Mets Forgot That Defense Wins Championships

Game one, first inning, Royals outfielder Alcides Escobar lines Mets pitcher Matt Harveys first offering of the night into left center field. The ball was badly misplayed by Yoenis Cespedes, as it hit his leg and skipped to the wall allowing speedy Escobar to race all the way home.  The play was ruled as an inside-the-park homerun, but was clearly an error.

In retrospect, this play would set the tone for shockingly bad defense by the Mets throughout the World Series. They forgot how to catch the ball and the Royals made all of the tough plays. A repeat of the 1986 Mets championship run would have to wait another year. 

“They’re not a team that walks a lot, but they don’t strike out a lot, either,” Collins said. “Which means they’ll put the ball in play, which means your defense has to step up”.

The Mets defense simply couldn’t rise to the occasion against the Royals.

The New York Mets defensive decline can actually be traced back to the NLDS.  It started with Chase Utleys takeout slide of the Mets best defensive infielder, Rueben Tejada.  His loss was not felt against the Cubs, as the team played flawlessly in the NLCS, but the Mets infield defense was a problem throughout the season and reared it’s ugly head when the lights shined brightest.

His absence was magnified as the Mets middle infield played smaller than Gary Coleman in slippers. 

Check out the glove work he displays starting at the 3:10 mark. 

Flores started the season as the starting shortstop for the Mets due to his bat, and was one of the top home run hitting players at his position. Flores was so woeful defensively that despite his booming bat, Terry Collins benched him after several costly errors during the season.  Flores is listed as 63 and has limited range at SS, which makes him more suitable for second or third base. His backup, Tejada, would replace him defensively late in games the Mets held leads. Flores lack of range was on display in the World Series as he was unable to get to various ground balls that the Royals put into play.

Of course Flores was not the only culprit. Just as hitting is contagious, poor fielding can be too. 

Perhaps that explains Daniel Murphy going from Babe Ruth to Billy Buckner in back-to-back games.

David Wright had a crucial error in game one, and failed to hold Perez on third base, allowing the tying run to score in the ninth inning of last nights game.  Duda seemed to panic when he saw Perez take off for home and failed to make an accurate throw to the plate. Travis Darnaud, who led the league in past balls last season, let a ball get by him in game three, which led to a run scored. He also couldnt throw out a base stealer to save his life. In fact, he hadnt thrown out a base runner since Sept. 30th.

The Amazins fantastic four were outstanding all post-season, but not good enough to overcome the unforgivable defensive miscues against a Kansas City team that feasts on mistakes. The offense also failed to pick up the defense. Give KC credit for hurdling through each time the Mets left the window of opportunity open.  

This loss will undoubtedly leave Mets players wondering what couldve been in the off-season. The Mets missed a golden opportunity to do something special. Mets fans can only hope that they learn from this loss and use it as motivation to become next season’s Kansas City Royals. Ya gotta believe. 

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