Gut Reaction: 3/29/19 – Mets 9, Cardinals 4

Mets baseball is back, baby! It may just be one game in a long season, but there’s something so incredibly satisfying about a decisive opening day win. At least for one day, the Mets are in first place.

The day started off on a sad note with news that the beloved former Mets player, broadcaster and all-around great guy, Rusty Staub had passed away. Announcers Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling, who were close friends of “Le Grande Orange,” were noticeably somber at the start of the game and the fans bowed their heads in a moment of silence for both Staub and Ed Charles, of the ’69 Miracle Mets, who passed away earlier this month. Alas, the 2018 Mets gave the packed stadium plenty of reasons to smile and made Rusty and Ed proud with a 9-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

As Howie Rose introduced the players to the crowd, new Manager Mickey Callaway all but sprinted onto the field, setting the tone for the season. Noah Syndergaard did his part to set the tone for the ballyhooed and beleaguered Mets pitching staff. He was untouchable for seven of the nine Cardinals hitters and struck out 10 without surrendering a walk in six solid innings. The four runs came courtesy of a barely fair home run off the bat of long-time nemesis Yadier Molina and three hits including a home run from the clumsy fielding, but solid hitting first baseman Jose Martinez. Martinez, who beat out incumbent Jed Gyorko with a hot spring, oddly seems to have Syndergaard’s number. Syndergaard never hit triple digits, but his 98 mph fastball had a lot of movement and his slider was filthy. He mixed in a nice dose of curveballs and sinking changeups that look like Greg Maddux fastballs as well. What little defense was required of the Mets fielders was solid as we weren’t scored any errors.

On offense, the Mets got a lot of help from Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, who walked six and hit a batter. First baseman, Jose Martinez made a costly error that led to the Mets first run. Following Molina’s annoying off-the-foul-pole home run, the Mets struck back with a Yoenis Cespedes‘ 2-run single in the bottom of the second to take a 3-2 lead. Jose Martinez tied it up in the fourth with an RBI single, before the Mets offense exploded in the 5th inning.  Adrian Gonzalez RBI double knocked Martinez out of the game, but reliever Matt Bowman brought a 5-gallon can of gasoline and a box of kitchen matches to the hill. With two outs, Amed Rosario knocked in two with a clutch single and then Cespedes and Bruce both followed with RBI singles of their own to put the score at 8-3 after five innings.

Syndergaard surrendered a solo home run to Jose Martinez in the sixth before retiring the side and ending his day after six innings. Robert Gsellman, Anthony Swarzak and Jeurys Familia each pitched a scoreless inning to close it out, but not before Kevin Plawecki drove in an extra insurance run in the eighth.

The Mets totaled 12 hits and nine walks and every starter got on base at least once. Gonzalez and Plawecki each reached base four times and Brandon Nimmo three times. Cespedes drove in three runs. This game was full of quirky highlights too, like Bruce stealing a base, Gsellman striking out the side in relief, and Asdrubal Cabrera turning a walk into a triple with some aggressive base running.

The Mets are off tomorrow so savor this win. It’s a good one.

10 comments for “Gut Reaction: 3/29/19 – Mets 9, Cardinals 4

  1. Metsense
    March 29, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    A great way to start the season. Nice contributions from younger hitters Nimmo, Plawecki and Rosario.

  2. Chris F
    March 29, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    Very nice team win. All around, just a lot to really enjoy.

  3. March 29, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Nice to see two hits from Adrian Gonzalez. I’ve been down on him more than anyone but it sure would be nice to have him return to his former productive self.

    • Chris F
      March 29, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      and on base 4x I think!

  4. MattyMets
    March 29, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    I watched every minute of this game but just caught something on the mlb network that wasn’t shown on the SNY broadcast. After he exited the game, Carlos Martinez went bananas in the dugout knocking over stuff and throwing things. As a coach that makes me cringe at the thought of my kids seeing that on TV.

    I hope that if a Met ever pulls that nonsense that Callaway won’t stand for it.

  5. TexasGusCC
    March 30, 2018 at 2:13 am

    From Newsday:

    Despite plenty of pop — about six hitters who feasibly could hit double-digit dingers — the Mets had no homers and two doubles. Cespedes’ two singles came on 0-and-2 counts.

    Callaway credited hitting coach Pat Roessler with instilling in the hitters a mindset that they don’t need to homer to be successful.

    “[Roessler] is about as thorough as can be,” Callaway said. “He wants all of our guys to be an all-around hitter, not just be a one-facet guy. Go up there and swing for the fences is not going to work.”
    Thank you God that I don’t have to hear the ole “we’re a homerun hitting team, that’s just what we are” any more. I can just feel my stress level decrease after that line alone. How many times did I decree the 3% outcome wasn’t to be chased? It’s going to be a great year!

    • Chris F
      March 30, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Yeah, the humble single. Cabrera heads up on the bases generates a run. That game was so good, I watched it twice yesterday!

      I like what I see out of Callaway and his staff. I really like what I see. I like the tone, perspective, competence, thoroughness, and accountability. Of course after a win its easy, but this approach wont go bad even on days we lose, hopefully no more than 70 times.

  6. Pete In Iowa
    March 30, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    So glad I blew off work to catch the opener. A great all-around team effort. Patient and timely hitting, good base running and good pitching. A pleasure to watch any day, but especially from the new Mets on opening day.
    Hard to believe Thor gave up 4 runs considering how well he was throwing. The only thing that concerned me a little was Familia struggling to throw strikes. He really needs to refine his command, which has been lacking since 2015.
    If they can play near this well on Saturday and Sunday, it will be worth having to put up with Tim McCarver on Fox Sports Midwest!

    • Chris F
      March 30, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Familia is definitely a worry. Add Ramos and his legendary walk issues, and the relief corps needs to be watched. I continue to be surprised that some of the front line starters failed to develop a put away pitch on 0-2 or 1-2 — and surrender disappointing HR on those counts.

  7. Dan S.
    March 30, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Used the intrawebs to read the St. Louie Post-Dispatch’s coverage, and learned that the “Tsunami” was taking out his anger on the trays of bubble gum and sunflower seeds. Maybe if there was a beer for him to grab, he wouldn’t be so bitchy about getting kayoed.

    Also, while SNY was good about pointing out the Mets’ surreal 37-12 opening day record from 1970-present, the P-D went one further and noted that we’re 15-9 when starting the season on the road (decent enough…you play .625 ball all year long and you win 101 games) but a positively sick 22-3 when Opening Day is in our park. 22-3?? Holy Guacamole.

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