Michael Cuddyer’s misplays cost the Mets, both on Friday and later in the NLDS
Despite a successful conclusion to game one of the Division Series for the Mets, there were a couple of stinging blemishes which nearly haunted the Mets in their quest for a championship in 2015.
In the second inning, Justin Turner hit a line drive right at Michael Cuddyer in left field, but he misplayed the ball as it sailed over his head, gifting the former Met with a leadoff double.
Fortunately, for Cuddyer, Jacob deGrom’s dominance bailed him out of some serious heat after he struck out Andre Ether, AJ Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw.
But it happened again in the very next inning.
With two outs, Corey Seager it a long fly ball into the left field corner, and Cuddyer basically dropped it as he got under it.
“I misread both of them,” Cuddyer explained. “But fortunately for me, fortunately for our team, Jake was dominant. He didn’t let it affect him, and he went out there and took care of me.”In fairness to Cuddyer, these plays weren’t necessarily routine. But there’s no excusing the fact they need to be made.
This is Major League Baseball, after all.
Cuddyer knows that, everyone knows that. And he didn’t attempt to make an exonerate himself for his poor play.
And it is not in Terry Collins’ nature to punish players for physical mistakes in the field, so expect to see him against Brett Anderson at Citi Field on Monday.
But these are the playoffs where runs are at a premium and the defense needs to be lockdown good from the first pitch to the last. Errors are going to happen, mistakes are going to be made – that is just part of the game.
But the routine plays just have to be made on this stage, especially if the Mets intend to keep deGrom’s pitch count manageable and limit the number of pitches thrown under duress.
Such plays Cuddyer could not make cost deGrom pitches and forced him into stressful situations.
Thankfully, deGrom was utterly dominant, but there could be collateral damage caused by these two plays later in the series.
Terry Collins said on Friday night deGrom was unlikely to return for a start in game four at Citi Field because of his heavy workload in game one – he threw 121 pitches in seven innings.
Cuddyer’s two misplays arguably cost deGrom 15-20 pitches combined in those two innings. Those pitches might have been saved for Tuesday night when the Mets are either up or down 2-1 in this best-of-five series.
The good news is, deGrom will be available with an extra day’s rest for a game five in Los Angeles, if necessary.
But it was game four the Mets truly envisioned deGrom would come back for. Now that is not a reality.