You can not have been a Mets fan over the last five years and not have been engulfed by biting claws of pessimism.
But after a few years of dismal displays of faux-baseball, the dark shade of pessimism might have started moving away from Flushing, NY. The Mets came into this season with low expectations, sprinkled with few precious bright spots. However, those pinholes of brightness have kicked off the season with the potential for some actual light.
This 2013 New York Mets campaign has started with the loudest of bangs. Opening day featured Jon Niese holding an admittedly mediocre San Diego Padres lineup in check, and offensive contributions from the unlikeliest of contributors. Colin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd, of the much maligned outfield, came through with big time hits, as did new catcher John Buck. Contributions from new Mets players, was great to see on opening day.
Following Niese, Matt Harvey looked every bit the ace we have all hoped he would become in game 2. Harvey picked up where he left off in his few starts last season and threw seven innings of 1 hit ball. Lucas Duda and the surprising John Buck, both getting key hits to help the cause. Looking every bit an effective a 1-2 punch as any, Niese and Harvey paved the way for two wins to kickoff the season.
Two games is the smallest of sample sizes, as any baseball numbers nerd will tell you. So while Mets fans were enamored with the play of the boys the first two games, the next two are a different story.
Dillon Gee took the loss in game 3, the Mets’ bats did not show up and a 2-1 loss ensued in a 1 PM Thursday afternoon getaway game. Last night, Jeremy Hefner took the game 4 loss, as the Mets could not overcome a 5 run seventh inning from a Marlins team eviscerated by their ownership in the off-season.
However, while relief pitching and sporadic hitting might have cost the Mets the last two games, here are the numbers that should temper your pessimism…. at least just a little:
Niese: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER
Harvey: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER
Gee: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER
Hefner: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER
Folks, we have four solid starting pitchers give four solid 1st starts each to kick-off the season. Should this group continue to give us these kinds of outings more often than not, there will not only be joy in Flushing, but these young building blocks could be the foundation for the future.
So the next time we blame the GM for the craptastic outfield or start spitting bullets at our infuriatingly inconsistent batting order, take a deep breath, and focus on the young men below. Baseball God willing, we will enjoy their grazing on the Citi Field mound for a long time.