Travis Jankowski

20/20 Hindsight: Mets/Cardinals Rivalry Still Alive

The New York Mets traveled to St. Louis for another litmus test, and once again, they proved they’re this good. More than that, they proved they’re mentally tougher.

1.  Pete Alonso has now been hit twice in the head and dragged to the ground from behind by Stubby Clapp. He’s either going to break or just absolutely going to go on an absolute tear.

2.  On that note, Alonso needs to start hitting for power again. These opposite field singles aren’t going to cut it.

3.  Chris Bassitt basically said he dominated the Cardinals without being able to get a grip on the ball. He’s that good.

4. Miles Mikolas is an idiot. Bassitt threw his pitchers a life-line saying it was MLB’s fault the Cardinals hit his teammates, and Mikolas, who hit Mark Canha with a pitch, basically said, no, it’s not the ball. We’re going it on purpose, or we’re that incompetent.

5.  Sooner or later, Canha has to get an extra base hit, and it has to be more than an attempt at a hustle double. With him coming out of games last for Travis Jankowski, he’s not good enough to be a glorified slap hitter.

6.  Jankowski has proven himself to be a valuable contributor. He cannot be DFA’s May 1. That goes double when you consider how bad Robinson Cano has been.

7. That may not be an issue with J.D. Davis getting hit on the foot and having to get taken out of the game. The x-rays were negative, but if it’s a lingering issue, there will be an MRI and perhaps an IL stint.

8.  Jacob deGrom‘s MRI was a mixed bag. On the one hand, he is healing, but it does not appear he is on schedule to return when we all hoped. Still, it’s progress, so we should take it.

9.  Max Scherzer has been just as advertised. He’s out there pitching like an ace, and he’s as fierce a competitor as there is. He was in the dugout telling the Cardinals to shut up, and then he was the first one out of the dugout when the benches cleared.

10.  Oliver Marmol is a fraud. His pitchers hit Mets batters in the head. Steven Matz threw one up at Brandon Nimmo‘s head. His team knocked Davis out of a game with an injury. He is then going to get up there and complain like the Mets have been throwing at his batters all series, and then he goes and defends Clapp.

11. Nimmo has been great to start the year as has Jeff McNeil. Those are two homegrown Mets who have been the Mets best players, and they are leading them to first place.

12. The Mets are withstanding slumps from Eduardo Escobar, Francisco Lindor, and Starling Marte to win games, and they are doing it against good teams like the Cardinals. That’s a very good sign for the season.

13. With respect to Marte and Scherzer, there is a real edge to this team. We see it in how the players stick up for one another, and we see it in moments like that comeback against Giovanny Gallegos. This is just a special team.

14. Yoan Lopez made a case for himself when he buzzed Nolan Arenado. That alone is not enough to keep him on the roster (ask Jacob Rhame), but he has the respect of everyone in that clubhouse.

15. There is a lot Buck Showalter is getting wrong here. For example, batting Cano during that ninth inning was indefensibly bad. That said, the way he has handled the time share with James McCann and Tomas Nido has been a masterpiece. He’s starting to get the best out of both of them, and as a result, the Mets pitching staff.

16. Trevor May is fighting it. Fortunately, with the return of the real Seth Lugo in addition to the emerge of Drew Smith, the Mets can wait for him to get fully healthy and back on track.

17. There are some serious 1986 vibes with this Mets team. They are not just beating teams on the field, but they are also taking a mental edge. That is a very large reason why we see miscues like we did from Arenado and why Marmol was so bent out of shape.

18. it may be a golden rule not to make the last out of the inning at third, but you can give Luis Guillorme a pass trying to stretch a double to a triple because that throw from Dylan Carlson was the best you’ll ever see.

19. If you want an idea of how good the Mets are right now, the San Francisco Giants are the second best team in the majors with a 13-6 record. Half of their losses have come against the Mets.

20. The New York Yankees have been surprisingly good to start the year. Aaron Judge has been great, and he has a contract situation. Anthony Rizzo has been phenomenal. Gerrit Cole is struggling mightily. They’re in first place. Despite all of that, right now, they seem to be taking a back seat to the Mets. That is really the most shocking development of the year.

