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Mets vs. Marlins recap: An offensive dud on fireworks night

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The bullpen wasn’t much better.

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Just like last season, Robert Gsellman made his debut in a relief appearance. In 2016 he had to wait until August 23 to first appear in a major league game, but in 2017 he was used right out of the gate on Opening Day. On Saturday, he made his first start of the season and was adept at limiting the damage against him.

LOSE, 8-1

In the first inning, Miami got on the board first when Giancarlo Stanton singled with two out to bring home Miguel Rojas. The damage could have been worse when Justin Bour hit a ball into the gap, but Curtis Granderson was able to track it down for the final out of the inning.

In his eight appearances in 2016, Gsellman only gave up one home run. In the second inning, he gave up his first home run of the season to Marcell Ozuna, who hit a no-doubter to extend the lead to 2-0.

Curtis Granderson’s defense in center field was a concern coming into the season, and at first it seemed decent when he tracked down the ball hit into the gap. That all changed in the third when he misjudged a ball hit right at him by J.T. Realmuto. The ball went over his head and Realmuto hustled to third for a triple. He later scored on Rojas’s sacrifice fly, and the Marlins had a 3-0 lead.

That remained the score until the fifth inning. Gsellman had some heavy lifting to do in the top of the inning, but luck was also on his side. The Marlins had first and third with one out, but when Bour grounded out, Rojas stayed at third. That brought up Ozuna with runners at second and third with two outs. Gsellman ended his night with a flourish and struck out Ozuna to end the threat and keep his team in the game. His final stat line was five innings, six hits, three runs, and seven strikeouts, which wasn’t bad considering he didn’t have his best stuff.

His counterpart on the mound had no such issues. Adam Conley had never given up a run at Citi Field in his career, and it certainly looked like he was well on his way to continuing that streak. He had a no-hitter going through four innings, but that all changed with one swing of the bat by Lucas Duda in the fifth. He broke up both the no-hitter and the scoreless streak when he hit an opposite field home run to put the Mets on the board. Conley was shaken after that and issued back-to-back walks to Travis d’Arnaud and pinch hitter T.J. Rivera. Granderson, who had moved up to the leadoff spot since Jose Reyes got the night off, swung at the first pitch—after a home run and two walks, mind you—and flied out to center to end the inning.

After both Conley and Gsellman were out of the game it became a battle of the bullpens, and the Mets’ bullpen was not up to the task. Josh Smoker walked one in his inning but overall was solid in a nice bounce-back performance.

Hansel Robles, Paul Sewald, and Rafael Montero were all equally ineffective in their appearances. They combined to give up five runs in 1.2 innings of work. Sewald made his major league debut and only recorded one out, but hopefully he will put up better numbers in the future considering his effective spring.

Montero’s effective spring, however, is looking more and more like a mirage. Mr. Hyde had no trouble getting batters out in March, but Dr. Jekyll reared his head again once the season started. He, too, only recorded one out, and he walked two and gave up two runs.

With both Sewald and Montero in trouble, Terry Collins had to turn to Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas to salvage the eighth and ninth innings. They did so brilliantly and both stopped the bleeding without giving up any more runs.

On back-to-back nights, though, Collins had to turn to his bullpen early, and only one week into the season, they are already becoming overworked. Another concern this early in the season is the offense. The Mets’ lineup struck out 13 times, and the main offender was Neil Walker, who struck out in his every at-bat. The Marlins’ pitching met little resistance as they worked their way through the lineup. Three hits and a well-struck ball by Yoenis Cespedes that Christian Yellich made a leaping catch on was all the Mets muster on a cold night at Citi Field.

Cold bats, an ineffective bullpen, and shaky defense is not a recipe for success on any given night.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: None
Big losers: Robert Gsellman -13.9%, Curtis Granderson -10.8%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda home run in fifth
Teh sux0rest play: Marcell Ozuna home run in second
Total pitcher WPA: -21.2%
Total batter WPA: -28.8%
GWRBI!: J.T. Realmuto