One thing that has been abundantly clear is the New York Mets lineup isn’t working. Even going back to last season, Buck Showalter never truly maximized his lineup. That should change now, especially since Showalter can’t justify many of his decisions.
That’s not to say Showalter has been completely inflexible. To be fair, he did drop down Starling Marte in the lineup due to his early season struggles. On that point, Marte never should have been batting second. As we have seen, from a Sabermetric/analytical standpoint, your best hitter should bat second.
Instead, Showalter treated it like a second lead-off hitter. That never really worked last season, and it is time to see Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, or Brandon Nimmo bat second. If players like Aaron Judge and Mike Trout bat second, the Mets can put their top hitter there.
Since the start of last season, those are the Mets top three hitters. Alonso has a 141 wRC+. McNeil is behind him with a 136, and Nimmo has a 132. The Mets could easily justify batting anyone one of them second in their lineup.
Before getting to that point, the Mets do have to wrestle with who leads off. Part of the issue there is while Nimmo seems like the obvious candidate, the waters do get muddied a bit when looking at the numbers.
In his career, McNeil has been at his best batting lead-off (131 wRC+), his four games in the clean-up spot (144 wRC+), or towards the bottom of the lineup. He has been his weakest batting second (115 wRC+) and fifth (104 wRC+). While we can and should look towards analytics, we should also take into account where players thrive and meld the two.
On that front, Francisco Lindor has been at his best when batting lead-off (123 wRC+) or fifth in the lineup (183 wRC+) in his career. The caveat there is he’s hit fifth only once, so that should really be disregarded. Really, Lindor has spent his career in the top third of the lineup, and it is clear he’s a much better hitter when leading off.
For his part, Nimmo has a 135 wRC+ as a leadoff hitter. He’s got better numbers in other spots in the lineup, but there’s nothing close to an appreciable sample size to derive anything of it. This is where the Mets conundrum is. They have three players who thrive batting leadoff, but only one of them can fill that spot.
The question is how exactly do you balance that out keeping in mind this is all before you account for players like Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos.
Going back to Alonso for a moment, he has a 135 wRC+ batting clean-up. However, he has a 149 wRC+ batting second and a 151 wRC+ batting fifth. He’s very good batting third hitting third.
So going through the numbers, here is what we know. Nimmo has the best wRC+ as a lead-off hitter, but Lindor has the biggest drop-off from the lead-off to other spots in the lineup. Alonso can hit basically anywhere. Going deeper, over the past month, Álvarez has been the Mets best hitter with a 162 wRC+. Put another way, he’s arrived.
Basically, there’s a lot going on with the Mets lineup, but one thing we know is Álvarez batting last is something that needs to change immediately. We also know base stealing is easier with the closer base paths, and Lindor is their best base stealer out of their top hitters. Taking everything into account, perhaps the Mets can roll with something like this:
- Lindor, SS
- Alonso, 1B
- McNeil, 2B
- Álvarez, C
- Nimmo, CF
- Vientos, 3B
- Baty, LF
- Marte, RF
- Vogelbach/Escobar/Canha DH
Another interesting look is:
- McNeil, 2B
- Nimmo, CF
- Alonso, 1B
- Lindor, SS
- Álvarez, C
- Baty, LF
- Vientos, 3B
- Vogelbach/Escobar/Canha, DH
- Marte, RF
If that is too radical, the other option the Mets have in play is:
- Nimmo, CF
- Lindor, SS
- McNeil, LF
- Alonso, 1B
- Baty, 3B
- Vientos, DH
- Escobar, 2B
- Marte, RF
The second is the more likely scenario given the manager. However, it is still a major change. The biggest is acknowledging Álvarez is one of the Mets top hitters and needs to be recognized as such.
The other interesting part of the lineup is Marte ninth. This is a page out of Bobby Valentine‘s playbook when he would bat Roger Cedeño ninth in interleague games to give the Mets a leadoff hitter at the bottom of the lineup.
