Author’s Note: The Week in Review is a new feature which will appear most weeks during the season on TRDMB, taking a look back at the week that was and a brief look at the week that will be.
The Mets won 2 of 3 in Florida this weekend in a manner which simply must be looked at as a seriously auspicious beginning, even to the most dedicated Nabob.
The only negatives which jump out are the performances of the perhaps-always-destined-to-be-an-enigmatic-underachiever Mike Pelfrey, and battlin’ Francisco Rodriguez, who did, at least, not begin the count on his option vesting.
Pelf didn’t pitch great, but let’s face it—one pitch did him in. Now, of course, the grand slam has been a huge thorn in the side for the Mets—on both offense and defense—for the last year. But had Pelf thrown that one pitch in a better location, we might be talking about a sweep. He did walk four, but allowed just four hits, and while a number one starter does not allow a grand slam to the likes of John Buck, let’s give Pelf another few chances.
KRod did not look good; coming back after a horrible end to 2010, he clearly wanted to start off the season well, but did not. KRod will receive many more chances; let’s hope this was simply a case of his trying too hard.
Unlike last year, we have lots of positives to look at. The team hustled. The players showed emotion on many occasions. Pessimists’ favorite target David Wright had the huge CLUTCH hit in the 10th on Saturday, when the team roared right back from the 9th inning bullpen meltdown.
Terry Collins used the whole roster; Willie Harris produced, Dickey picked up right where he left off, the pen was decent overall, and Parnell threw a fine inning. Perhaps after waiting for years, we have seen the first step in Parnell’s taking his (hopefully) rightful role as dominant Met closer of the future.
Ike had four hits and two walks in the series. Beltran had a couple of hits, showed a quick bat, and did appear ambulatory. Jon Niese recovered from a shaky first inning to pitch a very economical and successful seven. Jose was on base several times in the two wins, and Josh Thole appeared off to an early start to being what this writer foresees—a patient, successful hitter who behaves in a manner far beyond his years at the plate.
Terry Collins managed like he really cared. He used the pen, he did not overwork his starters, and he utilized almost the entire roster. After just three days, how many players on this team can feel as though the manager does not have confidence in them?
Duda, Hu, Murphy, Hairston, Nickeas—Collins used almost the whole roster this weekend; even getting Capuano some action.
The attitude was clearly there. Wright’s enthusiasm after his huge hit Saturday night had to be infectious after last year’s struggles.
The team took advantage of opportunities, played crisp hustling ball, made just one error in the series, and managed to win two of three on the road.
It is very easy to read far too much into this series after the horrors of the Jerry Manuel era, but winning ANY series on the road after 2010’s travails is a welcome sign, and beating up on the Marlins in FLA in the deciding game of a 3-game series also is quite encouraging.
The Metsies move on to Philly for three games beginning Tuesday against the very unsurprisingly 3-0 Phils. The boys in orange and blue will miss two of their three aces, and with the team’s 8-2 record against Hamels, perhaps we could have Halladay in the position of needing to salvage one win on Thursday.
Of course, we have yet to see starts from the two pitchers whose health the 2011 season could largely hinge on—Young and Capuano. Young will start the first game in Philly, and should we see 6-7 good innings from him, fans could be forgiven for starting to believe in this team pretty quickly.
It is a long, long season, and the ups and downs surely will have even more weight after what we have witnessed since that damn Wainwright curve almost five years ago (can it really be that long?), but winning two of three in Florida, with the one loss basically coming due to facing one of the game’s true aces and Big Pelf throwing one terrible pitch, is about as excellent of a beginning as we could have hoped for.
Here’s hoping the boys enjoy their day off and are ready to do some serious damage Tuesday in Philly!