Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Generation BC: Bartolo Colon aces the opener

The Yankees are supposed to be the old team (first eight players in yesterday’s lineup were over 30), while the Mets have been rebuilding around young pitching. But it was soon to be 42-year-old Bartolo Colon who justified the Mets' controversial choice to make him the Opening Day starter.  Colon allowed three hits and one run in six innings, striking out eight, to lead the Mets over $210 million Max Scherzer and the heavy division favorite Nationals, 3-1.

In the sixth inning, it looked as if it might be an inauspicious opening day, since Scherzer had a no-hitter going. Imagine how Texas Ranger fans feel today, with Oakland's Sonny Gray taking a no-hitter into the eighth yesterday and winning, 8-0. But the Mets had Colon, and the Nationals had shortstop Ian Desmond making two errors that led to three unearned runs.

Imagine that - a shortstop helps blow the game with two errors and it wasn't Wilmer Flores. 

Adding to the age theme, the second-oldest pitcher on the Mets' roster, 37-year-old Buddy Carlyle, got the save. But Carlyle was only pressed into action because Jenrry Mejia was unavailable after feeling tightness in his right elbow. Mejia is getting an MRI today.  

Last year, Bobby Parnell blew the save on Opening Day, then was found to need Tommy John surgery and was done for the year.  Let's hope losing your closer to TJ on Opening Day is not becoming a new Mets' trend.  And considering that Mejia already had the surgery in 2011, the odds of him making a Harvey-like return would not be so good. 

At least the Mets' bullpen is in much better shape than it was a year ago. Last year, when the Mets lost their closer, they had to turn to Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth.

Speaking of the Mets' revamped bullpen, new Met Jerry Blevins pitched against the Mets in last year's opener and gave up a home run to David Wright.

Yesterday was a great day, but the Mejia situation puts a cloud over it. And if the worst fears are confirmed, the Mets will need to start trying to figure out why, even though TJ surgery is widespread these days, the Mets have far more cases than most other teams.

At least, Squawker Lisa, the Mets were not trotting out an Opening Day starter with a partially torn UCL who admits to reduced velocity.  What could possibly go wrong?

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