The Mets tied a team record by turning five double plays in a win over the Marlins Saturday night, and so Sunday morning, before the rubber match between the two sides at Citi Field, Terry Collins was praising his new and improved defense, led by rookie shortstop Amed Rosario.
Those positive vibes lasted mere hours, though.
The Mets’ defense failed its pitching staff yet again Sunday in a largely sluggish 6-4 loss to Miami in Queens. This time, Jacob deGrom was the victim.
Wilmer Flores allowed two runs to score on two separate tough-but-makeable diving plays down the third-base line. Travis d’Arnaud surrendered three stolen bases in the first three innings. Rosario threw late on a routine grounder from Dee Gordon in the seventh inning, setting the table for Giancarlo Stanton’s game-winning three-run homer. Later in the same inning, Yoenis Cespedes dropped a shallow fly ball in left field, an error that led to another run.
Mets acquire RHP Jacob Rhame from Dodgers
Cespedes also let a ball fall in front of him in the third inning on a soft line drive. It was the second time in as many games Cespedes had a chance at a ball and refused to dive. As this lost season drags on, the Cuban outfielder is clearly lacking effort – though he did drive in two of the Mets’ runs on a homer in the first inning and a double in the eighth.
DeGrom was pulled from the game after the Stanton dinger, the slugger’s 45th of the season. The right-hander allowed five earned runs on 10 hits over 6.1 innings. He’s pitched to a 4.62 ERA in August.
After Cespedes’ double, the Mets brought home two more runs in eighth, but the early defensive miscues proved too costly. The Mets have lost six of their last seven games.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Michael Conforto suddenly an experienced voice in Mets clubhouse
DeGrom was visibly frustrated after Rosario’s lazy play put runners on first and third with one out, and he left a two-seam fastball up in the zone to Stanton in the first pitch of the ensuing at-bat. Stanton – who the Mets had mostly minimized during this weekend series – plastered the ball deep into the left-field seats to extend the Marlins’ lead to 5-1.
Gordon is one the most dangerous baserunners in the major leagues, but apparently Rosario didn’t get that message. With Miguel Rojas on second base and one out in the top of the seventh, Gordon slapped a ground ball to shortstop. Rosario fielded cleanly, then opted to tap his glove with a double-pump. That gave Gordon enough time to beat a strong throw and turn a rather innocuous inning into a decisive meltdown. Consider it a lesson learned for Rosario.
STAR OF THE GAME
Marlins left-hander Adam Conley, who stifled the Mets over seven innings and allowed just three hits while striking out a career-high 11.
Jacob deGrom still expected to make his next start for Mets
STAT OT THE DAY
17 percent – d’Arnaud’s caught-stealing percentage this season, the lowest mark of any N.L. catcher with at least 70 games behind the dish.
Michael Conforto, who was one of the only Mets to show some defensive effort Sunday. The 24-year-old made a full-extension diving catch on a sinking liner in the fourth inning. Maybe Cespedes should take notes.
Dominic Smith, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts one day after recording his first Citi Field hit, a solo home run.
Monday, Aug. 21 vs. Arizona, 7:10 p.m.
RHP Robert Gsellman (5-5, 5.98) vs. RHP Taijuan Walker (6-7, 3.83)
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