Making his first career start in left field, Eric Campbell tied the game with a sac-fly in the second, and then added a stunning game-saving catch in the eighth inning that resulted in a rally-killing double play for the Dodgers.
With the Mets trying to preserve a one run lead and Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig already on second base representing the tying run, Hanley Ramirez hit a hard sinking liner to left. Campbell charged the ball and then laid himself out to make an incredible diving catch. The 27-year old rookie then quickly shot up and fired a throw to second base, easily doubling up Puig to end the inning.
“Off the bat I thought it was going to be a one-hopper,” Campbell said. “So I was charging it hard, trying to make a play at the plate, because that’s the tying run. I guess he hit it too well. It stayed up a little bit longer and I was able to get my glove under it.”
“I’m going to play this guy in the middle of the infield one of these days, too, because if he can play there, he’s got a chance to get a lot of at-bats,” Collins explained.
“Why not? If he’s athletic enough to play there, we’ve got to find out. He played there in Vegas. He played second a lot of games. He played short twice.”
Campbell is a natural third baseman and has played at first base and the outfield, but hasn’t logged a lot of games up the middle in the minors. Actually he has played a combined 17 games between short (2) and second base (15), with 13 of those game this season with Las Vegas, including the two at short.
Said Collins, “As it always goes, you put a guy in for his offense and his defense saves the game. That’s always a sign that you were supposed to win that game.”
Campbell has been all kinds of impressive since his promotion and is slowly working himself into a potential longterm spot as a Mets utility player.
Eric Campbell has done with the Mets exactly what he has done in his minor league career and that is hit and play great defense.
During Wednesday nights game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Campbell launched his first home run of the season into the left field stands. The two run shot came in the sixth inning with the Mets trailing 3-0.
He now has his own souvenir to add to his accomplishments. “I don’t know how they tracked it down,” Campbell tells John Jeansonne of Newsday about the baseball. “But they did.”
Campbell in his seven games with the Mets is batting .438/.444/.750, (7-for-16), three runs, two doubles, a home run, five RBI’s, a walk and has only struck out twice.
He also is riding a six-game hit streak in that span, and even though he isn’t playing everyday, he is showing how consistent of a hitter he can be.
“It’s been a good two weeks,” Campbell said. “Two weeks that I’ll remember forever, for sure.”
The best part about Soup’s game is that he can play any position from infield to outfield, which he proved in his minor league days, but now he gets to showcase those skills on the big club.
For now he will be a back up to Lucas Duda at first base until the Mets can figure out what position suits him best, ”I’d be ready if they need me,” he said. “And those at-bats off the bench mean a lot, too. So either way, it doesn’t matter.”
Playing in the majors is a big difference than going through the minors but at the end of the day, it’s still baseball.
“All your surroundings are better,” he said. “Stadiums, the fans, the clubhouses, the food. But once you get on the field, it’s really no different. You do get juiced up a little bit more — especially if you’re pinch hitting. You’ve got a lot of adrenaline. But everyone says it all the time: it’s still 90 feet between the bases, still 60 feet from the mound, you’ve still got to throw it over the plate. So it’s really all the same.”
It’s a shame he can’t get more playing time in this lineup, but if he continues to swing a hot bat, it will be hard for Terry Collins to keep him out of the lineup, even though he did acknowledge that fact, ”somehow, some way,” said Collins who also mentioned that Campbell could start seeing some time in the corner outfield spots.
“With the way he’s swinging you gotta find some place to put him,” Collins said.
Great to see him doing well, and look forward to watching Soup continue to develop as a major leaguer.