Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wilmer Flores Has A Game For The Ages

Wilmer Flores (facing camera) slammed his way into the Mets history books (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images).

Wilmer Flores ended the series that wouldn't die by killing the Phillies with his bat.  In the finale to the five-game series at Citizens Bank Park, Flores delivered a two-run double in the sixth inning and a long grand slam in the ninth.  His six RBI helped the Mets defeat the Phillies, 11-2 - just the second time all season that the Mets won a game by more than five runs.

Flores' 6-RBI performance was accomplished in his 42nd major league game, making him the 45th player in major league history to drive in half a dozen runs in one of his first 50 games.  However, he was not the fastest Met to accomplish this.

The first Met to have a 6-RBI game within his first 50 big league games was Jeromy Burnitz, who drove in seven runs in his 37th game on August 5, 1993.  Burnitz held the mark until David Wright posted a 6-RBI game in his 14th major league game, which coincidentally took place 11 years to the day after Burnitz's breakout game.  Flores became the third Met to join this club last night.

In addition to becoming the third Met to have a 6-RBI game within his first 50 games in the big leagues, Flores also became the third shortstop to drive in six runs in a game for the Mets.

Prior to Monday night's game, exactly 22 players had driven in six or more runs in a game while wearing a Mets uniform, doing so a total of 32 times.  Flores became the 23rd Met to accomplish the feat.  But of those 23 players to accomplish the feat, just three did so playing shortstop, and none of them was named Jose Reyes.

In 1967, Jerry Buchek started 92 games at second base for the Mets, moving over to shortstop just five times in his first season in New York.  But one of those five starts was on September 22, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Houston Astros.  Buchek hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to temporarily give the Mets a 5-4 lead.  Then, after the Astros tied in the ninth, Buchek hit his second three-run blast of the game in the tenth inning, giving the Mets a win in walk-off fashion.  How unusual was Buchek's performances in that game?  Take out his two-homer, six-RBI performance against the Astros and he hit just 20 homers and drove in 102 runs in his other 420 big league games.

A quarter-century later, another light-hitting shortstop produced a six-RBI game for the Mets when Dick Schofield turned the trick on July 19, 1992 in an 8-4 win over the San Francisco Giants.  In the fourth inning, Schofield broke a 2-2 tie by hitting a double with the bags full to clear the bases.  Four innings later, Schofield gave the Mets some extra insurance by hitting a three-run homer.  The 1992 season was Schofield's lone year in New York, a year in which he produced four homers and 36 RBI in 142 games.  That means the shortstop had 25% of his homers and one-sixth of his RBI total in just one game.

Last night, Flores became just the third Mets shortstop to collect six RBI in one game, doing so in his 42nd major league game and only his 11th at short.  It's a rarity for any Mets player to have a 6-RBI game.  It's even more unusual for a Met to have one so early in his career.  And it's just as rare for that player to do it as a shortstop.  Wilmer Flores joined all of those exclusive clubs with one monster game.

Without question, it truly was a game for the ages for Wilmer Flores on Monday night. 

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