Jonathon Niese took the mound today for the first time since him and the Mets agreed on a five-year/$25 million deal that will take the New York left-hander through his arbitration years in Flushing. After walking three of the first six hitters he faced, he settled down against Atlanta, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning. After giving up a lead off double to Ruben Tejada and a sacrifice fly to David Wright, Niese and Braves starter Mike Minor were locked in a pitching until the fifth inning, when the New York bats woke up for two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth.
It looked like it was going to be a blowout on getaway day for the Braves, but they were able to knock out Niese in the seventh by breaking up his bid to throw the first no-hitter in Mets history, then plating four runs. For the third straight day, the Atlanta offense stayed reasonably quiet, scoring five runs, but on only three hits; the biggest hit came from Jason Heyward, who hit a two-run double in the four-run seventh inning. Brian McCann got his first hit of the year, a solo shot in the eighth inning.
For the Met offense, Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy didn’t set the table today, but decided to clean up instead. The two combined for six hits, four of which were doubles, four RBI, and three runs scored. What was most encouraging for the offense today was Tejada’s four-hit performance. After not recording a hit in the first two games and constantly putting the ball in the air, Tejada finally made some solid contact and kept the ball on a line. Depending on how long Andres Torres is out with his strained calf, the new Mets
shortstop will have to set the pace at the top of the line up, and he took a huge step forward towards doing just that. After only recording 16 extra base hits last season, it was a pleasant surprise to see him drive the ball to the gap for two doubles.
David Wright continued his hot streak, driving in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly, getting another hit, and walking twice. Ike Davis struggled once again today; he did reach base on a walk, but struck out for the sixth time in three games. Jason Baygot his second hit of the year, but he still looks very uncomfortable in the box and continues to not drive the ball at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if Duda leapfrogs him in the line up within the next couple of weeks and the platoon in left field that has been mentioned happens by the middle of May if nothing changes.
The bullpen gave up it’s first run of 2012, when Manny Acostagave up a solo home run to Brian McCann in his second inning of work. Tim Brydak came in for one out to close out the eighth inning, completing the bridge to Frank Francisco in the ninth. The Mets closer continued his hot streak, setting the Braves down in order to complete the sweep. This ended up being a historic win for the Mets on multiple fronts. Francisco became the first Mets closer ever to save the team’s first three games of the year. This is the first time New York has started 3-0 since 2007. This is also the first time the Mets have swept a division opponent to start a season.
Probable Pitchers tomorrow:
The Braves get out of town and the Mets welcome the Washington Nationals into town for the first time in 2012, for a three game set. Edwin Jackson makes his first start in a Nats uniform against New York’s Mike Pelfrey, who is looking to get off to a strong start this year to build his confidence. It will be the first night game of the year for the Mets, with a 7:10pm start time at Citi Field. The game can be seen on SNY. Let’s go Mets!