The Mets had a wonderful Opening Day at Citi Field, blanking the Braves in a 6-0 win. After struggling to score early, the offense lit up in the seventh, and Noah Syndergaard showed his mettle, pitching out of a few jams and looking incredibly poised while doing it.
Syndergaard started for the Mets and didn’t miss a step from his last Citi Field start, the Wild Card game against the Giants last October. Syndergaard struck out the first batter he saw on three pitches, and got through the inning with only seven pitches. Aside from a Jay Bruce-misplayed triple by Freddie Freeman in the fourth inning, Syndergaard limited contact to just singles over his six innings.
Syndergaard left the game after completing the sixth due to a blister on his middle finger. His final line was 86 pitches, five hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts. He was relieved by Hansel Robles, who pitched a perfect seventh inning.
Snydergaard will have his next start pushed back a day due to the blister popping. Robert Gsellman will now start on Saturday against the Marlins, with Syndergaard going on Sunday.
Julio Tehran was his usual impressive self against the Mets, also going six innings, striking out six, walking three, and allowing four hits. On a day when Tehran was good, Syndergaard was just a little bit better. The Mets’ offense was nonexistent early on, limited to two singles (and a stolen base) by Asdrubal Cabrera, and singles by Curtis Granderson and Syndergaard.
Ian Krol relieved Tehran and gave up a base hit to Rene Rivera, who was then pulled for pinch-runner Travis d’Arnaud. d’Arnaud was quickly erased on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Wilmer Flores. Flores stole second and scored on an RBI single by Cabrera on which he was originally called out at home. After review, it was clear that catcher Tyler Flowers tagged Flores after Flores’s right foot had touched home plate.
Later in that same inning, after Chaz Roe came in and promptly walked Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly off former (and mostly forgotten) Met Eric O’Flaherty to give the team a 2-0 lead. Walks to Neil Walker and birthday boy Jay Bruce led to another run, before Lucas Duda hit a bases-clearing double, busting the game open and giving the Mets a comfortable 6-0 lead.
Fernando Salas took over after, to paraphrase Howie Rose, throwing a complete game in the bullpen during the marathon top of the seventh. He struck out the first two batters to face him and induced a soft liner by Dansby Swanson to end the inning.
The aforementioned Gsellman came into the game to pitch the ninth, and promptly gave up a single to Freddie Freeman and a double to Matt Kemp. Gsellman struggled against Nick Markakis, but eventually struck him out. The game ended on a bizarre double play, when Brandon Phillips hit a weak ground ball that Gsellman fielded and flipped to Duda. Kemp was then caught off second base and was tagged out to end the game.
The Mets have an off day tomorrow before Wednesday night’s contest with the Braves, which will see Jacob deGrom taking on Bartolo Colon. Prepare your emotions appropriately.
SB Nation GameThreads:
Win Probability Added:
Big winners: Noah Syndergaard, +34.1% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, +20.0 % WPA
Big losers: Neil Walker, -7.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Asdrubal Cabrera’s RBI single in the seventh inning, +18.5%
Teh sux0rest play: Wilmer Flores grounds into a fielder’s choice, -5.4%
Total pitcher WPA: 43.2% WPA+
Total batter WPA: 6.8% WPA+
GWRBI!: Asdrubal Cabrera