With high expectations following Florida’s 87 win season in 2009, the Marlins set sail for Citi Field to embark on a seasons mission to dethrone back to back division champs, the Philadelphia Phillies in a much improved National League Eastern Division.
Although the Mets sent staff ace Johan Santana to the mound fresh off of season ending elbow surgery, the Marlins had every reason to be confident that they can rekindle their recent dominance over the Mets the past few seasons with Josh Johnson heading to the hill. Johnson had baffled the Mets thus far in his career and that’s putting it kindly. Entering the season opener, Johnson had started 9 games versus the Mets and had a perfect 7-0 record. Johnson is one 13 Major League pitchers to win his first seven decisions against the Mets, others include Hall of Famers Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax.
Could 2010 bring about many changes for the Mets against Johnson? They did their best to end the streak against the big 6’7” right handed hard thrower. Johnson showed his lack of control right off the bat by hitting Mets leadoff man Angel Pagan with a hard fastball. After recording an out on a fielder’s choice, David Wright deposited a 1-0 pitch over the wall just inside the right field foul pole. The Mets never looked back in a 7-1 romp and it was just the beginning of a long afternoon for Johnson who the Marlins are looking towards to anchor a promising young staff.
Johnson was pulled in the 6th inning after a leadoff triple to Mets newcomer Jason Bay and a walk to veteran outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. He left yielding 4 runs, 5 hits and 4 walks to a New York balanced attack led by Jason Bay 2-4, Jeff Francoeur 1-3 and 2 RBI, and Gary Matthews Jr 2-3 and 2 runs scored.
The Marlins proved that their 106 error season (3rd worst in the National League last year) was no fluke by sporting 3 error s that opened the flood gates to a 4 run inning for the Mets in the sixth. The inning looked more like a scene out of the 80’s movie “Major League” the way the ball was being tossed around in ill-advised fashion. The team tallied only 3 errors but there were other balls that weren’t caught and mental errors that reinforced the worries of Marlins fans and manager Fredi Gonzalez.
The few bright spots for the Marlins came from Jorge Cantu, who ripped an RBI double down the line in the sixth off Santana. SS Hanley Ramirez and 1B Gabby Sanchez both started off the season going 2-4 in their first game.
The formula for most teams’ success is usually pitching and defense. Although the Marlins feature and high potent offensive attack which was quieted by the left arm of Johan Santana, for them to compete and be any kind of factor in the NL East pennant race, they need to get it together in the field and on the mound.
FISH ON THE MOVE:
Cody Ross who was plagued by a left calf strain that sidelined him for all but 8 spring training games was cleared by team doctors to play in the season opener. Ross is an integral part of the team’s power in the outfield slugging 24 homers and 90 RBI’s in 2009. Prospect Scott Cousins who made the trip to New York on Sunday in hopes of seeing some big league action was sent to Triple A New Orleans to make room on the final roster.
About the Author
Written by Keith Kobler
Keith was born and raised in New York. He is a life long New York Mets fan and has felt the many highs and lows associated with that. He currently works in the Advertising Media Sales Industry and in his spare time writes comedy and free lance articles and blogs.