This one was over in the first inning, after Johan Santana served up a grand slam to Josh Willingham. The Mets lose back to back series to two teams that most consider to be cellar dwellers, however it’s the Mets who occupy that spot to begin the season.
Johan Santana came into todays game with a 6-1 mark against the Washington Nationals, but got totally owned by a Nats lineup that didn’t include all-star Ryan Zimmerman. After a bases clearing triple in the first was overturned into a grand slam by Josh Willingham, the Mets were pretty much cooked, and so was Johan. He lasted five innings allowing five earned runs on five hits and three walks. Shake this one off Johan!
Before the game, the Mets called up reliever Raul Valdes who made his MLB debut and did a fine job holding the Nats scoreless for two innings The Bullpen continues to do a great job. It figures right? I mean we finally get the bullpen fixed and everything else goes to hell in a hand-basket.
The Mets showed some signs of life in the ninth inning when Frankie Rodriguez hit yesterday’s villain Willie Harris with a pitch in the ninth inning. I don’t believe it was a purpose pitch, but Harris seemed to think it was and reacted with some choice expletives. K-Rod responded with a profanity-filled volley of his own, but before things could get worse both benches cleared, but mostly to break things up. No punches were thrown.
Mike Jacobs provided he only offense for Mets when he blasted his 100th career homer, a two-run shot off Brian Bruney in the eighth. He would bring the Mets to within 3 runs, but the Mets would go quietly in the eighth and ninth innings without so much as a peep.
I want to add that I’m loving what I’ve seen so far from Rod Barajas this season. He brings a toughness behind the plate that I haven’t see since Lo Duca left. I love the way he got right back up after being steamrolled by Adam Dunn in the first inning, and then got even when he tagged Dunn out later in the game with the throw to the plate from Francoeur. He’s as tough as nails (no no that Nails). And despite the bad luck, he has hit some balls right on the button only to have them caught including another hard hit ball today.
Former Met Livan Hernandez threw seven shutout innings against the Mets. Wouldn’t it be great if we can get one of our starters to throw seven innings at all? Who knew that Livan would actually outshine every Mets pitcher in the first week of the season?
The Mets end their first homestand of the season with a 2-6 record after losing their first two series of the season to both the Marlins and Nationals. This was not the fast start everyone was looking for in April.
Let the Jerry Manuel watch begin.
The turning point became painfully clear when Josh Willingham turned on a 88 mph Santana fastball and made the score 4-0 in the first. Ironically, if the Mets hadn’t lowered the centerfield fence, the ball wouldn’t have been a round tripper. At least that renovation paid dividends for somebody… too bad it wasn’t the Mets.
Jeff Francoeur gets the nod again with two more hits, including his first triple and another walk (he has four now). He also made a powerful 300 foot throw to the plate; an absolute laser that was right on the mark to nail Adam Dunn at at home for the inning ending double play (watch it here). He is batting .476 with a 1.544 OPS, but he still finds himself batting sixth in the lineup. Why God, why?
The Mets head west to take on the Colorado Rockies beginning Tuesday with John Maine on the mound to get things started. Strap yourselves in for some mile-high excitement.