Monday, March 31, 2014

Joey's Unhappy Recap: A National Disaster On Opening Day

Hi, everyone.  This is Joey Beartran.  In addition to my roving reporter and culinary expert duties for Studious Metsimus, I occasionally write a happy game recap.  More often than not, that recap comes on Opening Day, but today's season opener was anything by happy for the Mets and their fans.

Everything started out happy for me and my Studious Metsimus colleagues.  We attended a tailgate outside the ballpark where we had a tasty burger.  And that, my friends, was the extent of our happiness.

Happy days are here again.  Then the game started.

Oh, sure, the Mets took an early 3-0 lead on a home run into our section by Andrew Brown (I didn't have my glove with me so I let some kid catch it).  And yes, after a poor second inning in which he allowed a long two-run homer to Adam LaRoche, Dillon Gee settled down to retire 15 consecutive batters.  But you have to consider this.  Dillon Gee wasn't going to pitch a complete game.  And Andrew Brown was the Mets' offensive star.

You had a feeling this wasn't going to end well.

Once Gee was removed from the game in the seventh inning, the bullpen pitched as if every Nationals hitter was named Eddie Gaedel.  Entering the game with the Mets still leading, 4-3, Carlos Torres threw four straight balls to pinch-hitter Nate McLouth.  Then Scott Rice came into the game and thought he was playing Horse.  That's the only explanation I can see for Rice throwing four consecutive balls to Denard Span - he didn't want to get saddled with an "H".

The back-to-back free passes allowed the Nats to tie the game.  And somewhere in the dugout, Dillon Gee sulked.

Dillon Gee walks dejectedly off the mound in the seventh.  Many other Met pitchers would follow suit.

The Mets eventually got out of the inning when Jose Valverde (reliever No. 3 in the inning) struck out Mr. National himself, Ryan Zimmerman.  After retiring the side in order in the eighth, Valverde was in line to pick up the win after Juan Lagares gave the Mets a 5-4 lead with a home run in the bottom of the eighth.

But these are the Mets.  And even though they're the most successful Opening Day team in big league history, they still found a way to send the sellout crowd home disappointed.

Down to their last out, the Nationals tied the game in the ninth off Mets closer Bobby Parnell.  Then Washington scored four runs in the tenth off Jeurys Familia and ex-Nationals pitcher John Lannan.  The big blow came off Lannan, as the southpaw allowed a three-run homer to Anthony Rendon.  In six years with Washington, Lannan won 42 games.  Looks like he won another one for them today.

By the time David Wright hit a meaningless two-run homer in the Mets' half of the tenth (the third time in six seasons Wright has homered in the Mets' home opener), the number of empty seats outnumbered the number of filled ones.

All you need to know about this game is that Dillon Gee allowed four hits and two walks in six and two-thirds innings.  Then six relievers combined to give up five hits and four walks in just three and a third innings.  And oh yeah, Curtis Granderson went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and the first base combo of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda both went 0-for-2.  The Mets as a team struck out 18 times, led by Eric Young, Jr., who fanned four times.  I mean, if he wanted to wear a golden sombrero so badly, he could have just borrowed Ballapeño's rally sombrero and painted it gold.

So that's it, Mets fans.  Although this past weekend's rainy weather left before the first pitch was thrown, the game itself was still a washout.  It's never a good thing to write an unhappy recap.  It's even worse when it comes on Opening Day.  Let's hope I don't have to write too many of these in 2014.

Washington's Bryce Harper goes down in the second inning.  The Mets would do the same eight innings later.

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