New York Mets News

Mets Opening Day Preview/Prediction Edition

By Adam Garnett
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By this time tomorrow, the Mets will likely be on their way home after opening the season at Cit Field. The weather is supposed to be spectacular. The lineup the Mets will be trotting out there vs. Josh Johnson and the Marlins, well, not so much. According to ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin, it is expected the lineup JerryManuel showcased during the Mets exhibition contest against Tampa will be the one we see on Opening Day. Check it out:

  • 1. Alex Cora, SS
  • 2. Luis Castillo, 2B
  • 3. David Wright, 3B
  • 4. Mike Jacobs, 1B
  • 5. Jason Bay, LF
  • 6. Gary Matthews Jr., CF
  • 7. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  • 8. Rod Barajas, C
  • 9. Johan Santana, p

Not what one would call a juggernaut, but when you substitute Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Daniel Murphy/Ike Davis in their rightful spots, not too shabby for sure. It is expected Matthews and Pagan will split a fair amount of time in CF and I assume when Pagan is in the lineup, he will act as the leadoff hitter. I also expect Ruben Tejada will see significant time at SS until Reyes makes his way back to the lineup (hopefully by Sunday if all goes well). Fernando Tatis will also see significant time at 1B, likely starting there in place of Jacobs when the Mets face a lefty.

As far as the rest of the bench goes, Frank Catalanotto will be the primary stick off the pine and can also play multiple positions in the infield and outfield. He could end up being a nice piece for the Mets if he ends up sticking around once guys return from the DL. As my colleague Brandon Butler pointed out, I am a little disappointed Chris Carter didn’t make the big club after his monstrous spring showing. I think that may have a bit more to do with the fact that he still had options left and Jacobs did not. It wouldn’t be surprising the see him up with the Mets sometime in the near future.

The pitching stable? Looks like the Amazins’ may have a teeny bit of a problem there. The state of the starting five has been discussed in detail in this space. I won’t bore you with anymore doomsday scenario talk. We all

know the rotation, aside form Johan is in shambles and will be hard pressed to be even the fourth best staff in the NL East.

As for the bullpen, there certainly are some intriguing pieces out there. The first is obviously Jenrry Mejia. It should be interesting to see how Manuel uses him in the first few weeks of the season. Now that the decision to keep him around has been made, I sure hope he finds his way to the eighth-inning role sooner rather than alter. The way Jerry Manuel talked up this young phenom in the spring, I would not be at all surprised if you see him trot out of the bullpen tomorrow afternoon in the top of the eight if the Mets have a lead.

The rest of the pen has some serious question marks. Aside from the always steady Pedro Feliciano, who else do you exactly trust to get critical outs? Hiroshi Takahashi?Ryota Igarashi? Who the hell knows about these two Japanese imports. Sean Green? To put it kindly, this guy stinks. Hope you only see him and his eminently hittable sidearm delivery in mop up duty. Fernando Nieve could be a weapon out of the pen in long relief. I have heard a lot of Mets fans say they’d like to see him get a shot to act as the eight inning bridge to Frankie Rodriguez. That remains to be seen.

So, now it is prediction time. I am sure I’ll be way off on these numbers like I always am when I make sports preditions but here it goes:

  • Overall Record: 80-82 (4th in the NL East)
  • HR Leader: David Wright, 33
  • RBI Leader: David Wright, 113
  • Runs Leader: Jose Reyes, 101
  • Stolen Base Leader: Jose Reyes, 41
  • Hits Leader: David Wright, 188
  • Wins Leader: Johan Santana, 18
  • K’s Leader: Johan Santana, 211
  • Saves Leader: Francisco Rodriguez, 37

Time to get this thing started. I will be out at Citi Field tomorrow taking in the festivities as one of the media throng. I’m sure I’ll have a bunch to say tomorrow night so stay tuned Mets fans.

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