Mets beat Washington Nationals on Opening Day

WASHINGTON — So much has been different about the Mets since 2016, the last time they made the playoffs. The rosters inevitably change,...


WASHINGTON — So much has been different about the Mets since 2016, the last time they made the playoffs. The rosters inevitably change, but the Mets’ overhaul goes much deeper. They have, to name a few important figures, a new manager, a new general manager and a new team owner – the last of this group making the biggest difference in the direction of any franchise.

The franchise’s last decade has been defined more by losses and drama than by wins and stability. The Mets, whose last World Series title was in 1986, have made the playoffs only twice since 2007. They held the No. 1 spot for most of the first four months of last season, to collapse and finish 77-85. But after another winter of overhaul, one of the most anticipated seasons in the team’s recent history has arrived, starting with an easy Victory 5-1 on Thursday night Nationals in Washington, D.C.


The score of the box | game by game


Given the unexpected opening day assignment due to ace Jacob deGrom’s shoulder injury, Tylor Megill, who entered the day with 18 career starts, pitched five scoreless innings and allowed only three hits. New outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha each started a run. Hoping to rebound from his tough first season with the Mets, shortstop Francisco Lindor participated with a run. Back from a one-year suspension for performance-enhancing drugssecond baseman Robinson Cano added two hits.

It was just one game to kick off a six-month journey in which unexpected twists await, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Mets.

“We’re not going to win them all, but we’re going to try,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said after the game.

For so long under previous owners, the Wilpons, that didn’t always seem to be the case. The Mets languished in the National League rankings and Major League Baseball payroll rankings despite playing in the biggest media market in the United States.

But under second year owner Steven A. Cohen, the hedge fund manager with a reported net worth of over $15 billion, the team now has the wealthiest majority owner in MLB and it’s behaving accordingly. According to FanGraphs, only the still-contending Los Angeles Dodgers ($293 million, for luxury tax purposes) have a higher MLB payroll than the Mets’ franchise record of $286 million.

When healthy — a challenge right now — the Mets have two of baseball’s best pitchers in right-handers Max Scherzer, 37, and deGrom, 33, who each won multiple Cy Young awards. While deGrom might be away for months With a shoulder injury clouding the team’s outlook, the Mets received encouraging news about Scherzer’s tight hamstrings ahead of Thursday’s game and planned to make him his Mets debut on Friday. And luckily for the Mets, they traded to the Oakland Athletics in March for right-handed starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, a 2021 All-Star.

To further improve the team heading into this season, the Mets have spent a combined $254.5 million on infielder Eduardo Escobar, Marte, Canha and Scherzer. They round out a roster that includes key players who underperformed last year, such as catcher James McCann, second baseman and outfielder Jeff McNeil and Lindor.

“We just want to play good baseball,” Scherzer, who won the 2019 World Series with the Nationals, said before Thursday’s game. “There is a lot of talent here. A lot of moves were made in the offseason to bolster the talent here. It’s up to us to come together as a team and as a clubhouse and play well as a team and do our best. We need a good start from the beginning.

Mets general manager Billy Epler, never built a playoff team in five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, but proved capable of attracting some of baseball’s best players. (It attracted two-way star Shohei Ohtani, 2021 American League Most Valuable Playerin Anaheim, Calif., from Japan.) And Showalter, who has a .506 career winning percentage with four different teams over his past 20 years, is the most experienced skipper they’ve employed in some time. .

“He’s really, really organized,” said Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who sat out Thursday’s season opener with a stiff neck. “He is precise. He will be prepared. I don’t think we’re going to lose a game because Buck wasn’t prepared.

Nimmo is cheerful by nature, but heading into this season, he noted that the team assembled by Cohen and Eppler had him “really upbeat”. Referring to new players, Nimmo said, “These guys have a long track record of big league success.”

The playoff field has been expanded to 12 teams of 10 in the sport’s new collective bargaining agreement, which should make a return to the playoffs a bit easier, but the Mets’ division, the NL East, will be strong. The Nationals are rebuilding, but the Miami Marlins ($89 million) and Philadelphia Phillies ($204 million) have committed significant sums to free agent upgrades this winter, according to Spotrac. The Phillies didn’t spend a lot of money on defense, but they did add the powerful sticks of outfielders Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber.

The team to beat will be defending World Series champions Atlanta. Despite letting longtime star first baseman Freddie Freeman leave via free agency, Atlanta has a record $206 million payroll after a flurry of moves, trade with the Athletics for star first baseman Matt Olson (and sign him to a $168 million extension over eight years), re-signing outfielder Eddie Rosario and adding former Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.

“It will be a tough division and there are a lot of good teams and talent,” Scherzer said. “Everyone has to look their best.”

Thursday it started with Megill. Because deGrom was injured shortly before Opening Day, Scherzer was dealing with a minor leg injury, and Showalter did not want to disrupt the schedules of other starting pitchers, the Mets turned to Megill. “For the most part I felt very relaxed,” he said.

Megill delivered, as did the bullpen and Mets squad, which had 12 hits. The only flaw for the Mets was a solo explosion on the second desk by Nationals star Juan Soto against Trevor May in the sixth inning.

“You couldn’t ask for much better,” Showalter said of Megill, who hit 99 miles per hour with his fastball in the first inning. First baseman Pete Alonso added: “Having it set the tone like that on opening night was awesome.”

After the final, the Mets made a high-five on the court. After two pandemic-altered seasons, a labor dispute between MLB owners and players that nearly jeopardized a full 162-game regular season, rushed spring training and a flurry of activity to overhaul the franchise, the Mets were excited to start a hopeful new season. – and with a victory.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Mets beat Washington Nationals on Opening Day
Mets beat Washington Nationals on Opening Day
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