I’m still trying to figure out this team chemistry-wise. I have heard all spring from bloggers covering the Mets and WFAN that the clubhouse atmosphere is so much better than last year with the additions of Jeff Francoeur and Jason Bay. I hope so.
After watching the Yankees struggle for the first part of last year, they seemed to kick it into gear but only after a few of the new players shook things up.
Specifically Nick Swisher and AJ Burnett, “I feel”, were the two guys who loosened up that stuffy corporate Yankee clubhouse and allowed the true talent to breathe and perform up to their expectations. From Swisher’s crazy antics to AJ’s shaving cream pies, these were two players that knew how to release pressure in the clubhouse but also performed under pressure as both of these guys had early struggles and overcame them.
Will any of the new Mets be stepping up into that very same roll? Will Francoeur be that guy who allows the clubhouse to breathe and perform up to their expectations? Will he be the guy to release the pressure when the going gets tough?… And it will get tough. Will this team find the strength to overcome a bad start?
Johan Santana is the leader of the pitching staff. Will he also loosen the staff up, take some pressure off them or will he challenge each and every one of them? Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and Oliver Perez could surely use some of Santana’s bulldog mentality. I saw a little of the bulldog mentality in Pelfrey last year against the Phillies and Chase Utley. The entire staff needs more of the bulldog mentality.
This team has the talent to contend this year but the pitching staff has to put it together, Pelfrey has to step up and be a number 2 pitcher, we need the Perez and Maine of 2006. Jon Niese??? I have a feeling we will be going through one number 5 starter after another for quite a while.
So Opening Day – Mets vs Fish – Santana vs Johnson. You’re looking at the two teams who will be fighting for 3rd and 4th place this year.
Johnson has developed into one of the top pitchers in the NL and can pace Santana pitch for pitch. Did I mention his ridiculous record against the Mets? He’s like 7-0 against them. Johnson owns them and without Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, well, the Mets will be floppin like fish out of water.
I’ll make the call since this is my last posting until opening day. My prediction – Fish 5, Mets 1. Santana gets the no-decision.
Let’s hear some of your own “make the calls”!