PORT ST. LUCIE – Fresh start.
Jeff Wilpon got the key to the city on Saturday morning when the Mets opened the "new" improved Clover Park on a windy but pleasant 69 degree day with a 5-3 loss to the Marlins. Down in Jupiter, the Split Squad Mets lost 0-2 to the Cardinals, but this is the season the results don't matter.
Now the Mets will be working overtime to find the keys to get off to a quick start from the NL East Gate, and it's about doing all the little things right.
Remember this is a process.
It is the overall daily improvement that is most important. And the Mets and Luis Rojas came away satisfied after his first game as manager. Rick Porcello got off to a good start on his Mets debut with a 17-pitch, one-run first inning as he tried to find the command and skill that made him a Cy Young winner.
His first time with catcher Wilson Ramos was a success as Ramos perfected his posture with one knee to give the pitchers a low target, particularly Porcello and his evil sinker.
Ramos and Porcello were essentially the only two players available to the media because when the clubhouse doors opened after the game, most of the regular Mets guests were long gone, beating the traffic and the 6,435 fans using the $ 57 million was extremely pleased with the value of improvements to the complex.
The wider halls and the new Jim Beam bar on the left seem to have been a success as fans flocked through the upgraded areas and took pictures along the walls showing murals of past and present Mets.
My favorite was the one with Keith Hernandez and Pete Alonso sitting side by side on the first base. It's an uplifting approach and gives fans a glimpse of then and now.
Jeff McNeil was the leadoff hitter for the Mets and quickly flipped a single to the left to show life in a magical bat last season when he switched to full-time third baseman with Todd Frazier, who is now in Texas.
It was also interesting to see how Michael Conforto moved quickly in the right field on a day when it was dangerous to catch fly balls. Conforto looked completely relaxed and seemed a bit more agile and faster.
The Mets gave up two stolen bases in the first inning when the Runnin Marlins broke out early and showed how aggressive they will be. Ramos threw out a runner who was also trying to steal.
"I have to do a better job with the game in progress," Porcello admitted, saying it was a good lesson to learn about the National League after all those years in the AL. "For the first time, I felt really good about delivering the baseball and hitting the glove."
The Mets will have the strongest rotations as Porcello progresses.
Ramos said the change to falling on one knee to achieve a lower goal works well.
"I feel good," he said. "I feel like I'm resting a little bit more, and that will help me spend more time behind the plate, more games, so I'm going to take advantage of that." My jugs want a low goal and that helps me rest my knee a little more. "
Ramos also raised a double to the right in the first game and that was an encouraging sign as he is trying to get more momentum with his swing this season after hitting the ball so often in the past in the past.
"I try to keep the ball in the air and not hit too many ground balls," said Ramos. "This spring, during Live BP, I hit the ball more in the air than on the ground, so that's a good thing."
Rojas made his first major league game. Another fresh start.
"It was very exciting to see the boys play," said Rojas. “The boys grabbed some good bats in the first inning and we played really good defense today. We made three double games. "
Step 1 is complete. Time to grind.