Archive: April 6th, 2009

Mets Game 1: Win Over Reds

Mets 2 Reds 1

Everything went EXACTLY according to plan, as the Mets edged the Reds 2-1 in the 2009 opener.

Johan Santana pitched 5 innings of shutout ball before allowing a run in the sixth and handing the ball to new middleman Sean Green. Green retired all four batters he faced to bridge the gap to J.J. Putz, who held the Reds scoreless in setting up the save for Francisco Rodriguez.

Danny Murphy blasted a solo homer in the fifth off a tiring Aaron Harang, who had mystified the Mets until running out of gas around pitch #95. He looks to be in pretty good shape compared to last year, and if he can improve his stamina will be a tough man to topple later in the year. Glad he’s in the NL Central.

Murphy drove in the Mets’ second run as well with a bases-loaded groundout in the sixth.

Game Notes

Mets put a number of runners on base early in the game, but couldn’t move them around. I’ll chalk it up to a combination of the weather and Harang hanging tough.

The first at-bats of Luis Castillo and Danny Murphy exemplified why these two are misplaced in this particular lineup. In the first inning, after Jose Reyes singled and stole second, Murphy’s job was to pull the ball and get Reyes to third base. Instead, he fisted a ball to shortstop. Luckily, Reyes still made it to third but the point is that Murphy — despite the homerun he hit in the fifth — is not a pull hitter. In the second frame, Luis Castillo came to bat in an RBI situation with one out and struck out, looking.

We’ve heard a hundred times that Jerry Manuel has had conversations with Castillo, telling him he needs to be more aggressive at the plate — particularly now that he’s down at the bottom of the lineup and will have more RBI opportunities. But does it really make sense to ask a guy to change the hitting approach he’s taken for the last 15 or so years? Castillo is a rare breed: a throwback #2 hitter who takes pitches, bunts well, and punches the ball. In the #8 spot, with the pitcher behind him, he’ll almost never bunt, and will never use his #2 skills with Brian Schneider ahead of him. But hey, if Jerry Manuel wants to keep pounding that square peg into a round hole, be my guest.

The Reds played a sloppy outfield, dropping several balls and letting several catchable balls drop. Perhaps it had something to do with the wet conditions, and compounded by the high number of fly balls hit by the Mets.

Though Santana only allowed one hit in his first five innings, he did walk four in his 5 2/3, which is too many. He also had some trouble putting away hitters once he got to two strikes. I think he threw too many sliders, and wonder if his pitch selection had anything to do with the cold and wet conditions — perhaps he couldn’t get a good changeup grip on the ball?

Putz threw a lot of pitches in the eighth — 22 to be exact. Good thing tomorrow is a day off.

Ryan Church is currently the team’s leading hitter, and tied for the team lead in stolen bases. MVP!

Next Game

The Mets and Reds take the day off tomorrow and come back to play again in Cincinnati on Wednesday. Mike Pelfrey takes the mound against Edinson Volquez. Let’s hope it’s warmer and drier.


Wild Mets Predictions

The National League predictions have been posted, so now it’s time for New York Mets – specific prophecies. You may like some of them, you’ll likely hate a few of them, and nearly all of them are unlikely to occur. But what the heck, let’s go …

The key to the Mets’ success this year will be tied to health and the production of Carlos Delgado.

Jose Reyes will hit 25 triples, 17 of which will come at home in Citi Field.

Johan Santana will win 21 games, and take the Cy Young.

John Maine will struggle so mightily in the first half that he will be sent to the minors to work out issues with his mechanics and command.

Livan Hernandez will be the tortoise and Oliver Perez the hare, and Livan will quietly emerge as the Mets #3 starter by year’s end, posting 13 victories.

Maine and Perez will combine for less than 20 wins.

Darren O’Day and Sean Green will combine for 20 decisions in middle relief.

Mike Pelfrey will take a no-hitter into the 9th inning, but settle for a one-hit shutout.

Tim Redding will throw less than 50 innings all season.

Luis Castillo will receive consideration for the All-Star Game, and finish the year with a .295 AVG., .375 OBP, and 28 SB.

Danny Murphy will have trouble keeping his average above .250 in the first six weeks of the season, and Gary Sheffield will take over as the starting leftfielder.

Sheffield will be a key run producer for the Mets, and finish fourth on the team in RBI.

Very few “Putz” jerseys will be sold by the Mets, for obvious reasons.

Not one “Shawn Green” jersey will be sold to a patron thinking it’s a “Sean Green” jersey.

Jeremy Reed will substitute for a disabled starter at some point in the season and go on a tear, making fans almost forget Endy Chavez.

Reese Havens will rocket through the Mets’ minor league system, and be considered for a September call-up.

Ryan Church will be traded to the Rockies.

Aaron Heilman will struggle against the Mets, but will otherwise succeed in Chicago. He’ll get a few starts when Rich Harden goes down and prompt the Cubs to move Sean Marshall back to the bullpen.

The Mets’ lack of a second LOOGY will be a major point of concern, and trade rumors will swirl around the names Eddie Guardado, Matt Thornton, and Alan Embree. The Mets will wind up with Bobby Seay, against whom lefties hit .303 lifetime.

The Mets will have a strong record aoutside the division, but will be only a few games above .500 against NL East teams.

Jose Valentin will make it back to the 25-man roster before the end of the season.

Bobby Ojeda will start doing commercials for the Hair Club for Men.