Binghamton (AA - Eastern League)
@ Binghamton Mets 4, Connecticut Defenders 3 (10 innings)
Ambiorix Concepcion sent everyone home happy with a line drive solo homer in the bottom of the tenth.
Dan Murphy played second for the first time in a week now that the B-Mets have enough bodies to fill the other positions. He did some things very well and some things not so well, but it was an encouraging performance. Through five innings, he fielded all of the routine grounders and popups, without incident. In the sixth, behind a tiring Antonini, he made a nice play moving to his left, before setting and throwing a strike back towards second to initiate a 4-6-3 double play. In the seventh, he made a brilliant play. With a runner on second, and no outs, he fielded a bouncing ball moving towards the middle of the diamond and fired a strike to third, to nail the lead runner. It was very creative. The eighth inning brought some craziness. With the B-Mets up a run, thanks to Murphy, the Defenders had a runner at second and one out. Shaded up the middle at double play depth, Murphy ranged wide to his left angling into short right to field a softly hit grounder. B-Mets Manager Mako Oliveras said of the play, “he made a great catch.” Murphy then spun, and fired the ball. He fired the ball inside of first, back in the direction of home plate. The ball skipped by catcher Solomon Manriquez, who was late to back up, took an odd hop around the fence and kept rolling allowing the runner on first to come in to score to tie the game and the batter to land on third thanks to the two-base throwing error. Oliveras explained Murphy’s error, simply, “what he did wrong was he didn’t move his feet. … one rule of fielding is you never get your head up… that’s what happened on that throw.” As for whether the spin was the right choice on the play, Oliveras explained that as an infielder “you let the ball tell you what to do and the ball made him spin.” The skipper raves about Murphy’s work at the keystone, saying “I think he’s doing a heck of a job.”
At the plate, there’s just no doubt that Murphy is a beast. In the first inning he ripped a double down the leftfield line sparking a B-Mets rally. In the seventh inning, he drove a homer to the opposite field, that just kept carrying over the left field wall that was simply a big league swing. Oliveras noticed the adjustment Murphy made during the night, saying, “he’s a professional hitter…the first at bat they came inside and boom, he kept it fair. Then [later] they were pitching him away and he went the other way.”
Mike Carp had a nice selective night, going 3-3 with two walks. His selectivity was no accident; it was the result of a renewed focus. He said, he’d “been talking with [Mets hitting coordinator] Lamar Johnson and Luis [Natera] about it. When I was going good, I wasn’t swinging at bad pitches. Lately I’ve been going after whatever they throw.” Oliveras noticed the change in Carp, “tonight he came out with a mission. That’s the Mike Carp I know.”
Mike Antonini (pictured) lasted 5.2 innings working primarily off his fastball that was mostly 88-89 with a few 87s, 90s and a 91 or two mixed in. He didn’t throw his slider much at all, instead relying on his changeup for a variety in pace. He left his change-up up in the zone and was hurt with it, giving up a homer in the second inning on the pitch. Oliveras was impressed by Antonini’s “demeanor and his composure.”
Eddie Kunz was lights out in a 1-2-3 ninth sitting 93-96 touching 97 with a hard slider.
Shawn Bowman made a number of very clean plays at third, both moving to his left and charging bunts and softly hit grounders.