Friday, April 6, 2012

Opening Day: The more things change...

It was great to see Johan Santana's successful return from a serious injury, combining with the revamped bullpen to shut out the Braves on Opening Day. But the Mets can't get through a day without several reminders of their numerous problems.

With two on and two out in the fifth inning, the Mets had their first scoring opportunity. It was time to pinch hit for Santana, who was going to come out anyway. So the Mets sent up...

Mike Baxter.
 
The Mets' unwillingness to spend the little it takes to have a major-league bench might be the most frustrating thing about their financial issues. If you don't have productive stars, you can't win. If you don't have depth, you can't compete.

Do the Mets expect to not have any injuries? That idea went out the window in the seventh, when Andres Torres pulled up lame while chasing Tyler Pastornicky's triple.  Now I have to learn how to spell Nieuwenhuis.

This franchise desperately needs to restore its credibility. But it doesn't help to trumpet sellling out Citi Field on Opening Day with the largest crowd in the ballpark's history, not when every story about the game mentions the patches of empty seats, which were clearly visible on TV.

Even the much-maligned Mets medical staff offered its own bit of self-promotion, touting Santana's successful surgery and recovery.  Yes, it's great to see Santana back out there, even if he may never be the Santana of old. But Santana had reduced velocity and barely made it through the fifth inning. It may not yet be time to start celebrating.

At least, however, the Mets are over .500, tied for first and have a better record than the Yankees. So I'm going to enjoy it while I can.  

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