In the end, this is a balancing of what the players are comfortable doing with optimizing the lineup analytically. The Mets seem to be doing better with their top four batters rearranged, and if that is the case, the Mets can roll with that. However, the lower five needs radical reconstruction starting with batting Álvarez fifth.
That last part should be the easy part. Time will tell if Showalter sees it that way.
In the opening game of the series against the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets fans were angry Luis Guillorme hit for Mark Canha with the bases loaded and Alexis Díaz on the mound.
It didn’t matter Canha has trouble with the slider and has been hitting .188/.229/.313 over the past two weeks and ..208/.268/.333 over the past month. What they know is that Guillorme isn’t better than Canha.
Actually, that’s not true. It’s a complete assumption predicated on the fact Guillorme does not hit for power. Since he does not hit for power, he is de facto bad. One blown call from the third base umpire, and those assumptions were then solidified as fact.
Here’s the thing. Guillorme has not been that good this season. We have not seen Gold Glove level ability in the field. Instead, Guillorme has a -3 OAA at second base. To be fair, if Guillorme is not fielding, it’s hard to find a spot for him to play.
However, the ability is still there. Despite the consternation from Mets fans, Guillorme got the start after failing to deliver with the bases loaded (Canha grounded into a double play with no outs and the bases loaded earlier in the game, but that didn’t matter as much). We saw Guillorme’s ability to field on display yet again:
A diving stop by Luis Guillorme! pic.twitter.com/N5jlqUWcXD
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 10, 2023
That was not the full extent of Guillorme’s contributions to the 2-1 win. He would start a two out rally with a double off Hunter Greene. He would come home to score the winning run on a Brandon Nimmo RBI single.
On the day, Guillorme was 2-for-3 with a run and a double. It was his second two hit game in as many starts. Since April 14, Guillorme is hitting .278/.395/.333. If he can field like Guillorme, that’s a very productive player.
Guillorme is not a superstar and is never going to be one. He is a guy who plays very good defense. He has good at-bats not striking out often and finding a way on base. As we saw last year, he is a winning type of player who makes your team better.
With the way Canha is struggling, it is difficult to play him over Guillorme. Guillorme has been much better over the past month, and he brings more to the team from a defensive standpoint. If given a playing time, he can again do what he did last year. If so, the Mets will begin winning games again.
Mostly, Guillorme can re-establish the type of player he is. He’s a strong defender who gets on base. When he’s that, the Mets are better, and when he’s playing like that, he will silence his critics (again). All he needs is a stretch of playing time. At this point, there is little doubt he should be getting it.
The New York Mets finished April with a 15-12 record three games behind the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East. Even for the Mets, there was a lot to digest:
1. David Cone made it clear Max Scherzer wasn’t cheating, and Scherzer is owed an apology from Major League Baseball. The Mets do as well for the extra toll it took on their rotation.
2. Jacob deGrom‘s continued injuries are sad, and we should all want the best for him. However, no one should be using that as justification for the Mets letting him go to Texas when Justin Verlander has yet to throw a pitch for the Mets.
3. David Peterson pitched himself out of the rotation, and it’s not clear where the Mets go from here with him. He’s in Triple-A where he belongs for the time being. In the long term, the Mets need to figure out if he’s salvageable as a starter, needs to be their Trevor Williams, or perhaps their next Seth Lugo.
4. David Robertson has more than taken over for Edwin Díaz. The issue is the rest of the bullpen continues to fluctuate between injured, ineffective, and lights out. Really, game-to-game, the Mets have no consistency down there other than Robertson.
5. The youth movement has begun with Brett Baty, and we see Francisco Álvarez has been forcing the issue (surprisingly with his defense). At some point, the Mets are going to have to just give the DH job to Mark Vientos because he has been annihilating the baseball.
6. Buck Showalter seems content to stick with his veterans, and if that continues in the long run, it is going to be a problem. Given how young players were the key to his success in Baltimore, it is flat out crazy to see how he hasn’t involved from the instincts which doomed him with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers.
