In his second major league start in left field, Eric Campbell made a terrific throw to get out Jayson Werth trying to score in the sixth inning >> Watch here.
In the following inning, Juan Lagares made a sensational head-first catch, diving forward to catch a shallow fly-ball from Denard Span to strand a runner at third >> Watch here.
Lagares got the wind knocked out of him, but was not injured, Terry Collins later told reporters.
“There’s no substitute for catching the baseball,” Collins added. “When you have good pitching and you catch the ball, it’s tough to score. And our defense played very well tonight.”
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I’m surprised the Nationals sent Werth. Thankfully, Campbell got rid of the throw quickly and bounced it perfectly to Travis d’Arnaud. Hopefully, this gives management more confidence in Campbell’s ability in left field so he can get more starts, which he has earned over Chris Young.
In regards to Lagares, he goes back on the ball as well as anyone in baseball. I’m used to that. I’m more impressed with how well he comes in on the ball when he has to. This catch last night is a difficult, spur-of-the-moment gamble, because if he misses – because he’s so shallow and the ball is hit on a line – the runner on third scores with ease and who knows where the ball ends up if it gets behind him. Nevertheless, he was well paced and seemingly had it tracked the entire time. Thankfully, he didn’t re-injure his shoulder.
By the way, if the Mets play this sort of defense, and if their pitching does what it’s capable of, it will not matter how hot their bats get. They’ll be fine. At that point, they’ll truly be just one or two average hitters away from putting together a really successful season. The big-bat will not be as necessary, though obviously still preferred.