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Back in Queens – Mets Win Home Opener

New York Mets Home Opener at Citi Field - Image Credit: Latino Sports

FLUSHING, NY– Is it the New York Groove? A brand new state of the art high-definition scoreboard? Or the feels of baseball back in Flushing, Queens? Could be all three, because the New York Mets used it to their advantage, and relinquished the demons in their home opener, defeating the Miami Marlins by a final score of 9-3. 

Yes, relinquished the demons. Following a nauseating 3-4 roadstand to start the season, where opponents outscored them by a combined total of 34-23, Pete Alonso and the Mets were in dire need of turning the page. 

And that, they did, in front of a sold-out crowd of 43,590 at Citi Field on Friday afternoon.

The Mets scored nine runs against the Marlins on six hits along with twelve walks, tying for the fourth most walks in franchise history in a nine-inning game. 

“I’m really happy with how we commanded the zone today,” Alonso, who was 2-5 with a HR, and two RBI, said. “It was really special. One through nine, everyone contributed. Whether it be a walk, clutch at-bat, or driving in the run. Our situational hitting was really good today.”

Despite leaving nine on base, and converting 2-15 with runners in scoring position, the Mets powered through with the long ball as well as by working the count, remaining aware on the base path, and adjusting to the weather conditions. Brandon Nimmo led off the home half of the first with an eight-pitch walk, which amassed Marlins starter Edward Cabrera (Santiago, Dominican Republic) to 30 pitches after one. 

“It just starts with Nimmo, you start with the first at-bat,” designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, who was 1-3 with an RBI, said about the Mets offensive mindset. “Nobody gives in, and the pitch count went up. That’s kinda what this team does.”

Brandon Nimmo – Image Credit: Latino Sports

“That’s my job – to get on base for these big boys,” Nimmo said. The 30-year-old finished the day with four walks, which marks 10 on the season – currently the most across MLB. Nimmo also recorded a stolen base. 

Besides Nimmo, Alonso and Vogelbach – Francisco Lindor and Starling Marte stamped their mark on the Mets 2023 home opener, each hitting a HR, and combining for three RBI. 

“Nobody was trying to be the hero.” Lindor explained. “The whole entire lineup was ready to hit but we were trying to get a pitch in our zone. We did well, it was a good day for us.” 

Coincidentally enough, Lindor and Marte hit a home run in last year’s home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks as well. 

On another note, the weather forecast was a typical April day in Flushing, Queens: 56 degrees and cloudy with six MPH winds. Not an immense factor you would think, however; for pitchers, in early April, the weather can jeopardize them from the gecko. 

“Not an easy day to pitch,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Pretty cold. Tough to grip the baseball.” 

Not to mention, the new implemented pitch clock, which has resulted in many pitchers rushing their set-up motion and delivery. Many witnessed the confusion in Friday’s contest as there were multiple clock violations. 

One of the violations was against Mets starter Tylor Megill, who was dominant, completing six scoreless innings on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Megill, 27, neutralized Marlins hitters by getting ahead of the count and trusting the defense behind him. He totaled 88 pitches with 51 of them for strikes. 

Showalter said about Megill: “He was key. Worked a lot of counts into his favor. First time he’s gone six innings (this year). He was solid. He attacked the strike zone.”

Whether it be the New York Groove, a brand new scoreboard the size of a football field or playing in front of the Amazin faithful, the Mets turned the page and are looking ahead to the weekend. 

“We’ll turn the page, and have another quick turnaround,” Showalter said. “Play a four o’clock game then a one o’clock game.” 

“There’s a quiet confidence with our guys. They understand there’s a lot of factors that they can’t control. They’re gonna keep their nose to the tracks and be ready for whatever is coming their way.”

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email:

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