Dead energy all around Mets’ home opener
The Mets functioned on few hours of sleep to play the home opener, and it showed in an offensively putrid performance by them.
Good vibrations flowed from the Mets-Willets Point station to the tailgates to Citi Field with anticipation of a successful home opener on Thursday afternoon. After all, the Mets fared well in home openers lately, and Noah Syndergaard started for the Mets in this one. They came off a great 5-1 road trip to start the season.
Then the game started. The Mets got Strasburged from the start and the crowd was quiet the rest of the day. No happy recap took place on this day.
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg ruined all the fun by striking out nine Mets in the Nationals’ 4-0 victory over the home team. Overall, the Mets struck out 14 times in this game.
Outside of Noah Syndergaard, no one dared say publicly the Mets played on few hours of sleep after they played a night game against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday as a reason for their bats to be ineffective.
No Mets employee dared to rip the team for scheduling their home opener at 1 o’clock instead of playing 4 o’clock. The only one came close to that was Syndergaard in the final days of spring training when he ripped the team’s scheduling plans days before their Syracuse workout last week.
The Mets looked out of sync from the first inning. Yes, Strasburg played a factor in this being the strikeout pitcher he is, but when the Mets struggled against the Nationals’ struggling relievers, it could be convenient to mention lack of sleep and downtime between Wednesday night’s game and Thursday afternoon’s game.
Being the professionals they are, the Mets beared it, even if it was not easy. They are only humans. Think about it. Would anyone function on a few hours of sleep at a job? Maybe some do. Maybe some don’t. Different strokes for different folks.
162 games in a season exist for a reason. Losses happen due to circumstances. The Mets make a strong case for this game.
As disappointing it is for the Mets to lose their home opener, fans understood the circumstance. They were more than happy to rip the team for scheduling the home opener early.
Everyone knew this would be a long day for the Amazins in the fifth inning when they did not capitalize on Jeff McNeil being at second and Amed Rosario at first with one out. Juan Lagares and Syndergaard struck out to end the threat. No question the crowd awoke from its slumber hoping the Mets would take the lead to no avail.
When Victor Robles homered off Syndergaard to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning, it was game over for all intents and purposes. The Mets demonstrated no reason to think they would come back by swinging at first pitches and having Strasburg finishing them off at strike two.
A poor performance made it an awful home opener all around. The buzz died as the game went on. Fans started leaving in the seventh inning. Talk about a waste of a day.
The festivities turned out to be the best part of the game, as it always is. The pomp and circumstance of a home opener brings everyone together and players feed off the energy from the crowd, especially in a true baseball town like New York. No one was booed in the festivities, which is rare since fans love to boo the Mets players who stink the previous season. Remember Mets trainers once beared the brunt of boos after the players spent time on the then-disabled list.
All of this will be forgotten if the Mets take the series against the Nationals this weekend. Anyone can rationalize the team was running on fumes in the home opener if they do their job.
The day off on Friday helps. The players get a chance to unwind and forget baseball for day. They haven’t spent time at their homes in the area since spring training.
The Mets couldn’t be any worse the rest of the weekend. Give them a mulligan for Thursday.
Maybe the Mets can demand Major League Baseball to have their home opener on Opening Day next year. If not, maybe the feam can make sure they don’t play a day game after a night game in the home opener ever again.