When the New York Mets (4-0) took Citi Field for the game against the Washington Nationals (2-2) one couldn’t help but to notice the abundance of homegrown talent that had made it to the big stage. Names like Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are only a few of the many stars that have shined thus far.
“I think it is a tribute to the scouting system, the player development system, to get homegrown players to the big leagues,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I think it is really quite a tribute to the organization.”
The kids have been alright, as the combination of Nieuwenhuis and Murphy helped to cap a 4-3 comeback victory against the Nationals on Monday night baseball action. Nieuwenhuis blasted a two-run homer in the fourth inning, while Murphy had not only the game-saving play but the game-winning hit.
“When you are young in order to play on this stage and this city you better have some quality veterans around you and that is what makes this team,” Collins said to 1495 Sports on how the younger guys have been able to adjust to playing a big-market team like New York. “It is what made us last year, with Carlos, Jason and David our younger guys can go to them constantly.”
Collins continued by saying, “We have guys who have no problems going up to a younger player and helping them out and I think it means a lot to them.”
Washington had the momentum in the beginning of the game, as starter Mike Pelfrey started the night shaky, but finished up strong holding the Nationals scoreless through 5 2/3 innings, while matching a career-high eight strikeouts.
“The one thing that I want him (Pelfrey) to realize is that he has a good curveball and that he should use it,” Collins said of his starter. “I think it is going to take him some time before he is really comfortable, when the season starts it is a little different.”
For Pelfrey that is his third straight game with eight whiffs, and his first since June 1, 2010 at San Diego. The righty now has 501 strikeouts in his career.
“I thought Mike really battled and he hung in there and that is what he does,” Collins said. “That is what he has done last year and I can see him doing that again this year.”
Also getting close to a milestone was third-baseman David Wright who is four RBI’s away from tying Darryl Strawberry for the franchise lead with 733. Wright had a huge RBI single in the third innings with a two-out single to left field.
In the end though, it was the combo of Nieuwenhuis and Murphy, which led Mets to their fourth victory of the season. For New York it is the first time since 2007 that they have started with four consecutive wins. The last time they had a better start was in 2005, when they went 5-0 at Shea Stadium.
Nieuwenhuis gave the Citi Field faithful plenty to cheer about with his shot in the fourth, for his first MLB homer and RBI’s.
“It could be the start of what might be a very good major league career,” Collins said of his newest slugger. “After he tied it up, the intensity in the dugout picks up.”
Murphy then made sure to send the fans home happy, by having two moments that helped propel the team to the victory. To start the second baseman made a diving stop of Ryan Zimmerman’s grounder in the frame, which snapped a potential rally by the nationals.
Daniel then drove home the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, bringing Mike Baxter home on a single to right field. For ‘Murph’ it is the second walk-off of his career, his first was on August 16, 2009.
“It was a great play he got that ball down and it sets up a whole different program,” Collins said of the game-saving play on the defensive end of the baseball. “That is the way that Dan Murphy plays he goes all out every second of every game.”
Game Two between the Mets/Nationals is set to take place on Tuesday as Ross Detwiler takes on Dillon Gee. The game between these two National League East teams is set to air on the SNY network with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Written on April 9, 2012 also seen on the Examiner.com site below: