04/06/09 9:33 PM ET
Murphy starting to carve out his name
New York (1-0) at Cincinnati (0-1), Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. ET
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
For now, Murphy is just the guy who provided the runs necessary for the Mets to win their Opening Day game on Monday, the guy who made the running catch in the gap in the sixth inning to deny the Reds a run in what became a 2-1 Mets victory, the guy who came back from an 0-2 count to hit a 3-2 fastball over the right-center-field wall, the guy identified as David in the postgame media notes the Reds distributed and as Dennis on the Reds' radio broadcast.
The Mets suspect the National League will become more familiar with their No. 2 hitter -- quickly and completely.
What Murphy demonstrated Monday is what the Mets expect to see against Volquez on Wednesday and Bronson Arroyo on Thursday -- even though Murphy has faced neither in his brief big league tour -- and all others.
"Of course it will be to his advantage when he gets to know the pitchers," batting coach Howard Johnson said. "But look what he's done so far, and he doesn't know many.
"He seems to learn with every pitch. He learns on the bench and in the on-deck circle."
Murphy had never faced Reds starter Aaron Harang or the Reds' bullpen before Monday. He grounded out to shortstop -- advancing Jose Reyes to third base in the first inning -- flied out to left in the third, hit the home run in the fifth against Harang, drove in a run in the sixth against left-hander Daniel Ray Herrera with an infield out and struck out in the ninth against Francisco Cordero. He had one hit in five at-bats and more impact than any other player on either team.
"[Murphy is a] patient hitter," Johnson said. "A guy who takes pitches and spoils pitches as well as he does can get by without knowing the guys he's facing for a while. He makes adjustments like a veteran ... better than some veterans.
"It's going to be [great] to watch him grow as a hitter. He has an idea every time he goes to the plate, and he comes back with better ideas."
CIN: RHP Edinson Volquez (17-6, 3.21 ERA in 2008)
Volquez had a breakout season in his first year with the Reds, making the All-Star team and finishing in the National League's top 10 in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He did seem to tire in the second half, with a 4.60 ERA after the break (2.29 in the first half). The key for Volquez is command, and cutting down his 93 walks from a year ago will allow him to be more efficient and pitch deeper into games. He was terrific in camp this spring, allowing just one run in 19 innings. NYM: RHP Mike Pelfrey (13-11, 3.72 ERA in 2008)
Pelfrey won neither of his two starts against the Reds last season, taking the loss in one of them. He was more effective in the loss, at Shea Stadium -- two runs, both earned, in six innings -- than he was at Great American Ball Park in a no-decision the Mets won. The Reds scored five runs in seven innings, producing three of the 12 home runs he allowed all season in a five-inning sequence. He was rocked Thursday in his final exhibition game start, allowing 10 hits and eight runs against the Orioles. Pelfrey had missed one start because of an injury to his left leg and had another start ended after 13 pitches because of rain. Tidbits
Johan Santana is unbeaten with 10 victories in his 18 most recent starts. ... The Mets had never allowed fewer than four hits in an Opening Day game before they allowed three on Monday. ... The Mets' record on Opening Day, 31-17, is the best in baseball. No team has a winning percentage remotely close to their .645. The Mets have allowed six runs in the past four Opening Day games.
Sean Green has changed his uniform number to No. 50, after he had been No. 48 in Spring Training. Duaner Sanchez and Fernando Nieve had worn No. 50 in Florida. Green says his change has nothing to do with the number's most recent history -- No. 48 was Aaron Heilman's. "I just wanna be a linebacker," Green said. ... Former Mets and Reds player George Foster is doing radio spots for a garage door company in Cincinnati.
This date in Mets history -- April 7
The Mets won on Opening Day for the first time in their history on this date in 1970. In their first game as reigning World Series champions, they beat the Pirates at Forbes Field, 5-3, in 10 innings. Donn Clendenon drove in the decisive runs. ... Jerry Koosman made the only Opening Day start of his Mets career on this date in 1978, pitching a complete game in the Mets' 3-1 victory against the Expos at Shea Stadium. ... Dwight Gooden made his big league debut against the Astros on this date in 1984. Five months after his 19th birthday, he pitched five innings, allowed one run and struck out five in a 3-2 victory in the Astrodome. ... With Gooden in drug rehab, Darryl Strawberry borrowed a pair of his teammate's baseball pants -- he puts them on one leg at a time -- and hit a home run in the first inning, providing all the Mets' runs in a 3-2 Opening Day victory against the Pirates at Shea in 1987.
Boxscore symmetry: In 1988, Keith Hernandez, Strawberry and Gary Carter, the Mets' Nos. 3, 4 and 5 batters, all went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs each in an 8-5 victory against the Expos in Montreal. ... Rickey Henderson, 40, scored four runs for the ninth and final time in his career and hit two home runs for the 10th time, as the Mets beat the Marlins, 6-0, in Miami on April 7, 1999. ... The "Ted" Offensive: Leading 6-3 after three innings, the Mets allowed 11 runs in the fourth and lost, 18-10, to the Braves at Turner Field on this date in 2004. ... David Wright and Jose Reyes each hit home runs and drove in three runs in a 9-3 Mets victory against the Marlins at Shea on this date in 2006.
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WFAN 660, WADO 1280 (Español) Up next
Thursday: Mets (Oliver Perez, 10-7, 4.22 ERA in 2008) at Reds (Bronson Arroyo, 15-11, 4.77 ERA in 2008), 12:35 p.m. ET
Friday: Mets (John Maine, 10-8, 4.18 ERA in 2008) at Marlins (Anibal Sanchez, 2-5, 5.57 ERA in 2008), 7:10 p.m. ET
Saturday: Mets (Livan Hernandez, 10-8, 5.48 ERA in 2008) at Marlins (Ricky Nolasco, 1-0, 6.00 ERA in 2009), 6:10 p.m. ET
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.