COMMENTARY | If only every day was opening day for the New York Mets. How different would the fortunes of this team be?
The Mets opened the season on Monday with an 11-2 win over the San Diego Padres. They are now 38-14 overall on opening day.
There was a lot to like from the Mets on their first day of baseball. The Mets never trailed. They got strong pitching -- Jonathon Niese pitched six and 2/3 innings allowing two runs and four hits; timely hitting -- nine runs were scored with two outs; and they did it in front of an announced sellout crowd of 41,053 at Citi Field.
In fact, the outfield, the Mets' biggest concern entering the season, played a large part in the win. Collin Cowgill, the Mets' center fielder, had two hits, including a seventh inning grand slam that put the game away. Marlon Byrd, the Mets' right fielder, had two hits and two runs batted in.
The bullpen, the Mets' second biggest concern, performed well, though they had a big lead to work with. Brandon Lyon, Scott Atchison, and Scott Rice got the final seven outs without allowing a run.
Another major concern was Ruben Tejada, who hit .096 this spring. Tejada had two big hits including an RBI double in the second inning that drove in the Mets' first run of the season.
Because these are the Mets, we have to at least mention the negatives, right? Ike Davis struck out four times and went 0-for-5 on the afternoon. When you start as poorly as Davis did a year ago, games like that will generate extra scrutiny.
But this was a day of positives, and here's how good things went for the Mets yesterday: Niese, the starting pitcher, had two hits and drove in a run.
"It is Day 1," Newsday reports Mets manager Terry Collins saying after the game. "We've got a long way to go. We know we're going to have some ups and we're going to have some downs. But the one thing we're trying to do is establish some credibility among our fans."
The manager liked what he saw on opening day. The fans did, too.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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