Manager Luis Rojas had a message for J.D. Davis in the aftermath of the most embarrassing moment of Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep against the Marlins:
Watch the Berti!
Even though the Mets were shut out in both seven-inning games on Tuesday, the lasting image is that of the Marlins’ Jon Berti stealing home in the sixth inning of Game 2 – after he had already stolen second and third.
And it wasn’t just that Berti stole home. It’s that he stumbled and fell during his journey, but still made it because pitcher Jeurys Familia short-armed his throw home and rookie catcher Ari Sanchez couldn’t handle it.
Davis’ role in the fiasco was in not holding Berti closer to third base after Familia’s pitch to Brian Anderson. Sanchez, in his first big-league start, lollipopped the return throw to Familia. That’s when Berti took off for home.
Davis said Rojas pulled him aside after the Mets’ Game 2 loss and told him he needed to pay more attention to Berti so that the speedy runner would have had to have headed back to third after the pitch was thrown.
Or, as Keith Hernandez likes to grumble in the Mets’ TV booth, “Fundies!”
“It’s just going back and forth from the bag,” Davis said on Wednesday before the Mets hosted the Marlins at Citi Field. “What me and Luis discussed is just in-between pitches, just make two or three steps just to make sure that he knows that you’re there and your presence is known. Just one of those things that I was keeping an eye on Berti, but he took off . . . Next time, learning from it, it’s just one of those things where I could have given [Familia and Sanchez] just one or two more steps of that window, that way a little more comfortable playing catch at home. Just one of those things that we need to learn, especially when a guy like Berti or one of those guys is on the bases, just to remind them you’re there, your presence is there and we’re watching you. That’s all.”
Davis did point out that Berti would have been “dead as a duck” if Familia had made a good throw home, especially after the runner stumbled.
Sanchez was told he needs to check the runner at third and throw the ball back to the pitcher with some authority. So everyone messed up and that’s why, after that game, Rojas said, “That shouldn’t happen.”
Davis started the season as the Mets’ leftfielder. He has since switched with Jeff McNeil and is the everyday third baseman. On Wednesday, he was in the coveted No. 3 spot in the order. The struggling McNeil was seventh in the order and started at second base.
Tuesday’s games were the Mets’ first action since their season was suspended for five days because of two positive COVID-19 tests. They will have a lot of time to work on fundies before their next scheduled day off on Monday.
After Thursday’s series finale against the Marlins, the Mets will play seven-inning doubleheaders against the Yankees on Friday and Sunday and a single nine-inning game on Saturday.
The extended layoff could be one reason the Mets struggled at the plate on Tuesday after they averaged eight runs per game in their previous three outings (also all against the Marlins). On Tuesday, the Mets were 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 19 men on base.
“Right now, it’s kind of tough with all of us trying to be in and out with our swings,” Davis said. “But I’m just trying to grind out at-bats. Just get on base. I think that’s my biggest priority. No one is feeling good, especially coming off [the layoff]. A 60-game season, you’ve got to find a way. There’s no excuse.”
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