Apr 05

Mets’ Jeremy Hefner Starts Against Marlins In Statement Game

John Buck started prepping Jeremy Hefner on tonight’s start with Miami hours ago. He started by meeting with Hefner and pitching coach Dan Warthen about how to pitch the Marlins’ hitters, of which Hefner saw this spring.

“How much that will help, I don’t know,’’ Hefner said. “I do know some things about them … and, they know some things about me.’’

HEFNER: Has an opportunity.

HEFNER: Has an opportunity.

After meeting with Warthen, Buck and Hefner will sit down and go over the signs and tonight’s game plan.

“I don’t want to put something down and have him be totally surprised by it,’’ Buck said. “We want to be thinking along the same lines.’’

What Buck is most interested in seeing from Hefner is how he reacts under pressure.

“That’s when you really get to know a pitcher,’’ Buck said. “It takes time.’’

Hefner will attempt to give the Mets a fourth straight strong start, following the efforts of Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee against San Diego.

The Mets know Hefner from last season when he went 4-7 with a 5.09 ERA with them after injuries to Johan Santana and Gee. Hefner is getting another chance to stick in the rotation as a replacement for Santana, who is out for the season following shoulder surgery.

Is this a chance to show manager Terry Collins he deserves to stay in the rotation?

“No,’’ Hefner bluntly said. “All it means if I pitch well is that I may get another chance to pitch again in five days. If I pitch well then, I might get another chance to pitch in five days. There are no guarantees. Even if I pitch a no-hitter that doesn’t guarantee me a spot in the rotation for the rest of the year.’’

The following is tonight’s lineup for the Mets against Marlins’ starter Alex Sanabia:

Jordany Valdespin, CF: Collin Cowgill, who has struggled since his Opening Day grand slam get the night off.

Daniel Murphy, 2B: With Justin Turner getting three hits yesterday, this could be considered a surprise.

David Wright, 3B: Looking for his first homer.

Ike Davis, 1B: One game he strikes out four times; the next he homers. The production must go up.

Marlon Byrd, CF: A strong start to the season. How long will it go for the 35-year-old?

Lucas Duda, LF: His power potential could still be rattling around in the upper deck.

John Buck, C: Has a calming influence on the pitchers. Homered yesterday.

Jeremy Hefner, RHP: Has a chance to make a statement for staying in the rotation.

Apr 03

Matt Harvey Dominates Padres; Lucas Duda And Ike Davis Go Deep

Matt Harvey was everything the Mets hoped for as he dominated the San Diego Padres, 8-4, in frigid Citi Field tonight. Harvey gave up one hit with ten strikeouts in seven scoreless innings.

All San Diego’s runs came against the bullpen, which is expected to be a Mets’ Achilles Heel this season, but not even it could ruin this night.

HARVEY: Overpowering

HARVEY: Overpowering (AP)

Especially impressive was Harvey did it pitching with temperatures in the low 30s after the wind-chill. Harvey was in complete control, but at 94 pitches after seven, manager Terry Collins thought it was time to pull the plug.

“Believe me, later in the season in a close game he’s not going to want to come out. There will be huge argument in taking him out,’’ Collins said. “He was getting stiff. He was cold. Under the circumstances he pitched a very impressive game. In weather like that, the ball feels like a cue ball.’’

Harvey said he doesn’t want to be just a major league pitcher, but a great pitcher, and to do that he’s not afraid of putting in the work as in running the steps in the Citi Field stands this winter. It’s easy to say you want to be good, but the key is to make the effort.

The victory was the first of Harvey’s career at Citi Field, and he became the fourth Mets pitcher to register at least 80 strikeouts in his first 11 starts with the team, joining Pedro Martinez, Dwight Gooden and Nolan Ryan.

“Today it was the fastball,’’ Harvey said of what was working. “I threw some good sliders when I needed and I threw my change-up in timely counts. … I said all spring training I wanted to pound the zone and I wasn’t about to let the cold effect me.’’

Harvey wore short sleeves and refused a jacket when he was on the bases: “In my mind, a jacket doesn’t belong on a baseball field.’’

That’s the mentality of an offensive lineman, and the Mets haven’t had that in a long time.

