“If you roll with Apu, I’m down with you!”
This intends to be exactly what it states at the top – a recap/look back at the last series of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon’s favorite squadron – The New York Mets.
You Gotta Start Somewhere – Last year, the Mets went 4-15 against the eventual NL East champions. Manager Terry Collins even mentioned how if they had just played the Nats even last year, they would have been over .500 for the season.
Therefore, starting the year against a team many have picked to win the World Series was going to be a challenge. Then the whole waste of proverbial ink over Bartolo Colon being named the Opening Day starter over Matt Harvey…
Well, turns out the old man knows how to pitch; the GM knows that starting the home stand with the reigning Rookie of the Year and the Dark Knight will sell tickets, and did I mention the old man knows how to pitch.
What Was Everyone Just Talking About? – Whether it was the oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki, the gluttony of middle infielders residing on the North side of Chicago, or the free-agent to be Ian Desmond of the Nationals; the biggest ‘need’ for the Mets this off-season was to find a shortstop to replace incumbent Wilmer Flores.
This is the same Flores who we’ve heard about for the past four seasons as a great minor league bat. The same Flores that attended the special training camp and gained an extra step.
The same 23-year old who isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020 and batted .250 overall last year, but really turned it up once he was given the everyday SS position.
Yes, he’s just 1-for-7 with three strikeouts and an error to start the season…but his error didn’t cost his team the season opener. His third error of the season didn’t open the door for another rally that eventually cost his team the game.
It might just be early season jitters, but the best move the Mets might have made this off-season are the ones they didn’t make, like moving Dillon Gee for spare parts just to clear room for Harvey. And trading the revamped farm system for a shortstop when we’ve got a perfectly serviceable one already under contract.
Taking Advantage Of The Situation – After Desmond’s error in the top of the third inning, Stephen Strasburg hit Lucas Duda to load the bases in a scoreless game. There was only one out and a professional hitter just needs to make contact to score a run. Michael Cuddyer did one better with a single to score the game’s first run.
Daniel Murphy followed with a chopper off the plate that was going to score a run, even before it bounced into no-man’s land between Strasburg and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Juan Lagares failed to move the runners over, popping out to first base for the second out.
The game changed on the next at-bat.
Strasburg, who Tony Kornheiser calls a “gorgeous orchid that blooms far away“, had a chance to limit the damage and end the inning. Travis d’Arnaud, who smashed a triple off the center field wall on Opening Day, had other ideas. If you watched the game, you know that he blooped a single in front of the center fielder.
But it will look like a line drive in the box score, similar to the line drive Duda hit on Opening Day to break up Max Scherzer’s bid for a no-hitter. It’s hits like these that have been missing the past couple of seasons. Hits that turn rallies into big innings, gets teams on winning streaks, and gets fans to really start believing this could be the year.
Luckily, that can be quelled by the fact the next series is against the division-leading Atlanta Braves. So we’ll take it one series at a time and see how it goes, hoping for more big hits that truly change the tide.
NEXT UP – First Trip Through The Rotation