|R. A. Dickey helped the Mets, who last year did not win their first road series until June, capture their first of the season. (NYTimes.com)|
In his first outing as the team's reigning ERA leader, Dickey, the 36-year-old knuckleballer who won over Flushing fans last season, struck out seven and gave up just one unearned run, five hits, and three walks in six innings of work. Unlike in many of his starts last year, however, the Mets' bats managed to come alive to guarantee R.A.D. would walk away with the "W".
Willie Harris continued to make his case for a full-time starting spot, blasting a two-run home run in the top of the 1st. Ike Davis built on his hot start in the 3rd with his first round-tripper of the new year. All-in-all, New York made hell for Florida's Javier Vazquez, who was pulled from his first start as a Marlin in the 3rd after allowing seven runs. Vazquez's team didn't make life any easier for him either, committing two errors (3 total) that lead to three Mets runs.
NY's bullpen came in after Dickey's six for mop-up duty. Save for a rocky outing from Chris Capuano, the game was effectively sewn up by relievers D.J. Carrasco, Tim Byrdak, and Taylor Buchholz.
In 2010, the Mets had to wait till June to win their first road series, and till August to win their first NL road series. In 2011, they didn't wait at all. I'd say that's a great start to the Terry Collins era. Dickey seems on his way to proving that last year's success wasn't one-and-done. Also impressive is how Willie Harris has started out his career in orange and blue: in three games, he's four of ten with three extra-base hits and four RBIs. If he keeps this up, New York could again be faced with a crowded outfield once Jason Bay comes back.
The team has off on Monday, but Tuesday brings a real test: a three game series in Philadelphia against the four-time defending division champions. That series will prove what Terry's boys are really made of, but for one weekend at least, Mets fans can go to bed with the satisfaction of a job well-done.
Sleep well, Mr. Met.