In the first two games of their weekend series, the Mets’ offense mustered only three total runs and eleven hits in the two games combined. On Sunday night, the team’s offense came alive against the Marlins to score five runs off Edinson Volquez, and that was more than enough for Noah Syndergaard, who was on the top of his game.
The Mets’ offense got started early against Volquez, scoring three runs in the first inning—albeit with some help. Singles by both Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes got two men on base for Jay Bruce, who was batting cleanup for the first time this season. He dribbled a ball up the first base line, and Cabrera broke for the plate from third base. Miami first baseman Justin Bour threw home, and it looked like Cabrera was dead-to-rights as he had turned around already to get into a rundown, but catcher J.T. Realmuto missed the ball completely, allowing Cabrera to turn back around and score.
Neil Walker then knocked in Cespedes with a bloop single, and then a Lucas Duda base hit loaded the bases with only one out for Michael Conforto, who drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the third run. Volquez stopped the damage there, though, and got through the inning.
On the mound, Syndergaard was locked in from basically the word “go.” He struck out five batters in the first two innings and didn’t allow a baserunner until Derek Dietrich led off the third inning with a double. That was followed by an outfield gaffe between Cespedes and Conforto that allowed Miguel Rojas to get to second and moved Dietrich up to third. The play was ruled an error on Cespedes. Two batters later, Dee Gordon doubled home both runs to make it 3-2.
But that was all the scoring Syndergaard would allow. He pitched seven innings and whiffed nine while allowing no walks and scattering five hits. Syndergaard was removed from Monday’s home opener with a blister and had his start pushed back because of it, but it seems safe to say that it is no longer an issue. This was truly one of the best pitchers in baseball at the top of his game.
Bruce later added a solo homer in the fifth inning to extend the Mets lead to 4-2. The much-derided Bruce is the first Mets player with two home runs in this young season. The next inning, Conforto hit a solo shot of his own, a 420-foot bomb to the Shea Bridge in his first start of the season. That’s one way to earn more playing time.
Fernando Salas and Addison Reed pitched perfect innings in relief to close out a 5-2 Mets victory. The Mets are now 3-3 through the first six games of the season, and will now take a trip down I-95 to Philadelphia to meet the Phillies for the first time in 2017.
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jay Bruce, +19.4% WPA, Noah Syndergaard, +18.0% WPA, Michael Conforto, +10.5% WPA
Big losers: Jose Reyes, -5.7% WPA, Rene Rivera, -5.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jay Bruce hita a solo home run in the fifth inning, +12.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Dee Gordon hits a two-run double in the third inning, -12.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +24.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +25.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Michael Conforto