Meet the Mets
Lucas Duda hit a pair of home runs, David Wright hit one out to right center field and added three hits and R.A. Dickey was effective, if a little wild, as the Mets defeated the Braves 4-2 on Saturday in their second game of the 2012 season. Dickey "weathered" the storm, fighting off some cool, breezy weather that made his knuckleball dance out of the strike zone a bit more than usual (along with what seemed to be a tight strike zone). Wright and Duda were the offensive stars, as they ripped long home runs. Duda's first home run went to deep center field and wouldn't have been a home run in Citi Field's 2009-11 configuration. His second, a line drive to straightaway right, certainly would've been. Wright's bomb to right center was a no-doubter that cleared both the new and old walls, landing in the visiting bullpen. Speaking of the bullpen, the Mets' relievers did an excellent job closing this one out. The new and improved Bobby Parnell threw a perfect inning with a strikeout, Jon Rauch tossed a quick 8th inning and Frank Francisco allowed two singles before striking out Matt Diaz to save the victory.
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The Mets send lefty Jon Niese to the hill looking to complete the opening weekend sweep in his 2012 debut. Game time is at 1:10 PM and the Braves will trot out lefty Mike Minor. As usual, you can catch all of the action locally on SNY and WFAN.
Niese and the Mets officially announced the lefty's 5-year contract extension on Saturday, a move that Mets fans should be really happy about. The team controls Niese for 7 seasons, if they exercise both team options at the end of the deal, at what seems to be a relatively bargain basement price point.
CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis made his big league debut and went 2-4 with a pair of singles. His first hit was an infield single that replays showed he may not have actually beat out. However, he laced a clean line drive to right field later on for his second hit. As Keith would say, "they're all line drives in the box score the next day".
Around the NL East
The new look Miami Marlins finally won a game, beating up on the Reds 8-3 at Great American Ballpark. Hanley Ramirez and John Buck homered and Omar Infante fell a single short of the cycle.
Alex Presley hit a walk-off infield single in the bottom of the 10th against Joe Blanton, defeating the Phillies 2-1. Cliff Lee started for the Phils and did Cliff Lee things for 6 innings but you're not going to win games if you don't score runs.
The Nationals scored five runs in the 8th inning, leading them to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs. Gio Gonzalez got knocked around for 4 runs on 7 hits over 3.2 innings in a shaky Nats debut.
Around the Majors
It's safe to say that Josh Beckett was not ITBSOHL on Saturday, as the Tigers teed off for five (5!!!) home runs over 4.2 innings. The Tigers dominated the Red Sox 10-0, even after losing SP Doug Fister just 3.2 innings into this one. Fister is headed to the DL with a strained costochondral muscle in his left side.
Down 8-2 in the ninth inning, the Yankees pushed four runs across the plate, three of them on a "rally-killing" Nick Swisher home run but they fell short, losing 8-6 to the Rays. Hiroki Kuroda made his Yankee debut in this one and struggled, allowing 6 runs on 8 hits over 5.2 innings. He walked 4 while striking out just 2.
Who had April 7th in the "Ozzie Guillen apologizes for saying something stupid" pool? The Marlins' manager ruffled feathers this time by telling Time Magazine in an interview that he loves Fidel Castro. Guillen spent Saturday evening apologizing to the Marlins' beat reporters. Hey, maybe Ozzie was just trying to get in on Castro's good side so he could sign some of their players.
Rockies' lefty Jamie Moyer made his triumphant return to the majors last night but he fell to the Astros 7-3. The 49-year old Moyer became the oldest pitcher to appear in a game since 1980 when a 54-year old Minnie Minoso pitched a game for the White Sox. He tossed five innings, allowing 4 runs, including a pair of home runs.