By John Schweibacher
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The Mets began their 2012 season with a three-game sweep of the rival Braves, their first-ever 3-0 start against a National League East opponent. The Mets have had five two-game sweeps vs. division opponents to begin a season:
•1987 2-0 vs. Pittsburgh
•1985 2-0 vs. St. Louis
•1983 2-0 vs. Philadelphia
•1979 2-0 at Chicago
•1973 2-0 vs. Philadelphia
Frank Francisco became the first New York Mets reliever and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, only the third pitcher in major-league history to record a save in every game of a season-opening series of three or more games. The only other closers to do it were Derrick Turnbow of the Brewers in 2006 and Salomon Torres of the Pirates in 2007.
Prior to Frank Francisco, Francisco Rodriguez (vs. the Reds in 2009) and Jesse Orosco (vs. the Pirates in 1987) were the only two Mets relievers to save both of the club’s first two games of a season.
Johan Santana returned to the mound and combined with four Mets relievers to defeat the Braves, 1-0 on Opening Day last Thursday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the fourth time in major-league history that a team used as many as five pitchers in its season opener to shut out an opponent. The Mets used six pitchers in a 14-inning, 1-0 win over the Phillies on Opening Day in 1998; Bobby Jones, Greg McMichael, Dennis Cook, John Franco, Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis made his major league debut Saturday, becoming just the seventh player in Mets history to start in centerfield in their first career game. Here is how the seven Mets centerfielders fared in their major league debut games:
•Kirk Nieuwenheis 4/7/12 2-for-4 4-2 win vs Atlanta
•Alex Escobar 5/8/01 1-for-4 1rbi 12-4 loss at Colorado
•Pat Howell 7/10/92 1-for-4 2runs 7-6 win at Houston
•Stan Jefferson 9/7/86 1-for-4 2runs 7-1 win vs San Diego
•Lenny Dykstra 5/3/85 2-for-5 HR 2rbi 9-4 win at Cincinnati
•Mookie Wilson 9/2/80 0-for-4 1rbi 6-5 loss at Los Angeles
•Shaun Fitzmaurice 9/9/66 0-for-3 walk 8-3 loss vs Atlanta
David Wright hit .667 (6-for-9) with a home run and three runs batted in the season opening sweep of the Braves. Wright is now five RBI’s away from tying Darryl Strawbery for the Mets all-time lead. Here is the Mets all-time leaderboard for runs batted in:
•Darryl Strawberry 733
•David Wright 728
•Mike Piazza 655
•Howard Johnson 629
•Ed Kranepool 614
•Carlos Beltran 559
•Edgardo Alfonzo 538
•Cleon Jones 521
•Keith Hernandez 468
•Kevin McReynolds 456
•Jose Reyes 423
The Mets finish their season opening homestand with three games against the Washington Nationals before heading to Philadelphia this weekend for the first road series of 2012.
The Nationals took the season series vs. the Mets in 2011, winning 10 of the 18 games, including a four-game sweep at Citi Field last September. The Mets went 7 and 11 against the Phillies last season, going 3 and 6 in Philadelphia.
Schwei’s Runs, Hits and Errors:
Runs: Mets Bullpen. Mets relievers allowed just one run (Brian McCann’s solo homer vs. Manny Acosta Sunday) in 10 innings pitched in series sweep of Braves, an 0.90 ERA through three games after finishing 2011 with a 4.33 ERA, ranked 28th in the major leagues.
Hits: Ruben Tejada. After going 0-for-6 in first two games, Mets shortstop has career-high four hits in 7-5 win over Atlanta.
Errors: Ike Davis and Jason Bay. Mets 4 and 5 hitters went a combined 2-for-20, with one RBI in first three games.
Can the Mets keep winning? Leave a comment below.