The Mets (2-4) lost a close contest to the Reds (2-4) on Sunday afternoon, falling 2-1 to Cincinnati at Citi Field.
Jon Niese took the mound for New York and was solid in his first start of the season. Niese cruised through the first five innings, but ran into a bit of trouble in the sixth and was pulled with two outs after allowing two runs. Niese finished with four strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched, giving up two earned runs on six hits and a walk.
Gonzalez Germen came in for Niese and did a nice job to get out of the jam before tossing a full scoreless inning in the seventh. Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde both put up scoreless frames after Germen, so this was definitely a very impressive showing from the Mets’ bullpen.
Alfredo Simon got the ball for Cincinnati and pitched a very strong game. The Mets got a run in the second off of Simon when Ike Davis doubled by taking advantage of the shift and was driven in by Juan Lagares, but New York would not score for the rest of the game.
The Mets would have another chance when Eric Young doubled to give the Mets runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, but after third base coach Tim Teufel decided to hold Niese at third, Daniel Murphy and David Wright both struck out to end the inning. The Mets never really threatened to score for the rest of the game, finishing with only four hits.
Niese gave us an encouraging performance in his return from the disabled list. His fastball velocity was fine, his control was good, and, until his final inning, he seemed to be in complete control. If Niese can stay healthy— and that’s a big if— he will be an important piece of this rotation.
It was very nice to see the bullpen do their job in this game. Valverde in particular has been very impressive. Overall, the pitching staff did a terrific job today, and it’s unfortunate that the bats couldn’t come through.
The Mets got nothing from the heart of their lineup this afternoon. Daniel Murphy, David Wright, and Curtis Granderson were a combined 0-for-11 with five strikeouts. The Mets need more production from their top hitters if they want to pick up the pitching staff the organization is so proud of.
Travis d’Arnaud had another hitless day at the plate, and still has not gotten a base hit this season. Travis did hit one ball that looked like it was going out (Gary Cohen seemed very sure), but the ball just died at the warning track in left and was caught for an easy out. Still, d’Arnaud has made solid contact with a few balls in the first week of the season, so hopefully he will start racking up some hits soon. TDA made a nice throw to second to catch Brandon Phillips stealing, so let’s hope this is a sign that he isn’t taking his struggles at the plate with him into the field.
Ike Davis had another good game, going the other way (!!!!!) to beat the shift and get a double in the second, and hitting a hard shot that took a lucky bounce off of the first base bag for his second hit in the seventh. Davis went down swinging in the ninth to end the game, but overall it was a solid performance from Ike to follow up on yesterday’s heroics.
Juan Lagares has been fun to watch during the first week of the season. Right now, he is guaranteed to play with Chris Young out. Hopefully Chris can return soon to give the lineup a boost, but once he does, it’s hard to see Lagares being taken out of the lineup given his early production at the plate and his (expected) excellence in the field.
This was a frustrating loss for the Mets, but there were definitely some positives and it’s always nice to take two out of three games against a solid team like the Reds.