200 Miles From the Citi

April 6, 2010 6:17 AM

A Solid Start

Johan_Opener.JPGYou may not think it's very smart, but I love making huge leaps of faith.

Snap judgments.

Jumping the gun.

Drawing definitive conclusions from small sample sizes.

I think you can tell a lot from Opening Day.

And I am feeling really good about the Mets after just one game.

All right, I'm not totally convinced yet that they'll be good in 2010.

But the 7-1 win over the Marlins certainly featured some extremely good signs.

There was David Wright homering in his first at bat of the season, a huge sigh of relief for Mets fans. (Bonus that he left the yard via right field.)

There was new acquisition Jason Bay busting his tail down the line on an infield ground ball, legging out a triple in the left-center-field gap, and showing off a very good arm on a Marlins' double down the left field line.

There were Alex Cora and Gary Matthews, filling in ably on offense and defense for Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, respectively.

There was Mets-killer Josh Johnson - 7-0 in nine career starts against the Mets - getting roughed up and forced out of the game early...then there was the Mets getting to the relievers following him.

There was the Mets playing smart ball - running the bases well, and most importantly, hustling - doing the right things - things that didn't happen for the Mets a year ago...even the past few years.  And on the other side, the Marlins were sloppy....and the Mets didn't let them get away with it.  They capitalized on every mistake the Marlins made.

It was certainly starting off on the right foot for the Mets...but it was Opening Day - Johan Santana was on the mound, and frankly, this was a game the Mets should have won.  A win in game one feels good.

But for the Mets, it will be how they perform in games 2 through 5 that will more accurately tell the story of their season.

OPENING DAY NOTES:  I can't tell you how much more excited I am to go to Citi Field in two weeks after watching the opener.  Everything about the park looks better.  Huge changes - for the better - across the park.  I'll update you in the coming days...One of my favorite statistics ever is the Mets' success on Opening Days.  With Monday's win they are 32-17 in their 49 opening days, the best winning percentage on Opening Day in baseball.  (Even more impressive when you consider they lost their first eight openers.)  Too bad the Mets haven't had that kind of success carry over into the rest of their history...Thought my eyes were playing tricks on me the entire game, but the Mets were indeed wearing off-white uniforms with pinstripes...I mentioned the other day the Mets were carrying three catchers on their roster - Omir Santos was actually the last cut, so it's just two...The big difference between this year's Mets and past editions of the team apparently is how there's a great clubhouse atmosphere.  This is something that I keep hearing a lot about, and apparently Jeff Francoeur is a ringleader in keeping the clubhouse light.  Jason Bay has already also proven to be a steady clubhouse influence.  I love hearing the positivity so early on - that bodes well.  We'll just see how it persists when times get tough...Maybe it's just very early in the year, but I never felt that Johan Santana was dominating at any point on Monday.  It worried me whenever Keith Hernandez pointed out that Santana didn't look quite right throwing his changeup and talking about last year's elbow problems.  Let's chalk it up to early season rustiness, and hopefully we'll never mention this again.

AROUND THE LEAGUE:  Here's a leftover thought from the season opener Sunday night in Boston - if the Yankees are relying heavily on Chan-Ho Park out of the bullpen this season, they are in a dire relief situation.  I speak from experience...Part of my weakness in drawing too heavily from Opening Day - I drafted Garrett Jones of the Pirates in my fantasy league, and when he hits two homers on Opening Day I just think I'm an absolute genius.  I need to calm down...If the Mets are competitive this year, they'll need to worry about the Braves and Phillies.  Both teams had very impressive openers...Fast start by my picks to make the World Series - a solid win by the Giants over the Astros, and a come-from-behind-in-the-ninth win by the Rangers over the Blue Jays.

I love Opening Day.

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