Todd Frazier drives in three as Mets beat Cards, improve to 2-0
Todd Frazier’s Opening Day came with more hoopla than most. He had four at-bats, one hit and 24 ticket requests. He was the local guy — Toms River, New Jersey, if you haven’t heard — playing in his first season opener for a local team, so there was an extra bit of excitement for Frazier and the family.
Game two, a 6-2 Mets win over the Cardinals on Saturday, was different. No hoopla, just baseball. And just as much fun.
“I’m excited every game. I’m one of those guys that’s happy, emotional. Today was great,” Frazier said. “I was happy to get another win, and everybody at home gets to watch me because we’re on SNY.”
Frazier had nearly as many RBIs (three) as ticket requests (four) during his 1-for-3 day and was in the middle of most of the Mets’ productive, successful afternoon at Citi Field.
He hooked a two-run double into the leftfield corner in the first inning to put the Mets up immediately and for good. His seventh-inning sacrifice fly provided an insurance run as Mickey Callaway navigated the late innings of a somewhat close game for the first time as manager.
Frazier also filled the error column of his stat sheet — a throwing miscue on a bouncer to third — made a pair of smooth barehanded plays and got hit on the left hand by a pitch. He remained in the game after being checked.
Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d’Arnaud homered for the Mets.
Cespedes’ came on a curveball that he pulled over the leftfield wall.
D’Arnaud’s homer, the Mets’ first of the year, made Callaway look good for putting him in the lineup at catcher. Kevin Plawecki reached base four times Thursday, but Callaway went with d’Arnaud in a lineup that he said he decided on even before the first game.
“No matter what you choose that day, it’s a good outcome,” Callaway said. “That makes it easy on the whole team.”
For the second time in as many games, the Mets worked a struggling St. Louis starter. This time it was Michael Wacha, who allowed four runs in 4 2⁄3 innings.
Righthander Jacob deGrom, fighting a high pitch count throughout, lasted 5 2⁄3 innings, striking out seven and allowing one run. He struck out five batters his first time through the Cardinals’ order, then struck out only two of his next 13.
Half of the four hits deGrom gave up were bouncers to third. He said he struggled to get a good grip on the ball because of the cool and dry conditions.
Callaway called on three relievers who followed a similar pattern: escaping a jam in one inning and starting the next. Righthanders Robert Gsellman, Anthony Swarzak and Jeurys Familia stranded all four of their inherited runners.
“They probably need to be ready to do that,” Callaway said. “It can be an effective weapon for guys to finish an inning, put out a fire, and come out and pitch [some more]. Having not done it before can be a little bit of a challenge in the way you’re approaching things in the dugout, staying locked in, things like that.
“Some people are really good at it. Some people aren’t as good at it. We still need to find those type of things out.”
Familia finished with a four-out, 30-pitch save after Swarzak left the game with a sore left oblique. He is day-to-day, but his sudden exit forced Callaway into another personal first: making a double switch.
“Something I’ve never had to do,” he said. “Then I had to do it on the fly, out on the mound with an injured player. I’m glad I got that right.”