7. Pete Alonso has been nearly everything you could ask from him to start this season. In fact, he’s even back to playing good defense at first base.
8. Brandon Nimmo has responded to signing that massive contract by arguably being the best player in baseball to start the season. This will be the first season he is an All-Star, and we should seem him get some MVP consideration should he stay healthy.
9. It’s been an uneasy start for Francisco Lindor, but he has been phenomenal defensively. Just remember with him, May is typically the month he breaks out in a season, so we should be in for a treat.
10. The way Daniel Vogelbach has started the season he is going to give the Mets reason to follow Daniel Murphy, who is off to a hot start with the Long Island Ducks. Better yet, we may see Vientos here sooner rather than later. Really, at some point, Vogelbach has to hit for some power.
11. Whatever the Mets thinking was on Tommy Pham, it was wrong. Moreover, it was wrong to build outfield depth with players 34 and older (aside from Nimmo). That goes double when you consider the Mets have zero Major League ready outfield depth in Syracuse.
12. Jeff McNeil surprisingly got off to a very slow start. However, he has been really strong the past two weeks, and he appears poised to have another very good season for the Mets.
13. McNeil needs to be more of a table setter. The Mets going with Starling Marte batting second just isn’t working. He’s making weak contact, and he’s just not getting on base enough. McNeil isn’t a five hitter. Again, Showalter needs to stop with the deference to veterans and start looking to win games.
14. Give Eduardo Escobar all the credit in the world. He lost his job, and he responded by being an amazing teammate and mentor. While his production may not be what the Mets wanted it to be when they signed him, the signing has paid off tenfold with his leadership and clubhouse presence.
15. Increasingly, Mark Canha looks done, at least as an everyday player. There needs to be a rotation with him and Luis Guillorme playing until the Mets figure out what they want to do with Ronny Mauricio. On Mauricio, so long as Showalter is loathe to play the young players, you simply cannot call him up.
16. There is an ace somewhere inside Kodai Senga. We saw it in Japan, and we have seen glimpses of it here. However, if he is going to continue to walk the ballpark, he is going to be a borderline MLB starter. That is a huge problem for the Mets with much of their success being tied into how good or bad he performs.
17. Every year, Drew Smith seems to be performing worse than what his actual numbers are. Part of that is his walk rate is too high.
18. Tomás Nido‘s defensive metrics are surprisingly poor. Part of that may be the difficulties in catching Senga. If not, the Mets are in trouble when their defensive specialist behind the plate isn’t performing.
19. The biggest takeaway from April is the Mets appear to be a postseason team with part of that being because it is an expanded postseason format. Keep in mind, while their record now may not be awe inspiring, they are still on a 90 win pace.
20. It needs to be repeated over and over again. The Mets need to go with their younger and more productive players. If Showalter is going to stand in the way of that, the Mets need to find someone who won’t. It’s just that simple.
The New York Mets top prospects all began the season with Triple-A Syracuse with the expectation that sooner or later they were going to take over major roles on this Mets team. Put another way, if the Mets veterans did not play well, the organization would have the excuse they needed to push that veteran aside for a potential future All-Star.
That already began with Brett Baty taking over for Eduardo Escobar. Escobar struggled to start the season at the plate and in the field. The Mets felt like they had little other choice than to finally give the job to Baty.
Now, Baty has not set the world on fire. In six games, he is only 5-for-21 at the plate with no extra base hits. However, he has posted a surprisingly strong 2 OAA at second.
As a result, so long as he keeps fielding, and the Mets keep winning games, he can work through his struggles at the plate. After all, Escobar was struggling at the plate an in the field.
Right now, Baty is joined on the roster by Francisco Álvarez. Alvarez is only up because Omar Narváez was injured. Buck Showalter made Álvarez the back-up to Tomás Nido, but as previously detailed, Álvarez has begun pressing the issue by actually outperforming Nido as a pitch framer. There’s also his immense power.
