The New York Mets (2-0) added a slight twist to their second consecutive win over the St. Louis Cardinals (0-2) today at Citi Field. Following a barrage of singles producing nine runs on Opening Day, The Mets raised the apple in centerfield twice today to support another well-pitched game.
In 2017, the Mets scored 44 percent of their runs via the home run. The team is built to do it again this season, but teams that win consistently usually command a balanced attack and the ability to score runs in any number of ways.
Today, Travis d’Arnaud woke up the Big Apple in centerfield for the first time this season with his first home run of the young season. Later, Yoenis Cespedes leaned over the plate to swoop a ball into the left-field stands, and from there the Mets never looked back.
Cespedes also collected three walks, an indication that pitchers are aware he’s in a groove, and even more significant, healthy.
Fortified by another strong effort by the starting pitcher, Jacob deGrom went 5.2 innings, surrendering only four hits and one run while striking out seven. From there, a revitalized Mets bullpen took over, allowing the Cardinals a meaningless run. Jeurys Familia recorded an uncharacteristic four-out save that took thirty pitches to complete. It’s unlikely Mickey Callaway will use him again tomorrow if another save effort is needed.
The only downside in the game came in the top of the eighth inning when newly acquired Mets reliever, Anthony Swarzak, grabbed his left side on a pitch and was forced to leave the game. This is usually a sign of an oblique injury which can be tricky and unpredictable. Following the game, the team did not release a follow-up statement.
The season now swings over to the three starting pitchers the team needs most if they are going to make a serious run for the playoffs. On Sunday, Steven Matz gets his first start of the season after an up and down spring. Matt Harvey goes on Monday when the Mets face the team that is likely to be their primary competition in the NL East when the Philadelphia Phillies arrive in town.
The Mets need at least one if not both to complement the known entities, Syndergaard and deGrom, during the regular season. Curveball artist Seth Lugo is a wild card in the mix as the fifth starter, winning the job over Zack Wheeler who was sent to purgatory in Las Vegas.
Fast starts are essential to a team like the Mets. This is not a team built to reel off seven or eight straight to recover from a bad week. Their formula this year is to hang around and stay in there with a record consistently at or near .500. Beat up on the teams the Mets need to beat (Marlins and Braves) and play competitively against the Nationals, the team which overmatches everyone in the Division, and perhaps even the National League.
Callaway appears to have the pulse of the team, and he has slid comfortably into a position of respect from the Mets players. He’ll be watching closely as we all will at the next two games when Matz and Harvey will provide a barometer for what the Mets are going to be made of in 2018.
Highlights of today’s game are here:
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