Last night New York Mets fans got to rejoice as their team came back to beat the Yankees in novel fashion. Watching the comeback unfold against Mariano Rivera, who continues his farewell tour from ballpark to ballpark, felt somewhat unnatural. Reason being, nothing like that has never happened before. That’s not to say that Mariano has never blown a save against the Mets, we have seen that occur in the past, but the ease with which the Amazin’s scored their two runs and stuck Rivera with the loss was different. Here’s why:
That’s right, thanks to consecutive hits by Daniel Murphy, David Wright, and Lucas Duda, the New York Mets were able to do something against the greatest closer ever to play the game that had never been done before. It all made for a great night as the Empire State building was lit up with blue and orange and there’s little reason to look back and dwell on the negatives, but since the play of one player in particular may effect the shape of the team moving forward, it’s worth trying to figure out exactly what’s going on with Ruben Tejada.
Tejada’s struggles at the plate have not gone unnoticed but they clearly would have been more center stage this season had it not been for the inadequacies of first basemen Ike Davis. With his second straight 0-4 game at the dish the 23-year-old shortstop is now batting .172 for the month of May (16-93) and his average dropping dangerously close to the Mendoza line.
Tejada’s offensive woes may go overlooked if he were still the same slick fielding, gritty infielder we saw him mature into last season, but that’s just not the case. After making a throwing error last night, his eighth error of the year, the shortstop was picked off of second base in the 6th inning, gave up on a ground ball up the middle in the eighth, and failed to run hard down the line in the bottom of the inning on a grounder he ripped to third. It all wreaked of a guy that is just lost right now and according to Andy Martino of the Daily News, were it not for the fact that recalling Omar Quintanilla could cause some potential roster issues down the road, he may already have been sent down.
The talented young shortstop endured a terrible spring training, leading to questions in the organization like, “is he too comfortable?” and “would the minors serve him well?” Tejada ended up breaking camp with the team, then spent nearly two months underperforming on offense and, for a while, defense.
Then last night, he was the victim of a crucial pickoff that ended the sixth inning, and caused Terry Collins to unburden his anger on umpire Adrian Johnson, earning a fiesty ejection. In the eighth, Tejada did not dive for a Vernon Wells ground ball that rolled into left-center field for a hit.
Meanwhile, veteran Omar Quintanilla is batting .331 in Las Vegas and, as one Mets official said, “is the only (position player) there who looks like a big leaguer.”
So what the wait? Why not send Tejada — who everyone believes is a good guy, and capable of more than he has shown — down there already, and plug his spot with the capable Quintanilla?
“Obviously, that has been discussed,” said one high-ranking Mets source, who provided this reasoning for the inaction: Quintanilla is not on the 40-man roster (although that is far from insurmountable). Also, the Mets could lose him if they tried to send him back down, and do not want to risk that so early in the season.
“If we call up Quintanilla, we can’t send him back down,” the source explained, adding that after losing Quintanilla to a waiver claim, the Mets would be dangerously thin on organizational shortstop depth.
It is clear, though, that if Tejada continues to flirt with the Mendoza line, while posting an on-base percentage below .300 and committing weird lapses, he will not be in New York for long.”
I’m a Tejada fan but during a night where the entire Mets offense and defense was tough to watch for eight innings, Tejada took the cake on both sides of the ball. Matt Harvey was awesome, the comeback was great, but Tejada still left some fans scratching their heads when the celebration stopped. Who knows if he’s too comfortable or too overwhelmed, but if a trip the minors is what’s best for him the move should be made sooner than later.
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