Game Recaps

Mets Shock Cardinals

Mets McCann Beat Good Teams on Road

Mets Lose While Cardinals Lose Their Cool

Robinson Cano Should Accept Assignment To Triple-A

Back in 2001, things weren’t going well for Steve Trachsel. Over his first eight starts with the New York Mets, he was 1-6 with an 8.24 ERA averaging 4.2 innings per start. With that struggle, the Mets approached him and asked him to go down to Triple-A to get himself right.

For Trachsel, he didn’t want to lose a spot in the rotation and move to the bullpen. In the end, Trachsel accepted the assignment saying, “It’s going to make me better. In the long run, that’s a good thing.” (Tyler Keper, New York Times).

It turned out to be the best thing for him. After that rough start, he would go 10-7 with a 3.35 ERA over his final 20 starts. That included a two hit complete game shut out in his final start of the season. From there, Trachsel would go on to have a solid Mets career highlighted by two one-hitters during the 2003 season.

Fast-forward 21 years, and the Mets are facing a conundrum with Robinson Cano.

Due to the altered roster rules resulting from the lockout, the Mets have to pare down their roster from 28 to 26 by the end of this month. In all likelihood, that means they need to drop one pitcher and one position player. If this was Spring Training, the answer to that would probably be Travis Jankowski, but he has shown his value to this team, and it is highly unlikely he will be designated for assignment.

That leaves Dominic Smith, who has an option, and Cano, who is easily the worst player on the roster right now. If this was purely merit based, the answer would be Cano. Before delving deeper into that, the question is what does Cano want for himself?

At the moment, Cano’s bat has been slow, and his legs are even slower. His defense has slipped entirely. He’s chasing pitches he never chased in his career, and he looks like he’s just about done. You have to imagine Cano doesn’t want his career to end like this.

It should be noted Cano missed the entirety of the 2021 season due to a PED suspension. He did play in the Winter Leagues, but he has nowhere near the amount of at-bats needed to get into a rhythm and shake off the rust. Truth be told, he’s not going to get that with the Mets.

The team is deploying Luis Guillorme when there are groundball pitchers on the mound. The DH spot is being used to keep their position players fresh and healthy. Jeff McNeil is the regular second baseman, and his bat is not coming out of the lineup. This leaves Cano with no regular playing time, and as a result, he has no ability to get back up to game speed.

If Cano truly wants to get back to being Cano,, this is where accepting an assignment to the minors helps him. At the moment, there isn’t a second base prospect blocking his playing time down at Syracuse. He can go down there and play everyday. He can work to hone his approach much like Joey Votto did last season. He can get up to game speed and help him stop pressing and flailing away at pitches.

This would be his best avenue to truly get ready to contribute to the 2022 Mets. He can agree to a certain time frame, and in all honesty, there will likely be an injury permitting the team to call him up sooner rather than late.r

If this is about the team and his future, Cano should accept the assignment to Triple-A. Time will tell if this is something he will consider. If it’s offered, he should accept it.

Mets McCann Beat Good Teams On Road

When you have a staff like the New York Mets have, all the offense needs to do is score a couple of runs. When they didn’t for Max Scherzer last night, they needed late inning heroics.

Tonight, the Mets got runs for Chris Bassitt, and it seemed like everything was in cruise control. Again, Bassitt was terrific.

Bassitt did have to navigate through the first inning, but it was relatively smooth sailing from there. He was working well up in the zone much to the consternation of the St. Louis Cardinals.

He pitched so well Paul DeJong didn’t even have a hit. When things are going good, they’re going good.

On the other side, the Cardinals started Jordan Hicks getting the start. He was the only Cardinals pitcher to give up runs.

The Mets opened the scoring in the third on back-to-back doubles from Jeff McNeil and James McCann. McCann had a three hit game and is apparently heating up.

After Brandon Nimmo walked, Hicks left the game with an injury. Starling Marte greeted Andre Pallante with an RBI single.

The Mets were up 2-0 with two on and no outs, and they appeared poised to blow it open. After Francisco Lindor grounded into a double play, that was it for the scoring in the inning.

One thing that was noticeable was how the ball wasn’t carrying. It was a cool night in St. Louis, but this has been a much talked about issue in baseball this season. That said, this was seemingly the first time it was truly noticeable in a Mets game.

While there wasn’t much in terms of threats after that third inning, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t drama. In the eighth, Cardinals reliever Kodi Whitley hit Pete Alonso in the helmet.

