Mets Win Opener, Salas Picks Nose, Lugo Out Forever

Final Score: Mets 6, Braves 0

It only took one game for the Mets to lose all of their starting rotation depth. Steven Matz has a flexor tendon strain in his pitching elbow. He’s shut down indefinitely. Seth Lugo had a “clean” MRI, but now they say he’s out for weeks aka out forever.

Noah Syndergaard looked incredible on the mound in this Opening Day victory. He pitched 6 scoreless innings and struck out 7 Braves. But then he departed the game with a blister on his middle finger. I can totally see the baseball gods unleashing a plague of blisters and sores upon this team. The elbow MRIs and shoulder exams will all come back clean, but the festering blisters will somehow linger all season.

Wilmer Play At Plate: The Mets did all of their damage at the plate in the 7th inning. That was also the inning the Braves bullpen finally entered the game and decided to walk everyone. Wilmer Flores reached first base on a force out, and then stole second base before Jose Reyes walked. Then Asdrubal cracked a single to center field and slow poke Wilmer lumbered home in an attempt to score from second base. If Braves catcher Tyler Flowers wasn’t playing so far behind home plate he would have tagged Flores out easily. The initial call was out, but video replay showed he was safe and the challenge was successful. Wilmer also nearly snapped his ankle on what was a horrendous slide.

Braves Walk Everyone: Julio Teheran looked great, but Atlanta’s bullpen is garbage. The failed play at the plate by the Braves combined with their terrible bullpen walking our entire lineup led to a 6-run 7th inning and that was all she wrote on Opening Day. Eric O’Flaherty was atrocious. He walked three Mets in a third of an inning. I can’t believe he scored a major league job.

Duda Smash: Lucas Duda capped off the 6-run inning with a two out bases loaded double that scored 3 runs. I’m sure he’ll be day-to-day with back blisters later this week.

Hot Ass: Asdrubal Cabrera went 3 for 5 and continues to perform at a high level in New York (and also he’s hitting in front of Yoenis Cespedes so of course he’s mashing).

Salad Picks Nose: Fernando Salas picked his nose in the bullpen, and then pitched a nice 1-2-3 8th inning with 2 Ks.

Gsellman Pitches Ninth (For Some Reason): Robert Gsellman pitched the 9th inning for some reason. I guess they wanted to keep him fresh and on schedule to make his first start this weekend. I never like to see stretched out starters called upon to make short relief appearances.

Cancel The Classic: As I said above, Seth Lugo’s MRI supposedly came back “clean” but now they are saying he’ll be out for weeks. No word why. Remember when I wrote a blog saying the World Baseball Classic was really fun to watch? Well cancel it. Lugo clearly killed his arm on Team Puerto Rico. Now I’m worrying about Jeurys Familia. Lugo bumped up his velocity in the classic, and now he’s dunzo. Well Familia was throwing 100 MPH in all of his appearances for the Dominican Republic. Pray for him.

Tomorrow: Jacob deGrom takes on Bartolo Colon tomorrow night. You remember Big Sexy? He was our only consistently healthy pitcher over the last 3 years. Now he’s gone and we’re likely to see Rafael Montero and Adam Wilk making meaningful starts. Our rotation is super deep though. We had no need for Bartolo. Don’t worry about a damn thing.

Mets Lose Opener to KC; Déjà Vu All Over Again

Final Score: Royals 4, Mets 3

I really wish we opened the season against any team other than the Royals. Watching the Royals play is like Chinese water torture for the opposition. And I hate every one of their players with the fire of a thousand suns. Every ball they hit finds a hole. Every ball the opposition hits finds a Royals glove. I hate them. I do not envy the other AL Central teams. I look forward to playing the Phillies 19 times and leaving KC behind. Edinson Volquez looked great. His fastball was electric and his slider was downright unhittable. He was a back end of the rotation starter his entire career. He was suspended for PEDs in 2010. The last two seasons he started hitting 97 MPH on the radar gun. You do the math.

Yoenis Cespedes made a World Series-esque defensive blunder by dropping a routine fly ball in the first inning that ultimately cost us a run. This time he made the mistake in left field which is his gold glove position. And honestly that run turned out to be the difference in the game much like the run Cespedes cost us in Game 1 of the World Series. Whoops!!

