The Mets are 1-0 after an impressive opening day victory against the much ballyhooed Washington Nationals, who just about every has pegged for the World Series. The Mets won on Opening Day with a combination of a little luck (thank you Ian Desmond) and true teamwork, and determination.
Bartolo Colon, whom everyone criticized for being named the opening day starter, put together a six-inning masterpiece against Max Scherzer. Lucas Duda who needs to prove that 2014 was no fluke had a 2-run single that was the difference in the game. Typically soft-hitting Travis d’Arnaud had RBI triple to increase the Mets lead to 3-1, and Buddy Carlyle, of all people, saved the Mets literary and figuratively by picking up his first save in the ninth inning, in the stead of injured Jenrry Mejia.
It was a great day for the Mets. They earned a hard fought victory against the favorite in their division. After falling to Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals 2-1 in the middle game of the three game series on Wednesday night, the Amazin’s still have a chance to make a statement with their ace Matt Harvey taking the mound on Thursday afternoon. Now the question is if the Mets win the series, do they have a mental edge?
No question about it the Nationals are not who we thought they were, at least not yet. They are missing some major pieces from Anthony Rendon to Jayson Werth to Erik Davis and Casey Jansen, just to name a few. The Nationals bullpen is not as solid on paper as it was a year ago, not only because Jansen is injured, but also the team no longer has the services of Tyler Clippard, who was their best reliever.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying Washington will not win the East. They probably will win the East. However the Mets caught the Nats at the right time. Like any team in a new season, the Mets need to find a way to establish themselves, and if beating the Washington Nationals can do that it will only help the Mets down the road.
As the old saying goes, games in April count too. A 2-1 start against the Nationals would give this team a lot of confidence moving forward. They need to feel what it is like to play big baseball games in a big spot. They need to know what it is like to beat Washington, since they were 4-15 against them last year.
I remember in 2006 the Mets came into the season with high, but very cautious optimism. No one knew how all the new pieces would gel together, but as we now know the opening week to 2006 was a prelude of things to come. The Mets took two of three from the Nationals and swept a good Florida Marlins team at home. While they were only 4-1 at the time, an attitude had been established that this would be a team to be reckoned with.
If the Met want to be a team to reckon with, they need to send a statement to Washington that the 2015 Mets will not be pushed around by the proverbial favorites.