David Peterson battles, Pete Alonso's homer is Mets' lone run in loss to Marlins
MIAMI — David Peterson pitched into and out of trouble throughout his outing and the Mets’ defense was at turns sparkling and shoddy, but their 2-1 loss to the Marlins on Friday night came down to this: They simply did not hit.
The Mets managed only four hits off lefthander Jesus Luzardo and a series of relievers, continuing on the second day of a new season an unsettling trend from last year. They are prone to getting shut down by lefties.
In 2022, on their way to 101 regular-season wins, the Mets batted .265 with a .337 OBP and .420 slugging percentage against righthanders. But against southpaws, those numbers dipped to .246, .322 and .394.
Friday marked their first chance to see if the new iteration of the team, featuring largely the same collection of position players, would fare any differently. It did not.
This time, they elected to credit Luzardo, who tossed 5 2⁄3 shutout innings, as opposed to considering the possibility of a fundamental flaw.
“Whether he throws between his legs, he’s going to be hard,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We knew coming into this series how good he’s capable of being. We saw it multiple times last year. You see why they’re so high on him.”
Pete Alonso added: “He did a really good job of throwing chase pitches that looked like driveable ones. He got us to chase when he got a quick contact out, he was able to do so. He had everything working. Tough night to hit.”
Mark Canha said: “He’s not the young pitcher just with a great arm like he used to be. He has some confidence now. He kind of has a method to the madness and he knows what he’s trying to do as a pitcher.”
Canha knows better than most, having witnessed Luzardo’s evolution as his Athletics teammate in 2019-21 and as an NL East opponent in 2022-23.
Luzardo was a high-end pitching prospect upon reaching the majors as a 21-year-old, but after a couple of seasons of ineffectiveness and injuries, Oakland dealt him to Miami — for Starling Marte, actually — in 2021.
This version of Luzardo is better than the version Canha played with.
“He had the big arm always, but I think he just as a young player, you’re trying to impress and you’re trying to throw really hard,” Canha said of Luzardo, who is under the Marlins’ control through 2026. “Now he has the big arm and he’s locating and he’s doing things. He knows how to use his arm and how it plays, how he can utilize his pitches in certain zones. It makes him tough. You gotta take advantage of mistakes, because there aren’t that many.”
Luzardo did not allow a baserunner until the fourth inning, when Marte singled. Overall, he worked around a pair of hits and four walks, striking out five. He stifled the Mets with a well-balanced four-pitch mix, including a fastball that reached 99.7 mph.
The Mets’ best chance came when they loaded the bases in the sixth, forcing Luzardo out of the game in favor of righthander JT Chargois. Alonso rocketed a line drive to left-center that centerfielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. chased down to end the inning.
Facing a lefthander, Showalter did what he could with the pieces that he had, including plugging in Tommy Pham and Tomas Nido in place of Daniel Vogelbach and Omar Narvaez, respectively.
When Miami went to its bullpen in the eighth, Vogelbach had a pinch-hit double to medium-depth centerfield, where Chisholm, a recently converted second baseman, failed to catch it. Pinch runner Tim Locastro replaced him, but Marte lined out to right on a batted ball with an expected batting average of .890. Jorge Soler made a sliding catch, saving what would have been the tying run to help Miami escape.
“We did get some situations where it looked like we could’ve broke the game open,” Canha said. “We were just one hit shy there in certain situations.”
Peterson allowed eight hits and a walk in five innings. He nearly let the game get away from him at several points — his only perfect inning came in the fourth — but limited the Marlins to one run. That came on Soler’s homer to lead off the second.
“I liked the fact that he only had one walk,” Showalter said. “That’s probably why he was able to survive. He made them earn what they had.”
Miami added an insurance run in the eighth. Righthander John Curtiss, making his Mets debut, allowed a home run by Chisholm for a 2-0 Marlins lead.
Alonso homered in the ninth off lefthander A.J. Puk, his former University of Florida teammate, whom he had faced in “at least 83 at-bats [during] scrimmages.” But that was all they managed.
Showalter was happy to see Alonso’s hard contract, that Peterson pitched well and that he didn’t use any of his three relievers from a day earlier.
“Other than losing the game,” he said, “some good things happened.”