Worcester, MA (SYRACUSE METS) – The Syracuse Mets started the 2023 season off in frustrating fashion, stranding 13 runners on base in an 11-2 loss at the Worcester Red Sox on a gloomy March afternoon in the heart of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The game was marked by on-and-off rain throughout and chilly temperatures – the thermometer at first pitch read 51 degrees and dropped ten degrees by the final pitch of the ballgame.
Early on, things got off to an excellent start for Syracuse (0-1) both offensively and on the mound. First, Tony Dibrell tossed two scoreless innings to begin his Triple-A debut on the mound for the Mets. Then, the bats for the Mets got rolling in the top of the third inning. Carlos Cortes and Danny Mendick both slapped singles into left field to start the frame, putting two runners on base with nobody out. Brett Baty then grounded into a double play, advancing Cortes to third and leaving Syracuse in danger of going scoreless once again. It wouldn’t happen as Francisco Álvarez smacked a double off the 22-foot-high wall in right field, plating Cortes and giving the Mets an early 1-0 lead. Álvarez finished his 2023 debut 2-for-4 at the plate with a single, a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. The 21-year-old even stole a base in the top of the fifth inning. Álvarez did not steal a base last season.
From there, Worcester (1-0) took command of the game, scoring two runners in the third and four fateful runs in the fourth to grab a 6-1 lead seemingly in the blink of an eye. In the third, the pair of runs came at a dramatic time. With Jarren Duran on base and two outs, David Hamilton smacked a two-run home run over the right-centerfield wall to boost the WooSox to a 2-1 lead. Hamilton was making his Triple-A debut after spending the entirety of the 2022 season with Double-A Portland. The shortstop would finish the game 3-for-5 at the plate with a stolen base and a run scored.
In the fourth, a slow drip of runs made it a 6-1 game and knocked Dibrell off the mound. After Enmanuel Valdez struck out to start the inning, consecutive singles from Jorge Alfaro and Daniel Palka put two runners on base with one out. Then, Niko Goodrum lined a sharp single off the base of the center-field wall, scoring Alfaro and advancing Palka to second. It was now a 3-1 game, and it was about to get worse. First, Álvarez threw poorly to first base on an attempted pickoff throw, with Palka prancing all the way home and Goodrum moving to third on the error. Then, a wild pitch from Dibrell allowed Goodrum to score and make it a 5-1 lead for the home team. Finally, Greg Allen completed the painful inning for Syracuse by crushing a home run to right-center field, making it a 6-1 game and officially sending Dibrell to an early shower.
From there, the frustration would mount for the Mets. Syracuse put at least one runner on base in every single inning but the eighth, yet they would only score one more time in the game. Jonathan Araúz provided an RBI groundout in the seventh that scored Álvarez, but that would be the only other tally the Mets would get in the game. Syracuse left multiple runners on base in four different innings, highlighted by leaving the bases loaded in the sixth inning while down, 6-1. Brett Baty came up with the bags full and two outs, yet he struck out to end the frame and end the Mets’ best chance to get back in the game.
Worcester added single runs in the sixth and seventh, followed by three runs in the eighth to officially put the game in the win column. By the end of the game, seven different WooSox players drove in runs en route to victory. While the Mets could not take advantage of all their runners on base, the Red Sox certainly did. Worcester stranded just three runners on base in the game as they cruised to their first victory of the season.
Garrett Whitlock started for the Red Sox, making a rehab assignment start as the Big Leaguer prepares to return to Boston. The lanky right-hander allowed six hits and one earned run in four innings, walking just one batter while fanning six. Five of his six strikeouts were swinging.
Syracuse continues its season-opening series at the Worcester Red Sox on Saturday afternoon. The second game in the series is set for a 4:05 p.m. first pitch on Saturday afternoon. Left-hander Joey Lucchesi is scheduled to start for the Mets, opposed by left-hander Brandon Walter for the WooSox.