Mancuso: Flores Making The Best At Playing Third

There is speculation the New York Mets will seek some infield help with the uncertainty of David Wright returning to the lineup. The Mets GM, Sandy Alderson alluded to there not being anything in the works with the trading deadline six weeks away.  In steps Wilmer Flores who had been handled the task of playing third base in Wright’s absence.

Except, Flores has been up and down at the plate since taking the role of filling the void. And at times he appears confident handling the position, and then there are the miscues at playing a position that he is not accustomed to handling  on a daily basis.

Noah Syndergaard gave the Mets another strong outing Wednesday night at Citi Field, and Flores got another start at third and made a statement that he is the one that can fill the void as the Mets defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-2.  Syndergaard (7-2) dominated the Pirates with 11 strikeouts and almost got the complete game  throwing 8.1 innings.

And it was Flores, with a 2-for-5 night, and four runs batted in that contributed to the Mets pounding out a season high 19-hits against Pirates pitching. He snapped an 0-for-19 skid  with a single in the fifth inning and will be at third again Thursday evening  in the rubber game of the series with Pittsburgh.

Flores knows he can be that complete and impact player. It is a matter of playing everyday and now he has the opportunity.  There are many ways to approach the third base situation for the Mets and making a deal is one. There are also other options by bringing up Dilson Herrera to play an infield position and keeping Flores at third.

Neil Walker is also hurting and had an MRI on a  lower back issue and that also takes some punch from the lineup and a void in the infield.

But the Mets also have Matt Reynolds on the roster, and reacquired Kelly Johnson last week who also can take a crack at playing third base.  Flores, though has the capability and manager Terry Collins always said he has the bat to provide needed punch in the lineup.

“Wilmer, we all think he’s going to hit,” Collins said. “When he starts to swing the bat like he’s capable, he’s dangerous. One of the things we need out of him is the pop in the lineup. We know he’s got it. He had a good night tonight.”

One of the hits was a  homerun to left in the sixth inning, a  fastball that was hit to left off a 1-0 fork Pirates’ righthander Bob Scahill . And to his credit, and with a team struggling with injuries and to score runs. Flores remained confident.

“Not just for me for every player to get more at bats is important,” he said. It was the good at bats  he had, and the Mets also responded as well by having different approaches at the plate. Flores took advantage of the opportunity and once again produced when he had to.

“We got together,” he said. “And we went out there and tried to relax and have good at bats. Every guy is here for a reason because they can hit up here and we’re good enough to wins games. And with the pitching we have, I don’t think we need many runs.”

He added: “You know, we’re counting on our guys. I mean we did it last year and we’ll try to keep ourselves right there.”

And the Mets had Syndergaard that had the Pirates in a tailspin.  The 8.1 innings were a career high and he retired 17 straight batters after John Jaso led off the first inning with a single. Jaso ended the streak with a sixth inning single and threw 115 pitches.

But for the Mets it was a Flores night and the rest of a lineup that all got a hit. For the moment the absence of Wright will not be missed. And if similar production comes, Collins believes he has the right option in the lineup everyday.

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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