• Botched double play the difference in defeat

  • By Mike Mazzeo | May 21, 2014 11:59:12 PM PDT



NEW YORK -- With runners on the corners and two outs in the eighth inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia had gotten exactly what he needed: a comebacker.

All Familia had to do from there was turn, throw to second base and start an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Not for the Mets.

The past few years, they’ve made winning difficult.

And this play was no exception.

As Familia turned toward second, he saw two infielders, Daniel Murphy, who was supposed to catch the throw, and Wilmer Flores, who wasn’t, converging at the bag instead of one.

ESPN IMG
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Jacob deGrom surrendered three solo homers in a losing effort.
The right-hander hesitated for a split second before firing to Murphy, which allowed Hanley Ramirez to reach first safely and Chone Figgins to score from third.

The Dodgers took a 4-2 lead on the 1-4 fielder’s hesitation. They won by a score of 4-3.

So what exactly happened? Why did the Mets botch a seemingly easy play?

“It’s part of the game. Sometimes you make a mistake. Tomorrow is a new day,” Familia said.

“I saw Flores and Murphy coming together, and I didn’t know what to do: throw the ball away or keep it.”

According to Murphy, 95 percent of the time, the shortstop usually goes to the bag. But this time was different. Ramirez was a pull-hitter, so Flores was playing more in the hole. Murphy had the coverage if Yasiel Puig, who had walked, decided to steal.

Murphy, it seemed, arrived to the bag late. Flores was headed that direction, too.

“It’s frustrating,” Murphy said. “[Familia] did his job, and we just didn’t turn the double play. That’s all you can say. It’s not fun.”

Manager Terry Collins also weighed in.

“[Familia] knows who’s covering,” Collins said. “He’s gotta throw to Murph. The ball was hit pretty hard. I’m not sure how close Murph was, but once [Familia] hesitated, it kinda threw the whole play off.”

Who knows how the game would’ve turned had the Mets been able to execute.

Granted, they haven’t been able to all season. In fact, the Mets entered Wednesday night’s game with eight “defensive misplays” related to potential twin-killings, according to Baseball Info Solutions. Only the Houston Astros have more.

The Mets rank last in the component of defensive runs saved this season (minus-four). Among the 35 second basemen who have played the most innings, Murphy ranks last in that same component. Ruben Tejada, who had the night off, ranks tied for last in that same component among shortstops.

Yes, Jacob deGrom was solid in his second major-league start, allowing just three solo home runs over six innings. Yes, the Mets got three hits each from David Wright, Juan Lagares and Flores and put several men on base. And yes, Eric Campbell was rewarded for all those years in the minor leagues when he smacked his first big-league homer.

But in the end, one run was the difference, and it was a run that shouldn’t have crossed the plate had the Mets -- 20-25 overall and losers of three straight and six of seven -- been able to turn an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play.

• Collins said that Campbell (6-for-12 at the plate) could start seeing some time in the corner outfield spots. The 27-year-old has been playing first base. Campbell said he did get the ball from his first homer, though he didn’t know how. He plans to give it to his parents ... Dillon Gee threw a plyo ball on Wednesday before the game. Gee (strained lat) could possibly throw a baseball on Thursday on flat ground depending on how he feels.


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