Monday, March 31, 2014

April Fools! Parnell and Bullpen Implode as Mets Fall to Nats 9-7

NATIONALS 9
METS 7

If Opening Day is a microcosm of things to come, than the Mets are in store for a very long and painful season.

Bobby Parnell blew the save on Opening Day.
Everything was going New York's way for six innings. They held a 4-2 lead. Dillon Gee was having a brilliant outing in his first career opening day start. Andrew Brown, of all people, hit a three-run homer. The sun was shining. The fans were happy, and then the bottom fell out.

What else is new in the life of the New York Mets. The culprit: the bullpen.

Terry Collins tried to avoid them, he tried to push Dillon Gee past his tipping point, almost to the point he was getting out managed by Matt Williams who was managing his first game with Washington. But at the end of the day, Collins couldn't avoid the nightmare, the bullpen.

Gee started to lose it in the seventh inning. He surrendered a single to Bryce Harper, walked Adam LaRoche, and gave up an RBI double Anthony Rendon to cut the Mets lead to 4-3. With Gee now at 100 pitches, Collins took him out for Carlos Torres, who proceeded to walk Nate McCoulth on four pitches. Collins popped out of the dugout again, and called on Scott Rice, who proceeded to allow Denard Span to drive in the tying run with a double down the line.

Who knew that on this day that Jose Valverde, a man who blew so many games in Detroit would be the best reliever of the day when he struck out Ryan Zimmerman with the bases full.

As they had done earlier in the game, the Mets teased their fans. Juan Lagares, yes Juan Lagares, hit a solo home run to left giving New York a 5-4 lead in the eighth. Everything was now set for a nice Opening Day finish, but Bobby Parnell decided to revert back to the questionable reliever he's always been.

First pitch fastball up the middle was crushed for a single by Ian Desmond. We should have known right then and there that something was about to happen. Parnell never topped 93 mph on the radar gun. He looked flustered on the mound in a big spot.

After getting the next two batters out, Parnell walked Danny Espinosa, and surrendered a game tying double to drive in Desmond to make it 5-5. Parnell once again showcased why there will always be doubts about his ability as a closer. Until he mans up in a big moment, those questions will remain.

From there the bullpen completely folded like a deck of cards. The Nationals exploded for four runs in the tenth inning, capped off by a three-run homer by Rendon to make it 9-5.

If Sandy Alderson thinks that this team can win 90 games, he better go out there and improve this bullpen. It has been Alderson's biggest fault over his four year stay as Mets GM.

So 2014 is off the kind of start Mets fans feared.

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