets made a big splash at the trade deadline, but that doesn’t mean they’ll spend this winter. If they have any hope of bringing back Yoenis Cespedes, it will cost them Murphy.
As for Wright, he has been waiting for another postseason since 2006, when the Mets lost the NLCS to St. Louis. Even through the disappointment of watching Carlos Beltran take that called third strike, Wright admitted he thought the Mets would be a postseason fixture.
Instead, they became an annual disappointment, and Wright had been beset with injuries. He missed over four months this summer with back issues, and the thought of whether he’d ever play again had to creep into his mind.
His two-run single turned out to be the difference.
Michael Cuddyer, signed last winter to provide a veteran presence, misplayed two fly balls to left into doubles, but deGrom picked him up. Cuddyer’s role is expected to be reduced next year to coming off the bench, as Michael Conforto will be the every day left fielder.
But, that’s next year, and next year can wait. These Mets are about taking care of business, and that’s what they did Friday night.
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Daniel Murphy – 2B
David Wright – 3B
Lucas Duda – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Michael Conforto – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Matt Harvey – RHP
It is totally irrelevant, 100 percent, replays showed Blake Swihart’s drive off the wall that resulted in an inside-the-park home run would have been ruled a conventional homer had it been reviewed.
Also irrelevant, and unacceptable, is Juan Lagares’ explanation that he saw the ball go over the line.
“One hundred percent,’’ Lagares told reporters. “It hit over the line. That’s why the ball came back that hard.’’
Yes, it did, but that doesn’t matter. More important were his actions during the play. I don’t want to say Lagares is lying, but I’m not buying what he said.
If Lagares really thought the ball struck over the line, then why did he run after it? Actually, he jogged after it, which is also not acceptable.
OK, Lagares misplayed the drive and indicates he’s continually plays too shallow. He won the Gold Glove last season, but he’s not good enough to play that shallow. He’s not Paul Blair, not Curt Flood, not Willie Mays, not Andruw Jones, and not Andrew McCutcheon. Not even close. A lot of balls have gone over his head this season. (Sorry for the side rant, but that has been building up for awhile.)
The only ones who handled the play properly were Swihart, who never stopped running; the umpires, who never gave the home run call because they didn’t see that; and Ruben Tejada, who ran into the outfield to get the ball.
“I thought it had gotten over because of the way it bounced back, but I just kept my head down running,’’ Swihart said. “I kind of watched the center fielder jogging after it, but I didn’t hear anything so I kept running.’’
Notice how Swihart said Lagares jogged after the ball. He kept running out the play; Lagares did not.
And, give left fielder Yoenis Cespedes a bag of popcorn for the way he watched the play. It hasn’t been the first time he hasn’t hustled.
Lagares needs to hustle after the ball because you never know until the umpires make the call. As a player, you never assume anything, out or safe, fair or foul, until the call is made.
Lagares’ judgment and Cespedes’ lack of hustle can’t be tolerated, not in spring training and especially not during a pennant race.
However, Collins was not quoted regarding Lagares’ part other than to say the ball went over the line. Here’s wrung him out in his office after the game. The Mets are in a race, so this stuff needs to be cleaned up now.
Last night doesn’t cut it in October.
COMMENTS: The place should be rocking tonight like never before. … I like Cespedes hitting third. … Good to see they haven’t forgotten Lagares. Cespedes is the new toy, but the Mets might not have him next season. Best to keep Lagares happy and interested. … No question, Wright gets the biggest cheer. … It will be interesting to see how Harvey responds on 11 days rest.