Game two of the 2010 season was actually a second Opening Day of sorts — the day the rest of the Mets rotation, the guys NOT named Santana, gets down to work. And to the surprise of no one except Omar Minaya, it did not go well. The Mets lost 7-6 in 10 innings. They fought back from a 6-1 deficit, thanks mostly to the ineptitude of the Marlin’s bullpen, but the rally fell short in the end.
John Maine looked awful, lasting only five innings, letting up four runs. He didn’t seem to have command of his fastball, which topped out at 90 mph, but usually was sitting around 88. He was a lower 90s guy before his shoulder problems. Maine labored through his first start, throwing 92 pitches in those five unspectacular innings.
Maine repeated a pattern that appears to be common for him, Pelfrey and Perez — not pitching deep into games. These guys are all younger than 30. They should be able to pitch seven innings. If the past is any indicator, the Mets bullpen will burn out yet again late in the season. Perhaps that’s why they have two long guys in the pen — Fernando Nieve and Hisanori Takahashi. I’ll bet they’re both going to have plenty of games where they pitch two, three, even four innings.
Jenrry Mejia (whose name is apparently spelled with two r’s — I’ve been spelling it with one. Sorry. I’ve got to go back and fix those.) made his hotly anticipated debut, and it was disappointing. In his one inning he let up one run and three hits. His fastball reached 97, but it didn’t seem to have much movement. I didn’t see the “Mariano Rivera” cutter, either.
Takahashi also made his Mets debut. Also a disappointment — he was the losing pitcher, allowing the winning run in the tenth.
Sean Green was lousy as usual, allowing a home run in his one inning. I’ll ask again — why is this stiff on the team while Bobby Parnell wastes away in Buffalo?
Offensively, the Mets let a huge chance slip through their fingers in the 7th. Down 6-1, the Mets rallied for two runs, and had the bases loaded with two outs and David Wright up. The first pitch to Wright was a wild one, hitting catcher John Baker’s glove and heading for the backstop. Fernando Tatis raced down the line towards the plate. But Baker did a good job of getting to it and getting rid of it, nailing Tatis at the plate. Although it was a fine play by Baker, Tatis has to make sure he scores on that, especially with Wright at the plate.
Tatis did get some redemption, however, an inning later. With the bases loaded, two outs and the Mets down 6-4, Tatis drew a walk to make it 6-5. Then Leo Nunez was called for a mysterious balk to tie the game at 6.
Then there was a curious decision in the 9th. With two outs, Wright on first and Jason Bay up, Wright stole second. The Marlins promptly walked Bay. Gary Matthews, Jr. then grounded out to end the inning. You’d always choose to have a runner at second rather than at first, but what situation would you rather have — Wright at first, with Bay (whom you’re paying $66 million to come through in these situations) at the plate, or first and second with Matthews at bat? Gary Cohen asked the question as Bay stepped to the plate, and Keith Hernandez said Wright should stay put, and give Bay a chance. Hernandez was conspicuously and uncharacteristically silent after it all went down.
So the euphoria of Opening Day is over. The Mets lose 7-6, but it’s still early. Why do I think I’ll be saying that a lot this season?