With the COVID delay to open the year and a handful of April shower rainouts, the start of the season has been a bit of a strange one for the 2021 NY Mets. As of Monday, the team had played only five of their first ten scheduled games.
Their opening set with the Nationals was postponed, then they lost two in a three-game series in Philly. The Marlins then came to town for three, but only two were played, as rain brought yet another delay to the Mets season. As a result, the 2021 NY Mets have gotten off to a bit of a slow start at the plate, and were sitting at 2-3 coming into this series.
Finally this week the team Mets fans have been expecting to see showed up, as they swept a rain-shortened three-game set from the same Phillies team that defeated them last week. Let’s take a bit of a closer look at each game.
2021 NY Mets: Walker Dominates, Villar the Star
Per the norm this season for the 2021 NY Mets, the first game of the set on Monday night was postponed due to rain. As a result, the two teams played a single-admission doubleheader starting on Tuesday afternoon, with both games going seven innings.
The righty pitched just four innings, but allowed just the one run on three hits while walking three and striking out eight. Much like his first start of the season, Walker’s velocity was increased from years past, and his secondary putts were complementing that well.
Miguel Castro worked his way out of trouble in the fifth, and then almost again in the sixth. Castro put the first two on in the top of the sixth. He was two-thirds of the way out of it when Met-killer Jean Segura beat out a slow roller to third and evened things up at two.
The Mets threatened in the bottom of the seventh, but as they’ve done all season thus far, stranded a pair and the game went to extras.
Trevor May took the ball in the eighth and almost worked his way out of the inning. With two outs there was a little miscommunication between him and catcher James McCann, and a passed ball moved two into scoring position.
Didi Gregorius then came through for the Phils, as he beat the shift with an infield single to make it a 3-2 ballgame. In an underrated move, Mets manager Luis Rojas made a double switch, and as a result, Francisco Lindor started as the runner on second.
Pete Alonso put together a solid at-bat and lined a single to left-center evening things up. After a walk and a bloop single for Michael Conforto and James McCann, Jonathan Villar stepped to the plate with a chance to win the game.
Villar worked the count full, and then came up with his first big moment as a Met, walking off the game with an RBI single. Overall, this was a solid effort from the Mets in Game One, with some much-needed momentum heading into the nightcap.
2021 NY Mets: Nimmo and the StroShow
After throwing nine pitches on Sunday against the Miami Marlins in the suspended game, it was expected that Marcus Stroman wasn’t going to take the mound again until his next turn in the rotation.
However, Stro threw a side-session on Monday afternoon and told Luis Rojas he felt good to go and was ready to take the ball in Game 2. Boy oh boy, was Stroman ever ready for this one.
He set the tone early, striking out both Harper and Hoskins in the top of the first. From there, Stro was completely in control all night. He put together his best outing as a Met, tossing six dominant shutout innings on four hits and three strikeouts.
Stroman was set to go out for the seventh with hopes of tossing the complete game, but he had just had a long innings running the bases and it’s still early in the season.
Offensively, the Mets worked Aaron Nola’s pitch count, but weren’t able to scratch a run across until the fourth inning. Fresh off his walk-off hit, Villar got the start and sparked the scoring with an RBI double.
Brandon Nimmo followed that up with a two-run single to make it 3-0. Nimmo added a sacrifice fly later in the game after Tomas Nido tripled, yes you read that correctly! Nimmo had three hits and three RBIs on the night, he’s been scorching hot thus far.
Jeurys Familia ran into some trouble, as always in the top of the seventh, but closed out the 4-0 win in the nightcap. This double-dip could be a huge turning point for the 2021 NY Mets in this early season, as they’ve finally started playing the type of baseball expecting out of them.
2021 NY Mets: Peterson Shines, The Bats Have Arrived
The 2021 NY Mets carried that momentum into Wednesday night, as they took on their former teammate, Zack Wheeler. The Mets offense jumped on him early, as hits from Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, Dominic Smith, and a Pete Alonso double-play ball resulted in an early 2-0 lead.
On the mound, David Peterson was absolutely spectacular. After a roller coaster of a first start last week, the young left-hander absolutely dominated against this same Phillies team he faced the last time out.
Peterson was tossing a no-hitter through four innings before, of course, Jean Segura took him deep. That was the only blemish on the night for ‘Petey,’ as he allowed just the one run on three hits and struck out ten.
Familia struggled again in his inning of work, but lefty Aaron Loup picked him up with five spectacular batters. Loup enforced a big double-play ball and struck out a pair during his outing.
With his family in attendance, James McCann cracked his first homer as a Met in the eighth. he had two other hits on the night. The big three in the order set the tone all night, as Nimmo and Smith also had three hits, and Lindor had a pair of his own.
Edwin Diaz closed out the night with an absolutely dominant perfect inning against the heart of the Phillies order. He blew a 101 MPH fastball right by Bryce Harper, who struck out three times on the night, and sat down J.T. Realmuto with a nasty slider.
With the rainout on Thursday afternoon, the 2021 NY Mets secured their first series sweep of the season on Wednesday night. The Mets finally played some good baseball this series, and look to be the juggernaut many expected them to be.
Up Next for the 2021 NY Mets
The Mets now head to freezing cold Colorado for a three game set with the Rockies this weekend. Look for Brandon Nimmo to keep his hot streak going, as he’s absolutely killed it at Coors Field in his career.
It’ll be interesting to see if this Mets offense can keep things rolling and really break out in a big way in Colorado. It would be nice to see Pete ‘Polar Bear’ Alonso and Michael Conforto take advantage of the hitter-friendly confines.
With the rain-out on Thursday, Jacob deGrom starts the opener on Friday, followed by Joey Lucchesi making his first start on Saturday, and Sunday’s starter is still TBD. I would like to see Jordan Yamamoto get a shot, but Robert Gsellman was mentioned as an option, so a bullpen game is a possibility.
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