Speaking of immense power, Mark Vientos has been destroying baseballs down in Triple-A. So far this season, he has a .706 SLG and 191 wRC+. Perhaps even more important than the power numbers is his cutting down his strike out rate by nearly five points. As impressive as this all is, it’s all the more so when you consider he is historically a very slow starter.
While Vientos is uncharacteristically hot early, Daniel Vogelbach has not hit for any power to start the season. Through the first 17 games, he has a .375 OPS with just three extra base hits. To be fair, he has been getting on base with a .412 OBP, which is still valuable even if he can’t run.
Still, a Mets team largely devoid of power outside Pete Alonso needs more power in the lineup, and that would preferably come from their DH. Keep in mind, Vogelbach also comes with the problem of being a platoon bat requiring the Mets to carry extra players to pick up his slack. Between the power, ability to actually fill in defensively at the corner infield spots, and his ability to play everyday, Vientos offers far more for the Mets.
Finally, there’s Ronny Mauricio. Like Vientos, he is off to a hot start at the plate with 1.083 OPS. That is coming off the heels of being the LIDOM MVP and a great spring training. It does seem the Mets are preparing for his getting called up this year by moving him to second base this past week.
With respect to that, this is one of the reasons Jeff McNeil is so valuable to the team. While a very good defensive second baseman, he is also a good fielding left fielder. To wit, it seems like McNeil is destined to play left field for the Mets while Mauricio takes over second.
It would seem Mauricio would most likely get the call-up in the event of an injury. On that point, we have already had some Starling Marte scares this season. Aside from Brandon Nimmo, the Mets outfielders are all over the age of 34.
You could argue he could force his way in there over a Mark Canha, who still isn’t hitting for power despite an offseason regiment designed to do so. However, the Mets value his leadership and ability to get on base. Moreover, Mauricio really can’t push aside a veteran like Canha while his walk rate continues to be poor. This year, it’s up to 4.7% which is still problematic.
That said, Mauricio is still hitting and trying to force his way to the majors. We saw Baty has already done that this season. Vientos is on the verge of doing that as well. In the end, the Mets could have a major overhaul this season by going to their younger and better performing players.
As usual, the New York Mets went to Milwaukee and forgot how to play baseball. It always happens:
1. Since 2016, the Mets are 3-18 at whatever they’re calling Miller Park now. It’s at the point where the 1986 Mets in their prime couldn’t beat a Milwaukee t-ball team if it is played in that ballpark.
2. The Mets lost a game 10-0 and the next one 9-0. That’s something the 1962 or 1993 Mets did. That should tell you how bad the series was.
3. Keith Hernandez on a hot mic double guessing Buck Showalter for the insanely bad decision of sending Carlos Carrasco for another inning spoke for all Mets fans.
4. Carrasco getting a pitch clock violation before he threw a pitch tells you how well he’s adapting to it.
5. Showalter saving Adam Ottavino for the Brewers best left-handed hitters and burning David Robertson before that is simply incompetent managing. Robertson is great against left-handed batters, and Ottavino got hit hard by them last year.
6. With all that is going on with the Mets are the present, Showalter cannot afford these unforced errors. More to the point, the whole premise for hiring him was he doesn’t make these egregious mistakes because he knows more than us all.
7. If the issue for Pete Alonso was the bat handle, the Mets shouldn’t let him near anything other than the axe handle again.
8. It was a real positive to see Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Jeff McNeil get three hit games. All three have been struggling in their own right, and they all need to break out of their early season slumps.
9. Whatever is going on with Max Scherzer, he needs to figure it out. It’s not just the three homers on three pitches. He is becoming susceptible to the big inning, and the strikeout numbers are down. If he’s not an ace, the Mets are in trouble.
10. Luis Guillorme does what he does. He had a good game at the plate, and he was very good defensively. He also stepped up and pitched a scoreless inning when the Mets really needed to save the bullpen. He is much better than people want to give him credit.
