5 Things to Take Away from Opening Day for the Mets
For the first time since the beginning of the 2003 season, Jose Reyes was nowhere to be seen in the Opening Day lineup, but Daniel Murphy, Josh Thole and David Wright all had great performances and the Mets continued their recent trend of opening day success.
What can we take away from today's win? Let's take a look.
1. Johan Santana Is Finally Back
For the first time since August 2010, Johan Santana pitched in an MLB game, and boy did he pitch.
In 5 innings of work, he allowed no runs on two hits while striking out five, and walking two. Although he was not given a decision, today's outing proved that his spring training performance against the Cardinals was no fluke.
Santana, who spent last year recovering from a shoulder surgery performed by the renowned Dr. David Altchek, certainly looked like the pitcher the Mets thought they'd acquired from Minnesota four years ago.
Hopefully this is the first of many quality games for him and his repaired shoulder. Even ten wins out of Santana would make a big difference.
2. The New Bullpen Is as Good as Advertised
Fans were treated to appearances from the three newest members of the Mets bullpen as Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch, and Frank Francisco all contributed. Ramirez was credited with the win and Francisco got the save.
Despite their spring training struggles, the trio's effectiveness was evocative of the days of Pedro Feliciano, Heath Bell, and Billy Wagner.
If the three continue to pitch well you can expect more leads to be held this year.
3. Spring Training Is a Crapshoot
This should be a new mantra for not just the Mets, but ALL major league clubs.
First the good. As we mentioned, the new bullpen was horrific in the spring, but on opening day, they meshed into a cohesive unit.
Similarly, David Wright played sparingly due to injury and didn't contribute much. Today, he was one of three starters with a multi-hit game and delivered the game winning RBI.
Now for the bad. Lucas Duda and Ike Davis both were held hitless by Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen, and Jonny Venters. They were the surprise power guys this spring, hitting a combined eight home runs.
Granted, Hanson was in fine form—but if their struggles continue tomorrow against Jair Jurrjens on Saturday, we may have some cause for concern.
4. We Might See Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Matt Den Dekker Sooner Rather Than Later
Andres Torres was pulled midway through the game after reaggravating his sore calf from spring training, and he will likely be hitting the 15-day disabled list. This could mean that fans will finally see one of the two prospect outfielders who performed will in Spring Training, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt Den Dekker
Nieuwenhuis is a top-ten prospect for the team who would have made the September call ups had he not gotten hurt and required season ending surgery. He's expected to take Torres' spot by the summer and be a regular by 2013.
Den Dekker was a fifth round draft choice back in 2010 out of the University of Florida. Dekker is a decent hitter, but his glove has been his strength. He enjoys cult hero status from the 2010 College World series, when he made a few Jim Edmonds style grabs.
Although he's only made it as far as AA Binghamton, he may be a candidate to temp for Torres.
5. Nobody Has Reached the New Fence Yet
Not to say that nobody tried.
Andres Torres and Jason Bay each got a hold of one, Dan Murphy hit a double off the wall and Braves rookie Tyler Pastornicky knocked a triple which would have been a double had Torres not reinjured his calf on the play.
There's always an adjustment period, but hopefully the power will come back on for the Mets. In the meantime, look out for Saturday's matchup as RA Dickey and Jair Jurrjens battle it out.
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