Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mets Opening Day: It Could Have Been Worse

I was skeptical of Terry Collins batting Willie Harris second on Opening Day, but it turned out to be the right move. Too bad the main thing it achieved was breaking up a no-hitter in the seventh inning.

There's no shame in being shut down by Josh Johnson, one of the best pitchers in baseball and a longtime Met killer, but a no-hitter on Opening Day would have been a disastrous way to start the year. Even before the game, when Collins wrote in Friday's letter to Met fans, "I stack our lineup against anyone else's in the league," I had to wonder what league he was talking about.

As for Mike Pelfrey, I'm a fan - I even got a Pelfrey T-shirt last year, (which coincided with him going into his midseason slump). At the time, Pelfrey, the ninth overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft, looked headed for the All-Star game. Pelfrey has the potential to be an ace.

But I'm tired of hearing all the talk of how he's now an ace and what an honor and responsibility it is to start on Opening Day. And how he has to face all the other aces going forward, as if there's no such thing as off days and rainouts. Pelfrey did not earn this position, but was given it because of Johan Santana's injury.

We haven't heard much about Brad Emaus being the starting second baseman because he didn't earn that role in spring training, but won it by being the least bad alternative. Or, more likely, being a Rule 5 who would have to be returned to Toronto if he didn't stay on the roster. And the fact that J.P. Ricciardi drafted him in Toronto didn't hurt, either.

Expectations are low with Emaus, so anything he does will be a plus. And he has the opposite situation as the player who follows a superstar - as I wrote yesterday, Emaus has the advantage of following Luis Castillo.

Even if the Mets concede Pelfrey is not an ace, Friday's game was still disappointing - Pelfrey couldn't get out of the fifth inning. But it's still just one game. And it's still good to have baseball back.


mhochman said...

While Pelf was not sharp it was that one bad pitch that really doomed him, What he needs to learn is how to put guys away! He get to 2 strikes, then they just foul everything off wearing him down.

Jon Lewin said...

Yes, if not for that one bad pitch, Pelfrey would have kept the Mets in the game. But that's what's so frustrating about Pelfrey - he left one over the plate for a guy that never walks, and that was the game.

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