Three Days In Miami (Games 1-3)

Wright's HR

David Wright: Strikeout Prone. Also, Homer Prone.

So the New York Mets opened up the baseball season in Miami. You can find specific game recaps in other places (Amazin’ Avenue, FanGraphs, ESPN, whatever), but I’d like to share a few big thoughts on each game.

Game #1 – 04/01/11

NYM 2 – FLO 6   (0-1)

The New York Mets lost on Opening Day to the Marlins, and fairly decisively. Josh Johnson took a no-hitter into the seventh, the Mets bats never really got going, and Mike Pelfrey looked shaky throughout. Perhaps it is the pressure of being THE NUMBER ONE STARTER, perhaps it is just that Mike Pelfrey is simply an average pitcher, but Big Pelf just doesn’t match up against a guy like Josh Johnson. Double J is just a little too awesome sometimes.

There were two managerial decisions that made me a little uncomfortable – the first was, of course, starting Willie Harris in left field and batting him second. As the series goes on – we’ll see that just maybe Terry Collins is smarter than I am, and that Willie Harris not only should have made the team, but should be starting. Then again, the season is still young, and the sample size is still small. The second one was pinch-hitting for Josh Thole late in this game. I know there’s no real faith in Thole to hit lefties – but the guy deserves to have the chance to hit all pitchers. He doesn’t have enough MLB plate appearances to say that he CAN’T hit lefties. Regardless, his eye is too good to pull him from the lineup. When in doubt, bet on OBP.

At any rate, the first loss of the year was a bit draining. Could have been a bad omen for a bad team.

Game #2 – 04/02/11

NYM 6 – FLO 4   (1-1)

Proving that this team can fight, the Mets blew a lead in the ninth, but held on to win in the tenth, giving the team the first win of the season. David Wright knocked the team’s first HR of the season, and Jon Niese recovered from a shaky start to post a solid quality start. While Niese only struck out three guys, he only walked one and kept the ball in the park, which was key given the way the ball was flying out to right field all weekend.

K-Rod, making his first appearance of the season, gave up a big RBI when he should’ve been saving the game. Francisco Rodriguez is far from automatic, and this certainly won’t be the last time he blows a save this year, but he’ll probably be better than this going forward. However, in a stroke of awesome luck, Frankie didn’t finish the game, keeping the team further away from his option vesting, which is a great bonus.

During this game, the whole team was firing on all cylinders, with the exceptions of K-Rod and Lucas Duda, who posted an 0-4. This one is just as the team drew it up, scoring enough runs to live despite the team’s imperfect pitching and mediocre defense. If you can’t start the season with a win, this is about as good of a second game as you could ask for.

Game #3 – 04/03/11

NYM 9 – FLO 2   (2-1)

The rout. Javier Vasquez pitched terribly, and the Mets piled it on early. The porous Marlin defense stretched the lead from scary to insurmountable. And R.A. Dickey proved that 2011 could turn out a whole lot like 2010, at least as far as his performance is concerned. The knuckleballer (and true staff ace, in my opinion) struck out seven and allowed one single unearned run. He’s pretty much the awesomest.

Willie Harris, meanwhile, hit a homer, stole a base, cured cancer, and saved a kitten from a burning building. I still don’t think I’m wrong about him, but I’ll be thrilled if I am. Ike Davis continued a hot start by homering as well, putting his slugging percentage in this series to something north of a zillion. No new injuries, every player on the active roster has played (except Chris Young), and most of them have played well…a great opening series for the team.

Next up: the invincible, invulnerable, and undefeated Philadelphia Phillies. Another series win would be a beautiful thing.

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