It was a cold night in Chicago and an even colder night for the offense of both teams but the Met defense has a rough night as well as JD Davis committed 2 errors even though he also provided the only Met offense of the night with a solo homer.
Speaking of rough nights, Luis Rojas suffered his first ejection of his major league managerial career as he felt Taijuan Walker was being squeezed by the home plate umpire. Walker got ejected earlier in the game after an inning in which he walked 3 batters in a row including his pitching counterpart, Jake Arrieta.
The Met bullpen gave Rojas 4 innings of scoreless relief and in the ninth inning they loaded the bases against Cubs closer Craig Kimbrol with one out but a Brandon Nimmo strikeout coupled with a Francisco Lindor ground out ended the game in favor of the Cubs. As far as the ejection Rojas said after the contest, “Exceptions happen but I felt we were getting squeezed and an argument happened so I was done for the night.”
But the third base play of JD Davis is something the Met manager will have to wrestle with in the coming days. His throws are an adventure right now and you can tell his footwork plus his need to tap the glove before he throws to first have to be corrected. 2 throws on this night exhibited those features and in many ways was the difference in the game. His solo homer also illustrated this Met offense needs a bat like him right now but his lack of defense is something the Mets could not afford either. A lack of a DH in this league hurts the Mets on a number of levels as that could have been a temporary resting spot for JD. As a consequence, he MUST work harder on defense or we may soon see Jonathan Villar or Luis Guillorme at the hot corner.
Defense was something we heard constantly in spring training and it has improved as the gloves of James McCann, Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo have all performed well plus replacing Robinson Cano’s glove with Jeff McNeil has been positive as well. But third base is a key position especially when pitchers like Taijuan Walker, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson are on the hill because they are hurlers that pitch to contact.
The Met offense is struggling but I feel these hitters are beginning to see the ball better and this team will score plenty of runs but that third base defense could be a wrecking ball for this team. You know the old adage in baseball–bats will find the weak link on your team defensively. And the Cubs certainly did that last night.
It will be interesting to see how long a leash Luis Rojas has for JD Davis and if he starts rotating others there you get the sense he is hoping one of them will claim the spot. Davis has time to reaffirm his spot as his bat seems to be percolating but if he plays more games defensively like he did in Chicago yesterday, that time might soon expire.