Remembering Mets History (2008) Johan Santana's Mets Debut On Opening Day

Monday March 31st, 2008: There was plenty of excitement for Opening Day 2008, the Mets had their new ace Johan Santana taking the mound for the first time as a Met. 

The Mets had blown a first place lead, losing 12 of their last 17 games the previous year & failed to make the playoffs on the final day of the season. 

The front office traded for outfielder Ryan Church & catcher Brian Schneider. They signed Angel Pagan & Luis Castillo as free agents. Gone were Tom Glavine & Paul LoDuca. 

The biggest move the team made, was trading Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber & Kevin Mulvey for one of the games top pitchers, Johan Santana. The Mets believed this was the final piece of the puzzle to get to the playoffs.. 

Manager Willie Randolph's Mets, opened up the
season on the road, in Florida. 38,808 fans came to see the Fredi Gonzalez's Marlins, host the Mets. 

Former Marlin, Jeff Conine threw out the ceremonial first pitch & the Marlins cheerleaders (The Mermaids) finished off their pre game entertainment, it was time for a new season.

Trivia: That year the Mets wore a commemorative patch on their sleeve, marking the final season of homes games being played at Shea Stadium.

Santana opened his Mets career, by striking out the lead off batter, Hanley Ramirez looking. He got the Marlins 1-2-3 in the quiet first inning, leaving the mound to nice hand from the fans.

The Mets exploded in the 4th, Carlos Beltran led off with a double & Carlos Delgado walked. 

Angel Pagan then doubled brining in Beltran with the Mets first run. Ryan Church, singled making it 2-0 Mets. 

 With two outs, Jose Reyes singled bringing home home Pagan. Two batters later, David Wright doubled, bringing in Reyes & Church making it 6-0, giving Santana a nice lead.

The Marlins scored their only two runs in 4th inning, Hanley Ramirez walked &  Josh Willingham hit a two run HR. It was 6-2.

The Mets got another run in the 9th, when Marlon
Anderson scored on a Matt Lindstrom wild pitch.

The final was 7-2, Santana went 7 innings allowing two runs on three hits, 8 strike outs & 2 walks. Matt Wise, Scott Schoeneweis & Jorge Sosa all pitched the 8th inning & Aaron Heilman closed it out in the 9th. 

2008: The Mets would fire manager Willie Randolph in 2008  & make coach Jerry Manuel his replacement. It didn't help as they would finish second again in 2008 (89-73), missing the playoffs on the final day of the season.

Santana would finish his first year as a Met leading the NL in ERA (2.53) Innings pitched (234) & starts (34). He was 16-8 with 206 strike outs (2nd in the NL) & 63 walks with three shut outs & two complete games.


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