Nate Robertson (2-3, 5.44 ERA in 2009) v. Jon Niese (1-1, 4.21 ERA in 2009)

SCOUTING NIESE: Niese is a fastball, cutter, curve pitcher who sits around 89.5 mph. He also might just be the second best pitcher in the Mets 2010 rotation. But a lot of that is projection and conjecture for the time being, and Niese needs to show what he can do. He only throws a changeup about six percent of the time, and with a lineup dominated by righties like the Marlins, it’ll be interesting to see just how often he goes to the well for the changeup. Remember, Santana kept Florida off-balance on Monday with a lot of changeups.

BACK HOME: Robertson’s best season came in 2006 when he was 13-13 with a 3.84 ERA, and he’s otherwise survived simply because he’s a lefty with a decent sized contract. Robertson initially came up with the Marlins, but spent 2003-2009 with the Tigers. A move back to the NL always seems to be good for a pitcher’s mojo, but for a guy who throws a lot of 87 mph fastballs…..we’ll see.

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STORYLINES: Well Niese is No. 1 here. A lot of people think this kid can really pitch, and he’s certainly shown glimpses of his potential. But now he’s being given the opportunity to start the season as the Mets No. 3 starter. No. 2 is the hangover from last night. The thing is, it was a good loss. That’s a weird combination of words, but it was a loss where you left the stadium or turned off the TV and felt like the Mets had still at least accomplished something. We’ll see if they felt the same way tonight.