POWER PLUS: One of the pre-season concerns was if the Mets would hit with power. Collin Cowgill hit a grand slam in the opener, and Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and John Buck each hit two-run homers last night off left-hander Clayton Richard. That’s ten RBI on four homers.

“Duda and Ike hitting them off a lefty is huge,’’ Collins said. “If those two guys are hitting, it’s a tough line-up to get through.’’

The Mets have outscored the Padres, 19-6, in winning their first two games.

MARCUM UPDATE: Shaun Green returned to New York from Port St. Lucie to have his neck and shoulder re-examined. He’s already on the disabled list, and Collins said Aaron Laffey would start in his place Sunday against Miami.

“He has some real discomfort running from his shoulder up through his neck,’’ Collins said. “What that is, where it starts, what’s causing it, I think we won’t know until he sees the doctor tomorrow.’’

The Mets signed Laffey as a free agent in December. At 27, he’s also pitched with Cleveland, Seattle, Toronto and the Yankees. He went 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 22 games, including 16 starts with the Blue Jays last year.

“Hopefully he comes in Sunday and pitches very well,’’ Collins said. “If he does, he most likely will get another start. But we’re going to just take one start at a time right now.’’

Apr 03

Mets’ Collins Keeps Pat Hand; Roster Notes

True to his word, manager Terry Collins is keeping a pat hand. Of course, why would you change anything after scoring 11 runs?

COWGILL: Back on top of order.

COWGILL: Back on top of order.

However, too often in recent seasons the Mets lineup seemed to change daily, with no regard of who was hot or slumping. Granted, there are times when a slump or bad pitching match-up will force a change, but I like Collins’ intent of keeping an even keel.

Collins wants consistency and stability. The bench players will play soon enough, but now it is time for the starters to develop continuity.

Here’s what he has going tonight against Padres left-hander Clayton Richard. My intent is to follow each name in the lineup with a pertinent stat or note. Everybody posts a lineup, but I want to give you something more and a reason to come back:

Collin Cowgill, CF: Was surprise winner of center field job because he’s the best combination of offense and defense. Hit first career grand slam in opener.

Daniel Murphy, 2B: Has shown no ill effects from strained muscle that kept him out of most of spring training. Murphy’s patience makes him an ideal No. 2 hitter.

David Wright, 3B: Named fourth captain in team history. Had a hit and two steals in the opener. Wright will not give a statistical goal, but we all know he’s a .300 hitter with power potential to reach 30 homers and drive in close to 110 runs.

Ike Davis, 1B: Struck out four times in the opener. His swing it too long now. Davis said he doesn’t worry about hitting homers, saying he’s a home-run hitter and knows he must produce to off-set the times he walks back to the bench.

Marlon Byrd, RF: Played well Monday, but wasn’t talking later. He’s a veteran presence with some pop to his bat.

Lucas Duda, LF: Another with high strikeout and power potential. Everybody wants to say he has the power to hit 35 homers. Let him hit 20 first.

John Buck, C: The pitchers like how he calls a game. He’s been an upgrade over Josh Thole. Buck is far from an automatic out at the plate.

Ruben Tejada, SS: Doubled in a run after rough spring training at the plate. Collins said Tejada told him he would be ready and he lived up to his word.

Matt Harvey, RHP: Gave up five runs in five innings in only career start against San Diego. Harvey said commanding his secondary pitches will be the key for him.

 

Apr 01

Niese Sparkles; Offense Rocks In Mets’ Opening Day Rout

How appropriate.

It was overcast for much of the day, but shortly after this afternoon’s 11-2 rout of the San Diego Padres, it started to rain on Citi Field. If there could be universal laws in baseball, is it isn’t supposed to rain on Opening Day and the home team has to win.

NIESE: Scintillating start. (AP)

NIESE: Scintillating start. (AP)

Let the Padres win Wednesday night and when they return to San Diego, but today belonged to the Mets, played as complete a game as possible while their crosstown rivals, the Yankees, lost to Boston.

With the victory the Mets improved their Opening Day record to a MLB best 34-18 (.654). It’s astounding considering their overall history.

