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Mets rookie Andres Gimenez sparks rallies in win over Marlins

Mets second baseman Andres Gimenez is safe at

Mets second baseman Andres Gimenez is safe at first base after bunting against the Miami Marlins during the sixth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

In the Mets’ 4-2 win against the Marlins on Sunday, a new theme of the season emerged: Andres Gimenez is a National League Rookie of the Year candidate.

Gimenez, starting at second base in place of the injured Robinson Cano, was all over the place — in the best way. He was the catalyst for all three rallies, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, a double and a steal.

With the season more than one-quarter over for the Mets (7-9), Gimenez is hitting .333 with an above-average .796 OPS. He leads the team with three stolen bases.

“This kid is amazing,” manager Luis Rojas said. “We’re having fun watching him play.”

 

Gimenez led off the third with a single grounded hard up the middle, then stole second; sneaked a double down the rightfield line in the fourth; and beat out a drag bunt and hustled to third on Tomas Nido’s ensuing single in the sixth. Each of those sequences spurred rallies.

And he made another heads-up defensive play, the kind that doesn’t show up in the box score: chasing down Eddy Alvarez’s sixth-inning grounder in medium-depth rightfield, after it skipped by first baseman Pete Alonso, to prevent Alvarez from advancing to second.

“What a play,” Rojas said. “That was just a great play. Heads up. This kid, he’s always a step ahead like that.”

Gimenez said: “I really never practice those kind of plays. He had hit a ground ball exactly the same way [previously), so I was thinking I have to be behind him. And that’s what I did."

None of these feats were exceptional on their own. But that they came together in one game — from a 21-year-old who plays strong defense at three positions — underscored the usefulness of Gimenez, who was a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster.

All in a day’s work for Gimenez, who before the game drew comparisons from Mets infield coach Gary DiSarcina to another slick-fielding Venezuelan infielder: Omar Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glover.

“The way that he moves to the ball, stays low — all those great things that you talk about when you’re fielding a ground ball — he possesses,” Gary DiSarcina said. “I could watch that kid take ground balls all day long.”

The Mets scored three runs in five innings against Miami righthander Pablo Lopez.

Jacob deGrom battled the beginning of a blister on his right middle finger, as well as a lack of command, in allowing two runs in five innings. He struck out six and walked two. After returning to the dugout in the middle of the fifth, deGrom kicked a trash can and headed down the tunnel, frustrated with a start that was below his standards (but would be more than acceptable for anybody else in the Mets’ rotation).

Both runs scored with two out in the fifth when Jesus Aguilar launched a two-run homer to left. Both walks came when deGrom threw eight consecutive balls to begin the second.

That drew a visit from Rojas, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and head athletic trainer Brian Chicklo, who examined deGrom’s finger. DeGrom called the issue “a little hot spot” and “a tiny blister.” He said he felt it in his previous start against the Braves and he doesn’t expect it to interfere with his next outing.

“I’ll probably file it off,” he said.

Miami second baseman Eddy Alvarez, a 30-year-old former Olympic speed skater, was 3-for-4 and picked up his first major-league hit in the second, when he sent a hard grounder to third base.

But it was the Mets’ second baseman who starred.

“[Gimenez] is always on his toes, physically and mentally,” Rojas said. “There’s a lot of things that he can do on the field that will help your team win.”

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