MLB: New York Mets at Kansas City Royals

Game recap April 3: Cespedes error haunts Mets, bats falter in 4-3 loss to Royals

Who Won:

The Off-Shade Blue and Gold Not Mets

What Happened, Pitching:

For starters, Matt Harvey had one of those days at the office. You know, one of those days when you do everything you can to succeed, but the powers that be have other ideas. One of those days when you watch a seemingly-routine fly ball fall out of your left fielders’ glove—followed up by a high fastball that goes to the backstop and advances the runner. One of those days when two of the hits you give up to Eric Hosmer are ground balls that sneak through the infield, while one was a bunt for a hit. Of course, those ground balls were only made worse by the fact that the man in front of Hosmer—Lorenzo Cain—was on base for every single one and would end up scoring two of the Royals four runs.

Through the eye test, Harvey was the recipient of poor fortune. A whopping 60 percent of the balls put in play against him were grounders, and none of the base hits he surrendered—other than Alex Gordon’s liner that landed just out of the reach of Juan Lagares—looked like they were hit all that hard. This can also be seen in how many extra base hits he gave up, which would be zero. Then again, that type of game is kind of the Royals’ thing, so maybe it isn’t that surprising. Harvey’s fastball topped out at 98.4, according to Brooks Baseball, and he only recorded two strikeouts in his 5 and 2/3 innings of work.

Seeing as this was only his first start of the season, I highly doubt there is any reason to worry about the Dark Knight. After Harvey, Bartolo Colon found himself on the mound and—after surrendering a base hit up the middle that would score the fourth of four runs—would combine with Jerry Blevins to retire the next seven batters. It should also be noted that Colon nearly called off David Wright to catch a pop fly, and I might have dedicated this whole game recap to that singular play should it have actually happened, but, alas, cooler heads prevailed—Wright would settle under the ball to make the play. Sigh.

What Happened, Hitting:

Well, the thought of Edison Volquez, Opening Day starter, still seems to me like the Kansas City Royals front office just went “whatever.” That being said, I’m not going to argue against his effectiveness. Volquez’s ability to be effectively wild stymied the Mets lineup for six innings, and it was highlighted in eight straight outs to end his night. Combine that with how the Mets stranded runners early in the game, and you can see how Volquez left without giving up a run. When the bullpen entered the game, however, the bats would wake up. Down four in the eighth, Lagares, Granderson, and Cespedes would reach base as Lucas Duda stepped to the plate. Then, something magical happened: a bloop single against the shift to left—scoring two and putting Cespedes in position to score on the ensuing Neil Walker fielder’s choice. The offense would come surging back again in the ninth, as they would place runners on the corners with one out. Yes, Wright and Cespedes would both be strikeout recipients to end the game, but we can all take solace in their attempted comeback on Opening Day.

What Happened, Yesterday:

Interleague games on Opening Day still strike me as weird. Not a bad weird, just a still getting used to it weird. Factor in that these two teams were playing five months ago for the World Series and it only adds to the weirdness. As for the actual baseball game, Harvey pitched decently but was the negative recipient of grounders that found the hole and bloop singles. Offensively, the Mets finally broke through towards the end of the game, and the ball that Michael Conforto hit to left center was an absolute thing of beauty—not to mention the only extra base hit for either side. At this point, it’s all building blocks for the rest of the season, and it’s probably even too soon to use the old “It’s early!” cliché, but we all know the potential that surrounds this team. The only thing we know now is that, apparently, we can cross 162-0 off of that list.

What Happens, Today:

The Mets are off today, but we all wait in joyous anticipation for Tuesday as Noah Syndergaard is slated to take the mound against the Royals’ Chris Young. Look for Thor to break the Mets out of the funk they are currently in against Kansas City.

Photo credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA Today Sports

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