Mets’ Jeff McNeil continues to hit hard and shines on defense

Mets’ Jeff McNeil continues to hit hard and shines on defense

Jeff McNeil didn’t hesitate when given the choice of which aspect of his play he wanted to talk about first.

“Let’s talk about defense,” he joked. “I can never talk about it.”

McNeil continued his hot shots with three RBIs, but he also had two great defensive plays to help the Mets to a 7-6 10-inning victory Thursday against the Cardinals.

He made a leaping grab into foul territory and doubled Tommy Edman at second base for the seventh-inning final, and added a charge/slide catch an inning later.

“I thought the first one was a 10 range foul and then he tends to come back in. So I was ready to climb the wall and pull him out of the stands and it turned out he fell back into fair territory,” McNeil said. “I played a lot in the outfield in college. [at Long Beach State] and got tons of reps there and tons of reps in the minor leagues.

“For me it’s that they hit the ball in the air and you’re going to catch it. Not too difficult, go ahead and try to make some cool games.

Jeff McNeil of the Mets catches a fly sacrificed by Cardinals designated hitter Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh inning of a game on Thursday, May 19, 2022.
Jeff McNeil makes a bounding catch on a sacrificial fly by Cardinals designated hitter Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh inning.

Asked about McNeil’s two-way game, Buck Showalter smiled and said, “What about the game he had?”

“I mean, he’s the flying squirrel for a reason. He makes amazing plays, not just at second base, but also in left field. He does an amazing job for us offensively and defensively,” Pete Alonso said. “There’s a lot of things in the game now that are super specialized, but he’s just a ball player… a really good ball player.”

Starling Marte arrived during the game on bereavement leave following the death of his grandmother. He’s expected to be activated Friday in Colorado, according to Showalter, who added, “Between air travel and customs and also the mindset we’re assuming he’s in, trying to give him that space. “

The Mets all wore T-shirts after the game honoring Eduardo Escobar for reaching 10 years of major league service. Showalter said Max Scherzer led the presentation to Escobar.

There were no batters hit by either team’s pitches as both teams were cautioned after Mark Canha was drilled in Wednesday’s game, one of three Mets to fell in the game.

“I will never understand why we were warned [Wednesday] night. Something is wrong? Why are we warned? Showalter said before the game. “It would be like a car cutting you off, but we’re going to warn you both because you’re probably angry.”

Showalter then went on a rant about New York traffic, saying it took him an hour and 20 minutes to get to the ballpark. He also joked that he had changed the voice on his Waze navigation app, saying the male British voice giving directions “is very sufficient”. He also said his daughter uses Cookie Monster’s voice in her car for her grandson.

“You can’t get mad at Cookie Monster,” Showalter said.

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