The Mets seek to open their season at 2-0 tonight behind Mike Pelfrey (1-1, 4.43 ERA in four games against the Reds). After a dismal 2-6 start last season, Pelfrey won 11 of his last 16 starts.
Don’t expect to see Gary Sheffield in the field any time soon. He said he needs to drop a few and isn’t ready. Manager Jerry Manuel said perhaps the last game of the Florida series or when the team returns home.
“There will be a point when we put him in the field,” Manuel said. “We’ll find a place for him.”
Until then, here’s tonight’s line-up:
Jose Reyes, SS
Daniel Murphy, LF
David Wright, 3B
Carlos Delgado, 1B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Ryan Church, RF
Brian Schneider, C
Luis Castillo, 2B
Mike Pelfrey, P
Mike Pelfrey isn’t concerned about Mike Pelfrey, which is the most important thing. Early in their careers, when some pitchers reach a high in innings pitched, they hit a wall. Sometimes, it’s injury related. Other times performance driven.
Pelfrey doesn’t want to hear about injuries, especially the little, nagging kind. In that regard, I’ll take him at his word and expect him to pitch well tonight at Cincinnati.
Pelfrey is the Mets’ No. 2 starter, but by default. If John Maine and Oliver Perez were pitching to expectations, Pelfrey would be the No. 4 starter. Because Maine and Perez have issues, I don’t like the idea of throwing them back-to-back because of the potential toll on the bullpen.
I’ll have a Mets Chat Room tonight at 7:00 p.m., for Game #2, Mets at Reds. Hope you’ll join me.
A lot of things stand out about Opening Day, but two in particular are important to me.
The first is the effort by Sean Green who finished for Johan Santana and worked the seventh. We’re optimistic about JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez on the back end, but the bridge to them was an issue. If you go by the weakest link in the chain theory, then there were none yesterday.
It will be interesting to see how Jerry Manuel juggles the back end when he wants to give K-Rod or Putz a day off. Having confidence in a guy like Green makes it all the more easier.
What I didn’t like yesterday was how the Mets hit with RISP. That’s been an on-going problem the last two years. It’s only one game and the weather yesterday was horrible, but another hit or two and the game was a blowout. Playing with a lead is always easier and you know there will be games when the pitching gives it up and it’s not Santana on the mound.
With apologies to some Christmas songs, maybe Opening Day is the best time of the year. There’s the feeling of hope and dreams. There’s something special and fresh about Opening Day.
My favorite Opening Day was when my father took my brother and I out of school to see Opening Day in Cleveland against Baltimore. School wasn’t crazy about the reason but he took us out anyway.
Nasty weather in Cincinnati, but the feeling is they’ll play.
Here’s the Mets’ batting order:
SS Jose Reyes
LF Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Carlos Delgado
CF Carlos Beltran
RF Ryan Church
C Brian Schneider
2B Luis Castillo
LH Johan Santana
That kind of summarizes what Jerry Manuel is thinking as he pulls Oliver Perez with two outs in the first. Four walks, a bad fielding play by Perez and a grand slam has him in a 6-0 hole in the first.
It has been a miserable spring for Perez, and one has to wonder how much it has to do with him waiting to be signed. His mindset has to be as off as his fastball, which is down, and his control, which is all over the place.