The New York Mets (3-0) recorded their first sweep of the 2012 season in a 7-5 decision over National League East rivals the Atlanta Braves (0-3) in MLB action on Sunday afternoon. The last time New York was 3-0 to start the season, was in 2007 when the franchise had four consecutive wins.
It is also the first time the Mets have started the season with a three-game sweep against a division opponent. April seems to be a good month for New York sweeping the Braves, as the Mets swept them during a series held on April 23-25 in 2010 at Citi Field.
“It means everything we have done a lot of talking in Spring Training about getting ready to compete,” said manager Terry Collins on the start the team has gotten off too. “I told those guys you are professional baseball players, and expectations are high, so I told them to get yourselves ready to play and they have done that.”
On what the starters have given him Collins had this to say, “I can’t ask for anything better than the starts we have had these past three games. When we started Spring Training even though our starters didn’t go deep, you saw some good stuff Johan (Santana), R.A. (Dickey), Jon Niese they all had a good spring Mike Pelfrey finished very strong and Dillon Gee had a good spring so we liked our rotation-and we still do if we are going to compete they have got to pitch for us.”
One day after lefty Jon Niese and the franchise made a five-year deal official, the starter took to the mound tossed no-hit ball until the seventh inning, which was when the Braves broke through for a big inning.
“I think he is more relaxed he entered this game saying this organization likes me,” Collins said if Niese may have felt additional pressure after signing the big contract. ”He is a competitive guy so I think he wanted to go out there and say hey I deserved what I got .”
In that frame Atlanta recorded four runs on a walk, an error and a hit before manager Terry Collins made the call for Manny Acosta and the bullpen. As Niese left the game, the 27,855 in attendance at Citi Field gave the starter a nice ovation.
After starting the game wild, Niese finished with seven strikeouts, with today’s no-hit bid being the longest in his young career thus far. It is also the longest no-hit bid since R.A. Dickey went 6.1 innings versus Philadelphia on September 24 of last season.
“He (Niese) was all jacked-up in the beginning of the game over throwing the ball, but after a while he settled down and started to make much better pitches,” Collins said.
Leading the way offensively was shortstop Ruben Tejadawho had a career-high four hits, while driving in two runs. Also recording two runs was second baseman Daniel Murphy. Having a big series was third-baseman David Wright who was 6-for-9 (.667) with a home run and three RBI.
Wright is climbing his way up the franchise RBI leader list, as the All-Star needs to drive in five runs to tie Darryl Strawberry for the lead (773). Frank Francisco closed out his third consecutive game, to become the first player in franchise history to save his first three games with the club.
The Mets pen has been outstanding thus far, holding a 0.90 ERA (one earned run/10.0 innings) through three games. That was the one aspect that Sandy Alderson and company were hoping to improve upon, and thus far the relievers have impressed.
“The bullpen has done a great job and I go back to where Sandy wanted to revamp our pen and he did just that,” Collins said. “The relievers are going to be a big part of our success.”
Up next for New York will be a three-game homestand against a very pesky Washington Nationals squad starting on Monday. The Nationals will send out Edwin Jackson to take on Mets righty Mike Pelfrey.
The last time Pelfrey took the mound, the starter had a no-decision in a 7-6 victory versus the cross-town rival New York Yankees on April 3. ‘Pelf’ threw 4.1 innings giving up one run, earned, while allowing two hits and no walks.
“We have a long way to go, the Nationals are coming in now and they have always played us very tough,” Collins said. “All I want for our guys to do is go out there every night and compete; that means doing the little things to win baseball games and in the end we will see where we are left standing.”
The Mets/Nationals game is set to air on the SNY network with first pitch slated for 7:10 p.m.
Cater Jersey Auction: The franchise is auctioning off the ‘Carter 8’ jerseys worn by members of the team, with the proceeds going to the Gary Carter Foundation. For fans wishing to place a big on these one-of-a-kind uniforms can do so by clicking on the link below:
Written on April 8, 2012 also seen on the Examiner.com site below: