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Here at Crosstown Rivals, the virtue we value most is that of foresight. Accordingly, put your hands together in welcoming the second season of Crosstown Rivals' Series Previews Enjoy.

Well, the Mets are a pretty good club. That suspect starting pitching did a pretty good job against the defending World Series Champions, tossing twenty innings of two-run ball while the Mets' bats did the rest. Pardon the gloating, given that the bat of Game 2 was being swung by Orlando Hernandez.

Nevertheless, the Mets are hardly fortunate enough to play all their games against St. Louis. Enter the 3-0 Atlanta Braves, who no longer have a streak of division titles on the line. However, the CrosstownOracle has the Braves finishing second to the Mets in the NL East, given that scary bullpen of theirs.

No longer is tubby Bob Wickman left to fend for himself in the pen, as Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano have joined him back there. And they still have Chad Paronto. CHAD friggin' PARONTO. Shield your children.

Still, the Braves had one hell of a lineup last year, wiith Andruw Jones and Adam LaRoche (now in Pittsburgh) bashing homers and John Smoltz bashing heretics who didn't listen to his post-game speech on "Faith Day" about how Jesus saved his life.

Don't forget about Brian McCann and Edgar Renteria, who are hitting .500 and .467 respectively this year, small sample sizes be damned. Moreover, they have Chris Woodward, whose inspiring heroics last year on the Mets made him a surefire candidate for a new contract. Ugh. Tim Hudson is ripe for a comeback this year, and if he can rebound a little bit, he'll be ten times the player Tyler Hansbrough was against Georgetown.

Maybe some of their moves haven't been such successes. Kelly Johnson, their new second baseman, is setting the world on fire with his .081/.188/.286 line to this point in the season. Andruw Jones didn't hit much in the opening series, and questions abound about their Canuck lefty, Scott Thorman, at first base.

The Games

Game 1: Oliver Perez, LHP (0-0, NO ERA) at Mark Redman, LHP (0-0, NO ERA)
7:35 p.m., National TV: TBS
  • You have to give the edge here to Ollie. I like what he did during the spring and Mark Redman is, uh, I don't know, Mark Redman.

    Game 2: Tom Glavine, LHP (1-0, 1.50) at John Smoltz, RHP (0-0, 4.50)
    3:55 p.m., National TV: FOX
  • This'll be a good one, but I have to say that Smoltz usually has the Mets' number. The Braves win and New York's bid for 162-0 stops here.

    Game 3: Orlando Hernandez, RHP (1-0, 1.29) at Kyle Davies, RHP (0-0, NO ERA)
    1:05 p.m., National TV: TBS
  • I like Duque against a young team like Atlanta. His funky curveballs and zany sliders will guide the Mets to a series victory against the iffy Davies.

    Players to Watch
    NYM: Carlos Delgado. He hasn't done much to date, so I'm waiting for a breakout. He'll have a monster series, despite the lefty starter on Friday night. Mind you, he's a .375/.583/.625 hitter against Redman in an admittedly small sample size. He's also got a .346/.414/.808 line against Smoltz.

    ATL: Andruw Jones. He has a monster .371/.476/.771 line against Glavine in his career and is primed to start mashing. Remember, he has always hit better in the first half of the season than in the second, and it's his free agent year. So be afraid.

    Series prediction: Mets 2, Braves 1.

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  • 4.01.2007



    Top 9th:
    That's it for my blog, guys. I hope you enjoyed it, and we'll be looking forward to a great season for the Mets and a great season here at Crosstown Rivals.
    Let's Go Mets!

    Bottom 8th:
    VALENTIN. TO REYES. TO DELGADO. boom. double play.
    Uh-oh. Joe Smith just walked Pujols... was this the right time for Willie to give him his MLB debut?
    Here comes AARON HEILMAN and his GAME FACE. Let's pray.

    Bottom 7th:
    Glavine's out, Feliciano's in. Let's see if the Mets bullpen can hold the lead.

    Top 6th:
    -Reyes looks like he's really hustling. NOT.

    Bottom 5th:
    -Glavine's looking great... so are 'Tin and Reyes in the field. Only four more innings.

    Top 5th:
    Hmm... I'm hoping for a more exciting inning than that. Moises looked pretty bad on that curve.

