The first series of the season could not have gone better for the Mets. Following the Misery and Malaise of the offseason, and the inauspicious Pre-Season, the Metropolitans swept their late 20th century nemesis, the Atlanta Braves, to start the season 3-0. So what can we take away from the first 3 games of the season?
We learned David Wright is still David Wright. He drove in a run in each game of the series. On Saturday, he hit an opposite field home run over the 398 sign in right-center field, clearing both the new wall and the old wall. It was like one of those movies where the mentor archetype says, “See David, you didn’t need shortened fences, the power was within you all along.”
We also learned Lucas Duda can crush good major league pitchers. On Saturday, he hit 2 homers: one versus nasty RHP Jair Jurrgens, and one against the generally reliable reliever Chad Durbin. This being his first major league season, we may not see this all the time from Duda, but it certainly shows his power potential.
And we learned Ike Davis still has trouble with curve balls. Before he suffered the well-chronicled freak ankle injury in 2011, Davis did a good job of laying off the hook in the dirt. This weekend, in particular against Tommy Hanson, he allowed the curve to eat him for lunch. He’ll have to learn to lay off that pitch if he wants consistent success this year. He’s bound to see more slop, especially with the currently anemic Jason Bay hitting behind him.
We learned Johan Santana can still pitch like an ace, even after over a year missed with shoulder surgery. He was dominant on Opening Day, even with a sub-90s fastball. He still needs to ramp up his stamina, considering that he seemed to lose command and velocity after about 75 pitches.
We learned not to underestimate Frank Francisco based on his Spring Training performance. Francisco ripped off 3 consecutive saves during the series, and became the first Mets closer to save his first 3 games with the Mets.
We may learn that Mets pitchers had their success because of the Braves relatively weak lineup. Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann are the only sure things in Atlanta’s starting 8. Jason Heyward has yet to fulfill his potential, and Mets-bane Chipper Jones missed the series with an injury. But for now, the pitching staff looks better than expected.
We learned to remain weary of the Mets’ defense. Lucas Duda appeared to lose a ball in the sun in the 7th inning of game 3, resulting in an error, and an unearned run for Jon Niese (Niese had held the Braves hitless through 6 before being touched up in the 7th). And Daniel Murphy didn’t turn a double play he probably should have, but he did well to avoid an injury (baby steps, people).
The Mets face Davey Johnson and the Nationals next. Let’s see what we’ll learn from that series.