Alonso and the Mets were furious, and the benches cleared. Intentional or not, Alonso was hit in the head for the second time this season.

The Mets wouldn’t make the Cardinals pay in the eighth, but they would in the ninth.

Mark Canha hit a one out single, and Travis Jankowski pinch ran for him. Jankowski went first to third on a McNeil single.

After McCann struck out, Nimmo had a typical tough at-bat where he drew a walk. That brought up Marte who was hit by a pitch forcing home a run.

Marte wasn’t happy, but a run scored showing it was unintentional.

An interesting aside here is after Alonso was hit by the pitch, warnings were issued. Despite that Adam Ottavino plunked Tommy Edman in the eighth. Marte was plunked by Aaron Brooks in the ninth.

With no intention adjudged, neither Ottavino nor Brooks were ejected.

Drew Smith had pitched a scoreless seventh in front of Ottavino’s scoreless eighth. Even with Seth Lugo also warming, Buck Showalter went with Edwin Diaz in the ninth.

Traditionally, Diaz isn’t good on a second straight day. After a leadoff walk, it seemed like he was in for trouble again. However, he’d settle down and record the save.

With that, the Mets secured their fourth shutout of the season. It’s also the first time in franchise history they won the first six series to open the season.

Game Notes: Mets batters have been hit 18 times which is the most in the majors. Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez were unavailable leading to Todd Zeile to join Gary Cohen.

Buck Showalter Is Why Robinson Cano Must Go

One of the biggest mistakes the New York Mets made in their history was trading for Robinson Cano. It wasn’t just about who they gave up. Really, it was about acquiring a 36 year old infielder coming off a PED suspension with just about the worst contract in baseball.

Cano’s first year in Queens was a disaster for him, but he did rebound in 2020 to look like the player the Mets thought they were getting. As we discovered, Cano was using PEDs that season. As a result, he was suspended for the entirety of the 2021 season. During that 2021 season, the Mets were forced to move in another direction.

Now, Cano is back and was always going to get chances because of the contract. Yes, the Mets have acknowledged the sunk cost by at least making Cano a part-time player, or really a semi-regular. That said, they seem to be letting that contract get in the way of some decision making. To the point, it is difficult to discern reasons other than Cano’s contract as to why he is getting the playing time.

To a point, there is the Billy Eppler  and Buck Showalter consideration. Eppler has a relationship with Cano from their time with the New York Yankees. With respect to Showalter, with respect to Cano’s return, he said, “We’re excited about having him back on the club and contributing..”

Now, words are words, and actions are actions. With respect to Cano, the actions are what’s troubling.

First, we need to acknowledge the Mets are in a difficult pot with Cano. They have one month to determine if he can be a viable Major League player. They need to decide if it’s worth carrying one fewer pitcher or designating Travis Jankowski, or another viable player, for assignment. As a result, Cano is going to be forced into the lineup even when it doesn’t make sense.

However, it doesn’t make sense for Cano to be batting ahead of Jeff McNeil. It also doesn’t make any sense why he is up for key at-bats late in games.

Before addressing that point, it should be noted Cano is hitting .184/.225/.263 with a homer and three RBI. After Cano went 2-for-3 on Opening Day, he has been 5-for-36 (.143) since.

Cano is chasing everything, He’s having issues with velocity and breaking pitches. This may be due to a number of factors. He was away from the game for a year, and there’s bound to be some rust. He’s also older. There’s also the presumption he’s no longer taking PEDs.

You can take a look at that and justify giving him chances to start. After all, back in 2006, a 36 year old Jose Valentin came to the Mets looking like he was done as a Major Leaguer, and his hitting .136 over the first month of the season seemed to confirm that. Of course, Valentin emerged as a key piece to that 2006 team. That was only possible because the Mets stuck with Valentin.

However, Valentin was a part-time player to start, and he was not force-fed into late inning game situations like Showalter did with Cano against St. Louis.

Revisiting the game. Giovanny Gallegos was on the mound. There was one out in the inning, the Mets were down 2-0, and Eduardo Escobar was on first. A double play ends the game. Cano is among the slowest players in the majors, and he is hitting the ball on the ground 57% of the time. Long story short, this was a situation primed for an inning ending double play.

On the bench, the Mets had Dominic Smith. Yes, Smith is off to a slow start, but right now, he’s a significantly better hitter than Cano. Certainly, he gives you a better chance. The same goes for Luis Guillorme. Really, it is the case with anyone on the Mets roster.

