The New York Mets struggled offensively in Thursday’s home opener against the Washington Nationals. Is Dominic Smith’s bladder to blame?
The red hot New York Mets kicked off their home schedule on Thursday as they took on their division rivals, the Washington Nationals, in the first game of a three-game set. Noah Syndergaard looked sharp through six innings of work, but the rest of his teammates seemed sluggish and overmatched in the shutout loss.
Like Syndergaard, Stephen Strasburg was on his game for six and two-thirds innings. After his departure, the Mets faced the very hittable Matt Grace, Justin Miller, and Tony Sipp for the following inning and a third. The trio of arms struck out every hitter to face them, culminating with Sipp catching Robinson Cano looking at three consecutive strikes. In the end, the New York Mets only managed one hit over the final two-plus innings versus a Nationals’ bullpen that only fired one of its three big guns.
I don’t mean to be grouchy, as teams don’t win every game, but the Mets’ offense appeared to be flat all throughout yesterday’s game. They looked strikingly different than the group that had come into the day with a 5-1 record. What was up with the Amazins’?
As Noah Syndergaard told reporters after the game, the team wasn’t in the proper situation to win because of their quick turnaround from the night before.
As reported by Newsday, the New York Mets did not depart Marlins Park until roughly 11 pm Wednesday night due to random drug testing. Mets’ first baseman, Dominic Smith, has not been afraid of the spotlight through the first few games of the season, but on Wednesday, the lefty experienced stage fright.
"“After the game, sometimes you have to wait for guys if they just don’t have to pee,” Nimmo said (via Newsday). “We ended up waiting for Dom until 11 o’clock. We’ve all been there. It’s hard. Us playing the game an hour early didn’t even matter”"
Because of the delay, the Mets didn’t arrive back in New York until 3 am, which led to Mickey Callaway canceling the team’s morning session of batting practice.
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Noah Syndergaard does have a point with his postgame comments, his teammates clearly looked lethargic as they struck out 14 times versus Nationals’ pitching. The team took a precaution with Syndergaard as he flew back early to protect against a late arrival home. Good thing that Thor wasn’t also on the late flight…
We are left to wonder, why did the testing have to occur after Wednesday’s game when the Mets were clearly scheduled for a day game in a different city on Thursday? Why did Major League Baseball let the testing occur? If the testing was necessary, why couldn’t Major League Baseball force the Marlins to schedule an earlier game?
Yes, the drug testing was random and it’s a necessary part of the game, but this seems like an issue that could have been easily avoided. A third party handles the testing, but it’s hard to believe that Major League Baseball does not have a say in how it’s administered. Scheduling difficulties happen, but the testing literally could have been scheduled for any other day. The Mets’ 2019 game schedule has been published since the end of the 2018 season. Everyone was aware that the club had their home opener in Queens at 1 pm on Thursday.
Rob Manfred has not been shy with his agenda for new rules which could “improve gameplay”. Gameplay isn’t just pace of play, it also includes quality of baseball and this erroneous session of drug testing likely hurt the Mets’ on-field performance in Thursday’s game.
44,424 people bought tickets for Thursday’s offensive dud. In essence, fans are consumers and Thursday’s consumers witnessed a compromised product. Fans and players deserve better as Wednesday-Thursday’s events could have been easily avoided with only slight intervention.
Imagine if the division title came down to one final game at the end of the season. Will we remember this scheduling difficulty? Will we blame Dominic Smith’s bladder? Let’s hope that we will not have to find out…