Notes from Flushing: Mets-Braves
- The Mets had a nice pre-game tribute to the late Gary Carter. The video included his game-winning HR in his Mets debut back in ’85. It was a moving moment, then and now, but tell me this: Have you ever seen worse footwork on a home-run swing? Watch his back foot step away from the plate as his body lurches forward to jerk the slow curve over the LF fence. (And is there a term for such back foot movement? Every source I’ve found says that “stepping in the bucket” refers to the front foot only.)
- Opening Day is always festive, but Mets-Braves just doesn’t feel like a party without Chipper in the lineup. Hurry back, Larry Wayne!
- On to game action: After striking out on a changeup in the dirt to end the 1st inning, Dan Uggla is now 1 for 20 against Johan Santana, with a walk and 11 Ks. The lone hit was a HR in their first confrontation. (Whoops, make that 1 for 21 with 12 Ks for Uggla vs. Johan; he ends the 3rd by whiffing on another down-darting changeup.)
- Atlanta SS Tyler Pastornicky, making his big-league debut, is the son of 3B Cliff Pastornicky, who played 10 games with the ’83 Royals and hit 2 HRs. Only 7 other nonpitchers ever finished with 2+ HRs in so few games. Tyler’s grandpa, Ernest Pastornicky, pitched 3 years in the minors. As a pitcher, he was a pretty good hitter; in his first pro season he went 8-28 with a HR, 3B and 2B.
- I could almost swear that Uggla lost that grounder in the sun before booting it.
- For the second time in his career, Santana just walked consecutively the #8 and #9 men including a pitcher. Fortunately for the Mets, it didn’t lead to a meltdown this time.
- Pastornicky’s 3rd AB is a liner into right-center that Andres Torres plays into a 1-out triple, perhaps because he reinjures his tender calf in pursuit. Torres heads to the clubhouse, and suddenly another Mets season is “off and limping!” There’s no one currently on the Mets’ roster capable of playing CF every day if Torres goes on the DL.
- I’m usually among the loudest mockers of the LOOGY phenomenon, so let me give credit where due: Tim Byrdak just bailed us out of the hole dug by Torres’s misadventure, fanning Jose Constanza and Michael Bourn to preserve the slim lead.
- The Braves had never lost a 1-0 opener, at least not since 1918. It was just their second O.D. shutout loss since 1991.
- Reds over Cards on Johnny Vander Meer‘s 2-hitter in 11 innings;*
- Indians over Tigers, with Jim Bagby, Jr. doing it all — the only time he ever drove in his team’s only run(s); and
- Red Sox over A’s, on a 3-hitter by Tex Hughson (the BoSox had only 2 hits themselves; less than 5,000 turned out for the A’s home opener)
(I’ll be back later, I hope.)
* I guess I’ll never again think of “Double No-Hit” without remembering our late friend, Frank Clingenpeel, Sr.
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