You know it was a rough night when the top 5 Mets highlights were: 1) Rafael Montero pitched 2.2 scoreless innings. 2) Trash swirled all over the outfield. 3) Rene Rivera had two hits. 4) Keith Hernandez said he used to like Lamb Chop’s Play-Along. 5) Zack Wheeler hit 98 MPH on the radar gun in the first inning.
The Marlins smacked the Mets. Zack Wheeler started out strong, but then he reminded everyone that he hasn’t pitched at the major league level in two years giving up 5 runs over 4 innings. Honestly, his crappy performance was of secondary concern because the offense failed to show up again. The Mets scattered nine hits but really couldn’t find a way to get any runs across. The Mets pitching staff also walked six Marlins. You ain’t winning baseball games if you’re walking the ballpark.
Wheeler Rusty: Zack “Rusty” Wheeler pitched a dominant first inning. He hit 98 on the radar gun and struck out two Marlins. After that it all fell apart. In the second inning he left a hanging slider up to Giancarlo Stanton and Stanton just missed a home run due to the wind. But then he walked Justin Bour, Marcell Ozuna singled, and Derek Dietrich tripled scoring two. Then Adeiny Hechavarria grounded out which scored Dietrich from third base. I blinked and it was 3-1. He also gave up a two run homer to Christian Yelich in the third inning. I’m going to blame some combination of the cold weather, rust, and the trash on the field for Wheeler’s poor performance.
Met Killers: SNY kept showing Yelich’s incredible numbers at Citi Field. Why does it feel like every team that visits Citi Field has at least four players that rake against us? Brandon Phillips and Matt Kemp for the Braves and now Met Killer Yelich is in town. The parade of Met Killers never ends.
Pray For Recovery: Hopefully Zack’s arm feels strong after he recovers from this start. It’s understandable that he’ll need to shake off rust as he continues to make starts in 2017. Pray for his continued health. I was excited to see him back on the mound even though he wound up getting smacked around. And ultimately this was just another spring training start for Wheeler. He clearly needs to get a better feel for his secondary pitches and re-establish his command. As a result of all the injuries to the Mets pitching staff, the team basically decided to let Wheeler complete his extended spring training at Citi Field. So there are bound to be some bumps along the way.
Offense Sucks Again: The real problem was that the offense continued to be non-existent in this game. In the first inning Asdrubal Cabrera singled with one out, Wilmer Flores walked with two outs, and then Curtis Granderson hit an opposite field RBI single. But that was the only run the team scored until Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run in the bottom of the 8th inning. Quite frankly, Yo shouldn’t have been playing that late in a blowout game. Terry was snoozing at the managerial wheel.
Grandy and Rene Rivera each had two hits but the Mets couldn’t score any runs against Wei-Yin Chen who pitched 6 innings and gave up 1 run. Chen even added insult to injury with his first career hit against Wheeler.
Chunky Lefties #TeamJosh: I have no idea why, but I love that the Mets have two chunky left-handed relievers named Josh who have had Tommy John surgery, throw hard, and are trying to establish themselves as reliable major league relievers. I always mix them up. Josh Edgin has the ginger beard and Josh Smoker has the crazy eyes. Smoker also likes to curse and talk to himself on the mound.
Smoker Sucked: Anyway Josh Smoker looked like crap in this game. He started the 5th inning and struck out the first hitter. Then Christian Yelich hit a ball to Yo that he misplayed, and it resulted in a single. After that it all fell apart for Smoker. He gave up hits and walks and before long the Marlins added two more runs to make it 7-1. That basically put the game out of reach.
Good News: Rafael Montero and Chunky Josh 2.0 (Edgin) looked nice in garbage time relief.
More Bad News: Jose Reyes went 0-5 and has been awful in a small sample size. World Baseball Classic fatigue? We better hope that it’s WBC fatigue and not something worse (i.e. he’s washed up).