Mets 6, Cardinals 1 (NYM: 1-0, STL: 0-1)
When you consider that the Mets played a great game on Sunday night, you also need to keep in mind that the Cardinals (defending world champions or not) are not very good. So just keep that in mind.
But that said, Sunday night's game was a great way for the Mets to kick off their season. The funny thing about the Mets productivity was where it came from. The top of the lineup was a bit late to the run-scoring party, and it was Shawn Green, Moises Alou, and Jose Valentin who played very good games for the Mets.
Carlos Delgado, RBI machine, actually did get the scoring started. He had a 2-run double off the left field wall in the third inning off Chris Carpenter. (The ball was badly misplayed by So Taguchi.) In the fourth, the Mets added a few more on a 2-run single by Paul LoDuca and another RBI single by Carlos Beltran. Lo Duca hit second, by the way, and David Wright hit fifth. It seemed to work pretty well.
Jose Reyes looked a little anxious at the plate - he finally got a hit in the ninth inning (and then was picked off of first base) - so maybe a little opening night jitters for him. At the plate, I think the Mets showed only a little of what they're capable of all year - they were definitely not all clicking at the same time - and they still put up 6 runs!
It was in the field that the Mets surprised - pleasantly. They turned four double plays, Tom Glavine fielded his position very well, and Jose Valentin capped a solid defensive night both personally and for the team with a diving stab on a grounder up the middle, turning a 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded and 1 out in the eighth inning, where the Cardinals were mounting a comeback.
Other defensive highlights:
-It wasn't much, but Paul LoDuca played a squeeze bunt in the third inning perfectly, throwing back to David Wright to get the runner coming from third base.
-Carlos Beltran gunned David Eckstein at the plate on a Preston Wilson single in the sixth inning. The grounder up the middle went right to Beltran, he came up throwing, and threw a strike to LoDuca.
-To begin the sixth, Moises Alou stretched out headfirst and robbed Adam Kennedy of a base hit.
The only disappointment was that this game got a little too close for comfort at a couple of points - Glavine clearly got tired toward the end of his outing, and the bullpen wasn't outstanding - they were helped by the great defense. Joe Smith debuted, and wasn't great. Billy Wagner was his old self in non-save situations, taking forever to retire the side in the ninth.
But a win is a win - and the Mets are 1-0. Too early to start with the magic number?
DIRECTV JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: A new feature here on johnnymets.blogspot.com. I'll pick a player of the game, Met or not, and post their numbers here every night. Sponsorships are subject to change. For Game one, though, the winner is Tom Glavine, who went 6 innings, giving up 6 hits, one run, and striking out 2. He definitely tired at the end, but benefitted from the run support, working with a cushion, and able to pitch out of his jam. He picked up career win 291, and is 1-0 on the season. I like unblemished records. Also, this was a gem that the ESPN broadcast showed - Glavine is now 136-0 when he has a 5-run lead (which he did when this one was 5-0). I like that number a lot.
THIS IS SPORTSCENTER: David Wright is clearly a star. He is in a new "This is SportsCenter" ad on ESPN. I saw it on Saturday night, not during the game on Sunday night. Wright is good in the commercial - he has some acting in his future. I bet he hosts Saturday Night Live within a year.
THE KID'S KIDS: Sadly, there will be no Kid's Kids this year - because there are no Kid's Kids. Gary Carter will not be managing in the Mets' organization this year - he is reportedly upset - or in the words of the Florida newspaper article I read - "Disagrees" with the Mets this offseason regarding their preferred assignment for him. (I think that means he's mad he didn't get the first base coaching job that Howard Johnson got instead.) Carter was on hand about a week ago for a Mets spring training game where his St. Lucie Mets were honored with rings for their Florida State League championship. I'll keep my ear to the ground and see what other news pops up about Carter this year, but again, there will be no regular feature.
BEAT THE STREAK: The 9th inning single by Reyes got me a 1-game streak. I'm going to try Chase Utley on Monday against John Smoltz.