Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares and Eric Campbell committed errors in the eighth inning, which lead to four runs, as the Mets gave up a two-run lead and lost, 5-3, on Monday night in Atlanta.
“When you’re developing young players, once in a while you’re going to have a hiccup, there’s going to be some mistakes made,” manager Terry Collins said after the game. “You just tell them, ‘Tonight’s over, you can’t dwell on it and tomorrow is another day.'”
Collins said he would not have a team meeting, but would instead talk one on one with the specific players who need to be addressed.
Familia let up a pair of singles to start the inning, then got a ball hit back to him for what could have been a double play. However, Familia hurried the throw, bounced it to the bag and all three runners were safe. Next, Tommy La Stella singled up the middle, but Lagares – charging hard – over ran the ball, allowing the tying run to score. Campbell then misplayed a high chopper for an error with the bases loaded and the go-ahead run scored. Dana Eveland concluded the disaster by walking in the game’s last run with the bases loaded.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
It was brutal to watch. What’s worse, the Mets were looking good the previous seven innings. Zack Wheeler pushed through a difficult first inning, the offense was actually doing something, the bullpen – which has been terrific – was taking over and all seemed right with the world. Then — blink — and huh, what happened?
Familia threw flat-footed to botch the double play. Distracted, he threw a ball to start next batter, followed by a meatball down the middle of the plate that was ripped back up the middle to Lagares, who misplayed the diving liner. Lagares is usually so sound, but here he looked to be rushing. He picked up his head to look at the runner going around third and he totally missed the ball. To make matters worse, Campbell bobbled and dropped a high chopper at third, then palmed a throw in the dirt that pulled Lucas Duda off of a first base… again, a run scored.
It’s hard to kill on Familia, who entered the game pitching nine straight innings without letting up a run. But, he has to make that throw to shortstop. He, like all pitchers, probably practice that play a million times in February and March. The same can be said for Lagares. But, that’s the point, these things happen with young teams. It’s why it is SO difficult to win with a roster like Sandy Alderson has put together. At the same time, to keep this from happening, it has to happen and get out of their system. Young players need to make mistakes, learn, get comfortable and confident, and that only happens through time. This is why they’re called ‘growing pains.’
In the meantime, I expect Terry to talk to the guys who need talking to. I also expect him to encourage better communication among his fielders before the game, maybe doing extra work on fundamentals in the weeks before the All-Star break. This is a time of year when tired, younger guys can become distracted and listless. His team is already on the brink of oblivion. This will be a good test of how he can keep these guys from totally coming undone.