Instead, Showalter stuck with the veteran Cano. He put Cano above trying to win the game. He stuck by the veteran over opting for the best player. It was in this moment it was clear having Cano on the roster is a detriment to this team because Showalter will stick with him instead of making the moves that need to be made to win a game.

No, it’s not necessarily Cano’s fault Showalter has stuck by him. In the end, that doesn’t matter. So long as Showalter is going to prioritize Cano over winning games, the Mets need to remove Cano from the equation. The Mets won despite this decision, but they may not be so lucky the next time or the time after that.

Mets Shock Cardinals

This game featured an absolutely incredible pitcher’s duel between Max Scherzer and Miles Mikolas over the first seven innings. If not for pitch counts, they’d still be pitching with no one scoring.

Really, it was a shame each of them had to come out. It was a joy to watch them one up each other.

Scherzer only allowed two hits while walking one and striking out 10. Mikolas allowed four hits and walking one while striking out five.

As is typically the case, after a pitchers duel, things tend to get a little haywire with the bullpens. This game was no different.

After a scoreless top of the eighth, Mets killer extraordinaire Yadier Molina led off the inning with single off Trevor May. Again, May didn’t have it, and he’s starting to run out of excuses.

The eight and nine hitters singled, and with the Mets having the wheel play on, Tommy Edman swung away. May jumped and got a piece of it allowing Jeff McNeil to make a quick reaction to get the first out at first.

Buck Showalter then made a curious decision to have May pitch (around?) to Paul Goldschmidt rather than just walk him. The at-bat seemed to take a lot out of May as he wound up walking Goldschmidt anyway to load the bases.

Tyler O’Neill hit a two run RBI single, which at the time seemed like the game winner. Some credit should go to May here for recovering by striking out Nolan Arenado en route to getting out of the inning.

The Mets entered the ninth down 2-0 with Giovanny Gallegos entering the game. That’s usually game over.

It certainly seemed that way when Pete Alonso lined out on the first pitch. Eduardo Escobar followed with a single to give the Mets some hope.

Now, you really had to wonder what Showalter was thinking. It’s one thing to slot Robinson Cano as DH. It’s another to bat him ahead of McNeil. It’s beyond baffling how Showalter let Cano bat in this spot.

In all seriousness, the Mets were lucky Cano didn’t hit into an inning ending double play. That at least gave Mark Canha and the Mets a chance.

Canha had a terrific at-bat. After falling down 0-2, he battled his way back into the at-bat. On the seventh pitch, he grounded it to Arenado.

That should’ve been game over. However, Arenado threw it away. Between the Escobar advancing on the difference indifference and the home town scoring, Canha had an RBI single.

For the baffling decisions Buck made, he made a very good one here inserting Travis Jankowski as a pinch runner. Jankowski absolutely flew around the bases on the ensuing McNeil double, and if not for perfect Cardinals execution on the play, Joey Cora might’ve sent him.

Instead, Cora went against his nature and held Jankowski (the right move) putting the game in Dominic Smith‘s hands. Smith was up pinch hitting for Tomas Nido.

Smith ripped one down the line, and he was robbed by Goldschmidt. Had Gallegos broke immediately, the game was over. Instead, it was a foot race, and Dom beat him to the bag.

That not only allowed Jankowski to score the tying run, but it also allowed McNeil to score. On the play, McNeil never slowed up, and he scored rather easily.

A point here is you have to wonder what the Cardinals were thinking. With Smith pinch hitting (and looming all inning) and Brandon Nimmo lurking, T.J. McFarland was warning. You’d think they use him for the consecutive left-handed batters.

Well, we got a sense of what the Cardinals might’ve been thinking when Nimmo greeted McFarland with a two run homer to put the Mets up 5-2:

It needs to be reiterated the Mets were down to their last strike with Canha. If Arenado makes a routine play, it’s over. Gallegos going to first immediately ends that game.

Yes, the Mets got the breaks here. However, that underscores how good they are. They got those breaks, and they took advantage of them to score five runs and shock the Cardinals.

The 5-2 win was complete when Edwin Diaz came on and earned his second save of the season.

Remember, this is a very good Cardinals team, and the Mets just flew in from Arizona. That’s just two of many factors which just makes this such an incredible win.

