Jon Niese and Manny Acosta got absolutely wrecked over their combined 5 innings and the Mets had no answer for the Blue Jays, who rode a power surge to a 14-5 Interleague-opening win.
The Bad Stuff:
- After putting the first two men on in the 1st, Jon Niese appeared to be in the clear: he'd just fanned Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto's biggest power threats. All he had to do was get past J.P. Arencibia and the Mets could get back to work in the 2nd. An 89 mph cutter that didn't cut did in that notion, as Arencibia blasted it over the 100 metre sign in left. 3-0 Blue Jays, and the fun was just getting started. When the dust finally settled, Jon Niese was gone after 3 innings and 8 earned runs, 7 of which came on 4 home runs.
- When he came out to pitch the 4th and try to keep the Jays at less than double digit runs, Manny Acosta must've confused the meaning of "anything you can do, I can do better," because he was better for the guys he was throwing to rather than those playing the artificial field behind him. Acosta gave up 5 more runs in his 2 innings of work, including Toronto's fifth home run of the night.
- Not even these comeback kings could muster enough to overcome a couple touchdowns' worth of runs. New York had just 4 hits, batted just 1-9 with RISP, and stranded 6 men on base. But Justin Turner takes the Bad Stuff cake for the night: Le Grande Orange Jr. grounded into 2 double plays against old college roommate Ricky Romero, helping him pick up his fifth win of the year with a 6-inning, 1-run performance.
- A flu-ridden David Wright picked up his 1300th career hit with a ground-rule double in the 1st. A combination of being the latest on the team to pick up the disease and the awful things that can happen on the artificial turf of the Rogers Centre persuaded Terry Collins to give Wright the day off tomorrow afternoon. I can't say I disagree with that notion, and I'll bet even David wouldn't mind getting a chance to fully recover.
- Scott Hairston's 3-run homer capped a 4-run 8th that got the Mets back within single digits on the scoreboard.
- Lefty reliever Robert Carson made his big league debut in this ruckus, delivering a scoreless inning in the 7th.
- Finally, what we alluded to at the beginning of the recap: yes, even Rob Johnson, given the start today behind the plate, finished the day on the other side of the battery. And to tell you the truth, he didn't do half bad: Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th, even striking out the last batter with a "nasty" 87 mph fastball.
- Why not send Acosta down and convert Rob Johnson to a bullpen pitcher AND a catcher? With the crowding that will come with Tejada, Thole, and Bay returning from the DL within a month, this would solve at least one roster spot.
- I'm only half joking. That's how bad it's gotten after starters leave the game for New York.
After wearing their hockey sweaters up across the border, the Mets got themselves in what seemed like an actual hockey slugfest. And wouldn't you know: Canadians are pretty good at those kind of things.
If there's any saving grace to this kind of trouncing, remember last month when the Mets dropped that 18-9 affair in Colorado? They came back and won the series. Perhaps this was the strategy: let the Blue Jays hit so many home runs in one game that they're out of gas and can't do it in the next two, sneak back across to America with a series win. We'll find out soon enough.