In front of 46,474 fans at Yankee Stadium, Mets rookies Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario each hit home runs during last night's 5-4 loss to the Yankees.
"Me and Amed, we came up together. He's my little brother," Smith said of the duo. "We just like to see each other do well. We root for each other. We push each other to become better ballplayers. It's just good to be up here with him."
In the seventh inning, Smith, 22, hit a two-run homer off Yankees RHP Sonny Gray, who entered the inning pitching a shutout.
"It's a big weight lifted," Smith said of hitting his first big-league home run. "This is like a playoff atmosphere. Both of these teams are playing for the bragging rights of the city. The city is pretty divided of who they think is the better team."
In the ninth inning, Rosario hit a two-run home run against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, who threw a 100-mph fastball to get the count to 2-1. Rosario then connected on an outside slider for his second home run in five games.
"That's something that I've never experienced before in my life," Rosario, speaking about facing Chapman's legendary fastball and slider. "I went out there looking for his hardest pitch, and I hit his slowest pitch."
Rosario, who was signed as a teenager in 2012, made his big-league debut two weeks ago, during which he's batting .255 with five extra base hits, four home runs, six runs and 16 strikeouts in 14 games. Smith, who was a first-round pick in 2013, made his debut Aug. 11 and is batting .235 with just three strikeouts in 17 plate appearances.
"You can't have a better scenario, I don't think, for young player development than pressure situations," Mets manager Terry Collins said after the game. "When they come up here, you need to challenge them with big opportunities."
Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About Me): So, why then are you consistently pulling Smith during big spots late in the game, Terry? In what has become a trend, after Dom connected for his first-ever home run last night, Terry yanked him for Jose Reyes during an at-bat in the ninth inning against Chapman. It worked out, because Reyes got a hit and eventually scored on Rosario's home run. But, why pull Dom if it's important to challenge him?
I assume Terry wanted his young first baseman going to sleep that night wrapped in the positive rush that comes with hitting a home run at Yankee Stadium, as opposed to lamenting, say, striking out against Chapman in a 'close-and-late situation.' I can see how he'd think there is more to be gained by Smith feeling good about himself than there is to be lost by him feeling bad. But, frankly, who cares?
This isn't a babysitting club. It's professional baseball. I'm sure -- as a competitor -- Dom wanted to hit. He's failed before. He'll fail again. And, I'd rather see him learn from his failures now, when they matter less in the standings, than next year, when clutch moments will hopefully mean more.
It's worth noting that Reyes has three hits in six at-bats against Chapman, and Reyes was sitting available on the bench. So, this -- more than anything -- is probably why Terry made the move. However, how is what TC said after the game consistent with what he did during it? It isn't. And that's something Sandy Alderson should consider when thinking about whether TC is the right person to manage what will be a much younger team next season.