The Mets management couldn’t have scripted it any better for a team eager to rebuild its bullpen. It was the perfect situation to see whether or not the new additions to the bullpen would pass their test. If today’s last few innings are any indication, they aced it.
Sean Green took over for starter Johan Santana in the sixth inning and pitched a scoreless seventh. JJ Putz shut the Reds down in the eighth despite giving up a walk. He was robbed of a second strikeout when catcher Brian Schneider failed to squeeze a strike three foul tip in his glove. And Francisco Rodriguez did what he’s being paid about $12 million a year to do — he closed out the game with a K.
Other than giving up four walks, Santana pitched well in his 5 2/3 innings. He ended up with seven strikeouts and one earned run on only three hits. He continued his excellent Opening Day record by winning his third consecutive one and his second with the Mets.
It was a promising sign from a pitching staff that had to premier in winter-like conditions, with rain falling intermittently and temperatures dipping into the 30’s.
The Mets offense, led by Daniel Murphy who drove in the only two runs of the game, gave the team just enough to outlast the Reds, despite stranding 12 men on base. Murphy, who was batting in the two hole, hit a fifth-inning solo home run to give the Mets the lead. He also drove in Luis Castillo on a ground-out in the sixth.
The Mets have the day off Tuesday before finishing up their series in Cincinnati on Wednesday and Thursday. Mike Pelfrey is slated to pitch Wednesday, with Oliver Perez going on Thursday.
It’s only one game but how do you feel about the team and the bullpen now?