NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes had a flashback to Game 7 of the National League Championship Series back in 2006 when teammate Curtis Granderson made an electric catch in Wednesday’s wild-card game. Unfortunately for the New York Mets, both elimination-game catches -- separated by a decade -- ultimately became footnotes in defeats.
Granderson retreated to the wall to make a run-saving catch on Brandon Belt's shot to deep center in the sixth inning Wednesday. The inning-ending catch stranded San Francisco's Denard Span at second base and preserved a scoreless tie between Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard in the National League wild-card game.
Granderson had moved to center field for the Mets this season out of necessity, with Yoenis Cespedes slowed by a right quadriceps injury and Juan Lagares unable to start because of a ligament tear in his right thumb that required Aug. 1 surgery.
“It was a tough one. I was just trying to get back there and tried to reel it in,” Granderson said. “As I looked up, I still had a shot to make a catch on it. ... The weather definitely helped me out a little bit, too. As it got to night and a little cooler out there, the ball didn’t travel like it was the earlier part of the day. So that definitely helped me out, and 408 [feet] instead of it being 400 helped me out as well.”
Statcast had these fun facts about Granderson’s catch:
First step: 0.17 seconds
Top speed: 18.2 mph
Distance covered: 101.9 feet
Route efficiency: 96.9 percent
"I want you to understand how difficult that play was that Granderson made,” a baseball executive and former major league outfielder said. “I played a good portion of my pro career in center field. That's the toughest play for a center fielder. Ball crushed over your head near the wall with game on the line. That's as tough as it gets. Extremely well done. May have saved Mets season!"
Alas, it did not save the Mets' season.
Reyes was reminded of Endy Chavez reaching over the wall at Shea Stadium to take away a would-be tiebreaking sixth-inning homer from St. Louis' Scott Rolen in Game 7 of the NLCS back in 2006 at Shea Stadium. That catch ended up coming in a loss, too.
“It’s kind of all over again like 2006, when Endy Chavez made that play,” Reyes said. “We kind of felt the same way -- ‘Oh, man, we’re going to win this game.’ We weren’t able to do anything.”