|The Mets' Carlos Beltran after the Florida Marlins' John Buck hit a grand slam in the fourth inning of their opening night in Miami. (NYTimes.com)|
New York bats were kept largely silent by Florida ace Josh Johnson and pitcher Mike Pelfrey served up a grand slam to catcher John Buck as the Marlins took a 6-2 win over the Mets on opening day.
Johnson, the National League's defending ERA champion, kept the Mets (0-1) without a hit through six innings. His bid to toss the second no-hitter ever thrown on Opening Day (Bob Feller, 1940) was broken up by a Willie Harris double in the 7th inning. Carlos Beltran brought him home two batters later with a double, and he was in turn brought in on an RBI ground out by Ike Davis. That was all the O the Amazin's would get, however, as reliever Michael Dunn came in with two runners on to strike out Scott Hariston and end the rally.
With Johan Santana on the back burner till July, starter Mike Pelfrey struggled in his first outing as the Mets' de facto ace. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on four hits and four walks. Relievers Blaine Boyer and Pedro Beato combined four 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, but Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison got the best of Taylor Buchholz in the eighth inning, going yard and pushing Florida (1-0)'s lead to four.
While they were facing one of the top 5 starters in the National League, New York's offense mirrored its anemic tenancies that emerged last year. Leadoff man Jose Reyes went 0-4 at the plate. So did David Wright, striking out twice in the process (the increasingly K-prone third baseman is on pace for 324...). There were a couple bright spots: Willie Harris (Jason Bay's temporary replacement in left field) got two big hits and Beltran said his knee felt relaxed and he felt good in his new right field home.
While it's impossible to judge a team on its first game, there are certainly things the Mets and new manager Terry Collins need to make sure don't become the norm. Baseball's a long season, the longest of any sport. There will be plenty of chances to fix it, but sooner, clearly, would be better than later.