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Opening Day Recap (3/31/14) : Nationals 9 – Mets 7

(Barton Silverman / The New York Times)

By Keith Harrison

As I got onto the 7 train this morning on 42nd street, en route to Citi Field for New York Mets opening day, I couldn’t help but feel optimistic. After all, everybody has a chance to win the World Series on opening day. Then again, whoever came up with that old adage was probably a Mets fan.

The fans were in for what appeared to be a great opening day pitching match up, as the Mets sent Dillon Gee to the mound to take on Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.

Bottom of the 1st, Juan Lagares gets off to a fast start with a single to right field. David Wright up next, he singles to center, Lagares goes first to third. Curtis Granderson strikes out swinging in his first at bat as a New York Met but thats no problem because Andrew Brown is up next and he hits a 424 ft. 3-run homer!

Top of the 2nd, Bryce Harper walks. Ian Desmond hits a ground ball to third, David Wright attempts to turn the double play, they get the out at second but fail to get the out at first as Harper collides with Eric Young Jr. to alter the throw. Harper took a hard knee to the head on the play and would stay down for a few moments before eventually getting up and walking off the field on his own. He would stay in the game. Up next was Adam LaRoche, who proceeded to jack a 2-Run home run to right field.

3-2 Mets going into the bottom of the 2nd, Travis d’Arnaud draws a walk in his first at bat of the season. Ruben Tejada up next, he singles to left, d’Arnaud to second. Dillon Gee lays a beautifully executed bunt down the third base line, d’Arnaud to third, Tejada to second. Eric Young Jr. hits a sac-fly to right field, d’Arnaud scores. Mets go up 4-2.

Top of the 7th, still 4-2, Dillon Gee had settled into a groove up until now. Gee strikes out Wilson Ramos, then Bryce Harper gets Gee for an infield single as Young Jr. can’t quite make the play at 2nd. Ian Desmond hits a ground ball to short stop, Harper is out at 2nd. LaRoche walks, Desmond to second. Anthony Rendon doubles to right, Desmond scores, LaRoche to third. That would do it for Dillon Gee, Carlos Torres on in relief. Torres walks Nate McClouth, Scott Rice inherits the bases loaded in relief of Torres. Rice proceeds to send Denard Span to first on 4 pitches and walk in a run. Jose Valverde comes out of the bullpen full of energy and strikes out Ryan Zimmerman to get the Mets out of the inning. Game tied at 4. Valverde would go on to pitch a 1-2-3 8th inning as well.

Bottom of the 8th, Juan Lagares continues his hot start with a solo shot to left center off of Nats reliever Tyler Clippard. The fans are going nuts as Lagares rounds the bases!

Entering the top of the 9th inning with a 5-4 lead, it appeared the Mets were going to send their fans home happy on Opening Day. Bobby Parnell in the game with an opportunity to close the door and pick up the save. Ian Desmond singles to start the inning, already Mets fans start grumbling. Parnell then gets LaRoche to pop out and strikes out Rendon looking. At this point it seems like Bobby Parnell is going to get the job done. Danny Espinosa pinch hits for Clippard and draws a walk, Desmond to second. Denard Span then proceeds to double to left center field, Desmond scores, Espinosa to third. Game tied at 5. Parnell gets Zimmerman to fly out to center to end the inning.

Bottom of the 9th, the Mets go quietly 1-2-3. We’re going to extra innings.

Jeurys Familia on in relief for the Mets, he gives up back to back singles to Jayson Werth and Jose Lobaton to start the 10th. Passed ball, Werth advances to third, Lobaton advances to second. Harper Strikes out swinging, then Ian Desmond hits a sac-fly to center field, that will score Werth and advance Lobaton to third. 6-5 Nats take their first lead of the game. John Lannan relieves Familia, then walks LaRoche. Anthony Rendon then proceeds to hit a 3-Run homer to left.

Bottom of the 10th, Mets down 9-5, Jerry Blevins on in relief for Washington. Lucas Duda and Eric Young Jr. strike out swinging. Juan Lagares continues his fantastic opening day with a walk. David Wright blasts a 2 run homer to left, Mets only down 9-7 now, could they possibly comeback in tremendous fashion on opening day? No, Curtis Granderson strikes out looking to cap off his rough Mets debut and end the game. The Mets fall to the Nats by a final score of 9-7.

On a day that started off so promising, naively optimistic Mets fans were left feeling like the victims of some early april fool’s day joke.

Positive takeaway: Regardless of what happened today, the emergence of Juan Lagares offensively was a big deal. Lagares is a golden-glove caliber center fielder, if he can continue to improve offensively he is going to be a very special player.

PureSportsNY: Keith Harrison

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