The Mets lost to the Nationals, 4-0, on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field in their home opener >> Box score
Five things to know about Thursday's game
1) Noah Syndergaard wasn't at his best early, and a couple of walks in the second inning (due in part to a terrible zone by the home plate umpire) followed by a wild pitch and a safety squeeze, gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Syndergaard settled in after that, retiring 12-straight batters at one point and carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. The no-no was ruined when Victor Robles homered to left field on Syndergaard's first pitch of the sixth inning, extending Washington's lead to 2-0. Overall, Syndergaard allowed two runs on one hit while walking two and striking out six in 6.0 innings, lowering his ERA to 4.50.
2) The Mets were no-hit through four innings by Stephen Strasburg, getting their first hit when Wilson Ramos grounded a single to left field to start the fifth inning. New York's best scoring chance came in the seventh inning, when singles by Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate with two outs. Mickey Callaway pinch-hit with Dominic Smith, leading the Nats to pull Strasburg and replace him with left-hander Matt Grace. Callaway countered by pulling Smith for right-handed hitting J.D. Davis, who struck out looking. Callaway was playing the matchup but arguably shouldn't have -- with Smith entering the game having reached base six times in 11 plate appearances.
3) The Mets and Nationals' offense slept-walked through most of the game, with the two teams combining for just four hits through eight innings (one for the Nats and three for the Mets). After their chance in the seventh inning, the Mets had another chance in the eighth inning, with Brandon Nimmo on first base with one out with the potential tying run at the plate. But Pete Alonso struck out swinging before Robinson Cano struck out looking.
4) Justin Wilson looked very good, tossing a perfect seventh inning with two strikeouts as his fastball topped out at 95 MPH. Jeurys Familia followed Wilson and was similarly strong, working around a two out walk to strike out three batters in a scoreless frame -- firing some nasty sinkers along the way. Then Seth Lugo came in for the ninth. Lugo, who has been battling a sickness, looked out of sorts as his velocity sagged, allowing a double, single, and sacrifice fly before being lifted for Tim Peterson. Lugo was charged with two runs as the Nats extended their lead to 4-0.
5) The Mets played this game after arriving back at Citi Field from Miami at roughly 2:45 a.m. Thursday, with each team member then having to travel to their respective homes. That late arrival was caused by the Marlins scheduling a 6:10 p.m. game for getaway day on Wednesday, and the Mets getting randomly drug-tested by a third-party arranged through Major League Baseball after the game. The drug testing prevented the Mets from leaving the ballpark in Miami until roughly 11 p.m.
Because of the incredibly late arrival back in New York, the Mets canceled batting practice. The Mets could have elected months ago to have their home opener start around 4 p.m. or 7 p.m., but chose to keep the 1:10 p.m. start. And frankly, this shouldn't have been on the Mets. MLB should have stepped in and forced the Marlins to change Wednesday's game to a day game. And MLB certainly should not have allowed the random drug testing that kept the Mets in Miami even longer.
The Mets are off on Friday.
They continue their three-game series with the Nats on Saturday at 1:10 p.m., with Steven Matz facing Patrick Corbin.