In spite of the expected 10,000 plus seats that are not yet sold for today's game, traffic is still expected to be a factor so those driving should leave as early as possible or take mass transit. Nothing better than the feeling of the baseball season kicking off. Something about just watching the players line up before the game that reminds us that the season is really here. Today is more special because of the pre-game tribute to Gary Carter.
Many have picked the Mets to finish last place in the NL East, including myself. We, as fans, go into the season with the hope that everything goes right and players perform to their capabilities or more. If that happens, any team, including the Mets can do better than the critics say. This is not the worst Mets team ever essembled, the fear is that it may disessemble itself. Either with injuries, which have killed the team over the past three years or players being traded if the team does as poorly as some are predicting. I don't agree with trading players because your team is not any good, but thats for another story. If this team stays together, they could surprise some people.
The Mets got some good news as injured OF Andres Torres and LHP Tim Byrdak will be healthy and ready for opening day. The team starts the season with only RHP Pedro Beato and RHP DJ Carrasco on the DL and all the projected regulars on the 25 man roster. Is this team inferior to what has been over the past several seasons? Probably, since it is hard to replace Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. But there is some solice in the fact that the players the Mets have are healthy. Especially since they have absolutely no depth at any position. They have no ability to cover for any serious injury, something that has plagued them in the past.
As far as the opening day lineup goes, they are led by their opening day starter Johan Santana. Santana looked very sharp in spring training and could surprise some if he has fully recovered from the operation to replace the torn capsule muscle in his left shoulder. From watching him in spring training in 2008, 2009 and 2010, he has always been a slow starter in spring training, not the case this year. I think Santana will pitch well this season.
Torres leads off in CF, followed by Daniel Murphy 2B, David Wright 3B, Ike Davis 1B, Jason Bay LF, Lucas Duda RF, Josh Thole C, Ruben Tejada SS and Santana. The Braves will counter with Michael Bourn CF, Martin Prado LF, Brian McCann C, Dan Uggla 2B, Freddy Freeman 1B, Juan Francisco 3B, Jason Heyward RF, Tyler Pastornicky SS, Tommy Hanson P.
The Mets have a history for winning openers, hopefully this is not an omen. The Mets are 6-3 in the opening games I have seen in person and are 2-1 at home in this time. Personally, I saw the Mets go 5-9 in 14 games last season, the lowest winning percentage since they went 0-1 in 2003. I truly think this team is better than the 9 spring training wins they got this year. Objective fans have the team winning anywhere between 70 and 83 games this year. If you are outside that window, you are not being objective. Either you deep down hate the Mets because of the lack of star power or you are living in a cloud thinking this team is something it is not. The Mets may not be good this year, but they are not the Houston Astros or the Oakland Athletics. The most game I see the Mets losing is 90, and that is if everything breaks wrong. If they have injuries, which has happened before, and if players coming back from injuries do not regain form, there is a chance they could lose that many games. If not, they will win somewhere in the 70s, where I have them at 76. If things break right, they will win more. Come on! If you are a Mets fan, lets cheer this team on and encourage them to be the best they can be. Opening day is the only day where every team is tied for first. LETS GO METS!