It is a match-up not in the best interest of the Mets. Josh Johnson against Mike Pelfrey pits Florida’s ace against the Mets’ No. 1, but the numbers clearly favor the Marlins.
PELFREY: Fish not his dish.
Johnson (3-1, 1.63 ERA) is 8-1 with a 2.73 ERA lifetime over 13 starts against the Mets. Pelfrey, meanwhile, won the first start of his career against the Marlins, but has lost his last seven decisions.
After a slow start, Pelfrey is coming off back-to-back victories over San Francisco and Colorado.
The Mets aren’t helped any with Ike Davis on the disabled list and David Wright out with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Wright’s injury tempers the momentum of winning three straight series.
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.
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.
I’m asking you in a new poll where you believe the Mets will finish this season. I am planning more polls this summer, so if there’s something you’d like to nominate, please feel free to contact me.
Another season starts tonight with Mike Pelfrey going against Josh Johnson. Pelfrey knew he’d be getting this start when manager Terry Collins spoke with him at a charity event in January.
“Obviously, you look at Santana, it would be his if he was here,” Pelfrey said. “But that’s still something that everyone wants to do, that everyone strives to do.”
Pelfrey’s career has been one of unfulfilled expectations for the first few years of his career until things started to fall in place last year. The lost focus suddenly sharpened, his sinker started to drop and he began to challenge hitters with his fastball and Pelfrey pitched like an All-Star in the first half of the season.
If not for a horrid July in which he went 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA, Pelfrey might have closed in on 20 wins. As it was, he won a career-high 15 games and is poised for better things.
“I learned from that stretch,” Pelfrey said. “I learned not to give up on my fastball and to not get away from challenging hitters.”
This blog continues to develop and one thing we’re going to do is hook up with Rivalroo.com and Metsmerizedonline for chat rooms. Hopefully, this will work out for the better. Just click on to the icon to the left and follow the prompts.
Wishing you all a great year.