It was a brutal fourth inning for the Mets at Wrigley Field as defensive miscues coupled with a plethora of seeing eye hits that plated 7 runs led to a 16-4 trouncing by the Cubs.
David Peterson entered that fourth inning with a 2-0 lead and had faced the minimum 9 batters through 3 frames but errors by Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto and JD Davis opened the floodgates for the homestanding Cubs. For Lindor he brought his bat to the game hitting his first homer as a Met but felt he let the team down with his glove when he said after the game,” Our pitchers are making good pitches to get out of the inning and I have to make that play. And making that error makes me an unhappy person.”
Three errors in that fateful inning closed the door and Javier Baez put the exclamation point on this one with a sixth inning grand slam putting the Mets to bed on this night. But the question remains how do you fix this defense? JD Davis looked downright depressed about his error because it followed a huge error he committed on Tuesday night.
Lindor tried to illustrate what his team needs to understand when he said, “You know we are going to lose at least 50 games as every team does but we can learn from a night like this. And the good thing is this is happening now and not in September. I can tell you we support each other and that will get us through this.”
It certainly helped the see bats awaken a bit as both Lindor and Pete Alonso hit homers but this defense is becoming a chronic issue that must be addressed. Maybe JD Davis needs a few days to clear his head and I would give Luis Guillorme a few days at third but I honestly feel that we won’t see that because Luis Rojas believes in JD Davis and his bat has been percolating since his return.
Still defensive breakdowns like we have seen past 2 nights could divide a team and a clubhouse and the Mets have to avoid that. The cliches that teams must put games like this behind are all true but as these games become more commonplace they get more difficult to come back from on a regular basis. I do think this team has a tremendous amount of resiliency and that will be tested in the next few days if these defensive meltdowns continue.
Luis Rojas has his real first benchmark moment of the 2021 season And it will be super interesting to see how he handles it. In those moments, baseball managers need to blend emotions being critical yet supportive and that will be a duckwalk with the handling of JD Davis whose defense has holes in it they are putting games in the loss column.