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Just As Designed

Mike SteffanosMonday, April 6, 2009
By Mike Steffanos

Game 1: Mets 2 - Reds 1

The Mets used a decent start from Johan Santana, three relievers -- none of whom were here last season -- and a couple of terrific at bats from Daniel Murphy to win their opener in Cincinnati.

I'll be back later with some thoughts, along with a finish to that Keys to the Mets piece. In the meantime, feel free to leave comments.

The Mets wouldn't have won this game last year...

View Johan Santana's Full Season Stats

Box Score

Comments (9)

A decent start from Santana? 1 earned run is a decent start? I know it's the Reds and all but we have to give Santana some credit, his ERA last year at 2.53 was his lowest ERA EVER. He still doesn't get the respect he deserves from Mets fans. I'm never going to look at a starting pitcher giving up one run in 5 2/3 as a "decent" start. It's a great start, as I know very few pitchers with a 1.00 career ERA. Give me a "decent" from Santana every time and I will be happy. Believe me, I love Mike Pelfrey but he will give up more than one run on Wednesday, trust me.

It's a decent start because A) it's early in the year for Johan, where his walk #'s are notoriously up B) the umpire was horrible all game, and had a weird strike zone that wasn't consistent for either team and C)Johan only threw 99 pitches in 5 and 2/3rds. He's not yet where he wants to be as the dominant Johan that we know and love. He'll get there.

In the meantime I'll take a 2-1 Mets win with a vastly improved bullpen that doesn't sweat getting outs when they need to. Having Green, Putz, and KRod in the bullpen is going to be a revelation.

The only thing that concerns me- and it's a concern from last season as well- is that the Mets tend to leave far too many men on the bases. Wright, Delgado, and Beltran got hits, but were ineffective in driving runs in. They need to do better with RISP.

And the bottom of the Mets order really, really sucks. Schneider and Castillo are giant weak links for the Mets offense.

nwaldrop - Lighten up. 5 2/3 innings is not a great start. I'm not taking anything away from Santana, who I doubt very much would characterize this start as great. I wasn't putting him down, whether you believe me or not.

Jason - I think the umpire had some effect on the offense. He was calling a lot of balls 6 inches off the plate strikes and putting hitters into the hole in those key situations. I wasn't really happy with the situational hitting, either, but I'll give them a pass for today.

Boy, shades of Eric Gregg out there. And the worst umpire in that crew wasn't behind home plate.

David Wright looked....I don't know, distracted or something, did he not? He made that fine reaction play and he collected two walks, but making outs twice on the basepaths is not typical of him. Of course he is David Wright, he'll be fine.

It wasn't a good day for hitting but several of the Mets hit the ball very hard. One through six looks strong.

Good game.

johan is great but he can't start again for 5 days.the next five days might indicate how soon the mets should start thinking about trying to get a jake peavy from the padres by the all star break..right now i don't have a lot of confidence in the 2-5 starters ..i hope i'm wrong..

If this is our game plan, I don't think I can take it all year, with leaving so many men on base and trying to win one run games in the end.I am getting to old for this, we will most likly be going into the 9th leading 10-9 still on tums to watch the end.Hope Iam wrong.I need a happy season, and going into the 9th leading by 10 runs.

Gary, keep in mind that it's a long season- Ollie had problems the past two seasons starting out of the gate, and Maine did as well, last year. Maine's also coming back from offseason surgery, which should eventually make him a better pitcher. He's just going through conditioning, basically. The Mets will hit enough to give their pitchers the lead- and they'll only need to go 6 to 7 innings, and not worry about the bullpen this time around. Just keep in mind that it's a long season, and that it's not the sprint out of the gate that matters- it's the marathon that's at stake. Working your kinks out in May is fine by me.

September matters more.

Loved seeing Green/Putz/KRod come in and look solid. Now, let's hope that they each don't have 50 appearances by the all star break. Seriously, I'm a little afraid that in the wake of the past two seasons, Jerry is going to overuse his new arms in an effort to over-protect every lead. If the past two years taught us anything, (in addition to the need for better guys out there) it was not to wear out your pen.

Oddly, one way to save the pen is to let guys go longer when they're in - like Green going for four outs yesterday - rather than warming up/using everyone every day. It's easier, I think, for a guy to stay fresh, healthy, and effective if he works 65 innings over 48 appearances rather than the same 65 innings over 80 appearances.

In other words, let's keep 7 arms out there (sorry Marlon) and use them wisely. I would even go as far as to say that we shouldn't automatically bring in K-Rod every time we have a three run lead in the 9th. Especially when we're not facing the heart of someone's order. Screw the stats, we ought to be able to trust anyone in our pen with a three-run lead for one inning versus some team's 6-7-8. Blasphemous, I know.

I'm not worried at all about the hitting (after one game I really shouldn't even have to say that) given it was 35 degrees and raining out there. I do love Murph in the 2-hole, and I want Church in RF to the tune of 500 AB's minimum.

So good to be back to baseball. Now, about this weather...

jason b., will all due respect, after the last 2 years i want this team to start fast and hopefully be on cruise control by september..the last thing i want to see is a tight race with a week to go in september..that's why i'm concerned if maine and perez both need a month to hit a groove..we need both of these guys to win 13-15 games each.and right now can any met fan honestly bank on that to happen??? if they consistently need to get the hook this year after 5 innings, they are going to cook putz and krod's arms by september..i would be very encouraged to see good performances from maine and perez in their first couple of outings..

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