Brandon Nimmo drove in three runs, leading the Mets to their 41st win on Opening Day in their last 54 games, as the visitors emerged with a 5-3 win over the Marlins in Miami Thursday afternoon.

The game figured to be a pitcher’s duel, with three-time CY Award winner Max Scherzer facing off against reigning CY winner Sandy Alcantara. The Mets drew first blood in the third inning, when Daniel Vogelbach led off with a walk and went first to third one out later on a single by Omar Narvaez. Vogelbach scored on a sac fly by Nimmo.

The Mets extended their lead in the sixth inning, with Nimmo drawing a one-out walk and then advancing to third base on a single by Starling Marte, who advanced to second on a throwing error by new CF Jazz Chisholm, who would make another defensive gaffe later in the game. Nimmo scored on a sac fly, with Marte advancing to third. Jeff McNeil, who was robbed of a hit his previous time up, drilled a single to the right side of center field, putting the Mets up, 3-0, and knocking Alcantara out of the game.

Scherzer cruised thru the first five innings but ran out of gas in the sixth. He allowed three extra-base hits in the frame, as he left too many pitches middle-middle. He gave up a homer, which tied the game at 3-3.

But the Mets immediately rallied back. Eduardo Escobar delivered a one-out single and moved to second on a walk to Narvaez. Nimmo smacked a ball in the gap, one which Chisholm didn’t take the best route to the ball. That allowed Narvaez to score from first base, on an aggressive send by third base coach Joey Cora. Narvaez slid in just before the relay throw to give Nimmo two RBIs on the play and the Mets a 5-3 lead.

People were concerned about the Mets’ bullpen without Edwin Diaz but the remaining guys were terrific in the first game. Drew Smith gave up a leadoff double but stranded the runner at second base, striking out the last two batters of the game. Brooks Raley looked great, getting two strikeouts and a groundout. And then David Robertson got the save with two strikeouts and a lazy fly out.

In a continuation of what we saw in Grapefruit League play, it was a crisp game that flowed so much better because of the pitch clock. There was one odd play with the new rules, with McNeil being charged a strike when Pete Alonso did not get back to first base quick enough after a foul ball. That made it 0-2 but McNeil was unfazed, as he delivered an RBI single.

Perhaps the biggest thing about the pitch clock was that both starters ran out of gas in the sixth inning. Could have been nothing except normal first game tiredness. Or, perhaps pitching at a quicker pace for the first time in a game that counts took more out of the aces than what we might have expected. It will be something to watch going forward.

Finally, a decent beginning for the Game Chatter with an afternoon start, as we had six people and 176 comments. I encourage all of you to stop by the Chatters when you can. It’s a fun way to watch the game and it’s definitely a case of the more, the merrier. Friday’s game has a 6:40 start.

7 comments on “Gut Reaction: Mets 5, Marlins 3 (3/30/23)

  • Metsense

    Gut Reaction: the bullpen was solid. It was encouraging to see Vogelbach build a run with his eyes and his legs. The lead off better drove in three runs which means the back end of the order did their jobs. The new shift rule makes us appreciate Lindor’s range and defense. It was enjoyable because the action moved along. The time of the game was only 2:42.

  • NYM6986

    Nice to have the first game in the win column. Did not get to see too much of the game being in travel status but Max looked like his competitive self, the top three in our order went 4 for 11, Nimmo and McNeil started strong and the pen was unscored on. I know it’s only the fish but a win is a win. Can’t wait for tomorrow night!

    • Brian Joura

      But..but…but – The Marlins always play us tough! Even Gary Cohen broke out some variation of that line in the game. Since 2018, the Mets are 55-32 against the Marlins. That’s a .632 winning percentage, which would be 102 wins in a 162-game season.

  • Bob P

    I have to admit that I wasn’t sure about the pitch clock, but I did like the pace of the game yesterday. As you mentioned, the called strike on McNeil because Alonso didn’t get back to 1st quickly enough was weird, and I think that common sense needs to prevail in situations like that. I think with some more experience, the league should settle into a reasonable pattern, so it will likely be a good thing for the game. While it didn’t come into play yesterday, I still am 100% against the ghost runner in extras. While Manfred might be all about shortening the games, I don’t think that is the way to look at it – he should be concerned with pace of play. Quickening the pace of play is a good thing and the pitch clock helps to achieve that. The ghost runner on the other hand does not quicken the pace, and in my mind just serves to take out some exciting and memorable moments. I think a game that goes to 15, 16+ innings is a great thing to see. It didn’t happen all that often before, and now it is likely a thing of the past. Some of the great Met memories are those games. Think game 6 NLCS vs Houston or the 19 inning game against Atlanta when Rick Camp homered off of Darling. Those are exciting and memorable, but likely gone for good.

    • Brian Joura

      They showed a replay of the Alonso/McNeil thing and Alonso was walking at a snail’s pace back to the bag. If it was Cano doing that, we’d say it was another example of him dogging it.

      I’m not in favor of “common sense” here. I’m in favor of enforcing a guy to put an ounce of effort into keeping the game moving, whether that guy be a star like Alonso or a stiff like Pham. If Alonso had jogged 5 steps and walked the final 10, this wouldn’t have been an issue.

      • Bob P

        I saw it as well and didn’t think it was particularly slow. Seemed to be the way most guys return after running. Enforcing a level of effort is very subjecting and will basically come down to common sense anyway.

        • Brian Joura

          Last post on this subject for me.

          If I was driving in a parking lot and stopped to let a male pedestrian in good shape cross in front of me – I’d be pissed if he walked as slow as Alonso did getting back to first.

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