Pete slugs first dinger, Carrasco struggles again and how the Nats are key to the NL East
Pete Alonso gets off the schneid with first spring homer. Plus, how the Nationals may be the most important team in the NL East.
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
1B Pete Alonso clubbed his first home run of the spring, driving in all three runs in the Mets’ 5-3 loss on Wednesday
RHP Carlos Carrasco made his second start, allowing two more home runs, six hits and three earned runs in four innings
The team plans to play 2B/DH Robinson Canó at first base today in an effort to increase his versatility
Agent Scott Boras claims that the reason former Mets RF Michael Conforto remains unsigned is due to a shoulder injury in January (Rosenthal)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets vs. Nationals
Where: Clover Park — Port St. Lucie, FL
Starters: Taijuan Walker vs. Eric Fedde
When: 6:10 PM EST
Where to Watch: SNY
How the Nationals may decide the fate of the NL East 📝
The most important team in the National League East may very well be the one that is also, far and away, the worst.
The Washington Nationals, who despite signing a 41-year-old DH in Nelson Cruz, are staring at the face of a full scale rebuild after tearing their team down to the studs at last year’s trade deadline. They’re going to be bad, and I mean really bad.
Just how bad? Well, this is the same team that lost by a score of 29-8 yesterday. And while it may just be the Grapefruit League, this seems to be an indicator of how things are likely going to play out for Washington in 2022. Their every day infield will likely be made up of Josh Bell, Cesar Hernandez, Alcides Escobar and Maikel Franco, and their only two notable starting pitchers are Stephen Strasburg, whose made just seven starts since signing his $175 million contract extension in 2019, and Patrick Corbin whose pitched to a 5.50 ERA and 5.05 FIP over the last two seasons. They traded away players like Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber last season, as well, leaving very little left in the major league cupboard.
And with that comes how it will affect the rest of the division. Each of the top-three teams that will likely be contending for the NL East crown in the Mets, Braves and Phillies will get 19 cracks at the lowly Nationals and whoever is able to beat them up the most effectively will very likely have a leg-up on the rest of their competition.
Last season, Atlanta went a division-best 14-5 vs. the last place Nationals and, you guessed it, they won the division title. In fact, the team to finish with the best record vs. the last place team in the NL East has won the division in the last three full seasons and in five of the last six dating back to 2015.
This trend is likely to continue in 2022 and for that reason it is imperative for the Mets, or anyone else, to take advantage of a team trotting out Juan Soto, Nelson Cruz and, well, not much else this upcoming season. As the year goes on, keep tabs on which club is beating up on the NL East cellar-dwellers best. Whoever it is… they’re probably en route to a pretty special season. Recent history tells us just as much.
Around the League 🚩
Reds RHP Hunter Greene, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, will make his MLB debut on April 10th, the team announced
Giants 3B Evan Longoria is expected to miss at least six weeks following surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his right index finger, per manager Gabe Kapler
The Blue Jays have signed OF Dexter Fowler to a minor league contract with an invitation to MLB spring training (MLB.com)
Rays RHP Pete Fairbanks has a partially torn lat and will be out until at least the end of June (Tampa Bay Times)
The Phillies officially acquired RHP James Norwood from the Padres in exchange for minor league INF Kervin Pichardo and cash