The New York Mets opened their season at home with a 9-7 extra inning loss to the Washington Nationals. It was a game of ups and downs all the way through.
Despite not having Daniel Muprhy or Chris Young (Murphy is on paternity leave while Young was scratched with quad tightness), the backups contributed and the Mets put on a nice offensive performance.
Dillon Gee pitched well after a mistake in the 2nd inning led to a two run home run to Adam Laroche. He set down 15 in a row at one point and pitched into the 7th inning. Gee proved that he can compete even with a pitcher of Stephen Strasburg’s ability and showed that he deserved his Opening Day start.
The bullpen was not able to make Gee’s solid performance or a 7 run game offensively stand up. Carlos Torres and Scott Rice, two of last year’s best relievers, each walked their only batter, including a walk that scored the tying run. After 1.1 perfect innings from Jose Valverde, the usually consistent Bobby Parnell blew his first save chance. In the 10th inning Jeurys Familia, who didn’t allow a run until his last spring appearance, and former Opening Day starter and former National John Lannan combined to allow four runs.
The Mets succeeded in one area where they struggled last year: hitting for power. Wright, Juan Lagares and Andrew Brown all hit home runs, accounting for 6 of the team’s 7 runs. This is a promising sign for a team that needed to address their lack of home run production in recent years.
What wasn’t promising was 18 strikeouts. Yes I know how good Stephen Strasburg is, but the Mets had chances to add more runs but weren’t able to succeed in cases where even a fly ball would have added insurance. It’s early in the season and the players will settle into their rhythm and perform better but those clutch situations will make a or break this team. And if Monday was any example, the more insurance runs they can get for the bullpen the better.
Other news from the team:
The Mets signed 40-year-old outfielder Bobby Abreu to a minor league contract. This move is surprising considering how the Mets solidified their outfield this offseason. I’m not sure how a 40-year-old is going to help this team in the NL without a DH. Unless he is capable of playing first base, which could allow the Mets to make a trade, this is a very confusing move.
Additionally, Bobby Parnell is likely headed to the disabled list. An MRI revealed that Parnell has a partial tear of his MCL in his elbow and needs to rest for at least two weeks. Parnell did not perform well Monday, however he was going to be a huge part of the bullpen going forward. This injury could cause significant problems as he’ll miss at least two weeks, possibly more if his elbow doesn’t cooperate. Jose Valverde, who struck out 3 of the 4 batters he faced Monday, will likely step in to be closer while Parnell is sidelined. When Parnell heads to the DL look for the Mets to call up Kyle Farnsworth to take the extra bullpen position. Farnsworth was recently demoted to Las Vegas. Someone will need to be dropped off of the 40-man roster to make room for Farnsworth.
Daniel Murphy will be placed on the paternity list on Wednesday. This means he will be off the roster for three days. Wilmer Flores will be called up to replace him.