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It's Opening Day: Mets at Marlins, 4:10pm


jranieli
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MIAMI (AP) - There's more than a little irony in Johan Santana making his New York Mets' debut against the Florida Marlins.

 

After all, if it wasn't for the Marlins, the Mets might not have coveted Santana so much.

 

Go back to the final day of the 2007 season. The Mets were tied with the Phillies for the NL East lead heading into a matchup with last-place Florida. Ace left-hander Tom Glavine gave up seven runs in one-third of an inning against the Marlins, a fitting end to New York's epic collapse that handed Philadelphia the division title.

 

A seven-game lead was blown in the season's final 17 outings, World Series hopes were swiftly gone, and New York's brass spent the next few weeks figuring ways to get better.

 

Now the Mets' pennant hopes are pinned to another lefty, a two-time Cy Young Award winner in Santana. When the season opens Monday in South Florida, he knows all eyes will be looking his way.

 

"It's another opening day, but at the same time, I'm very excited," said Santana, who was 93-44 in parts of eight seasons with the Minnesota Twins and wound up signing a $137.5 million, six-year contract with New York - the most money ever for a pitcher. "New uniform, a lot of expectations and I'm very happy for it. Hopefully everything will go the way everybody wants."

 

In some respects, life with Santana is already paying off for the Mets.

 

New York hasn't totally shaken off the effects of that freefall a year ago, but some, including third baseman David Wright, believe Santana's arrival provided a buffer this spring from what could have been a constant state of questions about what went wrong last September.

 

"We've gotten the opportunity to split that up," Wright said, "with what to expect in 2008 with Johan."

 

And they expect something special from Santana, who has 983 strikeouts since 2004 - 139 more than any other pitcher in baseball over that stretch.

 

"He's one of the best pitchers in the game," Mets manager Willie Randolph said before his team worked out at the Marlins' home ballpark Sunday. "Obviously we take the wraps off and we get a chance to see a great pitcher work, but the beauty of it that he's going to be there every fifth day for me. So every day is a good day."

 

Santana will make $19 million this season.

 

The Marlins' entire 25-man roster won't make that much in 2008.

 

So clearly, there's a mild difference in the perceived expectations for the two clubs. But penny-pinching Florida - coming off a 71-91 season and now without Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, traded away to Detroit - still has a team that believes it can surprise, and knows facing Santana on Monday is a great opportunity to show that, if only for one day.

 

"Right up there with the Miggy and Dontrelle trade, the signing of Santana was probably the biggest (personnel) news in baseball," Marlins outfielder Cody Ross said Sunday. "Everybody's going to wonder how he's going to do and everybody's going to be watching. There's a lot of Mets fans down here and they're pumped he's on that team now."

 

The Mets and Marlins played some emotionally charged games to finish last season; John Maine nearly no-hit Florida in a 13-0, fight-filled matchup on the next-to-last day of 2007, and the Marlins weren't shy about saying how much that fired them up to doom New York's playoff chances on the final afternoon.

 

"Those games were fun for the guys and I told those guys at the end last year that I was so proud of them," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I don't know if it'll carry over or not."

 

The Marlins and the National League might be new to Santana, but opening day isn't.

 

He started the opener for Minnesota each of the past two seasons, going 1-1: He lost to Toronto 6-3 two years ago, then beat Baltimore 7-4 last season.

 

There will be jitters, he acknowledged, but his spring was strong and Santana believes he's ready to go.

 

"When I cross those lines, I'll be fine," Santana said. "I'll know exactly what I have to do. I know there's going to be a lot of people watching, a lot of people expecting a lot of things and hopefully we'll exceed all those expectations. But I'm not going to try to do anything crazy. I'm just going to be myself and enjoy everything out there."

 

Today's starting lineup

 

1. Jose Reyes - SS

2. Luis Castillo - 2B

3. David Wright - 3B

4. Carlos Beltran - CF

5. Carlos Delgado - 1B

6. Angel Pagan- LF

7. Ryan Church - RF

8. Brian Schneider - C

9. Johan Santana - P

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This is what I heard.

 

1. Jose Reyes - SS

2. Luis Castillo - 2B

3. David Wright - 3B

4. Carlos Beltran - CF

5. Carlos Delgado - 1B

6. Angel Pagan- LF

7. Ryan Church - RF

8. Brian Schneider - C

9. Johan Santana - P

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yep my mistake. Got it right now. thanks

 

metsblog

The Game :

 

The Mets kick off the 2008 season on the road with a series against the last team they faced in 2007, the Florida Marlins, starting at 4:25 pm EDT.

 

The Lineup :

 

* SS Jose Reyes

* 2B Luis Castillo

* 3B David Wright

* CF Carlos Beltran

* 1B Carlos Delgado

* LF Angel Pagan

* RF Ryan Church

* C Brian Schneider

* SP Johan Santana

 

The Pitchers :

 

LHP Johan Santana makes his regular season debut for the Mets. Santana was 15-13 with a 3.33 ERA in 33 starts with the Twins last season. This is the third consecutive Opening Day start for Santana. He won his only career start at Dolphin Stadium last season (June 24th) allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits over 6 IP while striking out seven and walking one. Santana had a 3.15 ERA in five spring training starts.

 

LHP Mark Hendrickson gets the Opening Day nod for the Marlins, the first Opening Day start of his career. Hendrickson was 4-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 122.2 IP for the Dodgers last season. He was signed by the Marlins as a free-agent. Hendrickson has two career appearances vs. the Mets, both in relief. He had a 1.69 ERA in 16 IP this spring.

 

The Notes :

 

The Mets are 29-17 on Opening Day — the best winning percentage of any team.

 

The only previous Opening Day meeting between the Mets and Marlins was on April 5, 1999 — the Marlins defeated the Mets 6-to-2 — current Met and former Marlin 2B Luis Castillo went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

 

The Mets are 12-10 all-time in season openers on the road.

 

Todd Hundley and Darryl Strawberry are the all-time Met leaders in home runs on Opening Day, with four each.

 

Former Met and Marlin IF/OF Jeff Conine will throw out this afternoon’s ceremonial first pitch

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I just got back from the first day of a golf tournament in Delaware and I will be

missing this game.

 

"Watching" it on gamecast.

 

did you wear your Mets or Giants hat?

 

Great first inning by Santana.

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did you wear your Mets or Giants hat?

 

Great first inning by Santana.

 

 

 

haha, black Titleist hat.

 

I play in Philly on Thursday...I think I'll wear my Giants hat again.

 

How does Johan look? I'm stuck in fucking Phillies country.

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haha, black Titleist hat.

 

I play in Philly on Thursday...I think I'll wear my Giants hat again.

 

How does Johan look? I'm stuck in fucking Phillies country.

 

Santana looks great so far but so does Hendrickson. :brooding:

 

His pitch count should be really low.

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Another nice 1-2-3 inning for Santana. No hits allowed through three.

 

Now this offense has to get started.

Nice pitching by the wife beater Brett Myers, 5 innings, 3 ER, 5 Hits.

 

 

Just like the city he pitches for, mediocre.

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