The Mets went almost entirely with home grown talent this weekend against the Phillies as clubhouse veterans such as Daniel Murphy, David Wright and Curtis Granderson saw their playing diminished for various reasons. The results? The Amazins’ added another series W to this year’s resume. Below are the usual 3 Up/3 Down takeaways.
1. Sunday was an interesting sight as the Mets trotted out three former center field prospects in Matt den Dekker (LF), Juan Lagares (CF) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis (RF) to defend the outfield. As a unit, they also accounted for half of the offensive production yesterday, scoring 3 runs, stealing 3 bases while putting up a slash line of .333/.500/.833. Defensively, Matt den Dekker played some great defense all series, making a web gem catch in Saturday’s loss to rob Ryan Howard of an extra base hit. He also put in a great bid to gun down Freddy Galvis at home plate off of a sharp single by Jimmy Rollins, but Anthony Recker was unable to hold on to the one hop toss from Matt, despite on a dime.
2. Jacob deGrom resumed his campaign for ROTY by having an excellent outing on Friday. The former Stetson standout went 7 innings, allowing only 4 hits, 1 unearned run and 2 walks while punching out 5. The 26 year old rookie has some outstanding numbers at home this season, posting a 1.68 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, a 3.06 strikeout to walk ratio, 0.50 home runs per 9 innings while opponents bat a meager .215 against him at Citi Field.
3. Wilmer Flores had an outstanding series. The 24 year old Venezuelan turned a great performance at the plate and with the glove. Flores had a triple slash line of .500/.545/1.145, scored 2 runs, plated an RBI and even swiped a base. On defense, Wilmer helped turn four separate double plays while also flashing some nice range, robbing Ben Revere of a base hit with a diving snag in yesterday’s win.
4. A bonus “UP” for Dilson Herrera who made his major league debut and earned his first hit, walk and RBI during the three game set. The beginning of what should be a fantastic career for the 20-year old second baseman.
1. Curtis Granderson is spiraling downward rapidly since the All-Star break. The struggling slugger only played two games in the series, getting a day to “clear his head” (a.k.a. benched) on Sunday. Granderson went 0-8 with 2 strikeouts and despite one spectacular catch on Saturday night, his defense is extremely conservative and overall a liability. It doesn’t help his cause that Lagares and den Dekker are spectacular within their respective regions, but there were several outfield hits that either of Granderson’s counterparts would have made and these hits ended up being the majority difference in the Amazins’ lone loss from the series. Terry Collins disregarded the hits as more luck than anything else, but Curtis has lost a step in his speed to the ball and his bat isn’t hot enough to make up for the lack of defense.
2. Lucas Duda is slumping hard recently and carried this trend into the Phillies series. The Hulk went 1 for 12 in the series with no extra base hits, walks or RBI’s. Duda even contributed a rare throwing error in Friday’s win, although his defense has remained solid overall. The emergence of Duda was sure to come with some downward movement, but the upcoming series against Miami will be a true test for him and his future. He is batting 0.87 with two singles in his last two series. If Lucas is able to break out of his woes and get back to laying the barrel on the ball, it will go a long way towards quieting his critics who do not see his 2014 performance as proof that he is a lock at 1st base for the future.
3. Terry Collins continues to look like a lock in 2015, despite Wally Backman putting up tremendous numbers on the farm and garnering the support of nearly the entire fan base. News broke during this series that there’s no chance the front office will consider the former World Series champ as a candidate to unseat the current manager and Collins’ remaining contract has little to do with it. Had something to do with Wally thinking on his own, managing winning ball clubs with constantly fluctuating rosters, just winning in general…I don’t know, something along those lines.
*Side Note*- Condolences to Bartolo Colon for the loss of his mother, whom he buried Thursday prior to the start of this series. Big ‘tolo didn’t have the best outing on Saturday, but it took incredible guts for him to get on the mound after such a devastating experience. Thoughts and prayers are with Colon and his whole family.