Well, the season is underway. I usually like to start an article off with a nice husky compound sentence, but after the first trial run of the rotation and change, the outlook on our Metropolitans is even murkier than it was before the season started. A week ago it seemed like this year would be a complete waste of time. The Mets appeared to be in the middle of a downward spiral as the rest of the NL East was celebrating a growth spurt. Starting the season off on a four game win streak can turn doubters into believers. The fact of the matter is, our team has a wonderfully long season ahead of them. Although it hurts to lose two in a row against the Nationals after starting off so hot, we saw flashes of brilliance in those first couple games. Baseball is a game of inches, even centimeters, and if luck and health is on our side than there is the potential to make a splash. At this point I am simply throwing my assumptions and predictions out the window and just taking it game by game. So let’s analyze what happened during our first look at the rotation and see what’s truly brewing…
Game 1 – Home Opener vs. The Braves – Mets Win 1-0
Johan Santana vs. Tommy Hanson
W – Ramirez (1-0) L – Hanson (0-1) S – Francisco (1) Attendance – 42,080
YoYo’s fastball had a little less mph behind it, but the guy is a trained veteran who can more than make up for his slip in velocity. At one point he retired 12 straight and that aint’ too shabby considering it has been about 19 months since he last pitched in the big show. D wright drove in the winning run with a single in the 6th and the freshly constructed bullpen cleaned up the rest. Although it hurts to lose Andres Torres day one, it was certainly a pleasant way to start the season especially with the Yanks taking a loss. Also, whenever Rauch walks away from baseball, he should buy himself some tights and pursue a career as a professional wrestler.
Game 2 – vs. The Braves – Mets Win 4-2
R.A. Dickey vs. Jair Jurrjens
W – Dickey (1-0) L – Jurrjens (0-1) S – Francisco (2) Attendance – 39,526
Besides allowing a 2 run shot to Martin Prado, Dickey pitched a gem to secure the victory and Franky Francisco earned his second save in as many days. I simply don’t understand how so called MLB analysts don’t see the overwhelming value in our favorite knuckler. I’m not saying that people think he sucks, but he is viewed as a middle of the pack starter. In reality he is an inning eating beast who can calmly pitch -with men on base, and is a lock to own a sub-4 ERA by the end of the year. Shockingly, Thole kept up his hot hitting, but more importantly the Dude took off and absolutely blasted two bombs. I was at the game, and there was no doubt they were dingers from the crack of the bat. The Torres injury opened up space for the handsome Kirk Nieuwenhuis who managed two hits. To be perfectly honest, he looked terribly uncomfortable out there but I guess that is to be expected. Regardless, 2-0 baby! As a side note, Lucas Duda looks pretty intimidating in his picture…
Jon Niese vs. Mike Minor
W – Niese (1-0) L – Minor (0-1) S – Francisco (3) Attendance – 27,855
Jon Niese and his statuesque nose kept the streak alive, and even had us salivating over a nono. Unfortunately he imploded in the 7th inning, but eventually things settled down and the bullpen finished it out before serious damage could be done. The one thing that really grinds my gears is the fact that Terry Collins said he would not have left Niese in, even if he made it through the 7th without giving up a hit. Are you crazy!?! I would have been happy to have an excuse to sit behind the dugout and verbally berate the guy, but how can you remove Niese when he has the potential to put together the first no-hitter in Met’s history. Tejada found himself in beast mode, collecting four hits, while the D-Wright and Murph Dog core continued to do work. Ruben supposedly bulked up a bit in the offseason and he finally looks like he reached puberty. Once again Francisco closed it out, making it three in a row. At this point a 162-0 record looks doable..just kidding. However the hopes and dreams of a playoff appearance were starting to return.
Game 4 – vs. The Nationals – Mets Win 4-3
Mike Pelfrey vs. Edwin Jackson
W – Rauch (1-0) L – Rodriguez (0-1) Attendance – 23,970
Uh oh. Even the most optimistic fan in the world had to think that classic Pelf would come along and get absolutely rocked to end the winning streak. Big Pelf didn’t pitch a gem but he kept the Mets in the game even though he didn’t have his good stuff that day. Although the Nationals took an early 3-0 lead, they tied it up with a Wright RBI single and a two run shot from Nieuwenhuis. Both offenses settled down after the 4th inning until Murphy stepped up in the 9th and hit a walk off single, driving in Ruben Tejada for the big W. Up until this point in the season I got the impression that Daniel Murphy was attempting to step into a leadership role. After this game winner it became crystal clear that he has the confidence and skill set to lead the Mets into battle.
Game 5 – vs. The Nationals – Mets Lose 6-2
Dillon Gee vs. Ross Detwiler
W – Detwiler (1-0) L – Gee (0-1) Attendance – 26,927
Gee was coming off a great rookie campaign and is now the proud owner of a beautiful beardish looking appendage, but he couldn’t get the job done against Detwiler, the 6th overall pick in the 2007 draft. Detwiler got out of a jam in the first with no outs and two men on, and cruised through four more innings without giving up any runs. Ronny Cedeno was the only one who had a hot bat, collecting three hits. Gee wasn’t terrible, but the undefeated season came to an end. Parnell and Batista also gave up a run, although it didn’t matter much. Clearly the Mets would lose eventually but it still hurt.
So what’s the verdict? I don’t want to come off as a bs artist or a philosopher, so I’ll make it short and sweet. Johan should be able to chug through five solid innings every start and if everyone else can keep it together than the staff isn’t half bad. Clearly the lineup has some potency since a number of guys showed improvements at the dish and Ike Davis didn’t even collect a hit in his first 5 games. So as I said before, let’s have some fun with it and take it game by game. Dedicate all of your booing towards Jason Bay and keep your fingers crossed!