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Mets play stellar defense, but bats go silent against Jesus Luzardo in a 2-1 loss
Did the Mets show a continued weakness against left-handed pitching on Friday?
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets lost to the Marlins 2-1 on Friday in Miami (Box)
David Peterson started for the Mets, got off to a shaky start, but navigated five innings while allowing just a solo home run to Jorge Soler
The Mets mustered just four hits against LHP Jesus Luzardo and the Marlins bullpen, one of which was a ninth inning solo home run from Pete Alonso
John Curtiss allowed the only run and hit out of the bullpen - a solo home run to Jazz Chisholm, Jr. in the eighth which proved to be the deciding run
The Mets and Marlins played stellar defense on Friday, highlighted by a run-saving play from Jeff McNeil in the fifth (watch)
Tommy Hunter threw two scoreless innings of relief of Peterson
Injury Updates 🏥
RHP Justin Verlander (low grade teres major strain) threw off flat ground at Marlins Park on Friday
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets vs. Marlins
Where: loanDepot Park - Miami, FL
Starters: RHP Tylor Megill vs. RHP Edward Cabrera
When: 4:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Mets bats silenced by a lefty on Friday, and a look at David Peterson and the bullpen’s usage ✍🏻
Sure, it’s only game two for the Mets, but yesterday gave off that familiar feeling from 2022.
Last season, the Mets got off to a rocky start against left-handed pitching, improved over the course of the season but still only managed to produce a .717 OPS against southpaws, compared to a much healthier .756 OPS against right-handed pitchers. The Mets didn’t hit for a lot of power overall against lefties last season but struggled in particular against southpaws, producing just a .322 OBP and .394 SLG against the left side.
And last night felt a lot like what those numbers say.
Yes, Jesus Luzardo was nasty for the better part of six innings. The Mets didn’t have a lot of chances against him until there were two outs in the sixth. But it seemed like more of the same to me in that this roster is not equipped to navigate left-handed pitching.
Again, I don’t want to get riled up over one game here. But in the end, the Mets didn’t exactly solve their DH equation this winter, and when Buck Showalter finally inserted his one true DH threat in Daniel Vogelbach in the eighth inning, it took two players to finally replace Tomás Nido in that lineup spot, which forced the Mets to use their entire bench after Vogelbach doubled (thanks to some great hustle, btw) and Tim Locastro coming in to pinch run.
The point is, it’s not so much that left-handed pitchers might be the Mets kryptonite again in 2023 as much how left-handed pitching makes Buck Showalter use the roster available to him. They are far more dysfunctional against left-handed pitching and that dysfunction transcends the statistics.
Anyway, friendly reminder to me that this is one game, and time will tell if they improve against southpaws. Onto the pitching staff.
David Peterson got off to a shaky start on Friday, and it’s fair to argue his final line was masked by some outstanding defense behind him between Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo. That’s ok - sometimes you need to be lucky to be good, and Peterson certainly settled down after allowing the solo home run to Jorge Soler. He once again demonstrated to the club that while it won’t always be pretty, he is a reliable sixth starter for this rotation. His primary task at hand this season is learning to throw more quality strikes and leveraging that change-up and slider a little more consistently. When that slider in particular is on, it’s deadly towards the back foot of the right-handed hitter. Crispness is the key for him.
Then there is Tommy Hunter, who made this club out of camp on a minor league deal. He gave the Mets two very crisp innings out of the bullpen and did a great job serving as a bridge to the higher leverage inning, that which was given to John Curtiss on Friday. I questioned using Curtiss in a one-run game over Adam Ottavino. He hadn’t worked on Opening Day and there’s no history between the two so it wasn’t as if Showalter was protecting a weakness. Curtiss ended up allowing what turned out to be the decisive run when Jazz Chisholm Jr. parked one in the second deck on him to make it 2-0, a deficit too large for the Mets to overcome on this night.
Overall, it was a frustrating, letdown type of loss in which the Mets didn’t hit a lot of balls competitively and the ones they did seemed to find gloves at inopportune times. It happens, it’s a long season, Luzardo was great for sure, and he deserves credit for his stuff and ability to mow the Mets down.
Lastly, the Marlins should revert back to those original uniforms they wore for “Flashback Friday” full-time. There’s no debating which ones are better.
Around the League 🚩
The Padres and Jake Cronenworth are in agreement on a seven-year contract extension (MLB.com)
Minor League players have ratified their first ever collective bargaining agreement (ESPN)
MLB is investigating an altercation between Angels INF Anthony Renton and a fan in Oakland (ESPN)
Kyle Lewis hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning for the Diamondbacks, leading Arizona to a 2-1 win over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Friday
The Rockies shutdown the Padres in San Diego thanks to stellar pitching from Kyle Freeland and the bullpen - they are 2-0 to start the year while San Diego is now 0-2