    End Bottom 4th:
    -Glavine just dropped that filthy change on Preston Wilson. Am I allowed to love a ton of things about this game? I do.
    -Our ace looks better than Chris Carpenter... I'm tired of hearing about how great Dave Duncan is. Talk about the Jacket.
    -Odds on whether or not they will ask La Russa about his DWI rap? What about no chance in hell?

    End Top 4th:
    -More love for the team. They're getting the pen cranking. On an aside, wouldn't you love to go up to Josh Hancock and ask him for his John Hancock? I think that would bother him.
    -Carlos Delgado looked like vintage rookie Jose Reyes on that curve in the dirt. Ooph.

    Middle Top 4th:
    -Good job by Green and 'Tin there. Maybe they'll become a rhyming one-two punch.
    -It's funny to listen to these guys speculate about Willie calling a squeeze; any Mets fan/broadcaster would know that Willie never calls squeeze plays. He will, however, bring Shingo Takatsu in during a tie game.
    -Boy, it sure didn't look like Chris Carpenter was pitching around Reyes there. At all.
    -Hmm... watching this Lo Duca at-bat, maybe CC is losing it. I have faith in the Duck. You must, as well. BOOM. DUCK.
    -And here comes Beltran.

    End Bottom 3rd:
    -So-Tag didn't look so hot.
    -I thought Kennedy had some Jack there, but uh, thankfully that wall's pretty close.
    -That was an embarrassing squeeze play. I hate Tony La Russa and his squeeze plays, and I hate that horrible bunt. Duck and D-Wright handled it well.
    -Glavine showed a lot of resilience in getting out of that jam there. 1/3 of the way there, he's at a very managable 38 pitches.

    End Top 3rd:
    -Wow... did anyone think that Tom Glavine would outhit Jose Reyes on the season? I just adore small sample sizes.
    -Hmm, Reyes didn't look so good there. One could even say he was punk('d).
    -I hate Scott Rolen and the defensive acclaim that invariably follows him around everywhere. It really took a lot of Gold Glove-style brilliance to know that an aged pitcher was running from first base. Oh, Scott Rolen, could you please teach me in your art of judging how slow people are?
    -Beltran's blast looked fair, initially. If he can do a little more of that, but keep 'em fair, can we top 41 jacks this year? Probably. Maybe Carpenter got a little angry on that one, with the pitch nowhere near the strike zone.
    -Part of me has to feel sorry for So Taguchi on that one, but it was one hell of a shot. I thought it was gone, but a two-run double isn't all that bad.
    -Boo, Pujols. Nice hand.

    End Bottom 2nd:
    -Does Jose Reyes have the year's first Web Gem? I love it.
    -Do we still have to face Yadier, after last year? I'm not sure I can get through an at-bat without cursing.
    -And Tom Glavine notches a strikeout on the change. I love that, too. Here's a serious question: Is it possible that Edmonds has been rushed back from a severe injury a little too soon? He didn't play much at all this spring, and he's already got the natural fade of age on him.

    End Top 2nd:
    -Already my beloved Metsies are tearing at my heartstrings... here's a question. Who put the money on Moises Alou and Shawn Green having the Mets' first two hits (and Moises being the first to take an extra base)?
    -Also... this is two straight regular season at-bats for Valentin without being clutch. Is it too late to bring Kaz Matsui back?

    End Bottom 1st:
    -Look at David Eckstein grit out that hit. All grit, hustle, etc.
    -I thought Wright wouldn't have that ball on the short hop, but... whew.
    -Okay, well, at least Pujols has been kept in check. I would say that's the key to winning, but that's obvious.

    End Top 1st:
    -Tragic. Reyes' batting average has now dropped 300 points from last year.
    -Duck's has fallen 318. Two weak groundouts on the game.
    -I thought Beltran was safe...

    *Only 24 more outs for Carpenter to get the Opening Day perfect game!


    It's 4:33 P.M. on the East Coast.

    I'm liveblogging the game tonight. I hope you will join me.

    See you at 8.

    Happy Opening Day!

    EDIT: I'll be returning with series previews throughout the season, but it's too late to cover this one. Oops.

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