Opening Day, part 2

April 7, 2010

The real fun begins tonight with John Maine

The New York Mets home opener on Monday was a fantastic day for the franchise.  The Mets pitched, they hit, made sparkling plays in the field and cruised to a 7-1 victory.   But now fans must brace themselves for the reality of the 2010 Mets season, which opens tonight at 7 pm. 

As happy as I was leaving the stadium on Monday, I knew that the Mets are built to win Santana’s starts and the true test would begin on Wednesday.  It was nice to have an off-day on Tuesday to enjoy the fruits of victory but Monday’s win was meaningless in the grand scheme of things.  Santana was brilliant as usual, and Jerry was able to mask his beleaguered bullpen behind a six-run lead.  Tonight, however,  is shaping up to be a reality check for the pitching staff. 

John Maine takes the hill matched up against Ricky Nolasco and the Florida Marlins.  The righty had a brief 2009 season, making just 15 starts while winning 7 games.  Injuries and bloated pitch counts have haunted Maine for the better part of his career and the 28 year-old could serve as a microcosm of the Mets season tonight at Citi Field.   After Maine, it’s Niese, Pelfrey and Perez otherwise known as doom, gloom and hopefully Santana can pitch soon. 

Lost in the fold of the starting pitching woes and how many runs the offense can muster without Reyes has been Jerry Manuel’s bullpen.  John Maine is more likely to injure his back walking from the bullpen than throwing more than 5 innings tonight.  It will therefore be up to Jerry Manuel, and ultimately the relievers themselves to save the Mets from embarrassment. 

As Jay Greenberg stated in the Post, “a bullpen is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get.” 

Greenberg could not be more accurate, as bullpens league wide are usually on a day-to-day, year-to-year basis.  Certainly some teams have established consistent ‘pens for years on end, but for the most part middle relief is the most inconsistent part of baseball.  Look at the first two Yankee games for proof, as their pen was bad one night and outstanding the next.  During the Mets Spring Training reports, I highlighted how the 2010 Mets bullpen is dominated by starters who will attempt to make the change to relief.  Nieve looked good on Monday, but again a six run lead can go a long way in disguising inevitable problems. 

Teams either have enough depth in the pen, or they don’t, and the Mets will not succeed in 2010 with below average middle-relief.  K-Rod is going to be K-Rod, just like Santana will continue to be elite, but the sooner the bullpen is tested the better.  Just as the quicker we see life after Santana the faster we’ll know how long the Mets will contend in 2010. 

I welcome you to the Mets 2010 opener.  Enjoy the ride….



  1. nice job by management by letting figureoa get picked up by the phils… could they have not used him for middle relief after maine gets rocked in the 1st 3 innings??

    I bet maine gives up a homer in his first 30 pitches SMDH!

  2. nice 5 innings for this fucking loser… send him to AAA

  3. Fernando Tatis should never step on the field again…Jerry has no balls.

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