Mets' issue with running game on display vs. D-backs
Arizona steals four bases in finale loss, 13 total in series
By Troy Provost-Heron
NEW YORK -- In a series where the D-backs ran wild and effortlessly swiped any bag they wanted, even a pitcher decided to get in on the action.
In the fourth inning of the Mets' 9-0 loss that capped a three-game sweep on Thursday, rookie starter Braden Shipley delivered an RBI single that gave Arizona a four-run lead. A few pitches later, he darted toward second base and slid headfirst into the bag (unnecessarily, given that catcher Rene Rivera didn't even get a throw off).
The steal was just one of four the Mets allowed on the day and one of the 13 they allowed during this three-game series, the most allowed in team history according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It was also an Arizona record for the most stolen bases in a series of any length, the previous record being 10 during a four-game series against the Marlins.
"[The D-backs] have good baserunners there all around the lineup," Rivera said. "This is going to happen. They picked stuff up on our pitchers, and they took advantage of it."
For the majority of the season, opposing batters have been taking advantage of Noah Syndergaard on the basepaths without hesitation. In 22 starts this season, he has allowed 36 steals, which is tops in the Majors by a sizeable margin -- 16 more than fellow Met Steven Matz, who has surrendered the second-most steals.
"It's just really easy for the baserunners to predict when I'm going home, because when I pick off, it's really mechanical out there," Syndergaard said.
Holding runners on, though, has been more than just a pitching issue. Regular catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who spent time on the disabled list earlier this season with a right rotator cuff strain, has thrown out just 19.3 percent (11 of 57) of attempted basestealers this season, well below the 28 percent league average. Rivera was above league average, throwing out 30 percent of runners, before Thursday's series finale.
The Mets have now allowed 102 steals this season, which is the most in the Majors and almost double the league average of 59, and that figure could grow by another large margin this weekend when the Padres, who rank third in the league in stolen bases, visit Citi Field for a three-game set starting Friday.
Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.