This early in the MLB season it’s hard to have firm expectations. You of course have an idea of how you think things are going to shake out in the general sense, and you probably have an opinion of how individual players are going to perform. Taking things on a game by game basis in early April is tough sledding as far as predictions go, though, because nobody’s really had a chance to find a rhythm yet.
Unless, of course, you come out of the gate scorching hot. Such is the case with Marcell Ozuna. Even more so with J.T. Realmuto.
The Marlins kicked off the scoring in the first. After Miguel Rojas doubled off of Mets starter Robert Gsellman and advanced to third on a Christian Yelich ground out, Giancarlo Stanton singled cleanly to bring Rojas home, 1-0 Fish.
In the second, Ozuna absolutely punished what appeared to be a poorly placed cut fastball for a solo shot, making it 2-0 Marlins.
In the third, Realmuto tripled over Curtis Granderson’s head, and scored off of a Rojas sac fly. 3-0 Fish.
Meanwhile, Adam Conley was throwing a no-hitter. No big deal. You may recall that he throws almost no-hitters with some regularity. Conley was seriously cruising through four and two third’s innings having given up a mere walk, and there was no indication of that changing any time soon. Neil Walker struck out swinging. Jay Bruce struck out swinging. But then Lucas Duda, again rewarding the Mets for allowing him to hit against a left-handed pitcher, blasted a home run to center field.
Suddenly, as we’ve seen in so many Conley starts, he couldn’t find the strike zone. Travis D’Arnaud walked. TJ Rivera walked. And though he was able to secure the final out of the inning by getting Granderson to fly out, you just knew his day was done. Five innings, one hit, three walks, six strikeouts. If Duda hadn’t homered, maybe Conley would’ve been able to pull off the no-hitter, because sometimes Conley can’t seem to get out of his own head once things start going south. He figures that minor mental block out, and Conley goes from middle of the rotation arm to the top of the rotation ace that he wants to be.
Gsellman, for his part, managed five innings giving up three runs on six hits, walking two and striking out seven. It was a decent start, but the Marlins just weren’t done hitting.
I was in the other room when the pitching change was announced for the Mets at the start of the sixth. I heard something to the effect of “a smoker takes the mound.” Naturally, I was anticipating this man:
“Josh” Smoker managed to keep the Fish off of the board, but the Marlins burned through five Mets pen arms afterward, scoring once again in the seventh, twice in the eighth and a final run as the cherry on top in their half of the ninth.
In the eighth with a man on board, Cespedes crushed a ball to right-centerfield that sounded good off the bat, looked good off the bat, and amazingly ended up in Christian Yelich’s glove.
Seth was on it.
Brad Ziegler, Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and José Ureña pitched the rest of the way out, combining to allow only two hits and issue seven strikeouts.
To say it’s early is a gross understatement. But first place always feels good, no matter what time of year. Go Fish.
Swordfish: Marcell Ozuna (.129)
Flounder: Robert Gsellman (-.139)
Play of the game: Ozuna bomb in the second (.100)
Tomorrow will be the serious finale which will see Edinson Volquez square off against Noah Syndergaard on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball, 8 PM ET start.