Happy home opener! The 14th season of modern major league baseball in the District of Columbia starts at 1:05 p.m. It’s the first Washington Nationals home opener I’ll be missing since 2005 due to starting a new job. Priorities!
As it’s the first Nats vs. New York Mets series of the 2018 season which means that Eric McErlain (not pictured) is here for a Q&A. Eric, the all-time leader in guest prognosticator appearances, makes his sixth go round for his beloved Mets. The 4-1 Amazins come to face “the dreaded Nats” losers of two in a row in Cobb County and sitting in second place. Let’s go:
WFY: How was the Mets offseason? I kind of recall you tweeting you weren’t really pleased with the general manager.
EM:At one point, yes, but by the time it all wrapped up, I was quite pleased. They brought back Jay Bruce, and added Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez at RF, 3B and 1B. That shores up the offense quite nicely (with Gonzalez at a massive discount). Anthony Swarzek was a nice bullpen pickup, while Jason Vargas looked like a great way to shore up the back end of the rotation, they’re both hurt now, but expected back before too long.
WFY: It’s been said, “flags fly forever” but DC fans don’t really know. Well, maybe a few centenarians. Which is better, catching lightning in a bottle and winning a pennant then regressing to ownership underachievement or constant contending?
EM:Nothing beats winning. And nothing beats winning it all. I loved the 2015 Mets, but it was nothing like 1986. However you get there, there’s nothing like it. If and when it happens, don’t complain.
WFY: Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Frat Harvey – who is healthy? Is the Mets strategy “let’s hope enough of them stay healthy” and we’ll hit enough to have a shot?
EM:For now, everyone is healthy except for Vargas, the free agent pickup. Thor, deGrom and Harvey have all looked good in a single start. Steven Matz, not so much. NB: the Mets have a pair of potential starters in the bullpen in Seth Lugo and Robert Gesellman. Zack Wheeler, acquired for Carlos Beltran a few seasons back, is laboring in AAA Las Vegas. After all the injuries the past two seasons, it seems prudent.
WFY: How has the first week gone? Nats fans were very excited four games in, but during game 5, our “this kind of feels like 2015” feeling from spring training came back.
EM:Oh, FFS, it’s the second week of the season! It’ll be ok. The Mets are 3-1 as I write this. The new manager, Mickey Callaway, is hitting the pitcher 8th and managing the bullpen in a brand new way. A change was needed, and he’s providing it.
WFY: IIRC, you gave up on the Mets old roommates, the Jets. Could you foresee yourself doing the same with Mets?
EM:Coincidentally, the Jets called to ask me back last week. I’d never give up on the Mets.
WFY: Any changes to Citi Field this offseason? It just assume the fiddled with the fence again.
WFY: Are you hitting the Nats home opener? When is the 7-Line Army busing down to Nationals Park?
EM:No, it’s too cold. I’m leaving for Iceland on Friday morning (not kidding).
T7LA arrives April 7! Cry havoc, and loose the Mookies of war!
WFY: Time for the annual Islanders arena update!
EM:The Isles will need to leave Barclays, but the new arena won’t be ready right away. Will they play at the old barn in Uniondale? Who knows? I’ll believe the Isles are playing at Belmont when it actually happens.
WFY: Please predict the final NL East standings.
EM:Nats by 10
WFY: For the record, I think the Nats take the division with 92 wins and the Mets make the Wild Card play-in game.