The Mets made their return from a five-day COVID layoff on Tuesday, hosting division-rival Miami for a double-dip in the Big Apple. It did not go especially well for the Metropolitans, who failed to register a run over 14 innings of lackluster baseball. Considering their opponent lost a National League-leading 105 games a year ago, that’s actually hard to do.
New York’s most regrettable sequence of the night (and there were plenty of contenders) came way past bedtime with Jeurys Familia taking the hill for Game 2 in Queens. The veteran reliever had a devil of a time holding men on base in Tuesday’s twin bill at Citi Field. Well actually, just one man—Marlins speedster Jon Berti. Something of a one-trick pony—the crafty 30-year-old swiped an impressive 17 bags in limited playing time last year (73 games)—Berti hoped to pad Miami’s 2-0 lead with an insurance run in the sixth. He went about that by running on Familia and battery-mate Ali Sanchez early and often, advancing to third on consecutive steals after opening the frame with a leadoff walk.
Emboldened by his relatively smooth heists of both second and third, Berti rolled the dice, catching Familia and Sanchez (who was making his big-league debut) asleep at the wheel in claiming his third steal of the inning. Berti barreled home for the Marlins’ third run, surviving a slight hiccup on his 90-foot gallop to the plate. According to Baseball Almanac, Berti is just the 54th big-leaguer and the first Marlin to log three steals in a single inning. Berti’s theft-a-palooza was also a first for the Mets, who had never allowed such an occurrence in their nearly 60-year history.
Letting Berti—he of 374 MLB plate appearances—run all over them couldn’t have been a confidence-booster for the 12-16 Mets, who have fallen to fourth in the NL East behind Miami, Philadelphia and division-leading Atlanta. After the game, rookie manager Luis Rojas admitted the team was guilty of “negligence” in allowing Berti to pull a Jackie Robinson, echoing the sentiment expressed by Mets color analyst Keith Hernandez, who called the chain of events “embarrassing” during Tuesday’s broadcast on SNY.
The Mets won’t have much time to shake this one off—they’ll be back in the saddle Wednesday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM ET. Luckily, Jacob deGrom, the National League’s Cy Young recipient each of the past two seasons, will be on the bump for New York as he seeks his third victory of 2020. Working in his favor, both of deGrom’s previous wins came against the Marlins.