We also struggled to get things going offensively tonight. We finally got something cooking in the 8th when Duda had a big two RBI hit. Neil Walker drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. But Luke Hochevar came out of the pen to strikeout Asdrubal Cabrera in a big spot.

In the 9th, Travis d’Arnaud worked a leadoff walk, Alejandro De Aza grounded into a force, and Curtis Granderson singled to get De Aza to third. With runners on the corners and one out, David Wright brought nothing but his mangled spine to the plate and struck out. And then in fitting fashion, Cespedes struck out to end the game.

The good news is Matt Harvey looked awesome considering it was his first start of the season, and he was coming off an injury filled week. His fastball was sharp, his slider was sliding, and his change-up was changing. Sure he didn’t have his signature strikeout totals and didn’t go deep into the game. But he kept us in it and overcame the early fielding gaffe. Hopefully we can get some runs off of Chris Young in game 2. A split in KC would be fine by me. Hmmm. When have I said that before?

Also, I noticed this Mr. Met imposter roaming around Kauffman Stadium tonight.

This guy is a brave soul roaming around enemy territory like that. I fully expect the Royal Guard to catch him and mount his giant baseball head on a spike.

Our first W will have to wait until Noah Syndergaard steps on the mound on Tuesday.

Weekly Roundup: Vegas Betches

Vegas Betches: Well the Mets officially departed Florida on Wednesday signaling the end of Grapefruit League action. Before the regular season starts on Sunday, the Mets made a quick stop off in Vegas for the final two exhibition games against the Cubs. Vegas!!! I’m sure David Wright and his brittle spine headed straight to the massage tables. It still blows my mind that our Triple-A team plays in freaking Vegas. Our top prospects and fringe major leaguers are really living the dream. I would give anything to be periodically demoted from my day job to get a little more corporate seasoning in Vegas. Just gambling up a storm all day.

The reason we have our minor league team in Vegas is really the best part. Every other team passed on the opportunity to have their minor league team in Vegas. Playing in Vegas is like playing in Colorado. Low air pressure and the balls fly out of the park. Nobody wants their top pitching prospects getting shelled and losing all their confidence. But the Wilpons didn’t care! Also, do you realize how ridiculous it is for an east coast team to have their top minor league team play out west? Sometimes teams need players from AAA at a moments notice. That didn’t matter to the Wilpons. As a result we’re flying guys out from the Pacific Coast League every other week. Oh and by the way, the park is also supposedly a dump. It was reported earlier this year that our Vegas venue Cashman Field, was flooding with feces this season. The Wilpons can really smell a winning real estate opportunity. At least the thin air helps bums like Eric Campbell and Johnny Monell dominate at the plate. Soup might hit .400 in Vegas this year if we can ever get him off the major league roster.

Game Notes:

On Monday, the Mets lost 3-1 to the Cardinals. Bartolo Colon had a nice regular season tune up. Antonio Bastardo continued to struggle out of the pen.

On Tuesday, the Mets lost 1-0 to the Marlins. Sean Gilmartin, Jim Henderson, Logan Verrett all looked strong in a showdown for the final pen spot.

On Wednesday, the Mets lost 12-1 to the Nationals. Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard had their final meaningless spring tune up. Jeurys Familia had a brutal appearance.

On Thursday in Vegas, the Mets lost 5-1 to the Cubs. The Mets pitched minor leaguers Paul Sewald and Chasen Bradford because they are both originally from Vegas. The Mets still couldn’t get anything going offensively.

On Friday in Vegas, the Mets finally won 8-1 over the Cubs. Steven Matz pitched great. All the key relievers including Familia had strong appearances. And Cespedes finally hit a spring home run. It was a great way to close out the spring schedule.

Relievers Have Dead Arm: Other than Familia, our key relievers have been awful this spring. In particular, newcomer Antonio Bastardo has been miserable. Dan Warthen has been working with him and tinkering with his mechanics to try and fix things. God I hope it’s rust and not his Biogenesis steroid pixie dust wearing off. But Terry says it’s nothing to be alarmed about because we are in the “dead arm” period of spring training. Of course Terry said this as he was applying aloe all over his Florida sun scorched skin. The last week of spring is his “dead skin” period. I know TC is going to miss the natural sun bathing. But Terry will just have to get his glow on in some NYC tanning beds.

