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Game 1 Preview-Washington (0-0) at NY Mets (0-0)

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  • Baseball Guru
    replied Preview

    Glavine looks to set the tone
    Washington (0-0) at New York (0-0), 1:10 p.m. ET
    By Marty Noble /

    The Mets, rebuilt after their renaissance season in 2005, hope to put their best foot and the only left-handed arm in their rotation forward Monday afternoon when they face the Nationals at Shea Stadium. Tom Glavine, the understudy for Pedro Martinez, has drawn the assignment. And as he said three years ago when the Mets were about to launch their season, "You can't win 'em all if you don't win the first one."
    With a revamped and well-balanced offense and a dominating closer in their bullpen, the Mets will go forward Monday. Carlos Delgado and, perhaps, Billy Wagner will make their Shea debuts and Carlos Beltran will begin to assert himself, he hopes, as he seldom did last season. David Wright and Jose Reyes will resume their burgeoning careers.

    And they'll all say it's important to get off to a good start. But is it?

    With all his experiences in the game, Glavine has learned that the season's first game sets a tone that usually lasts for about 15 minutes. Really, that's all. The Mets suffered a dreadful loss to the Reds on Opening Day last season and didn't win until their sixth game. But the 7-6 loss, decided on a final pitch, wasn't the first domino. The Mets didn't lose their second game because Joe Randa beat Braden Looper in the first one.

    "We all know that's true," Glavine said. "We didn't go 0-162."

    Yet, he would prefer to win Monday and overcome the '06 inertia.

    "For all of us and for myself, too," he says. "It's just better that way."

    But if the Mets had won on Opening Day as dramatically as they lost and then ran off three or four more victories, one of them would have imbued the first game with some special, quasi-permanent power. It's all part of the self-deception that fuels the game and allows its participants to deal with the strain of failure.

    "We lie to ourselves all the time," David Cone said days after he had started the Mets' Opening Day victory in St. Louis in 1992. "If it's good, we hold on to it and make something more out of it. If it's negative, we move on. Turn the page. You learn pretty early that you can't dwell on the negative. It'll eat you up."

    The Mets had won on Opening Day that year in fairly dramatic fashion. Bobby Bonilla, who would endure a most trying first season in New York, hit two home runs, the second one coming in the 10th inning and providing the margin of victory in a 4-2 game. They left old Busch that night, pleased with themselves. But they lost the ensuing two games and six of their first eight. (Incidentally, the second baseman on that team was one Willie Randolph.)

    "All it means if you've lost the first one," former Mets shortstop Kevin Elster said the previous year, "is that you lost one game. But if you win the first one, you feel like you're going to the World Series.

    "The truth is somewhere in between."

    Mets probable lineup
    Pos. Name
    1. SS Jose Reyes
    2. C Paul Lo Duca
    3. CF Carlos Beltran
    4. 1B Carlos Delgado
    5. 3B David Wright
    6. LF Cliff Floyd
    7. RF Xavier Nady
    8. 2B Anderson Hernandez
    9. P Tom Glavine
    Pitching matchup
    WSH: RHP Livan Hernandez
    • 15-10, 3.98 ERA in 2005
    • 2-2, 6.16 ERA in 2005 vs. NYM
    • 10-10, 4.52 ERA lifetime vs. NYM

    NYM: LHP Tom Glavine
    • 13-13, 3.53 ERA in 2005
    • 3-1, 2.93 ERA in 2005 vs. WSH
    • 30-20, 3.41 ERA lifetime vs. WSH

    On the Internet
    Gameday Audio
    • Gameday
    • Official game notes

    On television
    • NYM: ESPN, SNY

    On radio
    • WSH: WTWP 1500 AM and 107.7 FM
    • NYM: WFAN 660 AM, WADO 1280 AM (Español)

    On deck
    • Wednesday: vs. Washington, 7:10 p.m. ET
    • Thursday: vs. Washington, 7:10 p.m. ET
    • Friday vs. Florida, 7:10 p.m. ET

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  • Game 1 Preview-Washington (0-0) at NY Mets (0-0)

    Game Info: 1:10 pm EDT Mon Apr 3, 2006
    TV: ESPN, SNY Add to Calendar

    Starting Pitchers:

    0-0, -.--


    0-0, -.--


    Highlighted by a new power-hitting first baseman, new catcher and one of the league's premier closers, the retooled New York Mets begin pursuit of their first division title since 1988 when they welcome the Washington Nationals to Shea Stadium on Monday.

