Mets’ Jeff McNeil continues to hit hot and shine on defense

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

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

McNeil continued his hot hitting with three RBIs, but he also made two excellent defensive plays to help the Mets to a 7-6 win in 10 innings Thursday over the Cardinals.

He made a jumping grab in foul territory and doubled over Tommy Edman at second base for the seventh inning final and added a loading/sliding catch an inning later.

“I thought the first one was 10 rows foul and then it comes back into play. So I was ready to climb the wall and get it off the stands and it just fell back into fair territory,” McNeil said. “I played a lot of outfield in college [at Long Beach State] and got tons of reps out there and tons of reps in the smaller leagues.

“For me, it’s like they throw the ball in the air and you catch it. Not too difficult, just go out there and try to make some cool games.”

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

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

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

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

The Mets all wore shirts after the game honoring Eduardo Escobar for his 10-year service in the major leagues. Showalter said Max Scherzer conducted the presentation at Escobar.

There were no batters hit by pitches from either team as both sides were warned after Mark Canha was drilled in Wednesday’s game, one of three Mets brought down in the game.

“I will never understand why we were warned [Wednesday] Night. Is something wrong? Why are we being 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 pissed.”

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

“You can’t be mad at Cookie Monster,” Showalter said. Mets’ Jeff McNeil continues to hit hot and shine on defense


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