Welcome back to the Amazins in Astoria, a season long diary chronicling my life in relation to the 2022 New York Mets.
For the first entry in this series, click here.
For the previous entry in this series, click here.
April 7-Opening Day vs. Washington Nationals
My day before the game is a pretty solid 1-2 punch. First, I find out that my boy Jankowski has made the opening day roster, and while he probably won't be playing, I'm glad to see him have a shot this early on. Then, I'm more hyped for a delay than I've ever been in my life, as the first pitch is moved from 4 to 7. It was pretty rude of them to schedule the game while I was at work, so I'll accept this as their apology. Once I'm home and ready to go, however, I'm subjected to a delay that's a bit ruder, as it's pouring in DC.
Once the game gets going at around 8:20, the teams line the field for their Opening Day introductions. Max Scherzer gets a pretty large ovation with a video accompaniment, and the SNY crew shows some b-roll of his most recent Cy Youngs on display. JD Davis is announced in the lineup as the first ever Mets DH for division play (well, not really, but kinda). As the Nats take the field, I notice the aggressive wrapping of Dee Strange-Gordon's name on his jersey, forming a horseshoe around his number 9.
Marte leads off for the Amazins, and he starts the day with a base hit off of Patrick Corbin. A single into right field, Marte makes contact with a soft, wiffle ball like swing. He's caught stealing during the next at bat on a tag that's a bit embarrassingly easy, something that will happen again and again this series. Davis walks, Lindor goes down swinging, and Alonso pops out to end the inning. Aside from two more hits in the fourth, there's pretty much no offensive production in the first half of the game. Once again, a lack of cardio ails the Mets in this game as Alonso is tagged out at home while trying to score the opening run. Corbin is having a pretty good start, especially with his sinker. The ump is calling a zone that's a bit outside and low, but it's benefitting Corbin and Megill pretty equally so I can't really cry about anything being unfair.
Speaking of Megill, he's having himself quite the day. With six strikeouts in five innings, Megill fans batter after batter with his slider. His fastball is excellent as well, with a wobbly fastball a lot like Scherzer's. I was really concerned about the starting rotation outside of Scherzer and DeGrom this year, but Megill's performance really shows that the pitching staff is deeper than I thought. Aside from a few goofs, the infield looks really solid as well.
Once the Mets start making some consistent contact in the fifth inning, it's hard for the Nationals to stop. Their offense in the fifth is defined more by inching from base to base than going for power, but it works well. Cano bunts, McCann walks, and McNeil singles. Canha scores the opening run after getting hit by a pitch, and Marte sends in one more while grounding into an out at first. It's pretty much like through the seventh inning for the Mets, while Soto homers in the sixth off of Trevor May for the Nats only run of the day. Overall, offense tonight has been exactly what I was afraid it wouldn't be. The Mets get the 5-1 win, maintaining their status as the greatest Opening Day team of the last half-century.
April 8-Game 2 vs. Washington Nationals (1-0)
Tonight's game is on Apple TV instead of SNY, and while I'm ready to go on a whole rant about how this deal is a bad way to go in terms of making the game accessible, I didn't hate the broadcast itself. It was a little unrefined overall, and the broadcasters weren't as smooth with the transition between their anecdotes and the actual game, but I think it was a good baseline for their first ever game. I do like some of the metrics they flash on screen, especially stuff like chase rate.
Once again, we start off the day with a delay, but this time it's an issue with the lights. Some are saying that it's to throw Scherzer off of his pregame rhythm, but I don't take the Nats to be that petty. Once we get going at around 7:20, Josiah Gray looks pretty solid on the bump for Washington. With a grounder sandwiched by 2 K's, Gray gets through a pretty quick first inning. Scherzer, not a man to be showed up, gets in and out just as quickly, taking down three Nats in nine pitches, including Juan Soto. Soto, who is mic'ed up for the day, will spend the majority of his airtime asking for Apple TV subscriptions for himself and his teammates.