Wilmer Is Learnding: Wilmer Flores played first base twice this week. He made all the plays and looked pretty good doing it. Pray for Lucas Duda. I honestly don’t care if Wilmer boots every ball that comes his way at first base. He’s our only backup option #NeverSoup.

Opening Week Rotation: The Mets announced a while back that Matt Harvey would start Opening Night. This week they confirmed Noah Syndergaard will start Game 2 in KC and Jacob deGrom will start the home opener on Friday against Philly. Jacob deGrom is starting later in the week because his wife is due to have their first child mid-week. I’ll have more details on the starters in my opening series preview post. But it’s hilarious that Harvey spent the entire week whining about pee pee and deGrom is the one about to have a newborn baby.

© ESPN The Magazine Body Issue 2016

Harvey Extremely Angry (Furious? I Can’t Think of Another Appropriate Word): So Matt Harvey has refused to speak with reporters to close out the spring because he’s still furious with the way the media joked about his urinary condition. I completely get why Harvey is angry, and I covered ad nauseum how ridiculous it is that the Mets aren’t getting the blame for mishandling this extremely sensitive personal news. But the media is going to do what they do. He’s not dying. He’s healthy now. And pee is funny. So they are going to make jokes. Honestly, I don’t really get the big fuss. So Harvey pissed a little blood. Bartolo Colon is a 300 pound 43 year old man. Based on his physique and diet, I’m guessing he probably wreaks absolute havoc in the bathroom, and there’s probably a little bit of blood in the mix. Yet we don’t hear a peep out of him.

Spring Mets Suck: Thank god spring training is over. The Mets couldn’t win at all. Outside of Peegate and Yoenis Cespedes riding a horse to camp, the biggest story this spring came out this week when the Mets announced the Momofuku chicken sandwich is coming to Citi Field.

Other League Notes: The Braves cut Nick Swisher. At first I wanted the Mets to pick him up to replace Soup, but then I remembered at this point in his career he’s just a fratty douche who’s lost all his skills outside of beer pong and flip cup. Ruben Tejada will start the season on the DL with St. Louis after hurting his hamstring in the final week of spring. Poor Ruben. He finally gets a big break with the Cardinals and now he’s back on crutches. I’m sure Utley had something to do with this. Speaking of former Mets, the Braves also cut Carlos Torres, and now the Brewers are supposedly going to pick him up. The Brewers already have former Met bums Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Eric Young Jr. in their organization. Their GM is treating former Mets like Pokemon. Gotta catch em all!

Weekly Roundup: It’s Almost Go Time

It’s Almost Go Time: We got through another week of Spring Training. Most of the team is still intact. I’m knocking on wood all day long. Light your candles. One more week. Sit all the regulars. Anyone who plays must play with body armor (i.e. the Barry Bonds elbow pads).

Game Notes:

The Mets didn’t win a single game this week. In fact, the Mets had three ties this week giving them a franchise record four ties this spring. Every time a spring game ends in a tie, Goose Gossage must put his fist through some drywall.

On Monday, the Mets lost 2-1 to the Marlins. Jacob deGrom had his fastball sitting between 91-94 MPH. But he’s working on his breaking stuff, and his command is in midseason form. The velocity watch will undoubtedly continue into the season, but you really can’t worry about spring radar gun readings.

On Tuesday, the Mets lost 6-3 to the Yankees. Steven Matz still looked uncomfortable on the mound. Yoenis Cespedes had three hits. He’s the best hitter on the team. It is known.

On Wednesday, the Mets lost 3-1 to the Blue Jays. After multiple rough outings, we saw vintage Bartolo Colon. Buddy Carlyle blew and was immediately released. Michael Conforto left with back spasms. It seems Wright’s spinal stenosis has gone airborne.

On Thursday, the Mets split squad lost 4-1 to the Red Sox. Logan Verrett looked great and is penciled in as Triple-A rotation depth. Unfortunately, the AAA lineup didn’t hit at all for Verrett. Commissioner Erik Goeddel had a crummy debut.

