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.

– A 1-2-3 9th by Frank Francisco gives the Mets just the second 1-0 win in their 51 openers.

– 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.

Two 1-0 games already in the books today. The searchable record for 1-0 openers is 3, back in 1943 with the sawdust ball:

(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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47 Comments on "Notes from Flushing: Mets-Braves"

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Ted B
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this has nothing at all to do with this article but Jack Hannahan of Cleveland homered from the nine-hole today. On opening day that feat must be rare but if it isn’t I’m 99% sure its rare to homer from the nine hole for on opening day TWO YEARS IN A ROW, because Hannahan homered from the nine hole on opening day in 2011 and 2012!

Ted B
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Doug
Editor
Actually, it’s happened a lot more than I would have thought. Hannahan’s shot today is the 73rd time this has happened since 1918. 4 players did this in 1996, and 3 did it in 2000, 2007 and 2009. Others to do it twice are Alex Gonzalez (not the current one) in 1996 and 1997, and Don Drysdale in 1959 and 1965. J.P. Arencibia last season is the only player to hit 2 HR from the 9 hole on opening day. 9-hole hitters for both teams have homered in an opening day game only once – Sandy Alomar (CHW) and Mendy… Read more »
bstar
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I’m normally not one to bash managers on decision-making, but “just wow” to Fredi Gonzalez inserting Jose Constanza into the game in the sixth inning, knowing full well that he was due up in the top of the next frame. After an early run of infield-hit luck, Constanza put up a .174/.174/.174 slash line in Sep/Oct 2011, with four singles in 24 at-bats. It was stunning that he even made the roster this spring; it was assumed he would only be used as a pinch runner/late inning defensive replacement, not batting in the top of the seventh against a lefty… Read more »
Neil L.
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The Cleveland-Toronto game was the longest opening day game ever in terms of innings in MLB history.

P.S. Is this the old B-Ref community from last summer or does that group of people reside somewhere else?

Sorry for the dumb question but I have been away for about 8 months

birtelcom
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Yep, this is us from b-ref. Welcome back, make yourself at home.

Neil L.
Guest

Thanks, Birtel.

I don’t mean to ask any insensitive questions in public but do John Autin, Andy, Sean Forman, Raphy, Neil Paine and (my protagonist) Timmy P. post in here or over at baseball reference?

The virtual landscape seems to have changed since last fall.

Again, pardon my being away so long but I would just like to re-connect with the old gang.

Thomas Court
Guest

Good to see you Neil…

I have just started posting here myself. You will see many of the old BBref posters here. I know I have seen Timmy here for sure.

birtelcom
Editor

Sean Forman of baseball-reference is concentrating on the data/encyclopedia aspects of that site, so the blog folks from b-ref have re-congregated here at High Heat Stats, under Andy’s blog-savvy leadership. Feel free to explore some of the posts that have been published since the move over from b-ref to get a sense of the new landscape.

Doug
Editor
Apropos of your mention of Gary Carter, I’ve found that he, fellow Met Todd Hundley, and Yogi Berra (as mentioned yesterday by Richard Chester) hold the record of 4 consecutive opening day games with a homer, 1977-80 for Carter as an Expo, 1994-97 for Hundley, and 1955-58 for Berra. A number of others have done it in 3 straight years, including (possibly not a complete list) Ken Griffey, Dave Winfield, Scott Rolen, Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Richie Hebner, Adam Dunn, Gus Triandos, Danny Tartabull, Tony Batista and Jeff Bagwell. J.P. Arencibia of Toronto homered to provide the winning margin in… Read more »
Neil L.
Guest

Doug,

I mentioned the longest MLB opening day game in comment #9.

Did you see Davis’s abysmal bunt attempt in extra innings? I could not believe it as a Jays’ fan.

Doug
Guest

No. Didn’t see the game. Looking at the game log, looks like quite a ninth inning comeback, and missed chances on both sides after that.

By today’s standards, almost a brisk pace to get in 16 innings in just 5 and a quarter hours.

MikeD
Guest

Why, heck, 5 1/4 hours is just six innings of a Yankees-Red Sox affair.

Neil L.
Guest

Nice one!

ESPN can run lots of advertising during those Sox-Yanks marathons. All those pitcher-catcher mound conferences, all those lengthy, protracted at-bats. Both teams are, well …. patient

MikeD
Guest
I actually made it out to Citi to catch the home opener. Beautiful day for a baseball game, catching the spirit of 1968 and a 1-0 game. (Three shutouts out of seven games today, including two 1-0 scores, if I remember correctly. Is this a sign of more to come, with hitting continuing its decline?) As I sat there, I tried imagining what would have to happen for the Mets to play .500 this year. Breakouts from Ike and Duda. Return to form from Wright. Return to anything from Bay. 160 quality inning from Santana, and more luck for Jonathon… Read more »
Neil L.
Guest

Slightly off topic but are the Mets ever going to stop playing with the fences at Citi?

In its short lifetime it seems to have had a lot of tweaks to its dimensions. What gives?

fat secrets
Guest

Can you tell us more about this? I’d like to find out some additional information.

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