THE PITCHING: Jon Niese was superb, going 6.2 innings and giving up two runs on four hits. He also collected two hits. Niese’s wife said she wears a special pair of blue panties when he pitches. Wash them and have them ready for the weekend. Niese said he didn’t feel any added pressure of starting on Opening Day, but admitted, “the adrenalin was pumping.’’ … Niese is now the de facto ace with Johan Santana gone. “He has stepped into a role where he leads the rotation,’’ manager Terry Collins said.

WRIGHT STREAK CONTINUES: Wright said he didn’t feel anything different when he was introduced as captain, but reiterated, “I’m very proud to represent this team.’’ With a third-inning single, Wright has hit in every Opening Day since his first in 2005. Overall, he is 13-for-36 (.361) in home openers. Wright also made several sparkling plays in the field and stole two bases.

OFFENSE TAKES OFF: Today marked the fifth time the Mets scored double-digit runs on Opening Day. … The Mets scored nine runs after two outs and went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position. … Collin Cowgill hit is first career grand slam in the seventh inning. Only Todd Hundley previously hit a slam on Opening Day. … Cowgill, Marlon Byrd and John Buck combined to go 6-for-14 with five runs scored and seven RBI. “I’m just grateful for this opportunity and want to make the most of it,’’ Cowgill said. Byrd declined to speak to reporters after the game. … Ruben Tejada doubled home the Mets’ first run. “He told me he would be ready,’’ Collins said of Tejada’s dismal spring training.

BEST STORY: The best story of the day was reliever Scott Rice’s major league debut after 14 years in the minor leagues. He pitched one scoreless innings and struck out two. Buck saved the ball from the first strikeout by throwing it into the Mets’ dugout. Rice presented the ball to his father after the game. “Maybe this will hit me later,’’ Rice said.

METS MUSINGS: The Mets held their annual Welcome Home dinner at a Manhattan hotel. … Shaun Marcum could be activated from the disabled list to start this weekend against Miami. … Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.73) will start against left-hander Clayton Richard (14-14, 3.99) Wednesday night. The Mets play Thursday afternoon and will host Miami this weekend.

Apr 01

Mets Slam The Padres In 11-2 Opening Day Win

opening-day

LIVE BLOGGING FROM CITI FIELD

collin cowgill grand slam

Cowgill’s Grand Slam puts exclamation point on Mets 11-2 win.

This game’s over and the Mets pounded the Padres 11-2 today at Citi Field.

It was an “All Hands On Deck Effort” by this revamped Mets team which was great to see.

Collin Cowgill with a huge Mets debut and big contributions also from Byrd, Buck, Wright, Tejada, Murphy and of course Jon Niese who looked sharp in his first start of the season.

Fun game and it was fun live blogging it for you.

Thanks to John – our man in the booth, and Clayton – our roving reporter/photographer, for all their help.

metswin55

8th Inning

 

7th Inning

Jon Niese’s first Opening Day start is over: 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 2 BB, HR. 101 pitches, 62 strikes. Brandon Lyon in.

Cowgill just hit a grand slam that just made it over the wall and Mets tack on four more runs!.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Mets 11. Padres 2

6th Inning

After a scoreless fifth, Niese got touched up for a home run in the top of the sixth. No harm no foul. He talked Collins into staying in and pitch the seventh inning. 12 of his 19 outs were all groundouts.

Mets 7, Padres 2

4th Inning

Cowgill hustles for a double and moves Niese to third. Then the Birthday Boy, Daniel Murphy, drives Niese home with a single to make it 5-1 Mets.

Wright picks up an RBI on a groundout to score Cowgill.

Byrd drives hom Murphy with a two-our TBI and the Mets are blowing this game wide open!

Niese is having a solid start…

Mets 7, Padres 1

 

3rd Inning

The Mets score two more runs in the inning. Tejada, Byrd, Buck all getting into the act. It’s utter pandemonium!

Mets 4, Padres 1

2nd Inning

 

Ruben Tejada doubles home John Buck who chugs home to score the first run of the game. Deep breaths, John. :-)

Slugger Jon Niese singles Tejada home for the Mets second run and the Mets are on top 2-0 after two innings.

I told you we had this! :-)

Keith Hernandez is not loving the sea of orange t-shirts in right-center and calls them a distraction. He doesn’t like Volquez’ necklace either. Somebody give Mex a Tootsie Roll pop!

