Tale of two rookies: Mets' Mejia and Takahashi
Jenrry Mejia's major-league debut wasn't so great, but it was a good spot to get into a game: The Mets were down three runs and there wasn't so much pressure.
Hisanori Takahashi's major-league debut wasn't so great either, and his was a little more costly.
Both of the Mets' rookie relievers - Mejia is 20 and Takahashi is 35 - got their first action last night, and both gave up runs.
Takahashi's run was the winner, though, in the 10th inning of a 7-6 loss.
"He throws strikes. That's what he can do for us," Manuel said of Mejia, who came out firing 95-mph fastballs in the sixth inning and got knocked back a bit by a single from the Marlins' Cody Ross and then a double from Gaby Sanchez. "That was a good situation for him."
Mejia cruised through spring training to earn a spot in the bullpen, so he was pretty surprised the Marlins were on him and his high-powered fastball so soon. Chris Coghlan singled in a run before Mejia retired Cameron Maybin on a fielder's choice, with David Wright throwing out Sanchez at the plate, and then dangerous Hanley Ramirez on a grounder to short.
"I think they know about my fastball because I saw them a lot in spring training, maybe three or four times," Mejia said. "I was a little bit surprised [they were hitting me]. But Jerry Manuel said that's good. He wants me to throw strikes. That's what I did."
At the other end of the spectrum was Takahashi, who gave up the winning run despite allowing only a pair of singles off changeups.
"It's a tough spot," Rod Barajas said. "You've got Wes Helms up there leading off, and he hits lefties pretty good. The hit was a good pitch, and so was the other one [by Ronny Paulino]. They just hit balls where we weren't."
Barajas also noted the chance for some poor communication with Takahashi, who came in to start the 10th after a long ninth inning.
"The whole language barrier - you hope he gets everything, but you're not sure he does," Barajas said. "I'm not saying that's what happened tonight, but it's just a real tough spot for your first game. It'll get better."