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deGrom thwarts the Nats, Mets’ outfielders go deep

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The Mets won their third game in a row to advance to 5-1 on the season.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Before the first pitch of today’s game was even thrown, Mets fans were ecstatic about the news that injured All-Star Michael Conforto would make his season debut almost a month ahead of schedule. The Mets let the good times roll by taking down the Nationals in the series opener by a score of 8-2.

WIN, 8-2

Jacob deGrom started the game for the Mets and quickly gave up an unearned run following an error by Jay Bruce on an Anthony Rendon single. While the Mets went down early, they came back just as fast with Stephen Strasburg committing his first balk since the 2013 season to bring in Jay Bruce and tie the game at one apiece.

deGrom surrendered an earned run in the third inning, again at the hands of Anthony Rendon, on an RBI double that scored Adam Eaton. From that point on, deGrom halted the Nationals’ offense, not allowing a run in his final three innings of work. In perhaps the most impressive pitching feat for the Mets this season, deGrom loaded the bases in the sixth inning with no outs and managed to escape unscathed. In six innings, deGrom allowed two runs on four hits and three walks. He also struck out five, including Trea Turner three times, twice looking.

Much like deGrom, the Mets’ offense hit its stride after the third inning, scoring seven more times before the game was over. The opening salvo came off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes, at 112.1 MPH, and landed deep in the left field seats to tie the game up at 2-2 in the fourth inning. The Mets were quick to strike again in the fifth as the returning slugger, Michael Conforto, hit a two-run homer which was confirmed by replay.

The Mets put the nail in the coffin, in the seventh inning, after Jay Bruce drove in four runs with the Mets’ first grand slam of the season to put the game out of reach. This was the first of, hopefully, many times this season that all three of the Mets’ powerful outfielders can go yard in the same game.

The bullpen had another impressive performance today allowing only two baserunners in their three innings of work. After deGrom departed, Jerry Blevins and newly-minted relief ace Robert Gsellman combined to strike out the side in order. The next inning, with Met fans holding their collective breath, Hansel Robles came in and struck out three, for the second straight outing, including Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. Seth Lugo came in for the ninth and closed out the Mets’ 8-2 win with little trouble.

The Mets are now 5-1 to start the season for the first time since the 2006 season in which they finished 97-65 and reached the seventh game of the National League Championship Series. I won’t mention how that one ended.

The Mets have an off day tomorrow and will probably have another on Saturday due to rain and snow heading towards the nation’s capital. If they do play on Saturday, Steven Matz will go up against Gio Gonzalez at 1:05 PM.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jay Bruce +25.7% WPA, Michael Conforto +14.3% WPA, Jacob deGrom +14.1% WPA, Yoenis Cespedes +10.9% WPA
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto’s two-run home run in the fifth inning, +23.9%
Teh sux0rest play: Michael Conforto grounds into a double play in the third inning, -8.4%
Total pitcher WPA: 16.5% WPA+
Total batter WPA: 33.5% WPA+
GWRBI!: Michael Conforto