Starling Marte, Mark Canha start fast for Mets

WASHINGTON — Who said new Mets hitters are contractually required to start slow?

Years of agonizing disappointments — from Carlos Beltran in 2005 to Jason Bay in 2010 to duo Francisco Lindor and James McCann last year — might have lowered expectations for Starling Marte and Mark Canha in the offseason, but the first two games of this season suggest it’s okay to get excited again.

Marte accumulated two hits and three RBIs and Canha reached base four times on Friday as the Mets beat the Nationals 7-3 to win back-to-back games in the four-game season-opening series.

“It’s what every team in baseball tries to do — grind every shot,” manager Buck Showalter said before the game of the Mets’ redesigned roster. “Sometimes you don’t get a run, but you can win the inning.”

Well, the Mets are scoring a lot of runs, at least in part because they aggressively signed Canha to a two-year, $26.5 million contract and Marte to a four-year, $78 million deal before MLB entered the offseason suspension.

Starling Marte snaps a two-run RBI single in the sixth inning of the Mets' 7-3 win over the Nationals.
Starling Marte snaps a two-run RBI single in the sixth inning of the Mets’ 7-3 win over the Nationals.

Marte broke a 3-3 tie on Friday by following Brandon Nimmo’s leadoff triple with a double in the left field corner in the fourth inning. He added a two-out-of-two run single in the sixth, triggering “Let’s Go Mets” chants in the street stadium. The Mets ranked 28th in MLB last season with two outs and runners in goal position (.204).

Marte hasn’t delved into his toolbox yet to find the two biggest assets he’ll bring to the Mets — the rate at which he was able to steal 47 bases for the Marlins and Athletics in 2021 and the Gold Glove defense he’s bringing brought to the Pirates early in his career.

Marte was also in the middle of the action on opening day, with a single and an RBI as the leadoff hitter because Nimmo was out with a stiff neck.

Not that it should overshadow Canha, who had two hits in the opening game and was on base seven times in nine plate appearances.

“It always feels important to get off to a good start, especially on opening day and month one,” Canha said. “You want to show your new teammates that you will contribute and that you are valuable. I won’t pretend that a good start wasn’t important to me.” Starling Marte, Mark Canha start fast for Mets


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