New York - After taking two of their first three games to open the season with wins over San Diego, New York Mets manager Terry Collins said the Mets starting pitching had done what was expected and that was keeping the Mets in ballgames. Starter Jerry Hefner on Friday night at Citi Field tossed 6.0 innings of one-run ball in his season debut.
Hefner was projected to be the number five starter and when Shaun Marcum came down with nerve inflammation of his neck, he got the call. Hefner did not disappoint and despite three runs in the seventh and two in the ninth, New York came up short and lost the first game of three 7-5.
New York pitching allowed seven runs, three earned. After four games, Mets pitching has compiled a 2.25 ERA, nine earned runs in 36.0 innings. That once again had Collins smiling for a team that came into the season with a promising pitching staff.
“They chase strikes,” said Collins about his rotation, and that included the outing by Hefner. The right hander, including his final two starts of last season, has allowed three runs in 20.1 innings over his last three outings on the mound.
Hefner may remain in the starter slot depending on the status of Marcum who underwent an MRI in New York on Thursday that revealed the nerve inflammation.
The Marlins came into the game as the only team in baseball without a win 0-3. They scored five runs in the seventh inning and took a 6-0 lead that was led by an error from Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.
“He makes good plays,” commented Collins about his shortstop, “and shocked when he doesn’t make a good play, I know he’s going to get better.” The Mets, despite trailing by a wide margin were able to come back with their ability to again score two-out runs, a framework of their success the first half of last season.
The error by Tejada, his third in four games came when he misplayed a ground ball hit by Donavan Solano in the seventh inning. He did not make his third error last year until the 28th game of the season back dating back to June 24th.
Marlins starter Alex Sanabia tossed 6.0 shutout innings, his first start since September 24, 2011. He won his third consecutive start against the Metsand the Marlins scored a season high seven runs after scoring one run in their first three games.
Game two of the series is Saturday afternoon. Jonathon Niese, who won the opening game of the season Monday for New York makes his second start.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com