Limited to four hits, the Mets lost 2-1 to the Marlins in Miami on Friday night, slipping to 1-1 on the season.
Here are the takeaways...
- The Mets were dominated for five innings by 25-year old lefty Jesus Luzardo, a power pitcher who reached 99 mph with his fastball and mostly sat at 97 mph. Scouts rave about Luzardo’s stuff and see him just now emerging with potential to be one of the better pitchers in the NL.
Starling Marte got the only two hits off Luzardo, both singles to right field, though the Mets did manage to load the bases in the sixth with the help of a couple of walks as Luzardo seemed to suddenly run out of gas.
Marte very nearly got his third hit in the eighth inning with a line drive off right-hander Dylan Floro that may have driven in pinch-runner Tim Locastro from second and tied the game. However, Jorge Soler got a good jump on the ball coming in and made a diving catch to rob Marte.
Soler was the Marlins’ hero on this night, perhaps saving the win with the catch on Marte and also helping produce Miami’s only win, hitting a leadoff home run in the second inning to right-center on a fastball from David Peterson.
With the Mets down 2-0 in the ninth, Pete Alonso hit an opposite-field home run off lefty A.J. Puk but it was too little, too late for the Mets.
- Peterson delivered a gutty effort in his first start, surviving nine baserunners in five innings of work while allowing only one run.
He allowed that solo home run to Soler but was also in trouble much of the night yet managed to make some key pitches in big spots, while getting some great defense to help him escape further damage.
The left-hander had five strikeouts while giving up eight hits and one walk.
Two scoreless innings from Tommy Hunter kept the score 1-0 going to the eighth, but right-hander John Curtiss gave up a solo home run to Jazz Chisholm Jr. that made it 2-0 and proved to be the difference in the game when Alonso homered in the ninth.
- The Mets had their biggest chance in the sixth inning, setting up the pivotal at-bat in the game when Alonso came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs.
Facing right-hander J.T. Chargois, just on in relief of Luzardo, Alonso fell behind 0-2 but then got an 86-mph hanging slider that he probably would say he should have hit out of the ballpark.
As it was, he hit it hard but didn’t get the lift he wanted, and Chisholm ran the long liner down in left-center to end the inning.
- Jeff McNeil made the play of the game that saved a run and potentially a big inning by the Marlins.
Shaded toward second base with Garrett Cooper hitting and runners at first and second, McNeil reacted quickly when Cooper hit a ball toward the second base hole that Alonso managed to get a glove on the ball but only slowed it down.
With the ball trickling into short right field, McNeil hustled to run it down and immediately turned to throw to the plate, knowing that the speedster Jon Berti would be trying to score from second.
The throw was on the money to Tomas Nido, who tagged Berti out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Peterson then got Chisholm on a ground out to Alonso to end the inning, keeping the Marlins’ lead at 1-0 at the time.
- The Mets lost a replay challenge in the first inning, which is news considering how good they were at that part of the game last year, leading the majors with 78.9 percent of their challenges being successful.
On this one they had a case as Brandon Nimmo appeared to be barely safe on his ground ball just to the shortstop side of second base. However, it was as close as could be and the replay center opted not to overturn the original call.
The replay challenge is another area where MLB has made a change to try and speed up the game. The manager has to raise his hand instantly to alert the umpires the team might challenge, and from there he has to declare his intention within 15 seconds rather than 30 in the past.
As a result, the Mets were left without a challenge for the rest of the game. That could have cost them when Nido’s two-out pickoff attempt of Cooper at first base was clearly missed, as Cooper was called safe. However, Peterson got out of the inning when Francisco Lindor leapt high to grab a line drive off the bat of Soler.
The Mets and Marlins continue the start of the season with Game 3 of their four-game series on Saturday, April 1 at 4:10 p.m.
Tylor Megill will face off against Edward Cabrera.