Do I order UberEats for the second night in a row? I shouldn't. Well why shouldn't I? No. Well...
An alarming trend in this game is the erratic nature of some of these pitches. I noticed it a bit yesterday, but it's at its worst with Gray on the mound today. A ton of his pitches, as well as a good amount of Scherzer's as well, are drifting dangerously upstairs and in. No doubt these guys are still adjusting to the sticky stuff ban, but after three Mets were hit yesterday (including Alonso in the face guard), I'm beginning to lose my patience.
Scoring is concentrated pretty early in this one, with Yadiel Hernandez sending Bell home to strike first in the bottom of the second. The Mets follow it up over the next two frames with a homer from McNeil and a 2 RBI single from Cano, but Bell immediately ties it with a two run shot of his own in the fourth. Scherzer's gotten himself in some sticky situations a few times today, but he still finishes the day with 6 K's, and the Mets finally know how to give a good pitcher the run support they deserve.
The rumblings are growing stronger, and I can get a free big mac with an order of $15 or more.....NO! Hold strong! You can do this!
In the top of the fifth, Brandon Nimmo hustles for a triple, and Marte lines one into left for an RBI double that gives the Mets a 4-3 lead. A quick mound visit sees Gray leave the game for Steve Cishek, and Francisco heads to the plate. On the second pitch of his plate appearance, Lindor takes a wild pitch to the faceguard and drops straight to the ground. At this point, it's beyond ridiculous, and no one knows it more than Buck Showalter. He comes charging out of the dugout, and it doesn't take an expert lip reader to see that some serious expletives are (rightfully) charging out of his mouth. The rest of the benches clear, followed by the bullpens, and everyone gets their two cents in before resuming play. Lindor is replaced by Guillorme, and Cishek is tossed, with Sean Doolittle taking over on the mound.
Both teams are on edge over the next few innings, but the Nats are clearly the ones more rattled as the Mets score three more runs. Drew Smith replaces Scherzer in the seventh inning, and he has no problem fanning Hernandez with a high cutter for his first of two strikeouts. Fielding from the Amazins is pretty solid as well during this period, including a fancy little 6-4-3 play that Guillorme starts in the bottom of the sixth.
Chopped cheese...cheese danish...
In the top of the ninth, Alonso hits a ripper to left for a double to help get himself out of this opening week slump, missing the top of the fence by just a few inches. Just as the Mets get ready to put this one to bed, the rain starts coming down HARD, and out come the grounds crew. I've lost all patience, and consider now as good a time as ever to venture to my bodega and finally get some dinner.
Refueled with a chopped cheese, I return to the tv, the game resumes play for a the last few outs, and the Mets close out a 7-3 victory. With 160 games to go, I think I've reached my delay quota for the year.
April 9-Game 3 vs. Washington Nationals (2-0)
It's a Saturday night, so I have to attend to my social life for a bit during the game, but luckily the visitors at my apartment are baseball fans as well so I have an excuse to watch the game. Not a ton of notes on this one, but a few major things stick out to me that I love. First, it's great to see Alonso officially out of his early spring slump, as he cranks one into left field for his first career grand slam. Chris Bassitt was excellent on the mound, and Brandon Nimmo's scored run in the ninth showed that they don't need as much cardio as I thought. With a 5-0 win, the Mets are off to their best start in ten years.
April 10-Game 4 vs. Washington Nationals (3-0)
On laundry/weekend recovery day, I'm a bit too mobile to watch the game on SNY, so I'm plugged into the radio feed for this one, my first time with Howie and Wayne in the regular season. Carrasco is on the bump today, and while he lets up a homer in the first from Nelson Cruz, he's solid for the rest of the day, allowing one more hit in the first, and then retiring the next fifteen batters. Offensively, the Mets are getting on base like they have been all weekend, but just can't respond to a big Nats rally down the stretch, failing to complete the sweep with a 4-2 loss. I'm a little disappointed, but finishing the weekend in first place with three dominant wins is enough to hold me over.