Scouting The Opponents: New York Mets

They're not just division rivals, they're longtime rivals. The Mets and Phillies play a three-game series at Shea Stadium and we've got a look at how the New Yorkers stack up. Part of our preview has an audio extra from NYFansOnly.com publisher Patrick Teale.

Last year at this time, John Maine was trying to fit in with a new organization. Today, he will be the Mets' starter for their home opener against the Phillies.

"I never would have imagined it," said Maine, slotted third in the rotation.

The Mets opened the season with concerns about their rotation, but they received solid starts in each of their first four games, including seven scoreless innings from Maine Wednesday at St. Louis.

"I am pleased with how I pitched," Maine said. "But, I can't live on that. That's behind me."

The Mets didn't consciously set their rotation so Maine would get the Opening Day start. With two days off the first week it just worked out that way.

"It's the way things were lined up," Maine said. "But, it's still an honor to start Opening Day."

Notes from the Big Apple:

  • RHP Orlando Hernandez, who started Sunday at Atlanta, will be pushed back an extra day and make his next start Saturday against Washington instead of Friday. Manager Willie Randolph said if the situation allows it, he would give Hernandez and LHP Tom Glavine extra rest whenever possible. Randolph said a dictating point would be the difficulty of the previous start. Friday was selected because the Mets had to slot in RHP Mike Pelfrey somewhere.
  • RHP Mike Pelfrey gave up three runs on five hits in six innings Saturday in a Class A game. The numbers weren't great, "but I don't care about that, he just needs to get his work in." Pelfrey made the rotation as a rookie, but opened the season in the minors because the Mets will three off-days in the first two weeks. Pelfrey is to make his first start this Friday against Washington. Pelfrey beat out seven candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation, including veteran RHP Chan Ho Park. "We were not going to hold the young guys back," GM Omar Minaya said. "He earned this."
  • C Paul Lo Duca did not start Sunday at Atlanta, becoming the first regular to not start this season. Lo Duca is not injured. "It's just a day off," manager said Willie Randolph, who would like to give Lo Duca at least day off a week. Ramon Castro started in his place and homered in his first at-bat.
  • RF Shawn Green started the season with speculation that with a slow start Lastings Milledge could take away his job. Green, normally a slow starter, had three hits Saturday and homered Sunday at Atlanta. "I've always been a slow starter," Green said. "But, I've been feeling more comfortable at the plate."
  • ROSTER REPORT
    ROTATION:

    1. LHP Tom Glavine
    2. RHP Orlando Hernandez
    3. RHP John Maine
    4. LHP Oliver Perez
    5. RHP Mike Pelfrey
    BULLPEN:
    LHP Billy Wagner (closer)
    RHP Aaron Heilman
    LHP Scott Schoeneweis
    LHP Pedro Feliciano
    RHP Joe Smith
    RHP Aaron Sele
    RHP Ambiorix Burgos

    LINEUP:

    1. SS Jose Reyes
    2. C Paul Lo Duca
    3. CF Carlos Beltran
    4. 1B Carlos Delgado
    5. 3B David Wright
    6. LF Moises Alou
    7. RF Shawn Green
    8. 2B Jose Valentin

    RESERVES:
    C Ramon Castro
    1B/PH Julio Franco
    INF Damion Easley
    OF Endy Chavez
    INF/OF David Newhan
    OF Lastings Milledge

    ROOKIE WATCH: RHP Mike Pelfrey came to camp competing for a spot in the rotation and beat out veteran RHP Chan Ho Park. With three off-days in the first two weeks, he opened the season in the minors and will be brought up in mid-April.

    MEDICAL WATCH:

  • RHP Pedro Martinez (rotator cuff surgery) opened the season on the disabled list. He is not expected back before August.
  • LHP Dave Williams (herniated neck disk) underwent surgery in early February and only recently had his collar removed. He opened the season on the disabled list. There's no date for when he will throw.
  • RHP Juan Padilla ("Tommy John" surgery) opened the season on the disabled list.
  • RHP Duaner Sanchez (dislocated right shoulder) was hurt last season in a car accident. He tore some scar tissue his first time off the mound on March 22, and it then was discovered that there's a hairline fracture in the shoulder. Sanchez, who opened the season on the disabled list, likely will need more surgery and is out until August.

    Audio Extra: Patrick Teale, publisher of NYFansOnly.com was on Philly Baseball News Radio, hosted by Chuck Hixson, this past Saturday and previewed the Mets and gave a quick look at their minor league system:


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