Chris Bassitt's curveball, Pete Alonso's grand slam send the Mets cruising to a series win
Pete Alonso's first career grand slam was all the offense the Mets needed on Saturday night
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets defeated the Nationals by a score of 5-0 on Saturday night in Washington (box)
The Mets have won their first three games of the season for the first time since 2012 - they will attempt to win their fourth straight to open the season today against Washington for the first time since 2012 as well
Buck Showalter became the first manager in club history to win his first three games with the team
Chris Bassitt was flawless in his Mets debut, hurling six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts with only three hits and a walk allowed
Pete Alonso had the only RBI in the game - he hit a fifth inning grand slam against Nationals RHP Joan Adon
Starling Marte was hit by a pitch in the third inning, becoming the fifth Met in this series to be hit by the Nationals
The Mets have outscored the Nationals 17-4 and are 10-for-35 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of this series
Mets starting pitching has allowed just three runs in 18 innings in this series
Roster Moves 📰
LHP David Peterson was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse - the Mets placed RHP Edwin Díaz on the bereavement list
Pete Alonso hit his first grand slam of his career on Saturday - he has a .904 OPS so far in this series and now has 9 career home runs in 91 plate appearances as a designated hitter
Brandon Nimmo has reached base five times and scored three runs in the two games he’s played against the Nationals this weekend
Jeff McNeil has six hits and has drawn one walk in the first three games of this series
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets at Nationals
Where: Nationals Park - Washington DC
Starters: Carlos Carrasco vs. Eric Fedde
When: 1:35 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY, MLB Network
Strong pitching and one big swing send the Mets streaking 📝
Chris Bassitt’s slider/curveball was the equalizer
Chris Bassitt made his Mets debut on Saturday night, facing an opponent in the National League East for the first time in his eight-year career. He introduced the division to his crafty arsenal of pitches, highlighted by a slow curveball/slider combination which off-set his 92 mph fastball/sinker combination, and got his Mets career off to an impressive start.
Bassitt induced a total of nine swings-and-misses with his breaking pitches, and that weapon came in handy for him in the fourth inning when he found himself in trouble thanks to an infield single from Juan Soto and a walk to Josh Bell. He leveraged his slow curve to fan Nelson Cruz and Lane Thomas before using another one on Maikel Franco to induce a flyout to end the threat.
"I don’t say he’s under the radar, go ask some people in the American League," Mets manager Buck Showalter said after the game. "I think pitching with Max and Jake, he’s in a good spot there. He’s very capable of ambushing you with really good stuff."
All-in-all, Bassitt recorded five strikeouts with that pitch combination, per statcast.
With his late arrival to the team following a post-lockout trade with the A’s, Bassitt isn’t a well known commodity on the east coast. He’s a reminder of Tim Hudson who had a similar demeanor, similar look to his delivery and similar movement on his pitches. And as Showalter said, Bassitt doesn’t need to be the ace of this staff even if he often features ace-caliber stuff. Instead, he can serve as a strong bridge to the back of the rotation for this club and help to extend winning streaks, as he was able to do on Saturday night.
“We’ve got two guys with completely busted mouths already two games in, and they’re in the lineup the next day,” Bassitt told reporters after the win. “To be on a team that wants to grind as much as this team? Good luck. We’re just going to grind you until you break.”
A grand slam made all the difference
Starting play on Saturday night, Pete Alonso had hit 106 home runs since the start of the 2019 season, the most of any player during that span. But not one of those home runs had been a grand slam.
The 107th home run of Alonso’s career came on Saturday night against the Nationals, only this time he launched a moonshot with a 39 degree launch angle into the left field seats with the bases loaded, the first home run of his season and the first grand slam of his prolific career and propelling the Mets to a shutout win over the Nationals.
The grand slam seemed to serve as the ultimate revenge for Alonso, who was hit in the face with a pitch on Thursday night, followed by one to the face for Francisco Lindor, representing two of five Mets batters hit in the first three games of this series.
“Oh, it feels nice,” Alonso said after the game. “Grannies are sick.”
The grand slam almost seemed inevitable with the inexperienced Joan Adon tiring on the mound in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Adon opened the at-bat to Alonso with two pitches outside the zone before splitting the black on the outside corner to bring the count to 2-1. Still in a situation where Adon needed to come in with a fastball, Alonso pounced and hit one 111 mph off the bat with a 39 degree launch angle into the left field seats which set the Mets sails for the rest of the night.
It was also another refreshing and encouraging moment for the Mets offense, which hit a total of four grand slams in 2021 and most notably struggled to produce runs with the bases loaded overall, hitting just .221 with a .662 OPS in such situations. Yes, these are the rebuilding Nationals they’re facing and the Mets are taking care of business in this early season series, but too often last season the Mets - who failed to take care of business all too often in the second half particularly - were unable to produce in these particular situations which ultimately helped lead them into their 77-85 abyss.
No problem for the patch work bullpen
Manager Buck Showalter was without Edwin Díaz (bereavement list) and without Seth Lugo (unavailable after working two straight days), but that was no problem for the Mets bullpen on Saturday night. Between Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez and Adam Ottavino, they delivered three scoreless innings of relief behind Bassitt, allowing just one hit and striking out four to close the door on the Mets first three-game winning streak of the year.
Rodriguez in particular featured an impressive change-up and induced four swings and misses with that pitch over 1 1/3 innings pitched. Rodriguez was acquired last weekend from the Yankees in exchange for Miguel Castro.
Around the League 🚩
Noah Syndergaard out-dueled Justin Verlander for his first win with the Angels
Giancarlo Stanton broke a 2-2 tie with the Red Sox with a sixth inning, two-run home run to propel the Yankees to their second win of the young season
The Guardians and Myles Straw agreed to a five-year extension (The Athletic)
The Dodgers have not extended a long-term contract offer to Trea Turner (The Athletic)