The Mets squandered a good start from young Jon Niese and fell to the Florida Marlins 3-1 in front of a mere 25,000 fans on Thursday night.
Jon Niese wasn’t spectacular against the Fish, but he delivered a solid performance that was a far cry better than John Maine the night before. In six innings pitched he allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks. Technically, Niese delivered a quality start, but it was against a bad Marlins team and I‘ll wait to see how he does against stiffer competition as the season wears on before getting too excited. Don’t get me wrong, Niese had his moments, but someone needs to step up and be this team’s number two pitcher and so far we haven’t had any takers. Still, this was a positive development., and even Rod Barajas came away impressed,
“He pounded the strike zone. He faced some pretty good hitters, he did some good things and you have to try to build on that. I caught him in spring, and I always said he has some good stuff… and not just good stuff, but special stuff and the ability to be a real good pitcher at this level for a long time… He’s got a nice, straight fastball, he’s got that cut fastball, he’s got a good curve ball and his change up’s good, and he can throw a two-seamer. He’s got a variety of pitches he can go to and, for me, they’re all average– to above-average major-league pitches, and once he’s able to get a good feel for every single one of those pitches he’s going to be tough.”
A glowing endorsement to say the least…
The bullpen did well, but they are getting used heavily to begin the season. Fernando Nieve has already pitched in three straight games. Pedro Feliciano looked good against righthanded hitting, and Ryota Igarashi pitched a shutout inning. Nice job by everybody and no complaints here.
Offensively, the Mets were very flat against Marlins retread Nate Robertson who kept the Mets hitters off balance all night. David Wright went 0-4 and is now batting .200. Fernando Tatis went hitless as well.
Angel Pagan and Jeff Francoeur had two hits each. Frenchy starts 2010 much in the same way as he finished 2009, as the team’s hottest hitter. In addition to batting .400, he has a couple of walks which should keep the saber-heads off his back for about 5 minutes. I actually read five recaps last night and not one of them mentioned Francoeur who still gets no love.
The Mets had a couple of opportunities to break the game open in the second and fourth innings, but ended up leaving two runners on base each time. (Shades of 2008-2009?)
Jerry Manuel believes that the team just needs two of his hitters to get hot at the same time… Really? That’s pretty funny coming from the man who sent a sizzling hot Chris Carter to AAA and decided to keep Mike Jacobs and Fernando Tatis who are now a combined 1-14 with five strikeouts.
Remarkably, the Mets failed to draw even one walk with, even with the usually wild Robertson on the mound. We sure made some mediocre to bad pitching look really good last night, and you never want to see that. Robertson? Badenhop? Nunez? Are you kidding me?
I could go with Jon Niese here, but instead I’m giving it to the bullpen for pitching three scoreless innings and giving the Mets a chance to comeback and win the game. Sadly, that did not happen and we start the season by losing our first series to those pesky Marlins.
The Mets should have an easier go of it this weekend as the Washington Nationals march into town. Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez will make their season debuts, and thankfully we’ll have Johan Santana back again to close out the series on Sunday. LGM