Flushing, NY: Juan Lagares has only been with one team in his career and the New York Mets outfielder has had a share of injuries that have always put him on the sideline. But, the 30-year old of Constanza, Dominican Republic has never been out of the mix.
As much as it is hard to believe, Lagares, a seven-year veteran, delivered the biggest hit of his career Wednesday night at Citi Field in a come from behind Mets 6-1 over the Washington Nationals.
He cleared the bases with a three-run double in the eighth inning that gave the Mets a 3-1 lead. It was his first hit and RBI since May 17 in a series last week where the Mets were swept in four games by the Miami Marlins.
And with the Mets all of a sudden hit by injuries to outfielders, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, this was the perfect time for Lagares to step up. The three RBI tied his career high and the big hit came off Sean Doolittle the Nationals’ left-hander out of the pen.
Lagares is 3-for-5 off Doolittle. The second pitch fastball went to the left-center wall and led to six-run eighth inning. The Mets have scored 93 runs in the seventh inning or later this season and are second in the majors in runs scored in the seventh inning or later.
For Lagares and the Mets, this has stopped the talk of manager Mickey Callaway and his job security. After a three-game sweep down in Miami, the Mets have won three straight and will go for a sweep Thursday afternoon of the four-game series.
But the talk after this Mets win was the comeback. Also there was plenty of optimism about the depth of a roster that has been questioned.
More so there is concern about Robinson Cano. The 36-year old veteran was pulled from the game in the fourth inning. After running to first in the Mets bottom of the third, Cano appeared to tweek a hamstring or quad muscle. An MRI result was not available and the status of Cano won’t be known until Thursday.
As for Lagares, who is adjusting to more starting time, he said, “Keep working hard. Stay ready because you never know. Yeah, it was one of biggest hits of my career.”
The fastball he hit was the biggest hit of the Mets season. Because it led to a huge inning, and until the double was hit, the Mets were shutout going into the eighth in what was a pitching duel with the Nationals Max Scherzer and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom.
Rajai Davis, called up to assist with a depleted roster of injured outfielders, hit a three-run home run in that eighth inning in his Mets debut. He was selected from Triple-A Syracuse and added depth to this roster.
“Scoring runs late,” said manager Mickey Callaway. “It’s definitely helping us win games. We did a good job attacking the fastball. When you win there is a different feel and confidence.”
That depth comes from putting in good pinch hitters late in the game. And also getting hits from a roster that gets little recognition for their depth also helps.
“Juan has done a great job against Doolittle,” said Callaway. “You know this guy is going to throw fastballs. You have to capitalize on that.”
Juan Lagares got hold of one and the Mets are confident with their depth and ability to win games.
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