Amed Rosario should have moved with more urgency. That, he knew almost immediately. Sure, the 21-year-old prospect is one of the youngest players in baseball, but it hardly takes encyclopedic knowledge of scouting reports to know that the Marlins’ Dee Gordon can fly.
That’s why Rosario’s seventh-inning gaffe in the Mets’ 6-4 loss looked so egregious — even though he was hardly alone in another sloppy Sunday afternoon for the Mets.
By the time he hit a seventh-inning grounder to short, Gordon already had flashed his renowned speed with two steals, but Rosario paid for failing to quickly fire to first. Instead, he hesitated, taking his time as if Gordon were a plodding catcher. He easily legged out an infield single.
“I knew that he could run well,” Rosario said through a translator. “But I got a little overconfident on that play.”
On the mound, Jacob deGrom shot a look at Rosario, then threw up his arms.
“I probably shouldn’t have done that,” deGrom said, admitting that violated an unspoken rule about showing up teammates. “I’ll have to talk to him. That’s my bad. I can’t show emotion out there like that, especially when it has to do with other players, when you know they’re out there, they’re trying to play defense behind you. That one’s on me.”
Said Rosario: “I really did feel a little bad after that error.”
The next batter, Giancarlo Stanton, blasted his 45th homer. The three-run shot came because deGrom couldn’t bury a 93-mph two-seamer in on the slugger’s hands.
Stanton’s shot was the biggest blow in a four-run seventh. Of course, deGrom would have approached the at-bat differently if he had been working with two outs and first base open, which would have been the case had Rosario treated Gordon’s grounder with more urgency. “It’s definitely different,” said deGrom, who added that he’d have been more willing to walk him.
Instead, he threw a two-seamer in hopes of getting a double play. Stanton muscled the pitch out of the park. “Like I said, that’s on me,” said deGrom, who struck out eight but allowed five runs and 10 hits in 6 1⁄3 innings. “I’ve got to do a better job.”
In this lost season for the Mets (54-68), the only real meaning must be salvaged from the learning moments that emerge. Such lessons likely will become standard after the Mets overhauled their roster.
Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, Re ne Rivera and Addison Reed are gone, part of a purge that was the natural outgrowth of a season defined by unmet expectations. At an average age of 26.8 years old, the Mets began the day as the third-youngest team behind the Padres and Phillies.
The Mets’ new reality presented itself in a starting lineup that featured only two players — Travis d’Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes — who did not begin their careers in the Mets’ system. Not that either player was blameless as the Mets dropped their eighth of nine Sunday afternoon games at Citi Field.
In the seventh, d’Arnaud was slow to throw to second base, where he had an easy force, and Cespedes dropped Christian Yelich’s routine fly ball. It’s a mistake that came after he earlier pulled up on a shallow fly ball that appeared within his reach. But the inning was marked by Rosario’s gaffe, one that Terry Collins called “a lesson.”
“He plays hard,” deGrom said. “So I don’t think it will happen again.”
Rosario said he didn’t see the pitcher’s reaction, but he knew before the play was finished that something had gone wrong.
Said Rosario: “The moment I saw him running, and the moment I saw him take that second step, I realized that maybe it was a little too late to throw it.”