Jerry Manuel and Frankie Rodriguez were both very upset after the Mets fell to the Braves 5-4 last night at Turner Field. First baseman Daniel Murphy made a costly error that allowed the winning run to score, this after a mental gaffe turned a sharp grounder down the line into a double.
With the Mets up 5-4 and closer Frankie Rodriguez on the mound, Garret Anderson hit a hard ground ball over the first-base bag, directly past Murphy, who was guarding the line. Murphy did not dive for the ball, which was within his reach. He believed the ball was foul, but the video replay showed otherwise. Anderson would later score the tying run.
“I don’t know how that ball got through,” Rodriguez said. “To me, on my side, it looked like it was a foul ball all the way. But regardless of whether it was a foul ball or not, that ball cannot go through. You’ve got to stop it some way or somehow. After that, everything pretty much fell apart.”
And fell apart it did, when Murphy committed a game-ending fielding error on Ryan Church’s grounder with men on first and second and two outs. It allowed the runner on second to come all the way around to score and win the game. It was Murphy’s tenth error since moving to first base from left field where he originally started the season.
“Inexcusable,” Murphy said. “I’ve got to make that play. It’s a play I make 100 times. I booted it tonight, and we lost the ballgame because of it.”
Murphy’s miscues put a damper on what might have been a good win for the Mets after they battled against a division rival. Instead, Murphy thrust himself back into the debate of whether he can realistically be the Mets first baseman moving forward.
“I don’t understand why he just didn’t block the ball and keep it in play,” Jerry Manuel said. “After he muffed the ball he seemed to panic.”
Coincidentally, while one Mets first baseman was scraping bottom last night, another Mets first baseman was being honored. Ike Davis has been named the Mets’ Sterling Minor-League Player of the Year, and according to Adam Rubin of the Daily News, Davis could unseat Daniel Murphy at first base sometime in 2010. He also reveals that Jerry Manuel plans to watch Ike Davis play in the Arizona Fall League, and wonders if Murphy is just a placeholder for Murphy.
Davis, 22, currently is the organization’s lone representative on Team USA in the World Cup in Europe. When Davis returns home to Phoenix, he is slated to play first base in the AFL, with a spring-training invite to big-league camp in February surely to follow. While the 6-5, 195-pound Davis may not be ready to succeed Murphy by next Opening Day, Murphy may be just a placeholder for Davis at first base. A slick, lefthanded fielder with a strong arm that allowed him to pitch while attending Arizona State, Davis combined to hit .298 with 20 homers and 71 RBI in 114 games between Class-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton this season.
Davis is currently playing right field for Team USA at the World Cup and hitting .417 with a homer and two RBI in three starts. He definitely seems to be on the fast track, and unless Murphy gets his act together real soon, we might be seeing Ike Davis sooner rather than later.
It certainly looks like the Mets have themselves a new Golden Boy, but unlike Wilmer Flores and Fernando Martinez before him, Davis is actually performing and excelling and impressing as he goes along. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Davis jumps ahead of Flores and F-Mart when Baseball America releases their 2010 prospect rankings.