    Left-hander Tom Glavine will make his seventh Opening Day start and third in his four-season stint in New York. Glavine, who is 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA as an Opening Day starter, made his Mets' debut the last time they opened at Shea Stadium, in 2003.

    In that contest, Glavine allowed five earned runs, eight hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings in the Mets' 15-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Glavine won his Opening Day start on the road last year against his former team, the Atlanta Braves.

    "It's an honor, and it's fun to be the guy who goes out there and starts Opening Day," said Glavine, who went 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA against Washington last season. "But I think sometimes there's too much made of it."

    Glavine gets the start because the Mets' Opening Day starter from last season, Pedro Martinez, will delay his season debut because of a sore toe.

    Glavine, who turned 40 on March 25, went 5-4 with a 1.79 ERA in his final 10 appearances, winning his last three starts.

    The Mets finished in fourth place at 83-79, ending a three-season run when they finished below .500.

    Catcher Paul Lo Duca is among the Mets' new acquisitions after they let longtime catcher Mike Piazza sign with the San Diego Padres in free agency. Lo Duca was acquired in a trade with the Marlins.

    First baseman Carlos Delgado will bat in the heart of the order after coming over in a separate trade from the salary-dumping Marlins after the Mets failed to acquire him in free agency before the start of last season.

    Second baseman Anderson Hernandez, who had one hit in 18 at-bats last season, starts while Kaz Matsui is on the disabled list because of a sprained knee ligament. Shortstop Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright are young fixtures on the left side of the Mets' infield after breakout seasons last year.

    Xavier Nady, acquired in the Mike Cameron trade with the San Diego Padres, could be the first to start in right field in a platoon with Victor Diaz.

    "We have all the right tools, all the right pieces," Wright said. "Now, the biggest goal is to get that chemistry, that cohesiveness, that we are playing for one another."

    The Mets also have made significant changes in the bullpen, adding closer Billy Wagner, Duaner Sanchez, Jorge Julio and Chad Bradford to solidify a relief staff that collapsed down the stretch and in last year's opener.

    Former closer Braden Looper allowed three runs on two homers in the ninth inning in a 7-6 loss in Cincinnati that spoiled Martinez's debut last season. It was the first of five straight opening losses under then-first-year manager Willie Randolph.

    In their first season after relocating from Montreal, the Nationals were a pleasant surprise, holding on to first place in National League East until July 26th before steadily slipping down the standings for their second straight last-place finish despite an 81-81 record.

    The Nationals have records of at least .500 in three of manager Frank Robinson's four seasons.

    Alfonso Soriano will play left field for the first time in his six-season career while making his debut with the Nationals. Soriano agreed to move from second base after sitting out a March 20 spring training game, accommodating Jose Vidro.

    "It's a relief for everybody, it really is," Robinson said. "We get the distractions away from here and we can focus on baseball now."

    Soriano had 36 homers and 30 stolen bases in 156 games with Texas last season. He has had at least 30 homers and 30 steals in four of his last five seasons. He has struggled in the field, though, averaging 21 errors over his last five seasons.

    Livan Hernandez will make a third straight Opening Day start for the Nationals with his surgically repaired knee close to 100 percent. He is 3-1 with a 5.17 ERA in his five previous Opening Day starts with three different teams.

    Hernandez allowed seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in last year's opening loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

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