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200 Miles From the Citi


April 11, 2010 6:23 AM

Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XV)

Johan Santana makes his second start of the season today.

It's against the Nationals, so let me just put out there that I'm on no-hitter watch.

But that's not what we're focusing on today here - in fact, just the opposite.

Earlier this week I wrote about the fact that for the Mets to have a good year, they needed production from the 2-through-5 starters in the rotation.

Everyone has had their first outing of the season since then, so let's check in and see how they did.

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John Maine - Maine gave up 4 earned runs in 5 innings, on 8 hits, one walk, along with three strikeouts.  The Mets lost the game he started, 7-6, in 10 innings.  It's an especially disappointing outcome when you consider Maine came into the year 6-1 in 7 starts at Citi Field, with just a 1.98 ERA.  He had given up just one home run all last year at the new park - Wednesday night he gave up 2. 

Jonathan Niese - His spring, categorized by Jerry Manuel by the best of any Mets starter, merited him the third spot in the rotation to open the season, and Niese showed why he deserved it.  He went 6 innings, giving up just 3 runs on 8 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.  It was a good start, but the Mets gave him no support, and he was a 3-1 loser.

Mike Pelfrey - Pelfrey pitched well enough.  He gave up 2 runs in 6 innings, gave up four hits, walked four, had four strikeouts, and the Mets won his start, 8-2.

Oliver Perez - I didn't see Perez's game, but four runs in five and two-thirds, with four walks, six strikeouts, and four hits in yesterday's 4-3 loss seem like a typical Perez start.

I watched John Maine and Mike Pelfrey, and they both labored.  Maine didn't factor into the decision in his game, and Pelfrey got a win, so the end results are a little misleading from watching them perform.  Perez probably labored as well - he threw 101 pitches in five and two-thirds innings.  The most telling stat, I think, from these four starts is the 11 total walks given up.  That's too many.  (Maine had arguably the worst start, and he only walked one batter.  That means the other 3 gave up 10 walks - still too many.) 

These four men have to be on their A-game each time out in order for the Mets to have a good season...or, at the very least, two or three of them have to be on each time through the rotation.  The numbers from this week aren't going to cut it.

The best the Mets can do with a win today is go 3-3 on their season-opening homestand.  It would have been nice to have seen them start 4-2.  A loss today would be a really bad way to end the first week of the season.

Partly the offense can be blamed for not getting enough going Saturday against Washington or in Niese's start Thursday against Florida.  But equal blame can be laid on Maine or Perez for letting the games get away from them early.  They need to do better.

*I want to not like the idea of Jason Taylor joining the Jets.  I want to say he's washed up and the Jets are getting way too old.  But I can't.

I think it would be a good fit.

He's 35 years old and had seven sacks a year ago.  The Jets want him to give them a proven pass rusher up front.  It's not like the entire defense would revolve around Taylor - he'd play a role for them.  And I think he'd play the role well.  I won't cry if he doesn't sign with the Jets...but I think the team would be better if he did.

*One of my favorite games to play during the baseball season is 'Beat The Streak' on mlb.com.  I recommend it every year, and that's what I'm doing again today.  So much fun for me.  Had a season-opening six-game streak snapped on Saturday.  Right back at it today, looking for David Wright to get me re-started.

*Speaking of Wright, he had his first double of the year Friday night.  Apparently (I fell asleep and didn't see it) he smoked the ball, but the wind kept it from being a home run.  I'll take it.

*Big role reversal on Saturday - usually when there's a no-hitter going I call my dad to tell him to find a channel that might pop in for live look-ins.  Saturday, he called me in the seventh inning to tell me CC Sabathia had one going.  I had the game on but was in and out of the room - and every time I came in the Rays had a base runner, so the no-hitter thought never crossed my mind.

*Switched on the Diamondbacks last night and heard Joe Garagiola's voice doing some color.  Huge blast from the past.  Towards the end of the game he was talking about when he would next be on the air - sounds like this is a once-a-month deal or something like that.  I think he's involved in some of the ownership of the team, so it's not unusual to hear him with the D-Backs...just unusual to hear him on the air.

*Today, April 11, marks six years of some form of '200 Miles From The Citi'Like I did last year, I've rounded up just a couple of notable number 6's closely related to the blog to help celebrate.  Mark Sanchez seems a bit more enthusiastic about the anniversary than Buckner.

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