The big story coming out of Flushing yesterday was the continued domination of the New York Mets on Opening Day. Terry Collins‘s group is now 34-18 all-time in season openers, including 34 of their last 44 games. Their .654 winning percentage on Day 1 is the best in MLB history.
Johan Santana is prepping to have his second shoulder capsule surgery in the span of 31 months, and wasn’t present at Opening Day ceremonies yesterday at Citi Field. It would have been nice to see Johan on the field to wave at the Citi Faitful, but he has some other things on his mind right about now. With Justin Turner avoiding the disabled list before game time yesterday, there were four Mets that did not. Obviously, Santana is one of those four, and he’s joined by Frank Francisco, Jenrry Mejia, and Shaun Marcum.
The Mets are still hoping Marcum will be ready later this week, and the right-hander will be throwing a simulated game in Port St. Lucie today. While only recording 9.2 innings during spring training, Terry Collins said the hurler didn’t feel any pain in his neck after a Saturday bullpen session, and his simulated game will included five 15-pitch innings. It will be important for Marcum to become a productive member of the rotation, as he’s now the only veteran pitcher on the starting staff now that Johan is lost for the season.
Michael Lecolant gave you the Happy Recap of yesterday’s 11-2 victory over the San Diego Padres, there were some historic moments for New York. Collin Cowgill put together a big day in his Mets debut, recording two hits (including a grand slam) in his first game serving as Collins’s leadoff hitter. He became the first Mets player to hit a grand slam in his debut with the team.
David Wright was also busy in his first game as captain; he stole two bases, joining Darryl Strawberry and Mookie Wilson as the only players in Mets history to swipe two bags on Opening Day. Meanwhile, Ruben Tejada told Collins he’d be ready for the season to start, despite his .096 batting average in spring training, and for one day, he kept his promise; the shortstop collected two hits, while driving in the first run of the year.
With the game in control going into the ninth inning, Terry Collins saw the perfect opportunity to let Scott Rice get his feet wet. The 31-year-old finally made his long anticipated MLB debut, after 14 years in the minor leagues. How did he fare after his long journey to the game’s highest level finally ended? He retired the Padres in order, striking out the first two batters he faced. That must have felt like a dream, and I’m so happy he finally reached the top of the mountain. Now, the next step for him is performing well enough to stick around.
This was only one game, and while there are 161 more to play, it was refreshing to watch the Mets come out and make a statement yesterday, especially after all of the criticisms during the offseason. Those criticisms may be right by the time August and September roll around, but it’s awesome to not hear about it for just one day. Plus, we get to enjoy this victory even more with no game tonight. New York will take to the field again tomorrow for their first night game of the year, as Matt Harvey kicks off his 2013 campaign against Clayton Richard.