NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: David Wright #5 of the New York Mets runs toward the dugout against the Washington Nationals during the Mets' Home Opener at Citi Field on April 8, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
• The talk in the NY papers this morning is the Jose Reyes' K with runners on second and third and one out in the bottom of the seventh, and not the brutal 2-2 change that Tyler Clippard threw to get the swinging strikeout from the Mets' shortstop. New York third baseman David Wright, who hit a groundout to third for the first out of Drew Storen's scoreless eighth, was asked by reporters afterwards about the empty seats in the crowd late in the game, (ed. note - "Which is odd.'"), and Wright responded, "'I don’t know, man. I was worried about Drew Storen, not who was there and who wasn’t,'" as recorded in New York Times' writer David Waldstein's article on the Citi Field opener entitled, "Opening With Hope, Ending With a Loss", which examines how the on and off field issues the Mets and their fan base have experienced collided with the hope that traditionally accompanies a team's home opener yesterday in Queens...
Nats' special assistant Davey Johnson, who managed the Mets to the World Series in '86 and spent seven years on the bench in old Shea Stadium, was at Citi Field with Washington yesterday, and he spoke to reporters, with Newark Star-Ledger writer David D'Alessandro quoting the 68-year-old Johnson in an article entitled, "D'Alessandro: Mets manager Terry Collins already appears to be running out of time", saying that the modern-era Mets should look to the past for a gameplan to get the franchise back on track which might remind some of what's been going on in the nation's capital the last few years:
"'I know what they say about their economic issues, but you don’t have to spend to win — they never spent when I was here, and we did pretty good,' Johnson said, alluding to how Frank Cashen never pursued free agents.
'You develop from within, and when you go outside to sign free agents, you want them just as the talent comes up within the system. The free agent has to be the icing on the cake. It’s not the backbone.'"
• MOAR RAMOS: In case you missed the news in the excitement of the Nats/Mets Citi Field opener, the Nationals announced Friday afternoon that the plan behind the plate had changed slightly, with Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman telling reporters including Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore that 23-year-old backstop Wilson Ramos is, "...going to get more and more playing time," as recorded in Mr. Kilgore's Nationals Journal post entitled, "Wilson Ramos will play ‘more and more.'"
According to the Nationals' manager, after Ramos has impressed the Nats in Syracuse upon his arrival, in September after he was called up, this past winter when he crushed the pitching he faced in the Venezuelan Winter League and this Spring, the Nats have determined that Ramos is no longer, "at a point where being a No. 2 catcher is really going to benefit us or him. He’s going to move in there and just play more and more as we go."
Hours after the public discussion of the matter, of course, Pudge Rodriguez went out and drove in two runs with his first hit of the season. The Nats have said all along that the future Hall of Fame catcher has embraced the idea of being a mentor to Ramos and Jesus Flores. Will the 39-year-old who signed a two-year/$6.0M dollar deal in 2009, embrace the late-career role of a backup catcher? Or will the Nats trade Pudge as some have predicted for a while now?
• Nats' Minor League Notes:
• 26-year-old right-hander Ryan Tatusko's 2011 debut was delayed by rain which washed out last night's game between the Double-A Harrisburg Senators and the Bowie Baysox, the Eastern League affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The former Texas Rangers' prospect acquired along with 24-year-old right-hander Tanner Roark in a July 30, 2010 trade for Cristian Guzman reports on Twitter (@RyanTatusko) that he'll take the mound tonight. 25-year-old right-hander Brad Meyers threw 5.0 scoreless innings for the win in the Senators' season opener on Thursday, striking out nine and allowing just four hits. RHP Henry Rodriguez, on a rehab assignment for a neck injury which followed some erratic outings this Spring after visa issues delayed his arrival in Florida, retired all six batters he faced, striking out three in two innings of work in relief of Meyers. Rodriguez reportedly hit triple digits on the radar according to Sens' radio broadcaster Terry Byrom (@hbgsensradio) who counted up on Twitter as the former A's flamethrower hit 98, 99 and then 100+ on the gun. "'I'm looking forward to speaking with the scouts tomorrow to find out what their radar guns have Rodriguez at,'" Mr. Byrom wrote after Rodriguez was done.
• The Class-A Advanced Potomac Nationals' Season Opener was rained out last night, but they'll play their first game tonight instead against the Lynchburg Hillcats. 24-year-old right-hander Trevor Holder, an '09 3rd Round pick out of the University of Georgia takes the mound for the P-Nats.
• 2010 1st Round pick Bryce Harper played his second minor league game last night with much less fanfare than his Hagerstown Suns debut on Thursday. After going 2 for 4 with an RBI single and a stolen base in his first game, Harper was 0 for 3 with a walk, K and run scored in a 2-0 win over the Rome Braves. The 18-year-old future Nats' outfielder flew to left in his each of his first two AB's, then reached first on a wild pitch which he'd swung at for strike three before running it out and hustling down the line ahead of the throw. After beating a throw to second on a grounder in the next at bat, Harper took advantage of Braves' right-hander Caleb Brewer's momentary lapse of attention to swipe third as the pitcher spoke to infielders on the mound. Harper was stranded on third, but he walked in his fourth at bat, and scored the second of the Senators' two runs on the evening. 22-year-old 2010 8th Rounder Matthew Grace, a left-hander out of UCLA, threw 6.0 scoreless for the win, striking out four and allowing four hits.
• The Syracuse Chiefs, in old-school Senatorsesque-duds judging by this picture of Ross Detwiler, lost a 13-inning marathon game last night, but Detwiler had a strong outing, striking out eight, walking one and allowing one run on four hits in 6.0 IP. Detwiler threw 82 pitches, 55 strikes, and almost overcame a leadoff single in the third, striking out two batters before allowing an RBI single to score the only run he'd surrender. After '06 1st Round pick Chris Marrero gave the Chiefs a 2-1 lead with a two-run double in the 8th that scored Brian Bixler and Corey Brown, 26-year-old right-hander Josh Wilkie blew the lead when he gave up a two-out RBI double to one-time Expos' prospect Valentino Pascucci. Left-hander Matt Chico allowed back-to-back singles in the bottom of the 13th, then walked Pascucci with one down before unleashing a wild pitch that allowed the winning run to score.