The Kansas City Royals might be fun to watch if you are a Kansas City Royals fan. If not, they're an annoyance that just won't go away, as they were against the Mets in the World Series last year and on Sunday night in the first game of the 2016 season.
The Royals had nine hits against the Mets. All of them were singles, yet they scored enough runs—four, to be exact—to win the game and give the Mets a relatively rare Opening Day loss.
All four of those runs came against Matt Harvey, who got the start for the Mets after a medical scare briefly cast doubt upon his availability as spring training wrapped up. Despite the overall line—5.2 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 2 K, 2 BB—Harvey looked pretty good, and it was a bit surprising that Terry Collins pulled him in favor of Bartolo Colon in the bottom of the sixth.
Harvey got no help with the first run, which was the unearned one of the bunch. Yoenis Cespedes dropped a one-out Mike Moustakas fly ball that hit his glove in the bottom of the first. Moustakas advanced to second on a Travis d'Arnaud passed ball and eventually scored on an Eric Hosmer single. It'd be just fine if we could go the rest of the season without seeing those two Royals, but the Mets have one more game in Kansas City on Tuesday and two more against the Royals in Queens later this season.
The other three runs that the Royals scored against Harvey were earned—thanks to a series of batted balls that had no right to fall in for hits fell in for hits anyway. If you were of the belief that hitters can control where a ball is going to go once they make contact with it, watching the Royals in this game might have convinced you that you were correct.
Kansas City's second run scored on a single-single-sac fly sequence int he fourth. They scored the other two in the sixth thanks to a series of singles, one of which came via the bunt.
The Mets did very little against Royals starter Edinson Volquez, aside from increasing his pitch count, which helped get hi out of the game after the sixth inning. Kelvin Herrera didn't allow any runs in the seventh, but Joakim Soria took over for the Royals in the eighth and allowed three runs. Lucas Duda drove in the first two with a softly-hit ball to left field, and Neil Walker plated the third run by grounding into a fielder's choice. Unfortunately, that was the end of the Mets' scoring for the night.
They did have another chance in the top of the ninth. With the incredibly-dominant Wade Davis on the mound for the Royals, the Mets were able to get runners on the corners with just one out in the inning. But David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes struck out to end the game.
Some other thoughts from the first real Mets game of the year:
- The double play combination of Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker looked great. The Mets had a great season last year but often struggled to turn basic double plays.
- There was some noise made among Mets beat writers about David Wright's throws from third base to first base in the game. Specifically, his arm was said to look bad. But Wright's throws didn't look like an issue from here.
- Bartolo Colon pitched fairly well in his inning-and-a-third, and Jerry Blevins remains perfect in his career with the Mets, as he retired all three of the opposing batters he saw.
- It's just one game of 162 games, if you know anyone who is now concerned about the Mets' season.
- The Royals are annoying, and it's a good thing we don't have to watch the Mets play them nineteen times per season.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Curtis Granderson, +19.7% WPA
Big losers: David Wright, -28.5% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, -13.3% WPA, Yoenis Cespedes, -11.6% WPA, Neil Walker, -10.7% WPA, Alejandro De Aza, -10.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Curtis Granderson singles to put runners on the corners with one out in the ninth, +20.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: David Wright strikes out with runners on the corners and one out in the ninth, -21.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -6.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -43.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Omar Infante