What an outing from Johan. 13 strikes, no earned runs. And then to rally in the 9th–when down to the last strike!–to avoid the shut-out, our Carloses coming through…It’s unfortunate, yes, a real shame to lose this series. But it would have been much worse if we’d just given it away. Man, Daniel Murphy looked near tears during his post-game interview. Still, if anyone’s going to learn from a game-losing error and never do it again…it’s our D-Murph.
Back track a game, and we get a superb outing from our #5 starter as Livan Hernandez continues what he’s done all spring. Consistency in a starter is nothing to undervalue, and if that’s what we’re getting from Livan, then I’m thrilled about it. Not to mention a game where Castillo manages 4 hits. Whatever you did yesterday, Luis, bottle that stuff and drink it down. Often. Coat your pillow in it.
Yet even more encouraging, in my opinion, was John Maine’s outing Friday night. He’s been wonky all spring, and then in his first regular season start, he gives up only 2 hits. Okay, sure, those were both home runs. And yeah, that sucks. But look at Johnny’s face there after his outing–he’s smiling. Our John Maine. I don’t think I saw him smile once after pitching last year. Perhaps it’s because he finally kept his pitch count down. If Jerry didn’t need to pinch hit for him, he could have gone longer. He’s feeling good, he’s getting his command under control, he’s not getting fouled off a million times, and I hope we continue to see him only get better.
So now it’s Big Pelf’s turn tomorrow. I’ll be there as soon as gates open for batting practice. I will eat another Shackburger. I will drink something girly out of a bottle (I can’t help that I hate beer, can I?), and dang it, we will have an awesome first home opener at Citi Field.