McCutchen's outstanding grab draws raves

McCutchen's outstanding grab draws raves

NEW YORK -- Even a day after the fact, Andrew McCutchen's highlight-reel catch in center field during Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Mets had many talking. McCutchen said it was one of the best three he's ever made. Manager Clint Hurdle put it in the top five he's seen, right up there with one McCutchen previously made at Citi Field when he dove toward the right-center field wall.

An additional variable in Tuesday's grab -- McCutchen ran a long way toward right-center before laying out in the third inning -- was the batter he robbed: Juan Lagares. Lagares, the Mets' center fielder, took one away from McCutchen in the first inning when he made a leaping catch at the 390-foot marker in right-center.

"Just the distance covered, completely laid out, into the glove," Hurdle said of McCutchen's play. "Magnificent, just magnificent."

It was also a moment of redemption for McCutchen, who had a fly ball glance off his glove for a two-base error in the first inning. He and left fielder Starling Marte converged in left-center and, despite both men apparently calling for the ball, let it drop in.

"They both called the ball at the same time," Hurdle said. "Unfortunately, those things can happen, but you don't like it when they do."

McCutchen visiting both ends of the fielding spectrum in the same game isn't necessarily surprising. FanGraphs.com's Ultimate Zone Rating -- a defensive statistic that attempts to measure how many runs a fielder costs or saves his team -- has McCutchen at -0.9 this season.

That's 14th out of 21 qualifying center fielders -- the very bottom of the middle-third. Comparatively, Lagares ranks sixth with a 2.3 rating. Angels center fielder Mike Trout tops the list at 7.7.

"My job is to make the catch if I feel like I can get it. That's what I try to do every time," McCutchen said. "You hate to miss things like that, have a ball like that. I know I'm better than that. I try to go get it, like I always do."

Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.