The other split squad team lost 8-5 to the Astros. Matt Harvey had an off day. The Astros did their best impression of Moe Greene and slapped Harvey around in public like he was Fredo. To add insult to injury, Cespedes allowed an inside the park home run on an absolutely atrocious ground rule gaffe. He just wouldn’t reach down and field an absolutely playable ball under the fence. 

Cespedes will never play a ball beyond or beneath the Wall. He doesn’t bend like you southron kneelers. Alejandro De Aza had another multi-hit game. He just keeps eating the Grapefruit League for breakfast.

On Friday, the Mets tied 5-5 with the Cardinals. Noah Syndergaard is a goddamn machine. Cranking out 100 MPH fastballs in March. Dear god. Wilmer Flores finally dipped his toes in the first basemen pool. He said after the game playing first base was “weird”. I guess he’ll learn on the job during the season. So that should be real fun. Matt Reynolds kept making his case for a spot on the roster with 3 RBIs.

On Saturday, the Mets tied 3-3 with the Braves. deGrom looked sharp again. And Reynolds kept hitting.

On Sunday, the Mets tied 4-4 with the Nationals. Matz looked much better in this outing. He had everything working. Jim Henderson had his first real stinker of the spring. His performance this week will make or break his roster case. Michael Conforto was able to return to game action on Sunday right after Ray Ramirez popped on the old trance music and gave his back a nice oily rub down. David Wright and Conforto both hit home runs for Team Backiotomy.

Sports Illustrated Predicts Mets Win NL East: So SI predicted the Mets will win the NL East. If the Mets do not win the NL East, the SI prediction obviously trumps my own prediction and is the sole cause of our demise. They also released four regional covers featuring different teams. You got to love SI varying their baseball preview cover teams in a transparent attempt to diversify their preseason jinx percentage.

A-Rod’s Faux Retirement Tour: This week Alex Rodriguez told Andrew Marchand of ESPN in an interview that he plans to retire once his contract runs out after the 2017 season. The internet promptly went into a frenzy either praising A-Rod for his “classy” handling of the retirement announcement or criticizing him for essentially announcing that he plans to shatter the consecutive retirement plaques received mark previously set by Derek Jeter with a two year retirement tour.

When A-Rod says “I’ve given this a lot of thought” I imagine him deeply discussing the pros and cons of retirement with his mirror, intermittently pausing to make out with his reflection. Anyway, it turned out that A-Rod lied. Surprise surprise! He promptly reversed course and vowed to “juice up one last time” and “take my crown”.

Despite A-Rod’s change of heart, I still told my boss I’m retiring after 2017, and I expect a breakfast spread at every 8am meeting from now until I ride off into the sunset.

Nationals Selling Park Naming Rights: This week the Nats announced they plan to sell the naming rights of Nationals Park. Oh what I’d give to see President Hillary Clinton throwing out the Nationals 2017 Opening Day ceremonial first pitch at Trump Stadium.

Smokeless Tobacco Ban Passed: New York City officially passed the smokeless tobacco ban at stadiums and arenas. My sources tell me Mets players displayed “lukewarm interest” in the nicotine suppositories distributed by the trainers in response to the tobacco ban. I can’t believe Matt Harvey finally gets his slider back, and they are gonna rip the dip out of his mouth. MLB came out and said they will absolutely impose discipline if the tobacco ban is violated. So Michael Pineda is going to rub pine tar through his hair all season like it’s styling gel, but Harvey will wind up getting dinged by MLB for this. It’s a lock.

In all seriousness, I have no idea how they enforce this ban, but after seeing Tony Gwynn die from mouth cancer, I’m totally in favor of measures that help these guys stay healthy.

Harvey Lifestyle Alert: Speaking of Harvey, he did another interview this week about his New York City bachelor life, and he speculated that the haters are just jealous of his lifestyle. You know what Harvey could do? He could potentially consider not ever doing these types of interviews. Please? He really can’t resist periodically notifying us of his lifestyle like one of those annoying cell emergency alerts. Emergency Alert: Matt Harvey Bachelor Lifestyle Warning. And also chance of flash flooding.