The Mets finally played a baseball game last night. Having the highest win percentage in opening day history did not help the Mets last night. They fell to the Phillies 5-3 despite another dazzling pitching performance from Jacob DeGrom. The Mets offense sputtered for most of the night, except for two runs in the 4th and another in the top of the 9th. DeGrom helped his own cause by getting two hits and driving in a run. The Mets defense fell apart in the 8th inning when the let up 5 runs and could not claw their way back.
What went wrong for the Mets last night? They seemed to have the game in hand, but it all fell apart in the 8th. Let’s break it down.
No Dom Smith
Dominic Smith is one of the Mets best hitters. He proved that last year and it continued over into spring training. Mets fans had their first tantrum last night when Smith was noticeably absent from the lineup. Instead, Kevin Pillar was in the leadoff spot and in center field while Brandon Nimmo batted 8th and in left field. Nimmo would normally be in the leadoff spot and in center field and Smith would be in left field.
Manger Luis Rojas referenced the matchup with LHP Matt Moore getting the start for the Phillies. However, the Mets knocked Moore out of the game in the fourth inning. Moore left with the bases loaded when the Phillies brought in a RHP. The Mets had already plated two runs in the inning and were threatening for more. Kevin Pillar, who is better known for his glove, comes up to bat. Instead of pinch hitting Smith, Rojas leaves Pillar in and he grounds into an inning ending double play. Many people questioned the lack of a pinch hitter in that situation, including the Mets booth.
The Mets knocked Matt Moore out in the fourth, but rather than have Dominic Smith pinch-hit for Kevin Pillar with the bases loaded and a right-handed reliever in the game, Luis Rojas stuck with Pillar.
He grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Mets 2, Phillies 0, mid-four.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 6, 2021
It is no secret the Mets are not too strong defensively. Kevin Pillar solves part of that issue in CF and Luis Guillorme solves another part in the infield. However, it was Guillorme’s error that cost the Mets the game. On a ground ball to third base in the 8th inning, Guillorme rushed a throw home for the force out. The throw was wide and bounced off of James McCann’s glove heading to the backstop. Two runs scored on the play and the Mets could not recover. Guillorme is supposed to be a defensive wizard, but could not come up big when the Mets needed him the most.
The Mets invested some decent cash into the bullpen this offseason. However, those shiny new toys (Trevor May and Aaron Loup) were part of the reason the Mets fell apart. May loaded the bases on two hits and a walk. Then Loup hit a batter and let up a single to JT Realmuto widening the Phillies lead. Trevor May is supposed to be the bridge to Edwin Diaz. However, Diaz is your best reliever and needs to be used when needed the most.
Mets fans are truly something. Some are already calling for Luis Rojas’s head only one game into the season. Listen, the Mets had a layoff while the Phillies had already played three games. The Mets will be fine. The bats will warm up, the bullpen will get in a groove, and the Mets will win a lot more games than they lose. It is going to be a really fun season for the Metsies; fans should sit back and enjoy the ride.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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