The Mets may not win everything, but the signs suggest winning a lot

WASHINGTON – It is difficult to draw any conclusions after four games. That’s only 2.5 percent of the regular season of 162 games, so read the following sentence with that in mind. The Mets are one of the best teams in Major League Baseball.

On Sunday afternoon, they had the opportunity to become the first team in MLB to achieve four victories. After Francisco Lindor’s home run and Mark Canha’s green play single, the Mets took a one-run advantage over the Nationals in the fourth inning. But after a few mistakes on the embankment by pitchers to help the Mets and in the field from first baseman Pete Alonso, they lost, 4-2, to rebuilding Washington at Nationals Park for their first defeat of the season.

Citizens 4, Mets 2 | Box Score | Play-by-Play

“It’s good to win the first series this year, but this late give-up somehow stinks, especially for me,” Alonso said. “I did not want to do that. I didn’t want to go there and let anyone down, especially no one in the locker room. After I didn’t play there, I let the team down. “

No one wants to lose, and defeats are inevitable during the six-month regular season. But in the opening season of the season, there were encouraging signs for Mets fans that the team could be fighting for its first place in the post-season since 2016.

First, the initial rotation was strong. With ace Jacob deGrom, a two-time winner of the Cy Young National League award, probably months out of power due to a right shoulder injury, the Mets will need the rest of the initial rotation to withstand a heavier load. Through four games, the starting staff has a 1.59 ERA

On opening day, Tylor Megill, who started his 19th career, replaced deGroma and fired five goalless substitutions. The next day, star pitcher Max Scherzer made his debut in the Mets and made a powerful outing despite the remnants of a minor tendon injury. On Saturday, Chris Bassitt, an All-Star 2021 acquired from Oakland Athletics in the March trade, also made his debut in the Mets and scored six goalless substitutions with eight outbursts.

“I don’t care who you are. “I’m following you,” Basitt said at the time, referring to Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, who are former most valuable players and two of the best strikers in baseball. “I have often faced Ohtani. I’ve met Trout a lot. I don’t care about the name on the back of your jersey, I’m coming. “

Right-winger Carlos Carrasco, in his second season as Met, followed suit on Sunday. After undergoing surgery last October to remove a fragment of bone from his elbow and saying during spring training that he felt like he had a new elbow, Carrasco backed up his words. He allowed just one run over five and two-thirds of the innings, and then said a healthy elbow allowed him to use all of his pitches more often and efficiently than before. His only flaw: The Nationals marked Nelson Cruz’s first shot in the first inning, the 450th home run of his career.

“Carlos is currently in a different place than he has been for a while,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said, adding later: “It was good to see him start the season well because we could use him.”

Second, the Mets ’attack – and versatility on the field – have improved so far with the help of newcomers such as infielder Eduardo Escobar, and outside players Starling Marta and Canha. Escobar is 3 to 11 and played a good defense at third base. Marte has 3 for 14, but he drove in four runs. And Canha, who scored three goals on Sunday, has played all outside positions and is 7 to 10.

One of the Mets ’weaknesses last year was their attack. They were 27th in running runs per game (3.93), 20th in hitting average (.239), 23rd in on-base plus throw-in (.706) and 25th in home runs (176).

“The guys we brought in fit in really well,” said Jeff McNeil, a second base player and outfielder.

Bassitt said people should expect talent with a big payroll (the Mets record record of $ 286 million follows only the Los Angeles Dodgers for the highest in MLB). But he praised the Mets approach, especially on the board.

“There are a lot of guys, a lot of teams, it’s all or nothing,” he said. “This team is not like that. Maybe we could hit some Hommers. We’ll just grind you until you break. And that is the mentality we have been preaching since day one. We have staff to keep him until that happens. ”

That didn’t happen to the Mets on Sunday. Erick Fedde, the initial pitcher of the Nationals, handed over two runs in five innings and then four reliefs combined to allow just two goals.

And in the eighth inning, the Mets ’throw and defense faltered. Since the labor dispute led to a shortened spring training session, Showalter was cautious, trying not to overload his station earlier. So instead of the best relief pitchers on the team protecting the 2-1 lead, he turned to left-handed Chasen Shreve and right-handed Trevor Williams, who combined three runs. (A relative of the Mets, Edwin Diaz, is on the mourning list after his grandfather’s death.)

The national team equalized the score when they pulled out the safety pressure, and newcomers Lucius Fox bunting and Dee Strange-Gordon returned home safely. Alonso said he did his best in a tough game. Showalter pointed to the cold weather, but said Strange-Gordon would probably have been off the field if Alonso had pulled the ball cleaner out of his glove and thrown it home after he threw the ball.

Two games later, Alonso’s wide throw to second base prevented the Mets from reversing a double game at the end of the inning. Two hitters after that, Cruz brought the Nationals to a 4-2 lead with a two-series single.

Next for the Mets are three games against Philadelphia Phillies, one of the rivals in the division expected to fight them and Atlanta, the current World Series champions, for first place in the NL East.

“This team is really good – players in position, starting pitchers, everyone,” Carrasco said on Sunday. “So we showed there that we are really good. The most important thing is to stay healthy and keep playing hard. ”

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