Although it didn’t end the way we all wanted it to, the bottom line is that the New York Mets won the opening series of 2009, taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds in a series that included frigid weather, a near-grand slam walkoff, and a self-destructing Oliver Perez.
Game 1: Mets escape with victory in low-scoring game
In the opening game of the series, the Mets showed the entire world that their off-season work was for a reason. The game ran like a clock in favor of the Mets, with everything organized and geared for success.
Ace Johan Santana had a solid start, allowing only one run in his 5 2/3 innings. Following Santana, it was nothing but newcomers. The Mets sent Sean Green to the hill, who pitched over an inning and allowed no hits. JJ Putz came in for the eighth, which is the whole reason why the Mets acquired him, and made his way around a walked batter to get through the inning unscathed.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez came on for the ninth, and did exactly what the Mets are paying him the big bucks for: he shut down the Reds and sealed the victory, prompting his famous, yet emotional post-game celebration.
Taking game one of the series, better yet, game one of the SEASON, was not only important to the team, but important for the entire organization to prevent the NY Media from chewing them up and spitting them out. We all know that can get ugly, whether a player says he reads newspapers or not. We all know that they do.
Game 2: Mets’ offense bails out Pelfrey, Feliciano
After being handed a promising 2-0 lead before he even took the mound, Mike Pelfrey took the 2-0 lead a bit too carelessly. Throwing over 40 pitches in the first inning, Pelfrey labored through his five innings of work, giving up four runs on five hits and four walks. The four walks really jump out at you, considering a major league pitcher should be able to pitch a game without having troubles to that extent.
At the plate, Carlos Delgado helped kickstart the Mets with a 2-run, 2-out homer in the first inning. Brian Schneider, who went 2-4, helped the Mets tack on their much-needed runs with his three RBIs, and Ryan Church and David Wright each contributed with doubles.
On a day that six pitchers were used by the Mets, it seemed like no pitcher could do any better than their predecessor. This put the Mets fans on the edge of their seat for closer Francisco Rodriguez’s appearance in the ninth.
Although the Box Score will tell you that the Reds were held scoreless by Rodgriguez in the ninth inning, it wasn’t that simple. Rodriguez was on the brink of disaster, as he had bases loaded. This meant that a home run would cause the New York Media to have a party and write nonstop about how horrible Rodriguez and his team is. Let’s just say it would give them more than enough fuel for their fire. Rodriguez was able to escape the inning,holding the final batter to a fly ball at the warning track. That made every person watching SNY hold their breath for a few seconds — it was that close to a walk-off homer.
Game 3: Wheels fall off Perez. What else is new?
For the second straight day, the Mets’ offense was forced to work two shifts to make up for the pitching blunders.
Neither starting pitcher, Bronson Arroyo nor Oliver Perez, could find a consistent groove. Arroyo gave up five runs in his six innings, but the real ugly part was when it came to Perez. Perez soared through the first couple innings, striking out batters repeatedly and cruising like a ship. Of course, as we all know, Perez is also vulnerable in the conistency category. As feared, the wheels fell of Perez after a few innings and he self-destructed. When he self-destructs, all hell breaks loose. This was no exception. Perez ended up allowing eight runs on five hits. All of this looks so bad, yet you can tell that his performance was in such an up, down, up, and down sequence because he did have seven strikeouts in his short 4 1/3 outing.
At the plate, nobody went deep for the Mets, but the six runs kept adding up each inning, as the Mets crossed the plate in four different innings. Although Jose Reyes had two hits, he also had three strikeouts that hurt the Mets and never looks pretty. Carlos Delgado continued to do well at the plate with two RBIs on the day, while Ryan Church went 2-3 with a pair of doubles. Gary Sheffield made his debut, striking out looking in the ninth. Even the Mets’ announcers on SNY, Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling, criticized the strike zone of home plate umpire Bill Welke.
Next up, the Mets probably are the happiest travelers in baseball right now, flying to Miami for a three-game series against the team with baseball’s lowest payroll.