Game Notes: Mets still have not been shut out. McNeil had two doubles. Nido struck out three times. Jacob deGrom had an MRI and the results will be shared tomorrow.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Win Another Series

The New York Mets have played four series this year and have won all four.

1. Now that the Mets have beaten an excellent team in the San Francisco Giants, it will be interesting to see the next talking point as to why the Mets aren’t this good.

2. The DH seems to be magic for the Mets with whomever bats there.

3. The universal DH is still an abomination.

4. Francisco Lindor is playing like a man who is going to be the 2022 NL MVP.

5. When looking into just how great that trade was for the Mets, remember they also got Carlos Carrasco, who has arguably been the Mets best starter so far this year.

6. We got a glimpse of the real Max Scherzer when he flirted with a no-hitter. Man-o-man is this going to be fun.

7. The bullpen has been phenomenal with 15 scoreless innings. Things are going so well even Sean Reid-Foley is putting up zeros.

8. Let’s never do that manager by committee thing again. Putting J.D. Davis at third and using Robinson Cano over Jeff McNeil to pinch hit (and using McNeil as a defensive replacement) is enough to see that never be invoked again.

9. To be fair, Buck Showalter has had his share of those moves. For example, pinch hitting Luis Guillorme to bunt over runners for Travis Jankowski in the ninth was something else. Oh, and he didn’t pinch hit Nimmo.

10. Sometimes the dumbest things work. For example, Guillorme couldn’t buy a hit. After shaving his beard, he’s on a hot steak.

11. Wilmer Flores, who doesn’t have arthritis, absolutely robbed Dominic Smith of the RBI double he desperately needed. Just the latest hard luck out for Dom.

12. Tylor Megill might’ve had a poor outing, but he fought, gave the Mets innings, and he kept it to where the Mets could comeback and win. That’s another huge step for him.

13. Lindor, Eduardo Escobar, and Brandon Nimmo have an OPS of 1.000+.

14. Starling Marte has really struggled to start the year, but when things are going this well, you can easily overlook these things.

15. The Mets have gone from completely inept to lethal with RISP. Part of that is Mark Canha who is 5-for-10 with RISP.

16. You have to love Gary Cohen all the more for his annoyance over SNY showing Yankees highlights.

17. The SNY app has been horrible, and you’re reminded the Wilpons never really had interest in making the Mets watchable.

18. Carlos Rodon is a terrific pitcher who pitched a great game. However, behind that is the fact the Mets haven’t hit left-handed pitching well this season.

20. Its a small thing now, but the Mets are doing something they didn’t do last year. They’re putting separation between themselves and the division while the other teams are struggling.

Mets Home Opener Was Terrific

It was an emotional day at Citi Field. It was Opening Day, and it was the official unveiling of the Tom Seaver statue. Seeing Seaver with the drop-and-drive, the statue couldn’t have been more perfect.

Also perfect was the Jackie Robinson Tribute. This was the 75th anniversary, and all MLB teams wore the solid blue numbers like appeared on the Brooklyn Dodgers jerseys.

Emotions were high, and the crowd was ready. Nothing was going to damper this day.

Not the Wilpons’ or Brodie Van Wagenen’s presence. Not Mark Canha or Brandon Nimmo testing positive for COVID. Not even the unnecessary presence of J.D. Davis in the lineup.

Nothing.

Part of the reason is Chris Bassitt ensures that would be the case. After all, if you’re honoring Seaver, a great pitching performance is a prerequisite.

The Mets offense continued to score. Zach Davies and the Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff never really had a chance.

The Mets got four homers. Robinson Cano got the first. Starling Marte hit his first homer with the Mets. Francisco Lindor homered from both sides of the plate.

Through eight, it was 10-1, and the final would be 10-3 after Sean Reid-Foley struggled again.

The Mets are the first team to six wins. They’re 10-4 in home openers at Citi Field. Lindor looks like a true MVP candidate. The starting pitching has been even better than advertised.

All told, right now, everything is (Tom) Terrific.

Game Notes: Nick Plummer made his MLB debut playing RF in the ninth. Travis Jankowski was 3-for-4 with a run scored. James McCann has started the year 1-for-16. Oliver Perez received a surprise ovation during player introductions.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Capitalize Against Bad Nationals Team

The New York Mets opened their season on the road against the Washington Nationals, and they came just this close to a four game sweep. It was a pretty good start which could’ve been better:

1.  Here’s how good the Mets starting pitching was. They didn’t miss Jacob deGrom, and Max Scherzer was their worst starter in the series, and he had a quality start.

