Mets Game 1: Loss to Marlins
So much for the longest-running Opening Day winning streak … not even Terry Collins’ speech could inspire the Mets to win.
Marlins starter Josh Johnson was flat-out dominant, and Mike Pelfrey was not. Big Pelf struggled from the first inning, when he barely escaped a 25-pitch frame stranding runners on second and third. He fought through a lack of stuff and command until the fourth, when John Buck blasted a grand-slam to put the Fish up 4-zip.
Josh Johnson had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning, despite the fact Willie Harris was batting second in the lineup. Of course, it was Harris who broke it up, leading off the seventh with a double.
Pelfrey was struggling to stay on top of the ball — meaning, his fingers were under the ball toward and often at the release point — and as a result he got little sink. Although many of his pitches were down in the zone, they had little downward movement; they stayed flat. A few times he looked almost sidearm, and on those pitches the ball, predictably, ran up in the zone — such as the gopher ball to Buck.
Pedro Beato made his MLB debut and did OK, allowing 3 hits in 2 scoreless innings and a fairly efficient 25 pitches. Something I hadn’t noticed during spring training is that he allows his hands to get far away from his body during the leg lift, which throws off his balance a bit. If I were his coach, I’d have him keep the hands closer to his body throughout the leg lift to stay more compact and balanced, and in turn, keep his momentum on an efficient, straight line toward home plate.
In the bottom of the 7th, a Fish runner broke for second base with Gaby Sanchez at the plate. Sanchez squared to bunt, holding the bat at the eye level of catcher Mike Nickeas. As the pitch came in, Sanchez pulled the bat back, keeping it at that same level — in Nickeas’ line of vision. Nickeas blinked and flinched slightly — I’m guessing he lost sight of the ball — and the ball glanced off his glove and went behind him as the runner slid into second safely. Kids: what Sanchez did was completely within the rules, and was a great example of what you can do as a batter to help the baserunner get to second base on an attempted steal.
Speaking of Nickeas, he is really “noisy” behind the plate. Meaning, he moves around quite a bit, both before and while the pitch is coming in. In early March, I mentioned that this issue could cause him to lose strikes.
Logan Morrison greeted Taylor Buchholz with a solo homer to right field, and saluted his deceased father as he crossed home plate. You may remember that Morrison’s dad, while dying of cancer, took a train up to Flushing from Louisiana to witness his son play an MLB game in person.
Florida outfielder Mike Stanton left the game with a tight left hamstring; it’s unknown whether he’ll play during the weekend. Stanton was bothered by a strained right quad during most of spring training, so it’s possible he’s been favoring the right leg and putting a bit too much strain on the left.
Good news for the Wilpons: Francisco Rodriguez has only 161 more opportunities to finish 55 ballgames.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Marlins go head-to-head again on Saturday night in Miami at 7:10 PM. Jon Niese goes to the mound against Ricky Nolasco.