Let’s think of it this way — the Mets almost always win on Opening Day and then their season goes down the tubes. So maybe if the Mets lose on Opening Day they will have a good season? Yeah, let’s cling to that.
In any case, here are some reflections from a very disappointing game.
– Obviously the bullpen was an unmitigated disaster. Back-to-back with two outs in the seventh inning, Carlos Torres and Scott Rice each walked the only batters they faced without even throwing a strike. Torres’s walk loaded the bases and Rice’s tied the game.
Bobby Parnell entered the ninth with a lead and left with the game tied, allowing two hits and a walk in his inning of work. His velocity has to be a concern. He used to throw in the mid-to-upper 90s; on Monday his fastball sat at around 90, but he was able to dial it up to 93 for a key strikeout. Are his days as a flamethrower over? His overwhelming fastball was really all he ever had.
Losing pitcher Jeurys Familia was more a victim of bad luck. The two singles he gave up were not hard hit and he gave up the tie-breaking run on a sacrifice fly. John Lannan followed by allowing a walk and a three-run home run that put the game away for the Nationals.
– Jose Valverde, on the other hand, was a revelation. He came in with the score tied and the bases loaded in the seventh and struck out Ryan Zimmerman to end the inning. He then pitched a one-two-three eighth with two strikeouts.
– Dillon Gee also pitched very well. After allowing a two-run home run in the second, Gee retired the next 15 batters before tiring in the seventh. He left with a 4-3 lead, but of course the bullpen blew it for him.
– Offensively, the Mets scored seven runs by overall it had a poor day. Mets batters struck out 18 times, managing only seven hits and three walks.
– Juan Lagares had two of those hits, including a clutch solo home run that temporarily gave the Mets the lead in the bottom of the eighth. If Lagares can hit like this all season to go along with his stellar defense, the Mets might really have something here.
– Three of the hits came off the bat of David Wright. His two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th was too little, too late, but it was still nice to see. The Mets will need a career year from Wright if they hope to do anything this season.
– Andrew Brown, who got the Opening Day start because Chris Young has a quad strain, hit a three-run blast in the first inning. Brown is only on the roster because Jonathon Niese is on the disabled list and is set to go down to the minors when Niese is activated on Sunday. But if Brown continues to hit, it will be hard to justify sending him to Vegas while Lucas Duda takes a roster spot (assuming he does not hit over the next week).
– Curtis Granderson struck out three times in his Mets debut and Eric Young fanned four times. Young got the start at second because Daniel Murphy is in Florida for the birth of his first child.
– It was good to see Matt Harvey on the bench, cheering on his teammates.
– We saw the first test of the replay system and it worked well. Nationals manager Matt Williams challenged a play at first that ended the 10th inning. His team had just taken a 9-5 lead and while the play was close, the replay clearly showed the runner was tagged out. It seemed like Williams just wanted to try it out. It took just a minute or two, but this was a clear-cut case. It will be interesting to see how long questionable calls will take.
So to tally up — good starting pitching, bad bullpen, scuffling offense. This is pretty much what everybody expected from the Mets. But hey, there are 161 more games to turn things around.