Meet the Mets
The Mets’ bats got to work yesterday against Stephen Strasburg and the Nats’ bullpen, as the Mets beat the Nationals 11-8. Several Mets hitters had big days at the plate, including Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Wilson Ramos, J.D. Davis, and Michael Conforto. Things got a bit dicey in the ninth inning as the Nats almost mounted a comeback against Seth Lugo, but Edwin Diaz quickly shut the door for his second save in as many games.
Noah Syndergaard may have had a somewhat rocky start to his 2019 season, but there is no doubting his potential. “Noah doesn’t realize how great he can be,” an anonymous NL scout told the New York Post. “His stuff is incredible. If he gets it all together, I would put him right up there with some of the best pitchers ever in the game. That’s how good he can be.’’
The Mets have taken well to new hitting coach Chili Davis’ emphasis on situational hitting.
“I’ll embrace it,” said Pete Alonso of his new nickname “Pete the Polar Bear” bestowed upon him by Gary DiSarcina. In his first two games, everything that excites fans about him has been on full display. He has quickly become a favorite in the clubhouse as well.
Jeff McNeil is also finally embracing a nickname from last season. He now has “Flying Squirrel” stitched on one of his new gloves.
Part of the secret to Pete Alonso’s success? He keeps a composition notebook on pitchers, where he takes meticulous notes of how each at-bat went and how a pitcher approached him. He calls it his middle school notebook.
Pete Alonso has Queens roots; his late grandfather emigrated there from Spain and his father was born there. Tim Healey tells the story of multiple generations of Peter Alonsos.
The Mets have their own version of the King of Spring Training contest, the John J. Murphy Award, which Jeff McNeil won this season.
The fact that the Mets’ new Triple-A affiliate will share a name with the team will likely have tangible effects on Syracuse’s attendance.
Todd Frazier will start playing in games in the next couple of games, according to Mickey Callaway. Jed Lowrie, meanwhile, is not quite there yet. He’s continuing his rehab with the team and took ground balls before yesterday’s game.
In other injury news, Travis d’Arnaud caught nine innings in a game for the first time and went 1-for-3.
Gil Hodges Jr. will throw out the first pitch at Citi Field for the home opener on April 4th as part of a ceremony honoring the manager of the Miracle Mets. Hodges Sr.’s widow will also be in attendance at the ceremony.
An excerpt from Ron Darling’s new book appeared in the New York Post, detailing a dark and infamous moment in Mets history—the epithet-littered tirade Lenny Dykstra unleashed on Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd before Game 3 of the 1986 World Series. It may very well have rattled Boyd and shifted the momentum of the series, but Darling called it “the ugliest piece of vitriol I’ve ever heard—in a bar, on a baseball diamond … anywhere” and regrets that he didn’t do anything about it.
Around the National League East
There are high expectations in the NL East this year. Several managers, including Mickey Callaway, could be in the hot seat if their teams don’t meet those expectations, writes Joel Sherman.
Around Major League Baseball
There were nights Suzyn Waldman feared for her life, writes Laura Albanese in a profile that describes the years of abuse and death threats Waldman had to deal with as a pioneer in the broadcast booth.
Daniel Murphy has fractured his left index finger and will be placed on the injured list.
The Brewers had been engaged in serious talks with Craig Kimbrel and now that their closer Corey Knebel will miss the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery, they are even more in need of Kimbrel’s services. However, their budget simply doesn’t allow for it, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Joe Maddon deployed his pitchers in a rather unconventional way yesterday, first putting Steve Cishek into the game the earliest he had ever appeared in a game in his career and then utilizing Jose Quintana out of the bullpen. It was a close game and the Cubs may not need their fifth starter for awhile, with the multitude of off days built into the schedule. The Cubs ultimately lost 8-6.
Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue
The Amazin’ Avenue staff had a fun time at Mikkeller for the annual AARGH and was thrilled to get to see a Mets win. It was great hanging out with everyone that came out!
Chris McShane had a detailed breakdown of deGrom’s first start.
This Date in Mets History
On this day in 1998, the Mets tied a National League record for longest Opening Day contest, finally walking it off in the 14th inning against the Phillies.