Mets return to New York angry after Utley’s takeout slide
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The New York Mets headed home angry after Chase Utley’s takeout slide broke Ruben Tejada’s leg.
Wilmer Flores will be at shortstop behind Matt Harvey for Game 3 at Citi Field on Monday night, and the Mets will be trying to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-five series instead of trying to close it out.
“I think we all feel for Ruben. It’s deflating when you have your shortstop taken out that way,” Mets captain David Wright said. “But we need to rebound, take the off-day tomorrow and get ready to go for Game 3 because that’s going to be a pivotal game.”
After beating Clayton Kershaw 3-1 in the opener, the Mets led 2-1 in the seventh inning behind rookie Noah Syndergaard. Utley’s takeout slide, which flipped Tejada and fractured the shortstop’s right fibula, was a key to the Dodgers’ four-run inning in a 5-2 win.
“We knew it was going to be a tough series,” Wright said. “It would have been nice to take two here, but anytime you can go 1-1 against Kershaw and Greinke in their house, I guess we’ll take it. But we wanted to get greedy and head back to New York with a 2-0 lead.”
Syndergaard was clocked at 100 mph or higher on eight of his first 36 pitches and was charged with three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out nine, but walked four and departed after the Dodgers put runners at the corners with one out in the seventh.
“Syndergaard did an excellent job,” Wright said. “When he came out in the first inning and was sitting at about a hundred (mph), you knew he was pumped up. Not only that, he was locating with all of his pitches. So it was impressive to watch. For a young guy in his first postseason start, he had a lot of poise — and obviously the stuff to back it up.”
Syndergaard gave up his first run in the fourth on doubles by ex-Met Justin Turner and Andre Ethier with none out. He was replaced in the seventh by Bartolo Colon, who came in to face former Angels teammate Howie Kendrick, who hit the grounder up the middle that led to Utley’s slide and Tejada’s injury.
“It was unfortunate. We battled out there,” Syndergaard said. “I was able to establish the strike zone early, but I got a little deeper into counts than I would have liked to. The walks kind of killed me there.”
In September 2010, a similar play occurred when Utley, then with Philadelphia, tried to break up a double play involving Tejada.
After that game, Wright said: “He’s a second baseman. If he wants guys sliding like that into him, then it’s perfectly fine. If he doesn’t mind guys coming in like that when he’s turning a double play, then we don’t have any problem with it. But somebody is going to get hurt.”
Sure enough, someone did Saturday.
“This isn’t something new, but I’m not going to sit here and answer on behalf of Chase. Chase can answer for himself. Only Chase knows what the intent was,” Wright said Saturday. “Ruben’s got his back turned to him, so obviously he can’t protect himself.”