I’d like to think that we all knew what we were getting into when we were going to be running Wilmer Flores out to shortstop everyday.
He wasn’t going to be Rey Ordoñez out there. Probably wasn’t going to be Dick Schofield out there either. The hope was that he’d be good enough defensively. Not good. Simply good enough. And we hoped there wouldn’t be games like tonight where he’d cost us a couple of runs that would lead to the Mets dropping their second game of the season to Atlanta by the score of 5-3.
Jon Niese started for the Mets and looked decent. He didn’t have his best stuff, but, after giving up a lead off homer to Cameron Maybin, only surrendered two more runs – both unearned – in five innings.
The game was tied at 3 all into the bottom of the 8th when David Wright made a huge mental mistake by attempting to tag a runner advancing to third instead of taking the easy out at first on an Andrelton Simmons grounder. Simmons was able to advance to a vacant second base on the play as Daniel Murphy was moving to back up the expected play at first and Flores and moved to cover third. It’s exactly the kind of play you never expect from Wright which made it even more of a head-scratcher.
This forced the Mets to walk pinch hitter, Alberto Callaspo intentionally to set up the double play. For a moment, it looked like they may get out of it, but after Rafael Montero stuck out Maybin, he allowed a two-run single to Phil Gosselin that ended up being the game winner.
You can’t pin the entire game on Flores, but he’s the big story coming out of it as he know has three errors in four games and hasn’t exactly been raking to start the season to cover for his defense.
The shortstop position was a hot topic of discussion all offseason and, after a game like this, will only add fuel to the fire as people wonder why Sandy Alderson was content to stick with Wilmer.
I get called a sheep for Sandy all the time and this is one of those instances. I was on board with Flores…to an extent. To me, none of the external options available really represented as significant an upgrade over Flo for the price tag coming attached. And I know you’re going to say, “this is NY, price tags shouldn’t matter,” but this is also the Mets and, right now, they do. So you can continue to bitch about money or you can accept it and try to maximize the value of what you have.
Flores has hit at every level of the minors and, despite the fact that it seems we’ve been hearing his name forever, is still only 24 years-old. I thought he showed enough at the end of last season that he would be able to handle big league pitching and, at the very least, be an upgrade over what was an automatic out in the lineup prior.
It’s only four games into 2014 so he’s got plenty of time to still become that. Hell, no less an authority than Wally Backman even called him the best RBI man he’s ever managed during his panel at the Queens Baseball Convention this past January. The kid had a bad game. This is baseball. It happens. But the beauty of baseball is that we get to come right back tomorrow and do it again.
Barring an injury or a slump that becomes just catastrophic, Flores isn’t going anywhere. He’s going to get his shot. Now he needs to put tonight behind him and be ready to go tomorrow. Same thing goes for you. If you’ve read this far, it’s because you care. And you too need to put tonight to bed and get ready to clap for that dude tomorrow.
Other quick stuff coming out of tonight, the Mets finally hit a home run. I had just made a joke on Twitter that I’d like to see them hit one of those things they did in Spring Training and D-Wright hit his first of the season about three minutes later.
My favorite part of David hitting a home run is that it allows me to sing my David Wright song. Here, I’ll teach you: (to the tune of the Darkwing Duck theme)
Da-vid Wright! When there’s trouble, you call DW! Da-vid Wrightttt…let’s get dangerous!
How much fun is that, right? Feel free to sing that with me for his next dinger.
Speaking of dingers (my fave word for home runs), John Mayberry, Jr. went back to back with the Captain on consecutive pitches. He had good career numbers coming into the game against Eric Stults, the Braves’ starter and, for the time, tied the game.
The bullpen was good. Eric Goeddel pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning and Sean Gilmartin made his major league debut by retiring Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman, both lefties. Keep doing that and you’ve got a secure spot on the roster.
Andrelton Simmons is just amazing. The play he made against Travis d’Arnaud going deep into the hole and then firing and absolute pea to first was incredible. He’s an artist when he’s playing the field. So, so talented with the glove. Which led to a number of very funny tweets comparing him and Wilmer tonight.
The Metsies are back at it tomorrow with Dillon Gee taking the mound against Julio Teheran. The Braves are now 4-0 to start the season in a year that everybody had them fighting with the Phillies over last place. Hopefully, we can put their hot start to rest and get some good momentum rolling into the home opener on Monday. #LGM