One down, 161 to go, and while most of us know better than to let panic set in as John Buck’s grand slam sailed out of the ballpark, we couldn’t help fight the feeling that it was all so familiar. Sigh.
Every game has positives you can take from it, yes even losses. Here are two that I felt were worth considering.
Carlos Beltran – First and foremost was the play of Carlos Beltran. Not only did he drive in the Mets’ first run of the new season when he lined a double off Josh Johnson in the seventh inning, but he also looked pretty good running around the bases. Defensively, Beltran looked like he’d been playing right field his entire career. He moved extremely well out there and made a nice play charging the ball and powering a perfect throw to the plate. Good news all around.
Brad Emaus – The winner of the lamest second base battle in franchise history, didn’t do anything of note at the plate, but he did show me enough in playing the position to make me wonder why everyone was so worried about his defense in the first place. He mad several nice plays including a diving stab to prevent a hit, and looked fluid while helping to complete a double play. If he can hit as well as he did in the minors, still a big if, he’ll be more than adequate until Reese Havens takes his rightful place at second base late this season or next spring.
Plenty of negative vibes, but these were the most noteworthy.
Mike Pelfrey – On the flip-side, there were a lot of awful performances for the Mets last night, spear-headed by our quasi-ace Mike Pelfrey. An ace he’s not and an ace he will never be. I don’t know what was worse, Omar Minaya proclaiming Pelfrey the number two pitcher in December of 2008, or Sandy Alderson proclaiming him the ace in December of 2010. The worst thing about Pelfrey may not be last night’s start, but how it will effect him emotionally. His ruts always came in bunches and always began with a particularly bad effort. When the dust settled, Pelfrey couldn’t even complete five innings. He was charged with five earned runs on four hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings, while striking out two. Maybe it was just the Marlins and this was nothing to worry about. He has a 5.63 ERA in 13 career starts against them, but it’s not going to get any easier facing up against Roy Halladay next Thursday at Citizens Bank Park.
David Wright - If Wright’s goal this season was to cut down on the strikeouts and make more contact, he surely got off to a fishy start last night. After whiffing 161 times in 2010, a career worst, Wright has said that he is dedicated to putting the high whiff totals behind him this season. I’ll cut him some slack because of who he batted against, but he did look particularly bad on two strikeouts that capped off his 0-4 start to the season.
Pedro Beato – You look at the boxscore and you’ll wonder why I’m even picking on Beato after he tossed two scoreless innings. I’ll tell you why. Although Beato only allowed three hits, he was getting crushed. His blazing fastball was flat and they were teeing off on it. He was spared a disastrous outing only because of two huge grabs in the outfield including one that was barely contained by the stadium, and two diving stops in the infield including a laser by Hanley Ramirez that was turned for a double play. This was one story where the stats didn’t tell the story, but an observant eye on the game did. It could have been his first game jitters, remember Beato never pitched above Double-A before last night.