Mets: Three overreactions to an embarrassing Opening Day loss
Poor Jacob deGrom. Another outstanding performance from the New York Mets ace ends in a loss, as the Amazin’s fell 3-5 to the Philadelphia Phillies in their first game of the season.
Francesco Lindor’s first appearance in blue and orange ended the same way many Mets games have in the past: a painful loss after a blown lead. Despite leading 2-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mets failed to hang on.
It’s just one game but there’s plenty to take away from last night’s performance. From managing mistakes to diving plays, there’s a lot to project from nine innings of baseball onto a 162 game season.
It’s time for the Mets to fire Luis Rojas
I know Luis Rojas has had just 61 games managing the Mets, but it’s already time for him to go. Tonight featured one too many blunders that cost the Mets in key scenarios. Starting Pillar vs. lefty Matt Moore makes sense in theory, but Pillar’s 1-11 batting record against him entering the game said otherwise. Nonetheless, there was some logic to starting him over lefty Dominic Smith.
However, there was no logic to leaving him in the lineup against righty Brandon Kintzler. With the bases loaded in the fourth, Pillar proceeded to ground into a double-play ball, ending the Mets best chance to score all game.
In a mind-numbingly bad move in the 9th, Rojas chose to have Johnathan Villar pinch-hit, not Dom. That’s unacceptable.
On top of that, Rojas made the outrageous decision to pull deGrom after just 77 pitches in six innings. Each of these mistakes was a horrible offense in their own right, but all of them together likely cost the Mets the game.
Rojas was never supposed to be the Mets manager; he only has the role because of the Carlos Beltran firing. It’s time for the front office to go and pick their own guy.
The Mets have the worst bullpen in the NL East
The Phillies bullpen was by far the worst in baseball last season. Their relievers had the worst ERA in the MLB, with a 7.06 ERA between them. The Mets were 13th last season at 4.60 ERA.
Last night the Phillies look a lot better than they had in 2020. After starter Matt Moore was taken out after 3.1 innings, the Phillies kept the Mets bats completely silent until Michael Conforto hit a late RBI single off Jose Alvarado in the 9th.
The Mets, on the other hand, blew a 2-0 lead. Trevor May, NYM’s big bullpen addition from this offseason, gave up three runs loaded the bases in the 8th. Aaron Loup followed that up by hitting Bryce Harper and giving up two more runs.
The Mets bullpen looks as dysfunctional as ever, and with the Phillies making strides, New York’s relievers are dead last in their division.
Pete Alonso will win NL MVP
Opening Day was a mess, no doubt about it. At the end of the day though, the Mets have a lot going for them. Power hitter Pete Alonso is one of the brightest shining stars on the Mets, and despite falling just shy of hitting a 3-run homer in the 9th inning to give the Mets the lead, Alonso impressed on Opening Day.
Alonso pledged to improve his defense in the lead-up to the season, and he showed massive strides against the Phillies. His diving play in the seventh inning particularly stood out as something that Alonso could never have done in the past and helped slow down the Phils as Miguel Castro struggled on the mound.
Alonso has also made improvements at the plate. He went just 1-4, with his single he hit in the 5th inning showing improved decision-making at the plate. Choosing to go for contact over power isn’t something the Polar Bear has done often in the past, and adding more contact swings into his plate appearances could make one of the MLB’s best hitters even better.
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Improvements on both ends of the ball could point towards an MVP season for Alonso. We all know he’s got the power swing, and it seems like he’s adding more to his game day by day.