By Mike Steffanos
On the morning after the first loss of the season, I find it hard to get myself too worked up over the failure of the Mets' bullpen last night. Wagner has admitted that he's a slow starter, and usually struggles early in the year, and I never expected much from Jorge Julio, anyway. Honestly, if he has any minor league options left, the best thing the Mets can do is to send him to Norfolk and let him try to work the kinks out of his delivery there. This is a guy that the boo-birds jumped on before he even threw an official pitch as a Met. It's not going to get any easier after last night's debacle.
For those of you that are inclined to get really negative about the failure of the bullpen last night, I invite you to meander back in time and remember the bullpen that opened the season last year. Looper blew the first game of the year. Wagner made it all the way to game 2. There's just no comparison.
Seriously, though, I think the bullpen will be fine. I wonder about Anderson Hernandez as a hitter, though. I wasn't able to watch the game last night, but a friend of mine who did described the rookie second baseman as looking really overmatched at the plate. Even Hernandez understands that amassing potential web gems in the field won't alleviate the need to live a respectable distance above the Mendoza line. Still, the kid gets a little time (and some warmer weather) to prove his case.
Note: 1 PM: I just had DirecTV installed and have access to SNY now. That's the good news. The bad news is that, since the install, one of my 2 telephone lines does not work. Of course I didn't notice it until after the installer left. Anyway, sorry that this post is late today, and a little sketchy. It's always something...
New York Times: Unhappy Recap
Ben Shpigel recounts yesterday's game. Brian Bannister struggled with his control for most of the start, not so difficult to understand considering it was his major league debut. Shpigel quotes the rookie pitcher:
I really didn't feel comfortable until the fourth inning. That's when the adrenalin wore off. The cold weather was actually a blessing because there weren't as many people watching. I couldn't feel as nervous.
Daily News: Julio
Peter Botte reports on Jorge Julio's inauspicious debut as a Met. He quotes Julio on his awful tenth inning meltdown:
I wanted to be better. My first time here, pitching in this stadium, I don't know the mound, I don't know about nothing here. It's my first time and that's what happened (in) the game.
Julio spent most of the spring with the Venezuelan team in the WBC, prohibiting Rick Peterson from spending the needed time to smooth out Julio's mechanics. I've been skeptical of this guy since the rumors of a trade surface in November, but, to be fair, you have to give him some time here. Not that I really believe he will thrive in this city, but everyone deserves at least a fair chance.
Palm Beach Post: "The Kid" on Mike Pelfrey
Frank O. Schaeffer speaks with Gary Carter, former Mets great and present manager of the Mets' High-A affiliate in St. Lucie. Carter gives his views on first round pick Mike Pelfrey:
He's impressive. He's got a good, live fastball. He keeps the ball down in the zone and he likes to pitch inside, which is important for a young pitcher.
He's very athletic and I see him making a fast climb. I see nothing but great things for this kid.
I think Pelfrey is on a quick road to the big leagues. Of course, you don't want to rush a young pitcher, but depending on how well he does in this league, and with the needs they have for starting pitchers in New York, he may find himself in the big leagues as early as this season.