11. Mark Canha had one big game in Miami. Aside from that, he has been terrible at the plate, and we know he hasn’t been great in the outfield. His days as a starter should be numbered.
12. Of all the issues we see with Eduardo Escobar, perhaps the most troubling is his sprint speed is way down. Perhaps, that is because he hasn’t had any reason to sprint this season.
13. The Mets did have a bright spot in the series with John Curtiss and Dennis Santana. Hopefully, they can be this reliable all season long.
14. Omar Narváez will be missed. He had an excellent start to the season, but now, they Mets are going to be without him for two months. This should be the start of the Francisco Álvarez Era.
15. If not for the Brett Baty thumb injury, you have to imagine he would have been here this weekend. The Mets already need him. You can say the same for Mark Vientos, but there’s no obvious spot on the roster for him right now.
16. After all we saw in Milwaukee, the Mets were smart to delay the season opener a day. The team was in shambles and needed a rest. It sucks for the fans, but we are more interested in wins than anything else . . . or at least we should be.
17. Flat out, the Mets did not look good in this series. They were completely outplayed by a mediocre Brewers squad. The hope is that it is just that ballpark.
18. After the home opening series against the Miami Marlins, things get more difficult for the Mets. If they continue playing this way, changes will need to come sooner rather than later.
19. This id David Peterson’s chance. He can’t blow it like he did in this series.
20. That final game of the series is what gives you hope. As we saw last year, when Lindor and Alonso are hitting, everything is fine. You’d like to believe after last season, Billy Eppler would’ve tried harder to ease Lindor’s and Alonso’s burden.
Well, the New York Mets are being railroaded by the Milwaukee Brewers. They followed a 10-0 loss with a 9-0 loss. To some extent, this should come as no surprise as the Mets always falter in whatever the Brewers are calling that ballpark now.
Carlos Carrasco was annihilated in his first start of the season. While we cannot say that was expected, it may not have fully come as a surprise. At the moment, it is wait and see with him on whether he can handle the pitch clock.
The much bigger issue is Max Scherzer. He cruise in his Opening Day start until the Miami Marlins tagged him for three runs in the sixth. That was capped off by Garrett Cooper. Whatever, it was one bad inning, and he looked good otherwise.
That was the way his second start of the season against the Brewers seemed to be going. He struggled in the first allowing a two RBI double to Brian Anderson. It was 2-0 Brewers, but Scherzer seemed to settle in from there shutting down the Brewers offense over the next four innings.
Then, in the sixth, Scherzer imploded. On three straight pitches, we saw Rowdy Tellez, Anderson, and Garrett Mitchell. Again, on THREE STRAIGHT PITCHES.
BACK TO BACK TO BACK!#ThisIsMyCrew | @GarretMitchell5 pic.twitter.com/M3UJ5OiP4l
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 5, 2023
It is difficult to understand what is going on with Scherzer. His velocity is down, but it’s not really down. For example, he averaged 94 MPH with his four seamer last year, and he is at 93.3 MPH this season. It’s the same with all of his pitches.
After the game, Scherzer doesn’t think it’s stuff, but rather, location. Buck Showalter seemed to think it was the same thing. Whatever the case, there is something not clicking with Scherzer, and the Mets desperately need him to figure it out.
Remember, the Mets plan on winning the World Series was having Scherzer and Justin Verlander atop their rotation. Well, Scherzer is allowing an unprecedented amount of homers for him, and Verlander is on the IL. The Mets can’t win if they can’t pitch like the future Hall of Famers they are.
That goes double when you consider the Mets offense. With them not scoring runs and the pitching staff acting like a windwill, this is literally the worst the Mets have ever looked in their history.
The #Mets have not scored a run and allowed 9+ runs in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history.@Metsmerized
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) April 5, 2023
They haven’t scored a run in their past 20 innings. Keep in mind, both Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil had three hit games. Really, when you look at it, it is the same issue. There is no power in the lineup. In fact, the Mets have the lowest slugging in the majors to start the season. Only the Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays have hit fewer homers.
