For the New York Mets, the Season Starts Today
For the Mets' fans, last night started off like many other nights this spring and early summer. You sat down to watch your favorite team play, and to your delight, they actually were able to score in this game.
As the night progressed, you saw the 3-0 lead you once had slip away at Oliver Perez's expense, and you thought to yourself, "Wow another come from ahead loss."
Boy would you have been wrong. As the three, Mets broadcasters, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, and Gary Cohen, said as the game ended last night, "this was the biggest game of the year."
In my heart, I felt what they were saying. This was the start of a new beginning for the New York Mets.
Let's take a look at all of the things that happened in this game to lead Jerry Manuel to his first win as the Mets' manager.
First, we'll start with Jerry himself. He shook up the lineup, rested Castillo and let Marlon Anderson play first base. Delgado deserved to sit after last night's "Carlos Delgado."
In case you haven't read my other articles, I think (as well as Boomer and Carton on WFAN), that when you go 0-4 with at least one strikeout and at least one error, then you have committed a "Carlos Delgado."
I like the fact that Manuel is not afraid of shaking up the lineup a little bit either. He moved Marlon into the No. 2 spot, and he chose to play Endy Chavez over Fernando Tatis in the outfield (the obvious choice).
Next, we go to the bullpen. There have been a number of performances by this 2008 New York Mets bullpen that have been quite under par. That being said, they are a good group of guys, and they needed a new man to manage them.
I liked the use of Joe Smith in the seventh inning. Willie Randolph tended to use his Joe Torre method of giving the veterans the big spots over the young arms.
This theory is finally out of New York for good. Willie tended to use Joe Smith to get one out, usually in the middle of an inning. Joe is just not that type of pitcher, and he showed it last night by working through the heart of the batting order.
Scott Schoeneweis, Duaner Sanchez, and Billy Wagner also recorded scoreless innings on the road to the victory (Sanchez got the win, Wagner the save).
So the bullpen got it done, but that hasn't been the biggest problem for the Mets this year. A larger problem has come with men on base, specifically in the later innings.
How bad has it actually been? David Wright, coming into yesterday's game, had only one hit the entire season in the ninth inning!
Stats like that will frighten any Mets fan. Luckily, on this night, Jose Reyes and David Wright were able to get it done, and the future cornerstones of the organization helped lead the Mets to Jerry Manuel's first victory.
The hero of the night was Damion Easiley, who hit a solo home run in the 10th inning, setting up the win and save opportunity for Billy Wagner.
I think that the Mets' entire season can be turned around by a win like last night. They overcame so many obstacles that troubled them in the past: from bullpen troubles, to a lack of late-game heroics, and they even scored in the ninth inning off of the best closer in Major League Baseball (K-Rod).
I send this to the new manager of the Mets: Let's keep the kids in the game and win some ballgames. We all know that the Mets have the most overall-talent in the league, and it's about time that we, as fans, are shown that.
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