It was the second ever Opening Day at Citi Field and I took the afternoon off from work. Does it get better than that? Apparently so, as the Mets put a whooping on Josh Johnson and a sloppy Marlins team to the tune of seven runs to one.
Before we get into the recap, a quick note about how we do things for the benefit of those who weren't around at the end of last season. If you're looking for a traditional AP-style recap, scroll down a bit and click the "Traditional Recap" link which will always be included beneath our writeup. We don't really summarize games that way, and I suspect that you're probably here because of that. If you're looking for mainstream coverage of the Mets then you probably came to the wrong place, but I would still encourage you to stick around and get a feel for us before deciding it's not for you.
Johan Santana made his third-straight Opening Day start for the Mets, and while he allowed just one run over six innings he wasn't particularly dominant in doing so. His changeup was occasionally brilliant but oftentimes had very little life, and he did seem to "telegraph" (per Keith Hernandez) it with irritating frequency. Nevertheless, he kept the Mets in the game long enough for the Marlins to fall apart (for their fins to fall off), and overall the performance was good not great, which I suppose is in keeping with the Santana we saw in the second half of 2009.
With Santana struggling in the sixth inning and approaching the arbitrary 100-pitch mark where pitchers' arms fall off, Jerry Manual naturally got Fernando Nieve up in the pen because, hey, you don't want to waste your big guns with 161 games left in the season, right? Santana allowed his one run in the sixth and left Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu on first and second, respectively, to end the frame. The Mets put up a four spot in the sixth, so when Nieve finally entered the game in the top of the seventh the game was already 6-1 and there wasn't much for him to damage. He wound up allowing a single and a double while striking out two in two scoreless innings, setting the stage for Francisco Rodriguez's dramatic 1-2-3 ninth inning that "preserved" the Mets' 7-1 victory.
The Mets' offense was surprisingly potent, banging out nine hits--including three doubles and a triple--plus four walks and an HBP. Two of the walks came surprisingly from Jeff Francoeur and Gary Matthews Jr.; the former was surprising because he swings at everything, the latter because he isn't any good at baseball. But perhaps I'm being unfair to GMJ, who, despite utter futility for the past three seasons in Los Angeles, has possibly turned a corner with his 2-for-3 game on Monday. Or maybe it's just a sample size aberration given the vagaries of the "law" of small numbers. We'll just have to wait and see on that one.
The best news of the day was probably David Wright's solid game at the plate, as he followed up a solid spring with a big first game of the season, going 1-for-4 with a first-inning two-run home run and a third-inning walk. He already has 10% of his 2009 home run total.
Newcomers Jason Bay and Rod Barajas collected two hits apiece, with Bay legging out a triple in sixth (he would score) and Barajas knocking GMJ home with a double two batters later.
All told, lots to like and very little about which to gripe. Another fine Opening Day for the Mets, who have earned themselves at least one day of favorable back-page headlines.
Wright hits a homer; was last year a dream?
And Johan is totally healthy, I deem
Bay provided his share of production
And bottom of lineup added hits, not suction
The Marlins showed that when it comes to the glove
Their talent is one only a mother could love
Nieve and K-Rod came on, shut the door
It's just one win: play like this, there'll be more
Big winners: Johan Santana, +21.8% WPA, David Wright, +17.3% WPA
Big losers: Alex Cora, -6.7% WPA, Mike Jacobs, -4.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wright two-run home run in first, +17.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Cantu RBI double in sixth, -12.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +24.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: +25.9% WPA
GWRBI!: David Wright
Nice job by Evan_S; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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