This one was much closer then the final score showed. While on my crusade to combat my Mets chronic-negativity it was quite obvious to me how little I was worried about this game. That’s all due to our Opening Day starting Noah Syndergaard. He was throwing heat, he was locating his secondary pitches, he was efficient, he was an Ace.
When you consider Thor left the game at around 85 pitches it gives a pretty good feeling to know that as we go later in the season he could easily be able to go deeper into the game, but with the off day tomorrow I liked them sticking to the plan here (easy to say when they pulled it out of course.)
We all expect Syndergaard to do what he does at this point, including ripping a single to right field for a hit, what I found more enjoyable was watching the lineup work a long term plan facing a pitcher in Teheran that has tormented us many times before. They worked the count and kept pushing his pitch count waiting for an opportunity to either make him pay for a mistake or do some damage against their bullpen. For the most part they did a good job with this, minus a stretch in the 7th where 4 straight batters swung at the first pitch with Teheran at the limits of his pitch count, but even there you saw Walker come up and take the first pitch, which showed good game sense to me.
The Mets were held scoreless into the 7th inning mostly for their inability to make Teheran and the Braves pay for their mistakes. They did a good job working the counts and Teheran did give them a few mistake balls, the Mets failed to make them count. This would have been a frustrating story-line that we’ve all seen before, except this time their long term work paid off and the Mets were finally able to exploit the Braves bullpen and bust the game open.
This lineup has the hitters to be VERY good. You could tell even when Teheran was posting zeros on the scoreboard that he was laboring and G-K-R mentioned how this lineup is long and has no real breaks and can be fatiguing for a pitcher to remain so sharp. On the flip side we have a lot of strikeout hitters so there will be times like the first 5 innings that may be maddening.
It was interesting to see Collins call upon Gsellman to close out the 9th inning. Even in a lopsided game like this I don’t really like it. I don’t mind him getting “creative” but lets leave the “rookie” starter to just concentrate on his job and not get in his noodle wondering if he’s gonna be asked to work out of the pen if the schedule is favorable.
All in all a great Opening Day. The Mets extend their excellent record on openers and get the season started off on the right foot. We look to deGrom who looked very strong in spring training and face beloved Bartolo! It should definitely be interesting!
Photo Credits: NJ.com Mets Photos