Opening Tidbits: Shutouts a Specialty on Opening Day

With their latest Opening Day win over the Braves at Citi Field, 6-0, the Mets have now earned their eighth shutout on Opening Day, the last occurence coming on April 5, 2012, when their opponent was again those tomahawk-lovers from Atlanta with a 1-0 victory.

The Mets improved to 36-20 all-time for Opening Days, extending their major-league leading best percentage (.643) for season debuts. Considering they lost their first eight openers back in the woeful early ’60s, all the way to the first game ever played by the Montreal Expos on Opening Day in 1969, their subsequent record of 36-12 is quite remarkable.

The Mets are 21-8 all-time in home openers, 21-3 in the last 24 openers in New York, 4-1 when starting the season at Citi Field.

Noah Syndergaard became the third-youngest Mets starter on an Opening Day, at about 24 and a half years of age, older than two hurlers quite familiar to Mets fans who opened seasons with less days on their body clocks – Dwight Gooden in 1985, and Tom Seaver in 1968.

Syndergaard left the game with a blister on the top of his middle finger on his right hand after six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts. The 6’6″ righthander has now extended a personal scoreless string of 18 innings, dating back to his last 2016 regular season start (Sept. 27, at Miami) and including the seven whitewash innings he authored in the Wild Card game against San Francisco in the loss to the Giants last October.

The pitcher known as Thor also did not issue a walk, and neither did the three relievers who followed, Hansel Robles, Fernando Salas, and Robert Gsellman. The Mets led the majors last season with 21 walk-free games.

Syndergaard’s blister will push back his next start by one day. Manager Terry Collins noted in the post game pc that Gsellman will be moved up to Saturday to allow Syndergaard an extra day to heal.

“I’m not too concerned,” Syndergaard remarked after the game. “It’s just a little blister.”

It started affecting him as early as the second inning, burst in the fifth inning, and gave him some trouble in the sixth. That explained the early removal after just 86 pitches, 55 for strikes.

Syndergaard enjoyed his Opening Day experience, the seventh different Opening Day starter in the last seven years for the Mets, and the 26th pitcher ever to open a season for New York.

“It was awesome out there,” said baseball’s Thor. It was good to have a real competitive-based setting out there…the fans, especially the 7 Line. The crowd was really unbelievable.”

We’re sure Thor’s bleacher buddies appreciated the plug, too.

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