The New York Mets' first home series is complete, with another series win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets continue to get remarkable starting pitching, while the bullpen has been an issue. The Mets bats shined in the opener but struggled the remainder of the weekend as Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha were unavailable after testing positive with COVID.
Coming home with a 5-2 record, the Mets had a sellout on Opening Day, the ninth-largest crowd in Citi Field history. Before the game, the Mets unveiled the longly awaited statue of Tom Seaver in a 41-minute ceremony. Chris Bassitt got the start as the Mets learned that Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha would be out for at least five games after testing positive for COVID. The Mets were tested after a massage therapist had come down with COVID; once again, the people who are responsible for keeping the players on the field failed. This is why I booed the medical and training staff during pregame intros.
The Mets got a run in the first inning as Jeff McNeil hustled home on a sac-fly by Pete Alonso. Alonso had a second sac-fly RBI in the third inning, as the Mets' aggressiveness on the basepaths continued to pay off. The Mets continued to add runs in the fourth inning as Robinson Cano hit a solo home run, while Francisco Lindor hit a two-run bomb in the fifth. Daulton Varsho put the Diamondbacks on the board with a home run in the sixth. It was the only run allowed by a Mets starting pitcher in the series. Bassitt pitched six innings, allowing one run on two hits, with six strikeouts.
Eduardo Escobar had an RBI double in the seventh to give the Mets a 6-1 lead, while Starling Marte, who earlier helped build a run with a stolen base, hit a three-run home run to break the game open. Lindor, who homered from the left side, followed with a home run from the right side to make it back-to-back and give the Mets a 10-1 lead. Sitting with Stu, KFC, and Clem, the Mets had an Opening Day to remember. The only thing that was left was the final three outs. This turned into an adventure as Sean Reid-Foley refused to throw strikes, allowing two runs as the Mets won 10-3.
On Saturday, the Mets had another large crowd on hand as the Mets gave away replica Tom Seaver statues. Carlos Carrasco gave the Mets a start that would have made Seaver proud, as he did not allow a run while giving up three hits with eight strikeouts in five innings. After a solid sixth inning, Joely Rodriguez started the seventh and gave up an infield hit to Seth Beer. Seth Lugo came on in relief and had a rocky inning, giving up a home run to Sergio Alcantra. Daulton Varshow followed with a walk and scored Arizona's third run on a Ketel Marte.
Meanwhile, the Mets' bats struggled as the Diamondbacks were able to make the plays they failed to make on Friday. In the eighth inning, the Mets had their lone rally as Starling Marte hit a two-run home run. Lindor followed with a walk as Citi Field was buzzing. However, Pete Alonso turned into Buzz Killington with an inning-ending double play. Mark Melancon, who would be a perfect addition to the Mets bullpen, retired the side in order as the DBacks won 3-2.
The rubber game saw cold weather on Sunday as an overnight storm dropped temps 20 degrees. David Peterson got the start for the Mets and did an outstanding job. Peterson pitched four and one-third innings and allowed three hits while fanning four Diamondbacks. The Mets bats were also silent as the Mets had only one hit over the first five innings. Chasen Shreve came on to pitch in the sixth with the Diamondbacks threatening to score. However, Shreve stranded Christian Walker at third and retired all six batters he faced.
The Mets' aggressive base running paid off in the bottom of the sixth, as they scratched out three runs. Eduardo Escobar hit a hustle double, with Pete Alonso scoring on a poor throw by Pavin Smith. Dom Smith walked and got to third as Escobar scored a second run on a single by J.D. Davis. Smith would score on a sac-fly by James McCann, as Davis showed heady baseball by stealing second on the appeal play. This brand of baseball is unlike anything Mets fans have seen in the last 20 years.
The Mets added two runs in the seventh on a two-run shot by Pete Alonso. Drew Smith worked the eighth, and Edwin Diaz worked the ninth as the Mets won 5-0 to improve to 7-3. The Mets have also had three shutouts in their first ten games, showing how strong the rotation has been.
With a 1.06 ERA in ten games, the Mets starting pitching could not be doing any better. The crazy thing about that stat is that Max Scherzer has allowed four of the six runs by Mets' starters. The bullpen, however, is a concern as Seth Lugo, the pitcher who was expected to be the eighth-inning bridge to Edwin Diaz, has been awful. Lugo has not pitched well and is responsible for two of the Mets' three losses. The Mets' new aggressive base running is refreshing and helps the offense look better than it has been. The Mets have been good with two outs and with RISP. The Mets are also playing with an alertness that only comes when you have a good manager. It may be just ten games, but Buck Showalter is already changing the culture.