As I watched the start of the game last night and got my first look at Dan Murphy manning his new digs at first base, I have to admit my expectations for success were very low.
Based on what I had already seen of Murphy at leftfield, and how reluctant the Mets were to move him to first base, I could only surmise that he must be even worse as an infielder than he was as an outfielder.
I am happy to report that my worst fears were not realized last night. Daniel Murphy’s debut at first base was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise dismal game. He was spectacular.
He looked like a natural out there and it was the first time in his Mets career that he looked like he belonged on the field. There were no signs of anxiety on his face, and no deer in the headlight moments either.
He made three standout defensive plays with the key play coming in the fifth when he speared a liner and completed an unassisted double play with the poise of a Keith Hernandez. I was like, wow!
What really puzzles me more than anything, is why the Mets waited so long to make the switch.
Surely they must have seen Murphy playing like this during pre game drills and fielding practice in the last two weeks. Murphy has been practicing with his first basemans glove for quite some time now and yet the Mets thought they were better defensively by putting Jeremy Reed at first base?
Maybe the Mets would be leaving Los Angeles with one less loss if they had Murphy at first base instead of Reed the other day, when he failed to make a simple throw to the plate to keep the winning run form scoring. What exactly was Jerry Manuel thinking?
Anyway, at least we finally figured out where Dan Murphy belongs, at least until Carlos Delgado returns at which point we’ll have another small dilemna, but that problem is still at least two months away.
Unfortunately, Murphy’s success in the field was not matched at the plate, and he continues to struggle offensively.
It’s an interesting twist because it was Murphy’s bat that got him the job in leftfield in the first place. Now it will be up to him to find his stroke before the Mets grow impatient and trade up which would mean a ticket to AAA Buffalo for Murphy.
That’s the way the ball bounces in baseball.