PHILADELPHIA -- First Juan Lagares in D.C., and now Matt den Dekker in Philly, jumped at the wall to take away would-be homers by opponents against Bartolo Colon. So which catch did Colon like better?
“I liked den Dekker’s because it was tonight. Lagares’ was, like, ages ago,” Colon joked through an interpreter after the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 11-2 on Monday to win four of five in the series.
New York Mets
In his first start in the majors this season, den Dekker took a home run away from Ryan Howard to lead off the bottom of the second inning. An inning later, den Dekker threw out Reid Brignac attempting to score from second base on Ben Revere’s single. He also went 1-for-5 with a run scored in an audition for the leadoff spot on the day Lagares landed on the disabled list with a rib-cage strain.
“The last maybe two weeks in Vegas I was leading off,” den Dekker said. “So I felt fine there. I felt like I was seeing the ball well in Vegas, and I just tried to keep that going here.”
Said Terry Collins: “Before Juan burst on the scene here, Matt den Dekker was the talk of the organization, especially defensively. Everybody knows he’s got power in his bat. Everybody talked about, 'If this guy hits, he’s going to be a real, real good defensive center fielder.' He made a great play tonight.”
Den Dekker said he was surprised Phillies third-base coach Pete Mackanin aggressively sent Brignac in the third inning, when the Mets held only a modest 1-0 lead.
“Off the bat I saw him," den Dekker said. "He maybe froze for a second because it was a line drive off the bat. I didn’t think they would send him. I just came up ready to throw and hit the cut and made a good throw.”
Den Dekker had been informed Sunday morning that he had been demoted so the Mets could carry an extra bullpen arm. He couldn’t find the game on TV at the hotel and his flight to Las Vegas was not until 8:30 that night, so he roamed the City of Brotherly Love for a while and even caught a glimpse of the Liberty Bell.
Den Dekker never had to pack for the minors, though, because Lagares landed on the DL and den Dekker was re-promoted.
“Nobody knew that Juan was going to go down [with an injury],” den Dekker said. “Things happen like that. You just try to stay ready and get in there and have a good game and help the team out.”