Mets 10, Cardinals 0 (NYM: 3-0, STL: 0-3)
How about a three-game series where you outscore your opponents 20-2? How about if that opponent is the defending world champion? OK, they're still the mediocre, lightning-in-a-2-week-bottle-that-was-the-2006-post-season-Cardinals, but it's still an impressive way to begin the 2007 season for the Mets.
Even more impressive - three starts, 3-0 for the starters. John Maine completed a solid turn by the Mets' top three with 7 shutout innings, giving up just one hit. Maine retired the first 12 he faced before giving up a hit, and then walked a batter, before ending his outing by setting down 9 of 10. (He also pitched out of his mini-jam very well, getting a strikeout, lineout, and flyout with those two men on.
By the way - I seem to remember that Maine did this a lot last year, too, where he'd make it through the lineup once, one and a half times, even twice, without giving up a hit. Then they'd figure him out...but he's picking up this year right where he left off.
The Mets were facing their former closer, Braden Looper, who was making his first career start after 572 appearances - the third-most appearances all time before making his first start. Looper was good his first couple of times through the order, too, before the Mets got to him. In the top of the sixth, Paul Lo Duca singled, and Carlos Beltran then deposited a pitch into the right field seats for a 2-0 Mets lead. That same inning, with two outs, David Wright legged out an infield single to shortstop (he's not driving in runs in the first three games- so it was good to see him get a hustle hit - this was just a slow roller to short), then later came around to score on a Shawn Green single, making it 3-0. That run was earned by Wright, by beating out that infield hit.
The Mets then blew the game open - in the seventh, Jose Reyes had a solo homer, then Beltran hit his second of the game, a solo shot (4 RBI), and then in the 8th the Mets added 5 more to make the final score 10-0. Definitely an exclamation point to a big statement made by the Mets in the first three games of the season.
The Mets have Thursday off before taking on the Braves for three games in Atlanta. I think the Mets finally exorcised this "House of Horrors" stuff with their success in Atlanta last season. We'll see if it carries over into this year. I might take Thursday off too - these have been some late nights after the 8 o'clock starts. I'll write again on Friday, if nothing else important comes up before then.
WB MASON JOHNNYMETS.BLOGSPOT.COM PLAYER OF THE GAME: Again, we have to go with the starting pitcher. John Maine went 7 innings of one-hit ball...there is no more deserving candidate. Tack on 6 strikeouts, and just two walks, and you have yourself a great start to the season.
SWEEPING THE CARDINALS: I noted in my last posting how wrong I thought people were who were saying that the season-opening win by the Mets was revenge for the NLCS. (The scale is just so different between post-season and beating the team that won it all the previous season...you just can't take that title away from them.) But by sweeping the Cardinals, while they're not getting revenge, the Mets are sending a huge message. I don't think the Cardinals will be around in October, but it's more of a message to everyone - we know what we missed out on last year, and we're here to fix it. Also - I read somewhere a comparison to 1985/1986, where the Cardinals edged the Mets in September to win the division in 1985, then the Mets came back and swept the Cardinals in April of 1986 en route to the championship. That's a more accurate comparison.
BROADCASTERS: So I caught a bit of the Reds-Cubs game on Wednesday night, and I was surprised to see Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley broadcasting the game. Must be a lot of broadcaster shakeup around the league, what with Gary Thorne now doing Baltimore, and these two now doing the Reds. I'm not sure I'm crazy about the switch - I've never been a big fan of Brennaman, and you may remember I kind of liked George Grande. I'll have to keep an eye on the other broadcasting switches...and perhaps do a new evaluation.
BEAT THE STREAK: Vladimir Guerrero got me going again (so mad that I didn't pick him Tuesday night)...I look to A-Rod to continue it on Thursday against the Devil Rays.