For the first time in 557 days, the Mets will host fans at Citi Field this afternoon as they play their home opener against the Marlins. The Mets will welcome a ‘sell out’ crowd of about 8,492, or 20% of the normal capacity. While the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over—please continue to wear a mask, keep social distancing, and get your vaccine when eligible!—vaccine rollout has allowed for events like this to begin picking up with people in attendance, and fans at Citi Field will be a sight for sore eyes after last year’s season was marked by artificial crowd noise and cardboard cutouts.
For the Mets, they will hope that the return of the Flushing Faithful will help give them energy to rebound from a sluggish start to their season. After a COVID-19 outbreak on the Nationals postponed their first three games, the Mets appeared out of sync as they dropped two out of three to the Phillies. The potent Mets’ offense, which was revamped over the offseason with the additions of Francisco Lindor and James McCann, went 6-for-29 (.207) with runners in scoring position, leaving a combined 30 on base during their series loss.
Pete Alonso led the way for the Mets, going 4-for-13 in Philadelphia with a double and a home run to give him a team-leading 1.015 OPS at this early juncture of the season. Dominic Smith, who sat against left Matt Moore on Opening Night, hit the other home run for the Mets, as he went 2-for-9. Brandon Nimmo showed off his on-base skills, going 3-for-9 while drawing five walks.
Francisco Lindor was quiet offensively in his first games with the Mets, picking up two singles in 11 at-bats. However, he showed fans what he could do with his glove, as he made a few sparkling plays while making some tough plays look routine. McCann, the other newbie, went 3-for-11, while Jonathan Villar went 3-for-5 in his Wednesday start. Kevin Pillar, who started Monday, went 1-for-5.
Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil, who were great in 2020, both had abysmal showings in Philadelphia. Conforto went 3-for-15 in the series, and his 0-for-5 performance on Wednesday stood out, especially since most of those at-bats came in spots where he could have helped his team. In all, he left nine runners on base in the afternoon loss. McNeil, who sat on Wednesday afternoon, went hitless in eight at-bats, ending yesterday’s loss with a pinch hit ground out.
The Mets got solid starting pitching from Jacob deGrom, who tossed six scoreless innings on Monday, and Marcus Stroman, who pitched six solid innings of one-run ball on Tuesday to pick up the team’s lone will. Peterson’s start was the lone dud for the team, as a bad first inning yesterday doomed him. He ended the afternoon allowing six earned runs in four-plus innings of work. deGrom was well on his way to getting a victory, but the Mets’ bullpen and a lack of offense once again cost him.
In addition to the offensive ineptitude with runners in scoring position, the bullpen was the other sore spot against the Phillies. On Monday, they spoiled deGrom’s fantastic work. Miguel Castro pitched a scoreless frame, but the combination of Trevor May and Aaron Loup imploded in the eighth, allowing five runs (two earned) on three hits. The Mets again followed the same formula on Tuesday, this time with slightly better results. Castro allowed a run in the seventh this time, while May pulled a Houdini act to escape the eighth unscathed despite a high pitch count. With the Mets building a big lead, Luis Rojas entrusted Jeurys Familia in the ninth, and he gave up two runs (one earned) in his appearance. In yesterday’s game, Jacob Barnes and Dellin Betances each gave up a run, while Joey Lucchesi closed things out with two scoreless frames.
The Marlins, like the Mets, have just one win on the season, albeit with three more games played. After dropping two out of three against the Rays to begin the year, they were swept at home by the Cardinals. The team was let down by its offense, which scored just three runs against St. Louis. They have been led by center fielder Starling Marte, who has eight hits in 23 at-bats and leads the club with an .886 OPS. Not far behind is first baseman Jesús Aguilar, who is 6-for-17 and has an .866 OPS so far this season. Adam Duvall, who the club picked up this winter, has collected just two hits in 18 at-bats for Miami. Third baseman Brian Anderson, meanwhile, has 3 hits in 17 at-bats with a team-worst .498 OPS.
Thursday, April 8: TBD vs. Taijuan Walker, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
The Marlins have not yet named a starting pitcher for today’s game.
Walker (2020): 53.1 IP, 50 K, 19 BB, 8 HR, 2.70 ERA, 4.56 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 1.3 bWAR
Mets fans will get their first look at Walker as he gets the ball in the home opener. Walker was a late addition for the club, signing him to a two-year deal with an option for a third right at the very onset of spring training. Walker was solid for the Blue Jays last year, but less so for the Mariners as he split time between the two clubs. He fortifies the back end of the bullpen, and turned out to be an important move with the club losing Carlos Carrasco to injury. He will also become the second met to wear number 99, following another TW (Turk Wendell), though it remains to be seen if he will take the mound today wearing the necklace Wendell sent him—it seems like he may not, due to superstitious reasons.
Saturday, April 10: Trevor Rogers vs. Jacob deGrom, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
Rogers (2021): 4.0 IP, 6 K, 4 BB, 0 HR, 4.50 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 1.50 WHIP,
Rogers made his first two career starts last season against the Mets. In his debut, he tossed four shutout innings in the second game of a doubleheader on August 25 and allowed one hit with five walks and six strikeouts as Miami picked up a 3-0 win. In his second career start on August 31, he picked up his lone major league win with five innings of two-run ball in a 5-3 Marlins win. In his first start this season, the left-hander took the loss against the Cardinals on Monday, giving up three runs (two earned) on two hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
deGrom (2021): 6.0 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA, 1.92 FIP, 0.83 WHIP,
It may be a new season, but it was a very familiar result for deGrom. He was routinely brilliant, tossing six scoreless innings, and again came away with a no-decision after a combination of a lack of run support and a bullpen meltdown in the eighth cost him his 71st career win. Jacob deGrom also drove in a run and had two base knocks in the game, as he once again proved to be the most reliable at providing his own run support. The Cy Young watch will be on all season for the Mets’ ace, and he got off to a terrific start to that campaign.
Sunday, April 11: TBD vs. Marcus Stroman, 1:10 p.m. on SNY
The Marlins have not yet named a starting pitcher for Sunday afternoon’s game.
Stroman (2021): 6.0 IP, 3 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 1.50 ERA, 5.92 FIP, 0.83 WHIP
In his first start since the 2019 season, Stroman was really good for the Mets. Out of the 18 outs he recorded in the start, 13 of them were on ground outs, with three coming via the strikeout and two on fly balls. When Stroman is at his best, he is inducing a lot of ground balls, which is a great sign. He mixed his pitches well and showed a lot in the way of the improvements he made a point of highlighting over the offseason. If he can continue on that path, the club will have a great 1-2 rotation punch this season.
Prediction: Playing in front of the home crowd, the Mets sweep the Marlins!
How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Marlins?
This poll is closed
It’s a sweep to kick off the home season!
The Mets get back to .500 by winning two of three.
The Mets drop two of three for the second straight series.
The Mets are fried by the fish in a sweep.