We have heard all of the Opening Day clichés by now. Hope springs eternal. A new beginning. A fresh start. Every team is in first place. But clichés become clichés because they are true (another cliché) and Opening Day couldn’t come fast enough for the New York Mets.
After a dismal 70-92 injury-riddled season, no team needed the clean slate that Opening Day provides more than the Mets. The offseason seemed to develop more questions than answers, highlighted by Carlos Beltran’s impromptu knee surgery and capped by Jose Reyes’ thyroid issue. What better day than Opening Day to get those answers. Here are some keys to the 2010 Mets:
Will the number two starter please step foward: John Maine will be behind Johan Santana to start the season but the main question is who will finish the season in the number two spot. Either Maine, Jonathon Niese, Mike Pelfrey, or Oliver Perez must establish themselves as a legitimate second starter. Prediction: Pelfrey wins 15 games but the Mets add a big name pitcher at the deadline.
“Prevention and Recovery”: The Mets 2010 slogan may not be as catchy as “Ya Gotta Believe” but it speaks volumes. The Mets were so banged up last year that they often fielded a team of guys who needed to show identification to get into CitiField. Once Beltran and Reyes return, it must be on a permanent basis. Prediction: The Mets prevent and recover and enjoy a healthy season.
The end of a power outage: David Wright must make last season’s 10 home runs an aberration. Jason Bay adds a much needed source of power. Although the two may not see too many balls over the plate today with Mike Jacobs behind Wright and Gary Matthews Jr. behind Bay. Prediction: Wright and Bay each hit 25-30 home runs.
The Francisco Rodriguez Bridge: Add finding a setup guy to the to-do list. Prediction: Tough call. Would love to see the youngster Jenrry Mejia get the job but it won’t happen.
A Fast Start: Jerry Manuel will not survive a poor April and May. Somewhere in Brooklyn, Wally Backman smiles. Prediction: Manuel survives the season and the Mets win the Wild Card.
162 games to go. It all begins with the Mets and Marlins. First pitch of the 2010 Mets season is just minutes away….