Since the Mets have only played seven games so far, I can still remember pretty much what happened in all of them. I thought it would be interesting to rank the starting pitching in each game, and see if there is anything to learn from doing this. If I am feeling really industrious, I might update this list as the season progresses:
1) 4/12: Johan Santana vs. Marlins: the Met’s ace went seven innings, striking out 13 for his highest K total as a Met, and walked only one. The Mets lost the game anyway, largely do to an even more dominant performance by Florida’s Josh Johnson and an error by Daniel Murphy that led to the Marlin’s only runs.
2) 4/11: Livan Hernandez vs. Marlins: “brother of El Duque” pitched 6 2/3 innings, before giving up two runs in the seventh, allowing six hits while striking out four and walking three. This is probably the high end of what the Mets can except from their fifth starter, who, at this point in his career, is regarded as durable and “not all that bad” rather than “good.”
3) 4/6: Johan Santana vs. Reds: Santana only went 5 2/3 innings, largely because he needed a large number of pitches to get through the first. In the sixth, he gave up two hits and a run scored on a sacrifice fly, but this just let the Mets show off their shiny new bullpen. Murphy, who Santana would go on to throw under the bus* for costing them the game in Santana’s next start, won this one for Johan with a home run and an RBI groundout.
4) 4/10: John Maine vs. Marlins: Maine gave up two runs in five innings, both on solo home runs. The home runs aren’t great, and neither is the shortness of the outing, which is only ranked this high because Maine pitches on a team with Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez.
5) 4/8: Pelfrey vs. Reds: Big Pelf got clobbered in the first inning, giving up four runs, but steadied after that, allowing no more runs to score over the next four innings. A lot of people are happy with Pelfrey for bearing down after a difficult first, but I prefer to blame him for a dreadful inning that the Mets were only able to overcome by scoring a lot of runs.
6) 4/9: Oliver Perez vs. Reds: Ollie pitched three scoreless innings; he also pitched another inning and a third where the Reds scored eight, giving up five hits and five walks. This was an abysmal outing on a couple of levels, and should probably be ranked dead last.
7) 4/13:Mike Pelfrey vs. Padres: For giving up a home run in the first ever at-bat in the Mets new park (something that had never happened in the entire recorded history of baseball), Pelf gets credit for the worst start of the season, at least until someone else does something shockingly dreadful: your move, Ollie. Peflrey only lasted five innings, and gave up five runs.
*If, as the New York Post seems to believe, “throw under the bus” means “tell a reporter about a thing that happened in a baseball game.”