Of course Max Scherzer started the 2019 campaign with a strikeout. Of course he did. And it was a three-pitch K, all fastballs (94-96 MPH). Scherzer went to the slider in a 3-2 count to get Pete Alonso swinging for out and K No. 2 of 2019. Robinson Canó got all of a 1-1 change outside, however, and the New York Mets’ second baseman powered it out to left-center in Nationals Park for a two-out solo home run and a 1-0 lead after half an inning in the season opener in Washington, D.C.
Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom made that 1-0 lead hold up through six innings, striking out 10 of the 23 batters he faced as he began his defense of the NL Cy Young award.
Scherzer got through 7 2⁄3 on 109 pitches, striking out 12 of 25, but he left a runner on that came around to score, and the two runs were all the Mets needed in a 2-0 win on Opening Day.
About that baserunning: Victor Robles started his first at bat of the season down 0-2, but got to a full count and lined a 92 MPH slider from Jacob deGrom off the left field wall on a hop for his first double of 2019. Adam Eaton followed with a low liner to right for a single which sent Robles over to third, but one out later, Robles broke for home on a ground ball to third when Mets’ third baseman Jeff McNeil fielded it and threw to second for the force.
Robinson Canó got the out at second, and threw home quickly, well ahead of Robles, who stopped halfway to the plate, and turned back and into a rundown that ended with him getting tagged out for a 5-4-2-5 DP that killed a potential rally. Still 1-0 Mets after three, and three scoreless for deGrom on 50 pitches.
deGrominated: On the way to an NL Cy Young award in 2018, Jacob deGrom dominated the Mets’ NL East rivals from D.C., going 2-0 in three starts with a 1.13 ERA, five walks, 25 strikeouts, and a .186/.237/.257 line against vs the Nationals.
Going up against a new-look Nats’ lineup this afternoon, New York’s ace picked up where he left off, striking out nine of the first 19 batters that he faced and allowing just four hits and a walk through five to keep it a 1-0 game.
Scherzer was up to 10 Ks from 21 batters faced after he picked up two more in a quick, nine-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the sixth.
Trea Turner started the Nationals’ half of the sixth inning with a single, lining an 0-1 fastball to left field, and he stole second base (2 for 2) with Anthony Rendon at the plate. With one out in the inning, Juan Soto stepped in, but after Turner stole third (3 for 3), Soto K’d on a full-count changeup (which he struggled to recognize all day) and Ryan Zimmerman sent a fly to right-center to end the threat and a 16-pitch sixth that left deGrom at 93 pitches.
Jacob deGrom’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 93 P, 59 S, 2/2 GO/FO.
BULLPEN ACTION: Seth Lugo took over for deGrom in the bottom of the seventh inning, and struck out the side in a quick, 15-pitch frame.
Scherzer came back out for the eighth after manager Davey Martinez decided not to hit for him with two down and no one on in the bottom of the seventh, and the Nationals’ ace was up to 105 pitches after a one-out walk, but he struck Brandon Nimmo out on his 109th pitch and was done for the day. The decision to leave him in, and the runner he left on ended up hurting the Nationals, however.
Justin Miller took over on the mound for the Nationals with two down and a runner on first base, and gave up Pete(r) Alonso’s first major league hit.
Matt Grace got the call with two runners on and two out, facing Canó, and the veteran left-handed hitter hit a soft oppo-single to left field to drive in the second run of the game, 2-0 Mets.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 12 Ks, 1 HR, 109 P, 76 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Jeurys Familia came on for the Mets in the eighth, and hit Adam Eaton with one down, but Eaton was forced out on a Trea Turner grounder to short, and Anthony Rendon popped up to end the inning.
Kyle Barraclough took over for the Nats in the top of the ninth and worked around a two-out single with help from his catcher, Yan Gomes, who caught Amed Rosario trying to swipe second base.
Edwin Díaz came on for the Mets in the bottom of the ninth inning and retired the Nationals in order to end it. 2-0 NY.
Nationals now 0-1