This is the first of a daily series of posts that will appear during the season on Daily Mets Blog entitled "The Daily Rumble". It will focus on the main daily issues concerning the team and appear in bullet-point form with brief personal insight (inscribed in bold font) into each issue.
Mets Hot to Open Season
- Sparkling defensive plays and seven turned double plays in first two games highlight impressive start.
- Starting pitching solid with Glavine, El Duque turning in solid efforts, getting outs with RISP. Bullpen issues still unresolved with Joe Smith still untested, Scott Schoeneweis shaky in Tuesday’s game, Aaron Sele yet to appear, and Jorge Julio/Armando Benitez-like Ambiorix Burgos scheduled to make first appearance tonight. Still, plenty of extra arms available in AAA should one or more of the current relievers faulter early on.
- The lineup looks pretty good in the first couple of games. Any talk of Wright hitting 2nd has been quieted for the time being as Lo Duca delivers 2 RBI in the two-spot in season opener.
- No home runs yet for the Mets. Moises Alou hit a line drive last night that failed to carry and was caught near the track and has been hitting the ball well despite a 1-8 start.
- Shawn Green is 0 for his last 6 after beginning the season with two "excuse-me" flairs that managed to find open ground for singles. Lastings Milledge continues to breathe down his neck after a hot Spring Training, and will most likely get a start Friday night against the Braves and left-hander Mark Redman. Like many Mets fans, I would like to see Milledge put to use as soon as possible, either in the starting lineup in place of Green if he falters in the next couple of weeks, or as the main piece in a trade for a starting pitcher, considering the promise of Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez in the minor league system and the current state of the rotation which includes Mike Pelfrey, who was rocked in his last couple of Spring starts and could use some tuning up in the Minors.
- John Maine starts tonight for the Mets. He is coming off of a 6-5 3.60 ERA season in which he seemingly came out of nowhere after being acquired from the Orioles to become an important piece of the rotation and pitch well in the playoffs. His #3 spot in the rotation this season was pretty much uncontested, though he did pitch well in the Spring. I expect Maine to be an integral part of the pitching staff this season, and he will have to step up, especially if injury-prone El Duque, inconsistent Oliver Perez, or unproven Mike Pelfrey run into trouble. Most people are pinning Maine for a teen number win season with an ERA around 4, which I believe is reasonable. I do, however, believe that he is capable of pitching better than those predictions, as showcased by his astounding 69 hits allowed in 90 IP last season. Provided that he keeps the ball in the ballpark (15 HR allowed last year), he could evolve into an elite pitcher for years to come.
- Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes both stole bases last night. Reyes stole 64 last year and is expected to produce a similar number this season, while Beltran’s swipe is a welcome sight, as the all-time leader in successful stolen base percentage has failed to run significantly during his two years with the Mets, but has expressed hope this offseason that he can restore his base-stealing prowess.
- Tonight’s matchup features the Mets’ John Maine against the Cardinals’ (and loathed ex-Met) Braden Looper, who will be making his first Major League start after years of (attempting) to close games. It will be interesting to see how Looper’s arm strength looks come the middle innings of the game. He has always had good stuff but has often been subject to the Domino effect, tending to fall downhill after yielding a base hit/walk or two. Hopefully, the Mets can get to him early, and make him throw as many pitches as possible.
Let’s Go Mets!
— George Embiricos
Cliff’s Line: (As Cliff Floyd’s biggest fan during his four years with the Mets, I will provide his game stats with the Cubs from the previous night in an effort to keep his name in the Daily Mets Blog spotlight)
0-1 (PH). Floyd popped out to first in his first at-bat as a Cub, a late-inning pinch-hitting appearance. Good luck to him tonight as his new team takes on the Reds.