The back pages of New York Newspapers continue their focus on Murderer’s Row in the Bronx, But the real story of this young season is the team playing across the river, the New York Mets, who continued their winning ways today beating the Nationals 8-2.
Sparked by three home runs, including one from Michael Conforto playing in his first game of the season after coming off the DL, the New York Mets (5-1) made it look easy today drubbing the Washington Nationals (4-3) in a game that was never contested by last year’s division winners.
In 2017, the Mets scored 44 percent of their runs via the home run and this season is proving to be no different. Six of the Mets runs came on balls blasted into the seats. Joining Conforto was Yoenis Cespedes with his third home run of the season, followed by Jay Bruce, who capped the game with a grand slam in the seventh inning, his first of the season.
Of impact too is that the game was played in enemy territory against a team the Mets managed to beat only six times in nineteen tries last season.
Jacob deGrom (2-0) went six innings pitching two-run ball (one earned), throwing 58 of his 86 pitches for strikes. Four relievers finished out the game allowing no runs. Seth Lugo, who was supposed to be the Mets fifth starter pitched the ninth inning.
Lugo needed the work as he was passed over for a start due to the rainout against the Phillies. With a day off for the Mets on Friday, Lugo can again be passed over if Mickey Callaway decides he wants to stay with his best four for now.
The Mets beat the Nationals number two starter, Stephen Strasburg a day after their ace, Max Scherzer took the loss going only five innings against the Atlanta Braves.
We keep hearing the season is young, and mathematically no doubt, it is. But each game played in April counts as much as the games that will be played down the stretch in September. The Nationals are stacked, and they have a better team (on paper) than the Mets, and that’s why the experts predicted they would win 100 or more games this season.
And therefore, the Mets start to the season is weighed more heavily, and the fact they have won five out of six instead of being 3-3 or 2-4 is significant.
It shouldn’t be a surprise though to Mets fans who have been following the team since Mickey Callaway took over. This is a no-nonsense manager who expects his team to go out there every game to play competitively, whether it’s the Padres or the Nationals. Callaway has also made it clear to his players, “You will be held accountable.”
This is something new in the Mets culture, and it has been a long time coming. Sandy Alderson has helped as well by bringing in veterans Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez, both of whom can be counted on to control and engineer the clubhouse. The addition of Frazier, especially, is major as his brief time with the Yankees, in many ways turned their season around entirely in September.
So sure, there’s a long way to go, and we shouldn’t be getting ahead of ourselves. But the upside to this Mets team is visible. And the accent on winning is back in Queens.