Opening day is always a time of hope; with it brings the smell of fresh-cut grass, the promise of spring, 30-degree weather, ice and sleet falling from the sky, and the threat of snow.
Well, that’s opening day in Cincinnati. Everything went according to plan in the New York Mets' first game of the season as they beat the Reds 2-1. They could have scored more runs, but we’ll gloss over that for now.
The best news of the day was the performance of the bullpen. All the newcomers took their turn on the mound, and all were impressive.
Sean Green pitched one-and-a-third innings, J.J. Putz threw an inning, and Francisco Rodriguez closed things out with a smooth ninth. No hits and no runs in three-and-one-third innings. Perfect.
How does that sound? Let’s say it again: The Mets' bullpen was perfect.
Johan Santana threw 99 pitches and went five-and-two-thirds innings for the win. He only gave up three hits, but walked four while picking up his first victory of the year.
And the bullpen didn’t blow the lead he gave them. Let’s say that again: The bullpen didn’t blow the lead.
Daniel Murphy blasted the Mets’ first 'dinger of the season, and also drove in the Mets' other run on a ground out. Everybody got a hit except poor Brian Schneider—we’ll probably write that a few more times this season.
Ryan Church made a nice sliding catch, which he turned into a double play while adding two hits of his own. Gary Sheffield or no Gary Sheffield, Church is not going down without a fight.
The Mets stole a couple of bases too, but they weren’t perfect, leaving 12 men on base.
It’s Opening Day, so we’ll give them a mulligan on that.
The Mets have the best Opening Day winning percentage of any team in the majors—with a 31-17 record. The first game of the year is not their problem, it’s the last game that gives them trouble.
They’re tied for first right now, so I guess we can sit back and enjoy it, at least until Wednesday.
And let’s say it one more time because who knows how long it will last: The Mets' bullpen was perfect.