Pete Alonso looks lost at the plate with the new rules. Francisco Lindor is fighting it like he did his first year with the Mets. Eduardo Escobar looks done. After that outburst in the last two games against the Marlins, Mark Canha‘s bat looks slow again. The problems are across the board.
You could say call up Brett Baty, but he just re-injured his thumb. Francisco Álvarez and Mark Vientos are hitting, but they have defensive question marks along with no real spot for them to play on this team.
Look, it is just two bad games. They could happen at any point in the season. In fact, if this happened in July during the Mets 101 win season last year, no one would’ve batted an eye. Chances are, this is a blip.
However, to some extent, this does at least look like the Mets could be in some trouble. The pitch clock seems to be impacting this team more than most. Again, this is probably a complete overreaction, and yet, in some ways, it feels like this isn’t
The New York Mets played their opening series of the season, and they took 3/4 games. All-in-all, not a bad start to the season:
1. The Mets defense was exceptional to start the season. Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor appear on their way to having Gold Glove caliber years, and Starling Marte might’ve made the most important play of all.
2. Kodai Senga‘s ghost splitter was all; the more impressive in game action recording all eight strikeouts on the pitch. It’s also a good thing it really took him just one inning to fully acclimate.
3. It took Lindor three games last season before he started hitting, and he would have a great year. Nothing to be concerned about his slow start to the season.
4. Brandon Nimmo is back to walking a lot, which means his OBP should be through the roof this season.
5. Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana are out, but it appears David Peterson and Tylor Megill are up to the task much like they were all of last season.
6. Eduardo Escobar has really struggled to start the year. With the start Brett Baty is off to in Triple-A, we are going to hear the calls for him sooner rather than later.
7. If Baty is not called up within the next week, the Mets are going to forfeit the chance to get an extra first round pick and international bonus pool money. This seems like a dubious decision to say the least.
8. Mark Canha‘s and Tommy Pham‘s bat looked very slow to start the season, but they turned it on the last two games. At least with Sandy Alcantara and Jesus Luzardo, you still have to wonder if velocity will be an issue for Canha, but for now, he seems like he will be productive.
9. The only Mets reliever to allow a run is John Curtiss, who was on the bubble to even make the team. For now, it seems like the Mets bullpen will be fine without Edwin Díaz.
10. Way too much was made by some people over Max Scherzer allowing three runs. He was completely dominant over the first five innings, and he had one bad inning. He will be fine and pitch like an ace again this season.
11. It seems like something that only happens to the Mets, but somehow poor defenders like Garrett Cooper and Jorge Soler looked like Keith Hernandez and Roberto Clemente in the field this past series.
12. Jeff McNeil hit a lot of balls hard right at someone. Not what you expected to see with the elimination of the shift.
13. The games did move much faster, but there is still going to be some issues to be ironed out. For example, McNeil getting assessed a strike because of Pete Alonso at first base. After the game, MLB admitted a strike should not have been assessed against McNeil.
14. Any Mets fans rejoicing in Jacob deGrom and Chris Bassitt struggling is an outright fool. First, they did nothing to the Mets. Second, it meant you enjoyed the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals offense going off. Nothing says I’m a Mets fan more than rooting for the Phillies and Cardinals.
15. We knew the bases being closer together meant not only more stolen bases but more opportunities to take an extra base. We didn’t know that meant Daniel Vogelbach going first to third and scoring on shallow sacrifice flies.
16. Jazz Chisholm Jr.was not good at all in center for the Miami Marlins. That is going to be an issue for that team all season.
17. Omar Narváez. has looked PHENOMENAL in all aspects of the game so far. If he is going to be this good, the Mets are a different level team than originally anticipated.
