A day after their extra inning, sweep-completing win over the Nationals on Sunday night, the Mets kept the ball rolling with a 4-2 win over the Marlins. All the veterans, including the ailing Yoenis Cespedes, wanted to play, despite getting into Miami at five in the morning. Maybe letting them all play wasn’t the wisest choice by Mickey Callaway, but it’s fun to see veterans so heavily invested this early in the season. Anyway, to the game itself.
Michael Conforto lead off the game with a single, but that opportunity was wasted when Conforto was caught stealing. No worries, the Mets started the second with a walk and two singles—Todd Frazier, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Adrian Gonzalez in order—to put the Mets up 1-0. Kevin Plawecki grounded into a double play following that, but Cabrera scored to give Noah Syndergaard a two run lead heading to the bottom of the second.
Amed Rosario lead off the next inning with what was probably his most impressive at bat of the season. He worked the count full before hitting an absolute laser that missed a home run to dead center field by about two feet. He wound up at second and, two batters later, scored on an opposite field single from Jay Bruce to stretch the lead to 3-0.
While his offense was working, Syndergaard cruised. He faced the minimum through three innings (thanks in part to a fantastic throw from Yoenis Cespedes to cut down Braxton Lee trying for a double), striking out three. In the fourth, a hit batter and a weak ground ball single leading off the inning gave the Marlins their first threat, but Thor and the Met defense were equal to the task. Rosario and Cabrera turned a pretty double play, and Gonzalez made a nice ranging grab on a ground ball to keep the Marlins off the board. After slogging through four innings with 92 pitches last time out, Syndergaard had thrown only 46 through four scoreless.
Things would not go as smoothly in the fifth. An inning after making a sparkling defensive play, Rosario botched a routine ground ball that turned into a two base error. The next two Marlins were retired, but Syndergaard then totally lost control, walking the eight and nine hitters to load the bases for Derek Dietrich. Dietrich promptly blooped a ball in front of Cespedes in left field to drive in an unearned run. Syndergaard righted the ship by inducing a ground ball from Miguel Rojas to end the inning, but the sudden loss of control was concerning. It’s worth noting that Syndergaard repeatedly looked down at his right middle finger, the same finger that he split the nail of during spring training.
The trouble continued in the sixth. New Marlin Starlin Castro lead off with a single, then stole second with one out. On the next pitch, Brian Anderson drove a double down the left field line to cut the Met lead to 3-2. He escaped the inning with two ground outs, but the inning was once again disappointing for Syndergaard, as you’d expect a dominant performance against a very bad Marlins’ lineup. In the dugout after the inning, Dave Eiland and the training staff were both attending to Syndergaard’s nail, and it was revealed after the game that he’s dealing with a blister. Thankfully, that’s a very non-threatening explanation for his control struggles.
Adrian Gonzalez lead off the seventh with a walk, and Brandon Nimmo pinch hit for Noah Syndergaard two batters later. Nimmo, as usual, worked a great at bat, but hit what looked like a routine ground ball to Justin Bour at first base that should have been one and probably two. Instead, Bour threw the ball into left field, and the Mets had runners at the corners with one out. Amed Rosario followed that up with a fine display of his excellent bat control, lining a slider from strikeout artists Kyle Barraclough into left field to drive in Gonzalez. Both Nimmo and Rosario continued the Mets’ trend of aggressive baserunning on the play, ending up on third and second respectively.
Michael Conforto received an unintentional-intentional from Barraclough to load the bases and bring up the ill (flu symptoms) Yoenis Cespedes, who has not looked like himself of late. That trend continued, as Cespedes fanned on a changeup for the second out, and Bruce struckout looking to squander the chance for some additional insurance. On the bright side, it’s better than grounding into a 1-2-5 double play and then striking out with the bases loaded while down one in extra innings, so the Mets had that going for them.
Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins, and AJ Ramos kept things under control in the seventh and eighth, setting up Jeurys Familia to try for his fifth save of the year. In typical Marlins fashion, they made nothing easy for the Mets, as a leadoff single from Bryan Holaday and a one out double from Derek Dietrich put the tying run in scoring position. Familia got out of it, however, striking out the next two Marlins to secure the victory.
With the win, the Mets match the 2006 team for the best start in franchise history. With two more games against the Marlins and Jacob deGrom on the mound tomorrow, they’ll have every chance to improve on that record further, hopefully returning home at 10-1 to face the Brewers later this week.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Noah Syndergaard, +11.5% WPA; Adrian Gonzalez, +12.7% WPA; Amed Rosario, +14.2% WPA
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeurys Familia strikes out Starlin Castro to end the game, +14.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Derek Dietrich doubles with one out in the ninth against Jeurys Familia, -14.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +37.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: +13.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Jay Bruce drives in Amed Rosario with an opposite field single in the third