Mets 2, Padres 0

1st Inning

It’s scoreless after one, Wright got on after an error, but it could have easily been a hit. Who’s scoring this game, Alex68?

 

1:15 PM Update

12:45 PM Update

what a view citi field opening day

Awesome shot sent in by Clayton…

met tweet

Don’t just stand there… Do something! :-)

Dorian and Sebastian here for Sebastian's first opening day

These two die-hards are here for their first ever Mets Opening Day!

eddie kranepool

Eddie Wilkowski made Stephen Keane of the Kranepool Society happy with this pic…

Screenshot_1

Me and John are doing a weekly feature saluting the ’73 Mets and Eddie was nice enough to chime in!

11:45 AM Update

ed coop joey

MMO’s Coop, Ed and Joey never miss a Mets Opening Day!

BTW, Congrats to Joey our new MMO Senior Editor! :-)

clayton brick

Clayton was happy to see his Fan Walk Brick was still looking as good as new.

Jed Gyorko of the Padres family here to see him make his MLB debut

Padres rookie Jedd Gyorko has his family here to see him make his MLB debut.

Omar Minaya here! With Bud Black

Hey! Omar Minaya is here and chillin’ with Bud Black!

kevin burkhardt

Kevin Burkhardt is dressed to the nines…

METS OPENING DAY ROSTER

When the Mets are introduced this afternoon, there will be only nine players who were on last year’s Opening Day roster. Give a big hand to your New York Mets!

Catchers (2): John BuckAnthony Recker.

Infielders (5): Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Ike Davis, Ruben TejadaJustin Turner.

Outfielders (6): Jordany Valdespin, Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd, Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter.

Pitchers (12):  Matt HarveyJeurys FamiliaLaTroy Hawkins, Bobby Parnell, Jonathon Niese, Dillon GeeJeremy Hefner,Scott RiceGreg BurkeJosh EdginScott AtchisonBrandon Lyon.

9:00 AM Update

opening day newstand

A dozen of us from Metsmerized Online have invaded Citi Field and we’ll be Live Blogging the entire day here at MMO. our MMO Fan Correspondent Clayton Collier is the first to report in and the newsstand caught his eye this morning.

John Delcos will be hitting the field and the clubhouse before the game and then will be posting in-game thoughts and some of the action live from the press box. After the game we’ll have a few roving reporters hitting the media room to catch what Terry Collins, David Wright and the rest of the team will have to say.

clayton is ready

Clayton is going in armed and ready and will be donning his new All Star Jersey which he had displayed in his own Mets Hall of Fame along with his replica Citi Field Fan-Walk brick and player signed baseballs.

Opening Day Notes

A Grand Opening Day: Todd Hundley has the only Mets grand slam on Opening Day…Hundley’s slam came on April 26, 1995 at Colorado off Billy Swift.

Opening Day Double-Shots: Robin Ventura, Bobby Bonilla, Cleon JonesDarryl Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds are the only five players in club history to hit two home runs in an Opening Day tilt…Ventura was the last to accomplish the feat on April 3, 2001 at Atlanta …Bonilla cracked two home runs in his first game as a Met on April 6, 1992 at St. Louis, Jones belted two home runs on April 6, 1975 vs. Philadelphia and Strawberry and McReynolds each hit two home runs on April 4, 1988 at Montreal in a 10-6 triumph.

Opening Day Zeroes: The Mets have recorded seven shutouts on Opening Day…The last time New York held an opponent scoreless on Opening Day was last year when the Mets blanked the Braves, 1-0…Meanwhile, the Mets have been shut out only once (7-0, April 9, 1963 vs. St. Louis) on Opening Day.

Opening Day Extras: The Mets have played six extra-inning games on Opening Day…They are 5-1 in those contests…The last extra-inning affair was a 6-4, 10-inning victory on April 3, 2001 at Atlanta.

Opening Day Ten-Spots: The Mets have scored 10 or more runs four times on Opening Day, including an Opening Day-high 12 runs on April 4, 1994 against the Cubs…New York surrendered an Opening Day-worst 15 runs to the Cubs in a 15-2 setback at Shea on March 31, 2003.

opening day