Meet the Mets
Down 2-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Mets scored two runs to walk off the Marlins 3-2 Thursday afternoon in their home opener at Citi Field.
With bases loaded and one out and the game tied 2-2, Michael Conforto leaned into a two-strike pitch that would have crossed the strike zone had it not tipped his elbow pad. Umpire Ron Kulpa ruled the play a hit-by-pitch and awarded Conforto first base, forcing in Luis Guillorme from third and giving the Mets a walk off victory.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly voiced his displeasure both immediately after the play and after the game, saying “he didn’t get hit by a pitch, he got hit by a strike.” Mets announcers Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling were also displeased with the call, with Darling questioning why the play wasn’t reviewable.
Conforto addressed the play in his post-game press conference, claiming his elbow lean was incidental and that he would like to move on. For his part, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa admitted after the game that he should’ve called a third strike on Conforto.
John Harper believes that fans should be displeased with the result, but that the blame should lie primarily with MLB’s replay system and not with Conforto or Kulpa.
The Conforto walk off overshadowed Jeff McNeil’s game-tying solo home run in the ninth inning. The home run broke McNeil’s 0-for-the-season and came with a rather righteous bat flip. McNeil is the seventh Met to hit a home run on his birthday in the last twenty years.
The Conforto walk off also overshadowed Taijuan Walker’s quality Mets debut. Walker gave up two runs and four hits over six innings, finishing without a decision but rousing the crowd into an ovation after giving up his first hit in the fourth inning. He celebrated his start by asking his Twitter followers what board game he should play with his family.
The Mets sent reliever Dellin Betances to the 10-day IL with a right shoulder impingement and called up Trevor Hildenberger to take his place on the roster.
Manager Luis Rojas confirmed the Mets coaching and performance staff all received their first dose of the COVID vaccine yesterday. Rojas also said the team is encouraging every player to get theirs as well.
Pete Alonso debuted some fire kicks for the home opener.
Around the National League East
The Marlins spoke to the league office after their loss but found no recourse to contest the call.
The Phillies, Braves, and Nationals all enjoyed a day off. What are the odds??
Federal Baseball discussed starting pitcher Erick Fedde’s early struggles.
Talking Chop interviewed Braves prospect Michael Harris.
Around Major League Baseball
It was a bad day for pitchers. A’s closer Trevor Rosenthal underwent thoracic outlet surgery, while Mariners starter James Paxton was recommended to undergo Tommy John surgery. Rosenthal will be out for at least a few months, while Paxton may not return until 2022 at the earliest.
To add insult to injury, Yermín Mercedes and Mike Trout both hit home runs that went really really far. The Mercedes 485-foot blast was the third-longest home run a White Sox player has ever hit at Guaranteed Rate Field, while Trout’s 444-foot home run hit the elementary school beyond the outfield at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, FL, where the Blue Jays are temporarily hosting their home games.
MLB will investigate balls pitched by Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer that are suspected to have been doctored with sticky substances. It is unclear if the league can punish Bauer even if it finds foreign substances on the balls.
Orioles fans welcomed Trey Mancini back to Camden Yards.
Cardinals fans gave Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong a standing ovation upon his return to Busch Stadium.
Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue
Chris and Brian discussed the opening series on Amazin’ Avenue Audio.
Vas previewed this weekend’s series agains the Marlins.
This Date in Mets History
Ralph Kiner raised the National League Championship banner over Shea Stadium on this date 20 years ago.