Buck Sharpens An Edge For The New York Mets
Coaching young baseball players can be frustrating. Instructors are constantly imploring them to watch more Major League Baseball to reinforce how to play the game the right way. However, time after time, we see MLB players making Little League mistakes. Knowing the rules can be one of those costly mistakes, unless you are one of those teams that take advantage of knowing the rules.
According to friend of The Drive with Charlie & Dan, Deesha Thosar of nydailynews.com, new New York Mets manager, Buck Showalter has been consistently meeting with the players going over the rulebook. It seems like a mundane formality but for Showalter, it's not. It is part of preparing the Mets players to take advantage of the rules. Sunday afternoon, Buck's attention to detail may have won the game for New York or at least put it out of reach for Arizona.
It was the 6th inning and the Mets had just taken a 1-0 lead on a double by third-baseman Eduardo Escobar. Showalter put up right-handed pinch hitter, JD Davis, up for lefty hitter Travis Jankowski to face former Mets left-handed pitcher Oliver Perez. Davis ripped RBI single, which sent Dominic Smith to third. That's when Showalter's lessons came into play. The next batter, James McCann hit a sacrifice fly. Smith tagged and scored to make the game 3-0, or so it seemed.
The Diamondbacks questioned whether the Mets baserunner, Dom Smith left third base too early. Arizona manager Tony Luvollo decided to appeal. According to David Lennon of newsday.com, "Showalter suspected as much and put in motion a teaching point from spring training. Rather than wait for the appeal, he had Davis break for second base, with the intent of drawing Perez’s attention and thereby nullifying the appeal. Once Perez makes a move toward Davis and not third base, the appeal is automatically canceled. As Showalter later explained, trade the out for the run."
“Buck takes great pride in having his players know the rules, and kind of the loopholes in the rules. We talked about that in spring training,” Davis told newsday.com. That pride is paying dividends and on Sunday insured a 3-run lead going into the top of the 7th inning.
I am sorry but that same scenario would not happen if Luis Rojas was still the manager. The Mets improved attention to detail and basic fundamentals are evident under the new skipper. Showalter is sharpening his team through his own experience. Buck knows the edge that is needed to win to a World Series. The Mets are grinding out wins.