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.
Roughly two weeks later than originally thought, Johan Santana pitches tonight. It’s times like these Santana is fond of saying, “I’m not going to do anything crazy.”
Just throw fastballs and work on his mechanics. We shouldn’t get carried away one way or another with him. If he’s lights out or gets lit up, either way, it won’t make or break the season or determine what’s to come.
If he comes out of it sound, that’s all that matters.
SANTANA: Pitched BP today.
Johan Santana threw a 36-pitch bullpen session today and in on target to be ready for Opening Day.
Santana told reporters: “I pitched today with no problems in my elbow or my arm or anything, so I am fine, and at the same time I was working on my pitches and I was able to command it, so that’s what you want to see.
“For being my first time facing hitters, I think it was pretty good. Everything was there — breaking ball was there, my change up was there, my arm speed, my legs are there. That’s what you are looking for. You look for your legs to be there and to feel comfortable, and that’s how I felt.”
Barring a setback Santana could get in a minor league game this week.
Johan Santana will throw batting today, and if all goes well, five days after that he could throw in a minor league game.
Manager Jerry Manuel said it means Santana could be on track to pitch the “all important’’ Opening Day.
Meanwhile, Luis Castillo is experience tightness in his left hamstring and is day-to-day.
Ryan Church is expected to play this afternoon after missing two games with a bruised right knee.
SANTANA: Are they sure?
He’s easily the most important Met. How far they go this season is dependant on Johan Santana’s elbow, his shoulder, and his knee – every part of him.
October will be yet another empty month if Santana is injured and misses a substantial part of the season.
The appearance is the Mets aren’t on the same page on a timetable when a day after pitching coach Dan Warthen’s itinerary had Santana missing Opening Day the two-time Cy Young winner said he thought differently.
Santana threw 46 pain-free bullpen pitches Wednesday and the tenor has changed. Santana, manager Jerry Manuel said, isn’t a like everybody else, telling reporters in Port St. Lucie: “You have templates that you like to follow, and everybody don’t fit those templates. That’s why he is who he is.’’
I don’t think anybody doubts Santana’s competitiveness. All you have to do is think back to his last start of the season on a bum knee that required surgery.
This guy throws with his guts as much as he does his arm, and part of me can’t help but wonder if the Mets are doing with Santana what they did with Pedro Martinez, which is let him call the shots.
If they thought he needed a MRI a week ago, then why not go through with it and be sure?