2.  If Carlos Carrasco is what he was on Sunday, which was the same pitcher we saw in Cleveland, than the rest of baseball is in trouble.

3.  Trevor Megill was simply awesome. Not only did he dominate picking up the win on Opening Day, but he stared down Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz in a big spot.

4.  Mets pitching held Soto to 3-for-14 with his homer coming off a mistake pitch from Trevor May. That is extremely impressive with Soto being one of the best in the game. With respect to May, he’ll be fine. It was just one pitch.

5.  In terms of Soto, the Apple TV+ game was a mixed bag, but the one thing they did well was try to promote star players like Soto. Trying to promote him and the images broadcast were definitely pluses. As for the rest, we will see how they improve after this game.

6.  Francisco Lindor has gotten off to a very good start at the plate which was something he and the Mets needed after last season. He had two errors, but we know his defense isn’t remotely an issue.

7.  The HBP were a significant issue with C-flaps saving Lindor and Pete Alonso from serious injuries. And no, this was not a sticky substance issue. The Mets managed to get through that series without hitting any batters.

8.  The HBP did prove an early season galvanizing moment with Buck Showalter and Jeremy Hefner leading the charge after Lindor’s HBP. It did lead to Steve Cishek‘s ejection, and we didn’t see more after that.

9.  There was a lot of good with Showalter this weekend, but his issues with bullpen management and giving veterans a long leash are still present.

10. Not pinch hitting for Robinson Cano and having Trevor Williams face Soto and Cruz helped cost the Mets a game. That isn’t something you want on your manager.

11. Alonso didn’t look great defensively this weekend, and that underhanded toss was something else. If he doesn’t button it back up defensively, the Mets are going to have to play Dominic Smith everyday at first. On that note, Smith was good in his game at first.

12. With respect to Alonso, he was one of two horrible sends from Joey Cora in this series. Remember, Cora was the worst third base coach in the majors last year before the Pittsburgh Pirates fired him. He got off to a very bad start to this season.

13. Eduardo Escobar looked very good in the series, and he is the early Major League leader in doubles. His defense looked better than career norms.

14. Mark Canha was excellent in the series going 7-for-10 with three walks. He also filled in as the center fielder in a pinch. Not too bad.

15. On the subject of how Mets new additions performed, Chris Bassitt was phenomenal in his start. In many ways, he could be the best addition the Mets made this offseason, and perhaps, they should be talking extension right now.

16. Who had Starling Marte as the only Met with a caught stealing and with Travis Jankowski having two stolen bases? Baseball is just funny sometimes.

17. Overall, despite one pitch from May and the Williams meltdown, this bullpen looked good albeit without much pressure. It will be interesting to see how they fare over the course of the season.

18. Jeff McNeil is back. Not only was he 7-for-16 with a homer, three RBI, and three walks, but he showed his versatility playing left field on Opening Day. If he’s McNeil again, the Mets lineup got much deeper and more dangerous.

19. Fortunately, it appears Brandon Nimmo‘s neck is alright. After missing the opener, he was 4-for-14 with a double and triple. He also survived a collision with the outfield wall. One odd thing with him is he only walked once and struck out five times.

20. It was easy beating what promises to be a very bad Nationals team. We’re about to find out more about this team as they travel to Philadelphia against that vaunted Phillies lineup and will face old friend Zack Wheeler.

Pete Alonso Has Mets Feeling Grand

You’d never know the New York Mets miss Jacob deGrom with the starting pitching they’ve gotten to start the season. Tonight, it was Chris Bassitt‘s turn to dominate.

Over six shutout innings, he only allowed three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He was never really challenged, and he was in sync with James McCann.

In terms of McCann, he’s looked better behind the plate than last year. He’d also get the game winning rally started with a leadoff single in the fifth.

After McCann singled, Brandon Nimmo walked. Starling Marte flew out for the first out of the inning bringing Francisco Lindor to the plate.

Lindor fell behind in the count 0-2 to Washington Nationals starter Joan Adon. Lindor battled back fouling off four pitches before drawing a walk to load the bases. Pete Alonso then unloaded them:

It was Alonso’s first career grand slam. Also, after he and other Mets have been plunked in this series, including Marte tonight, he had quite the bat flip.