18. Dennis Santana might’ve been a find for the Mets.
19. Alonso was safe at first base.
20. This was a good start for the Mets. They took three out of four, and their best players haven’t quite gotten going just yet. Hopefully, this is a sign we are in for a special 2023.
Down in Miami, Tylor Megill got the start. Like last season, he was thrust into the rotation due to an injury to a future Hall of Famer. This time, it was Justin Verlander on the IL.
While Megill had control issues during spring, he was fairly locked in against the Miami Marlins. Over five innings, the only mistake was he left a pitch out over the plate for Nick Fortes, who hit a two run homer.
He’d pick up the win after allowing just those two earned. He’d also strike out seven.
Part of the reason he got the win was Pete Alonso having a big day at the plate. He’d hit the go-ahead RBI double in the fifth, and he’d score on a Mark Canha RBI single (Canha had a great day at the plate including a homer).
The go-ahead run was scored by Jeff McNeil. In McNeil fashion, he played right and second in the game.
Brandon Nimmo reached base three times and stole a base. Alonso reached base four times and would’ve had a three hit game if not for a completely botched call and replay.
Speaking of botching things, Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos all had big days at the plate. In fact, Álvarez and Vientos would homer off consecutive pitches.
Of the group, Baty had the best day of all. He was 4-for-5 with four runs, two homers, a walk, and five RBI. One of the two homers was an opposite field grand slam.
The one thing the Mets have done better than almost anyone is draft. We see it with the players contributing at the Major League level, and we see it with the players on their way.
Across the board, the homegrown Mets had a very good day. Perhaps, one day soon, we will see all of these players on the same roster leading the New York Mets to a World Series.
Brandon Nimmo was the player of the game for the New York Mets. He knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Later in the game, he hit a two RBI double which put the Mets up for good.
Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil both had a two hit game. Things were going so well for the Mets we even saw Daniel Vogelbach acting like a speed demon around the bases.
Max Scherzer was great for five, but he stumbled in the sixth giving up the three run lead. Still, he got the win because of the aforementioned Nimmo RBI double in the seventh.
There was also some terrific defense from Francisco Lindor. The hitting and defense was expected. The bullpen stepping up for Scherzer and the Mets was a pleasant surprise.
After Edwin Díaz went down for the season, how the Mets were going to finish games was very much in question. At least for the season opener, it was seamless.
Drew Smith was first up. After allowing a lead-off double to Jorge Soler. Smith didn’t allow another hit and would strike out two.
Brooks Raley made his Mets debut in the eighth. He’d pitch a 1-2-3 inning.
That led to David Robertson for the ninth. Robertson was signed to be the eighth inning set-up reliever, but with Díaz out for the year, he’s now the closer.
The good news is Robertson has been a very good closer in his career. More than that, he’s thrived in New York. In many ways, that makes him the perfect stopgap.
Well, he was perfect in his first save opportunity with the Mets. After striking out the first two, he got Soler to fly out to end the game.
The Mets won on Opening Day. That’s what they do. Sooner or later, we will find out if shutting down the opponent is what this bullpen does. At least for this game, the bullpen looked great, and if that’s the case, the Mets will be great.
GAME NOTES: Justin Verlander was put on the IL before the game. Bryce Montes de Oca underwent Tommy John surgery. Jacob deGrom made his first start with the Texas Rangers. He allowed more extra base hits against the Philadelphia Phillies than he had ever allowed in a game.
After a disappointing loss in the Wild Card Series, the New York Mets remade their rotation and re-shaped their bench. Are they better? Well, we’re about to find out:
1. The Mets are going to miss Jacob deGrom, Seth Lugo, and Dominic Smith. With Lugo and Smith, they are getting the opportunities they always wanted, and for deGrom, well, let’s hope he can be the AL Cy Young. Best of luck to all of them.
2. The Mets having Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander lead their rotation is a fever dream. Last time the Mets had this much greatness atop their rotation was 2015 when deGrom and Matt Harvey pitched the Mets to a pennant.
