The Mets didn’t win their first road series last year until June. They didn’t win their first on the road against a National League team until August.
That’s just the beginning of a positive first impression to take out of the first weekend for the Mets, a team with lowly expectations.
Take away Mike Pelfrey on Friday, and it was a good weekend for the Mets in Florida as they received strong pitching performances from Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey, questions going in.
“The first game was more of what Josh Johnson did than what we didn’t do,’’ said David Wright. “All in all, it was a good weekend, especially since the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of trouble here. It’s good to get off to a good start. We’re going to have to play just as well in Philadelphia [next series].’’
While nobody is getting carried away by the Marlins series, following the Mets must include finding your silver linings when you can. The Mets didn’t let blowing a ninth inning lead derail them Saturday and they put a team away Sunday, both signs missing from last season.
Chris Young will start for the Mets tomorrow night in Philadelphia, where things are always different.
Meanwhile, Jason Bay’s ribs are still hurting and he hasn’t begun swinging a bat, yet. I wouldn’t be placing any bets on him returning in a week. Also, Jason Isringhausen is feeling discomfort in his back. Just as well he took the extended spring training.
The way things started last night for Jon Niese, I didn’t expect him to last long, set alone give up only one hit in the next six innings.
NIESE: Sharp last night.
That upside I mentioned yesterday about Niese? Well, we saw it last night. He was a definite bright spot. So was David Wright, who drove in two runs with a homer and single.
With Jason Bay down and the Carlos Beltran on the mend, the Mets need a good start from Wright.
Beltran, meanwhile, scored from first on a double by Ike Davis. He also doesn’t seem to have any problems moving in the outfield.
I like how the Mets came back from the first inning and after Francisco Rodriguez blew a save opportunity in the ninth. There was no sign of a fragile confidence.
Other good impressions after the first two games:
* Everybody is hustling. No malingerers in the batting box.
* Brad Emaus has looked comfortable at second.
* There’s pep in Jose Reyes’ step.
The Mets go for the series win this afternoon behind R.A. Dickey.
Here’s the batting order:
Jose Reyes, SS
Willie Harris, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Angel Pagan, CF
Lucas Duda, RF
Daniel Murphy, 2B
Josh Thole, C
R.A. Dickey, RP
Jon Niese going tonight for the boys against Florida. Niese surprised us early last season then struggled in the second half. Hot and cold. Sounds like a lot of Mets’ pitchers. Bottom line is we still don’t know what to expect from him.
I’m glad the Mets eschewed dealing Niese last year at the trade deadline because despite an erratic start to his career, I see a big upside with him. Lefties are golden.
Angel Pagan is hitting second tonight, which I don’t understand. Willie Harris is on the bench tonight despite getting two hits last night.
If you want to engage in a chat room tonight, click on to the Mets Chat icon to your left. I am hopeful the problems from last night have been resolved.
Manager Terry Collins said all the right things last night. He offered no sign of panic or disappointment after his Mets were stuffed by Josh Johnson.
“I’ve done this a lot of years,” Collins said. “It’s the first night. Yeah, we wanted to win. And I know this [Mets] club plays very well on opening night and they win a lot of opening games. When we win our share of games, we’ll forget about opening night. I’m not disappointed. I’m not upset. I thought the guys certainly came in prepared, ready to go. We just ran into a really, really good pitcher. We’re going to run into some more, so we’ve got to learn how to get through it.”
Then again, what else was he going to say? Johnson will do that a lot of times this season.
The bottom line, offensively, is that if you don’t hit you’re going to look like you’re running in mud.
The other story last night was Mike Pelfrey, whose fastball didn’t have bite and movement and let the game get away in the fourth inning. Pelfrey has always had nights like Friday, but save last July, he didn’t have many last season. Pelfrey did not have a good spring and last night was the continuation of it.
You can’t draw any definitive conclusions from one game other than this: On the nights Pelfrey doesn’t show up, the Mets won’t have much of a chance. That’s the way it is when you’re the ace.
The Mets’ 50th season opened tonight in Florida in much the way many thought it would, with the Mets losing to the Marlins, 6-2.
PELFREY: Didn't have it tonight.
Not really a surprise considering Mike Pelfrey’s track record against Florida (now 1-7) and Josh Johnson’s while facing the Mets (now 8-1).
The night was about dominance, as Johnson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Wouldn’t it have been just like the Mets to be no-hit in the first game of a new era?
Pelfrey unraveled in the fourth when he gave up a grand slam to John Buck in his first jam of the season. The Mets gave up 12 slams last season, most in the majors.
The Mets looked listless as they mustered just four hits, with half of them coming from Willie Harris. Four hits just won’t get it done.
The rotation this summer, with Johan Santana out, will be all about Pelfrey. He’s their ace, their top gun, and not making it out of the fifth is something they can’t afford.