In this game, and so far this season, Buck Showalter has been looking for everyone to contribute. That included Luis Guillorme, Travis Jankowski, and Dominic Smith getting the start.

Like everyone else, they would each contribute. That includes Jankowski who became the first Met to steal two bases in his first start.

That 4-0 lead grew to 5-0 in the ninth as Nimmo went to work. He hit a leadoff double, and he went to third as he tagged up on a Marte fly out. That put him in position to score when Andres Machado threw a wild pitch.

Again, the Mets bullpen did its job. Drew Smith (1.0), Joely Rodriguez (1.2), and Adam Ottavino (0.1) kept it scoreless. That made it an uneventful final three innings in the Mets 5-0 victory.

Game Notes: Edwin Diaz was unavailable as he was on the bereavement list after his grandfather’s death. Lindor made his second error of the season. For the first time since 2015, the Mets begin the season 3-0.

Mets Opening Day Tylor Winning Continues

Nothing about this Opening Day was as the New York Mets expected. It was delayed by the lockout, and then, it was pushed back to 7:05 only to be rain delayed to 8:21.

Jacob deGrom is out for months, so Tylor Megill got the start. Brandon Nimmo has neck issues meaning Mark Canha was in center, Jeff McNeil in left, and Robinson Cano at second.

Maybe things are different with Buck Showalter, and maybe this is just the Mets Opening Day mojo. Whatever it was, it worked.

It all started with Megill. He was amped throwing 99 MPH in the first, and he was pacing the dugout like Max Scherzer. He had the results to back that up.

In his five shutout innings, Megill easily dealt with the little adversity he faced.

In the second, after a one out double by Keibert Ruiz, Francisco Lindor made an error putting runners on first and second with one out. Megill got out of it by getting Mets killer Maikel Franco (he would have five unassisted put outs at third) to hit into an inning ending double play.

In the third, the Nationals had runners on the corners with one out. Megill was extremely impressive striking out Juan Soto before getting Nelson Cruz to hit into an inning ending fielders choice.

Megill needed to keep the Mets off the board because Patrick Corbin was keeping the Mets off the board for the first four innings despite not really having anything.

There could’ve been a run in the fourth. Eduardo Escobar doubled, and Joey Cora had a bad send leading to Pete Alonso getting thrown out at home.

Then, the Mets first rally of the season started with Cano getting a bunt base hit against the shift. Canha walked, and McNeil singled loaded the bases with no outs.

In 2021, this was a death knell for the Mets. Those concerns were abated when James McCann was hit with a pitch giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Starling Marte followed with what could’ve been an inning ending 5-5-3 double play, but Franco’s throw to first was wide giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.

At that point, Victor Arano was in for Corbin. With J.D. Davis getting the start at DH because he kills Corbin, everyone, including GKR wondered why Dominic Smith wasn’t pinch hitting. We all wondered why all the more when Davis hit into the inning ending double play.

In the sixth, Alonso had a one out single, and Cano had a two out walk. Finally, Canha delivered the Mets first RBI hit with a single giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

McNeill followed him with a two out RBI single of his own. For McNeil, it was a return to what we saw from him before his down 2021 season. He was 2-for-4 with an RBI and strikeout.

The Nationals got one back in the sixth when Trevor May yielded a bomb to Soto. The Mets got that run back in the top of the seventh on a Lindor RBI single.

The Mets bullpen did their job from there with Adam Ottavino, Seth Lugo, and Edwin Diaz locking down the final three innings to secure the Mets 5-1 win.

This is a game where nearly everyone contributed. That included Travis Jankowski who pinch ran and stayed on to play center moving McNeil back to second. Jankowski had pinch ran for Cano who was 2-for-3 with two runs and a walk. McCann was the only Mets starter without a hit, but he was hit by pitches twice.

Overall, this is Mets Opening Day baseball. They win, and they tend to dominate with Megill being the fourth straight Opening Day starter to not allow a run.

Game Notes: Megill had the fewest career innings of any Mets Opening Day starter. Scherzer was the first Met introduced to a warm ovation from Nationals fans. With Marte wearing 6, McNeill switched to 1. Alonso was lifted in the ninth after getting hit by a pitch in the shoulder which ricocheted off his mouth.