New York Mets Opening Series: Six Things We Learned About the Amazins'
The New York Mets won their first series of the season against the Florida Marlins, winning the rubber game of the three game set today by a score of 9-2.
While it is only the first three games of the season, the Mets did show a few things in the opening weekend that are worth noting.
Here are six things we learned about the New York Mets before they head off to Philadelphia for Tuesday's matchup against the Phillies.
Mike Pelfrey Might Not Be Ace Material
Mike Pelfrey took the mound against the Florida Marlins for Opening Day, hoping to get his season started the way last year's did. Sadly, that didn't happen.
Pelfrey started off the campaign by issuing a walk, then later gave up a double to Mike Stanton. Neither of these gave up runs, but Big Pelf didn't have his best stuff on Friday. His pitches became erratic as the game went on, highlighted by the fourth inning.
John Buck was able to capitalize off the struggling Pelfrey, taking a fastball into the right field stands for a grand slam.
Pelfrey finished the night with four and a third under his belt, being charged five earned runs and ERA at 10.38.
Hopefully, this was just a case of opening night jitters, as Pelfrey is coming off his best season to date. It goes without saying that Friday's performance was not "ace" material. Pelfrey will look to rebound against the Phillies and attempt to show New York fans he deserves to carry the ace title until Johan Santana's return.
Carlos Beltran entered 2011 recovering from knee injuries which ruined his previous two seasons. He made the move from center field to right in order to keep Angel Pagan where he was last year while Beltran was on the DL.
While Beltran didn't go yard in the first series, a few things were impressive of his performances.
Firstly, he snagged fly balls without a hitch. He showed no signs of trouble tracking down pop-ups.
Secondly, while he only had two hits in 10 plate appearances, one was for a double, which he ran for problem-free.
He did sit for the third game of the series, which tells me he will probably play two games at a time for now. Terry Collins called upon Beltran to pinch hit Sunday, so even if he doesn't start, he's a valuable asset to have coming off the bench.
Same Old Song and Dance for K-Rod
When the Mets got you in 2009, I was ecstatic. We had a closer to fill in the hole caused by the cutting of Billy Wagner.
Oh, how I miss Billy.
Rodriguez made his first appearance of 2011 Saturday, where he blew a one run lead in the ninth inning. He was able to prevent the Marlins from scoring twice, although the damage was done.
He picked up the win after Blaine Boyer pitched the tenth inning, but it's obvious K-Rod is not what he used to be.
Gone are the days of the dominant Angels closer. Now are the days that remind Mets fans of Armando Benitez.
Okay, maybe that was too harsh. But when K-Rod comes in for a save with a one run lead and I begin to feel nauseous, what else can I say?
Mets Killer No More
Add Willie Harris to the growing list of surprising Met performances.
In Harris' first series in blue and orange, he had a field day. He led the Mets' only rally on Friday, hit a double in extra innings to drive in the game winning runs on Saturday and to cap it all off, hit a two run homer on Sunday.
Pretty nice debut.
The Mets will need run support if they hope to do well this season, and Harris is off to an amazing start in that regard.
He leads the team in RBI, runs and OPS.
Neisety Neise and Tricky Dickey
Credits go to Mikey Metfan of the It Hurts being Mets Fan! page on Facebook (@MikeyMetfan31 on Twitter) for the Neisety terminology. If Chris Carlin can use it, I'll tell myself I can do the same.
Both Jonathon Niese and R.A. Dickey brought their best stuff to the mounds this weekend, making up for the subpar performance of Pelfrey.
Niese: seven innings, four hits, two earned runs, one walk and three stikeouts.
As for Dickey: six innings, five hits, one run, zero earned, three walks and 7 stikeouts.
Not too shabby from the number two and three guys. Hopefully, they will keep their strong starts going throughout the remainder of the season.
The Ups and Downs of the Bullpen
Once again, the big question mark for the Mets is the bullpen. The team has the ability to score runs, but it means nothing if the back-end of the team can't keep a lead.
Pedro Beato (pictured) pitched two shutout innings of relief work in the opening series. Bobby Parnell didn't give up a hit and struck out two in his one inning appearance. Those were the highs.
As for the lows, four guys who came out of the bullpen this weekend gave up runs. The aforementioned K-Rod aside, Taylor Buchholz, Blaine Boyer and Chris Capuano were unable to keep runs off the board during their appearances. Buccholz gave up a homerun during his relief effort for Pelfrey. Boyer got the save on Saturday, but not before letting one come across the plate. Capuano made his first appearance Sunday, where he gave up a run and got into a bases loaded jam in only two-third innings of work. Credit goes to D.J. Carrasco for preventing any damage from the loaded bases.
The main question is this: How will these guys perform under pressure? There were more negatives than positives in the opening weekend from the bullpen, but it was only three games to base it on. The relief staff will be tested starting Tuesday against Philadelphia.