Unfortunately, with David Peterson going against Aaron Nola, and more importantly a bullpen that was a bit compromised due to some extra work after the second game of the season (which is a neat trick considering it’s after the second game of the season), Wednesday’s negative outcome was never in doubt for me.
The frustrating part was twofold: First, the non-competitive nature of the score as Peterson gave up a four spot in the first inning which got the proceedings off to a bad start. But second was that Aaron Nola seemed to pitch like the 19th carbon copy of himself: Still good, but not quite as sharp as the original. The Mets threatened in every other inning against Nola. Two runners on in the second. A run and two runners on with one out in the third. Bases loaded with two outs in the fourth. But they only got the one run. The second inning isn’t fair to judge because Peterson was the one with the chance to drive the runs home. But Dom Smith and Jonathan Villar struck out in the third with two runners on (and no, I don’t know why Villar played instead of McNeil, who was hitting the ball hard with bad results), and Michael Conforto struck out with the sacks full in the fourth.
Even with all of those missed opportunities, the Mets drove Nola from the game after he topped 90 pitches after four innings, and even at 4-1 the game felt winnable. But after Peterson gave up two hits to lead off the fifth, Luis Rojas brought in Jacob Barnes to face JT Realmuto, and Barnes first pitch as a Met was also his first home run given up as a Met as Realmuto put the game out of reach with a 3 run HR to give the Phillies a 7-1 lead and sent them crusing to an 8-2 victory.
Editor’s note: Gare reminded us that the last pitcher to give up a home run on the first pitch he ever threw as a Met was John Candelaria, who came to the Mets in a September 1987 trade to try to get the Mets into the playoffs even though he wouldn’t be eligible for those playoffs. He gave up a home run to Steve Cangelosi, who hit 12 in his 13 year career, and didn’t make it out of the second inning in a 10-9 loss, which ended with Howard Johnson getting thrown out on a strike em out throw em out double play with Kevin McReynolds on deck, begging the question: Why would you run while in the thick of the heart of your lineup? Also, Steve Cangelosi? Really?
Aside from Barnes’ becoming the Candy Man with one pitch, we also saw Dellin Betances pitch the 6th and give up a run, looking very much like somebody who is done. Of course, you hope not. But this hasn’t been a great signing from jump, and with the current regime having no ties to a guy who somehow got a two year deal after a major injury and the Mets having to deal with three relievers that the manager doesn’t trust, I don’t expect Betances to make it past the first week of May if this keeps up.
Also, Joey Lucchesi pitched the 7th and 8th and looked pretty good, raising the question: Why was he wasted in an 8-2 game when you might need him for length during the home opener? There’s plenty of mop-up guys to choose from, right? Robert Gsellman can’t get a sniff down by six? He’s on the roster … why?
Oh well, The Mets are 1-2 with the Marlins coming up for the home opener. The 1986 Mets started 2-3 with everybody panicking, asking “What’s wrong with the Mets?” And they had Randy Niemann lose two games. They then went on an 11 game winning streak and a run of 18-1. I don’t know what this team has in store from us, but I know enough to know that this team, and this regine, deserves the benefit of our doubt.
I also know that the Mets are dealing with at least two Randy Niemanns, which is a lot to overcome.
Today’s Hate List
- Alec Bohm
- Aaron Nola
- Matt Joyce
- Connor Brodgon
- Sam Coonrod