On a night where the wind was whirling at Citi Field, the Miami Marlins (2-2) defeated the New York Mets (2-2) by a score of 7-2. This was a game that the Marlins had in control from the second inning on.
Wei-Yin Chen (1-0) was the story of the evening, as everything went his way. He struck out five in six innings of one-run ball. Chen threw 86 pitches, 63 of them for strikes. The only blemish of the evening came in a 20-pitch first inning. He allowed an opposite field single to Asdrubal Cabrera, a walk to Wilmer Flores, followed by an RBI single to Curtis Granderson. After that, it was smooth sailing.
Outside of the first inning, the biggest jam Chen got himself into occurred in the sixth, when Neil Walker followed up a Granderson double with an infield single. On his last pitch of the night, Chen got Jay Bruce to ground into a tailor made 6-3 double play. Just what the doctor ordered.
Chen decided that his dominance on the mound wasn’t enough, so he starred with his bat as well. He recorded his first big league hit on an infield dribbler to shortstop. The ball was thrown into the dugout and there were smiles all around. According to Elias, Chen had the fourth longest hitless drought to start a career since 1900.
You can see the Chen hit here.
Offensively, the Marlins had a very good evening. After the Mets took a one run lead in the first inning, the fighting fish immediately struck back. Justin Bour reached on an eight-pitch walk and Marcell Ozuna dropped a broken bat single into center field. That set things up for Derek Dietrich who scorched a two-run triple off the center field wall.
Adeiny Hechavarria would then ground out to short to give the Marlins an insurmountable 3-1 lead. The inning could have been even better, but the wind knocked down what looked like a sure-fire home run for Giancarlo Stanton.
Dee Gordon led off the third inning with a bloop single to center field and swiped his second bag of the young season. Christian Yelich made sure that Gordon was out of breath for no reason at all, when he deposited his first home run of the season off the foul pole in right. If the spring is any indication, Yelich is in for a big year.
The Marlins sent many fans to the exits in the fifth inning. The Mets brought in left-handed reliever Josh Smoker and he could not find the plate. Yelich reached when Yoenis Cespedes couldn’t handle a quickly sinking fly ball off his bat. After Stanton and Bour walked, Ozuna and Dietrich collected a pair of RBI singles to give the Marlins a 7-1 lead.
Nick Wittgren relieved Chen and threw 1.2 innings of one run ball; the only blemish being a solo home run off the bat of Cespedes. Dustin McGowan recorded the final four outs on 17 pitches.
The Marlins put together 11 hits on the day. Ozuna was the only player with three hits. Dietrich and Yelich had two knocks; while Gordon, Stanton, Bour, and Chen each had one. Ellis and Hechavarria were the only two regulars without a hit. Stanton Ellis, Ozuna, and Dietrich each walked once; Bour had two free passes.
The Citi Field crowd was excited to see the return of pitcher Zack Wheeler (0-1), who was making his first start since September 25th of 2014. After one inning, Mets fans were ready to build him a statue. He came out of the gate throwing 97 mph heaters, striking out both A.J. Ellis and Yelich.
After that first inning? Not so good.
Wheeler’s velocity dipped down to 93-95 MPH in the second inning and put the ball in very hittable regions. He was clearly amped up for the first inning, but never recovered from the one-out walk he issued to Bour in the second. Sometimes all it takes is getting a pitcher into the stretch. Wheeler only went four innings, allowing four hits, five runs, one walk, and striking out four.
For those of you who like to see total domination in image form, here is the Fangraphs win expectancy chart.
The Marlins are back in action tomorrow night at 7:10 PM. It will be Adam Conley vs. Robert Gsellman.