Monday, April 6, 2015

Colon and Duda power Mets past Nats in Opener

METS 3                                         Nationals 1


Two weeks ago when Terry Collins made the decision to go with 41-year-old Bartalo Colon for Opening Day he received a lot of grief from fans and media alike, including this writer. Give Collins credit he has the pulse of his team and his rotation. Colon was brilliant for the Mets, matching strike for strike with the highest paid pitcher in the game, Max Scherzer.

Through five innings, as Scherzer was making a no-hit bid against New York, Colon was holding his own. He held Washington to only a Bryce Harper solo-home run, and had struck out seven batters. He looked more like a 31-year-old than a 41-year-old, as he was fooling Washington's vaunted hitters with a combination of hard and soft stuff on the outside part of the plate.

The biggest inning of the day came in the bottom of the sixth with New York holding a slim 2-1 lead. After a single by Harper and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman, Colon came back from a 3-1 count deficit to Wilson Ramos to strike out the catcher swinging on a changeup on the black to get out of the inning to preserve the lead.

New York took its first lead of the day in the top of that sixth inning when an error on a dropped pop up by Ian Desmond allowed Curtis Grandson to move over to third, and David Wright to dash into second base for Lucas Duda. Duda, who has also taken his share of flack by critics who want to see him duplicate his 2014 success, slapped a hanging 2-2 fastball up the middle for a 2-run single to put the Mets up 2-1.

Later on catcher Travis d'Arnaud cracked an RBI triple to deep center, driving in Juan Lagares from first base for an insurance run.

Now in the ninth, what would Opening Day be without a little drama? Closer Jenrry Mejia while coming into the game from the bullpen, instead took dashed into the dugout to find Mets training Ray Ramirez and disappeared with an undisclosed injury. It was now up to Collins to dig deep into his pen to save the game. He brought in Jerry Blevins to face Bryce Harper, and the lefty jammed Harper on a fly ball to right for the first out.

Collins made his next move, removing Blevins for veteran Buddy Carlyle, who barely made the team out of spring training. Carlyle was great. He got Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos to ground out to short stop to end the game and deliver the Mets to their first win of 2015.

NOTES: As of 7:00 p.m. ET the extent of Mejia's injury is unknown.

With the win, the Mets are a MLB best 35-19 all time on Opening Day.  The win is also a little revenge for New York, who lost to the Nationals last season at home on Opening Day. Jacob DeGrom will get the ball on Wednesday night, he will face Jordan Zimmerman.

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