Braves fall to Mets 1-0 in season openerPosted: April 5, 2012
Today was the day we’ve all been waiting for. For fans around the league, it means baseball is back, and there’s a full season ahead of us. To the Braves, it means so much more: a clean slate, a fresh start, and the first step toward what fans hope will be a season of redemption.
I could go on and on with the narrative: the September collapse, the struggles down the stretch, Chipper’s retirement, spring training acquisitions….but we’ve heard it all before. Let’s just get down to baseball.
But first, a little music to set the mood:
The matchup pitted Tommy Hanson against Johan Santana in what was sure to be a pitchers’ duel, and they did not disappoint. Against Santana, Fredi alternated between left and right handed batters up and down the lineup, which featured Diaz in left and Prado at third to fit the scheme (Francisco would watch his first Braves game from the bench).
Hanson was in command early but ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth, when David Wright broke the stalemate with an RBI single. Fredi gave Hanson the hook, and Kris Medlen came on to pitch with two on and nobody out. He hung tough, retiring the side and stranding his inherited runners (there was a brief scare when Jason Bay sent one out to deep left-center, but, in typical Jason Bay fashion, the shot fell just shy of the wall). Medlen was excellent in relief, allowing just one hit in two innings and completely shutting down the rallying Mets. Expect to see more appearances like this one from guys like Medlen and Livan Hernandez. These multi-inning outings give Fredi the freedom to pull the starter when there’s trouble and not wear out the back half of the bullpen.
Fredi pulled Medlen in favor of Venters in the eighth, which I wasn’t too happy about. Medlen has the stamina to put in three innings of work and had looked sharp, whereas Venters had been complaining of soreness in his throwing arm and could have certainly used the rest. His command suffered, and he loaded the bases before striking out Lucas Duda to escape from trouble.
The determining factor in this one was the Braves’ inability to cash in with men on base. In typical 2011 fashion, the Braves stranded seven runners, failing to capitalize with the bases loaded in the fifth and a runner on third with one out in the seventh. They left the game scoreless and will have to wait until Saturday to get another chance to score the first run of the season.
It wasn’t the start to the season we hoped for, but it was good to see the Braves back in action, and, to be fair, it’s only game one out of one sixty-two.
In other news…
- Heyward struck out in the second, ending his streak of Opening Day first at bat home runs (Remember this one and this one?). He finished the afternoon 0-4 with two strikeouts.
- Tyler Pastornicky recorded his first major league hit, a triple off Ramon Ramirez in the seventh inning. Third was as far as he would get, as Tim Byrdak came in and struck out Constanza and Bourn.
- Andres Torres came up limp after running down Pastornicky’s ball and was removed from the game. The Mets have an astonishing lack of depth at just about every position, and if Torres is down, the offense could suffer greatly.
Box score here. See y’all Saturday.