3. With the shift ban and other rule changes, Jeff McNeil may hit .400. If he does, you know he will be the NL MVP, so starting right now, we are accepting all passengers on the McNeil MVP Hype Train.
4. Kodai Senga looks like the real deal, and his ghost sinker will likely be a bigger sensation than Daisuke Matsuzaka‘s gyroball or Hideo Nomo‘s wind-up and splitter. Look for him to be an All-Star and have a big year.
5. The best news to come out of spring training was José Quintana‘s tumor being benign. Whenever he comes back, he comes back.
6. It was not the way you wanted to see it happen, but David Peterson got the rotation spot he should have received. He should have a good year, and with the age in the Mets rotation, he may just make more starts than any other Mets pitcher.
7. Obviously, the Mets are going to miss Edwin Díaz immensely. It appears he is gone for the season, but you never know, especially if the Mets go deep into October.
8. One thing the Díaz injury highlighted was the importance of signing David Robertson. With him, the Mets have a closer in their bullpen who has thrived in New York. This was just a good signing.
9. The other thing the Díaz injury highlights is the Mets could have done more to build the bullpen. Obviously, you understood the team not spending or pursuing free agents after the Carlos Correa deal fell through, but when it was clear that money wasn’t going to be spent, Michael Fulmer and Andrew Chafin were still free agents. Not pivoting to them was a mistake Billy Eppler cannot justify.
10. There is absolutely no justification for Brett Baty not being on the Opening Day roster. Put aside the fact he won the job in spring training (if there was a competition). Everyone says he’s better than Eduardo Escobar right now, and more to the point, the Mets gave him the job in August.
11. The Mets were right to designate Darin Ruf for assignment. His wrist was holding him back, and the team needed to find someone else for the job. Now, that job should have gone to Escobar or Mark Canha, but that is a fight for another day.
12. With the shift rules and pitch clock, there will be more emphasis on contact and defense. While we know these rules are perfect for McNeil, it is another reason why Luis Guillorme should be playing everyday.
13. Again, the Mets ideal lineup is with McNeil in left, Guillorme at second, and Baty at third. We may need to see that sooner rather than later because Canha finished the year miserably and was non-competitive in the postseason. It may just be he will be far more effective as a part-time or semi-regular player.
14. The Mets bench is flat out bad. Tommy Pham really is just another version of Ruf, and Tim Locastro may just be a worse version of Travis Jankowski. Hopefully, when the Mets finally call up Baty, it will move Escobar and/or Canha to the bench. At that point, this will be a deep and dangerous roster.
15. Francisco Lindor is a great player in his prime. We are very lucky he is a member of the New York Mets, and we can look forward to the day he wears a Mets cap on his Hall of Fame plaque and sees his 12 retired.
16. Aaron Judge broke the rookie home run record in 2017. Two years later, Pete Alonso broke the record. Last year, Judge hit 62. Lets just say this year will be a stepping stone for Alonso’s epic 2024 season.
17. Omar Narváez and Tomás Nido are going to be such a good tandem behind that plate that it is unfortunately going to keep Francisco Álvarez in Triple-A most of the year. Of course, if there is an injury, and Álvarez goes on a tear, the Mets might just be forced to keep him in the majors.
18. The fans clamoring for Álvarez, Baty, Ronny Mauricio, and Mark Vientos is a sign of just how good each of those prospects are and just how bright the Mets future is. As good as 2023 will be, 2024 will be better when they take on bigger roles.
19. Brandon Nimmo is a Met for life poised to break many team records. It’s sad that he couldn’t be joined by Michael Conforto (who the Mets needed), but we should celebrate Nimmo’s path to being one of the true Mets greats.
20. During the regular season, the Mets may be the third best team in the division. The early schedule is tough. The bench is bad. The older roster will have some nicks. However, in the end, when it matters most, this is a postseason team who will be set up well to win the World Series. Repeat, the Mets will win the 2024 World Series.