Mets morning briefing 4.9.11


Chris Capuano gets his first Mets start Saturday, opposite Washington left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, as the Mets look to return to .500 and avoid losing their second straight series.

Saturday's news reports:

R.A. Dickey matched a career high with five walks and the Mets went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in Friday's 6-2 loss to the Nationals in the home opener. Read game recaps in the Post, Times, Newsday, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record and Washington Post.

Dickey says the index finger on his nail should be fine for his next start, which is scheduled for Wednesday at Citi Field against the Colorado Rockies. Read more on Dickey's performance in Newsday.

• Mets executive VP Dave Howard tells Newsday's Neil Best ticket sales have been fine. The Mets announced a crowd of 41,075 for the home opener. Writes Best:

Observers are certain to keep a close eye on ticket sales all season, both as a referendum on the team from fans and as a key barometer of the Mets' financial health, or lack thereof. "We're encouraged by where we are,'' said Dave Howard, executive vice president of business operations. He said more than 85 percent of full-season ticket-holders renewed, and that the team has sold more tickets overall than at this time last year. He would not say what that number is. "Given all the circumstances, I'm encouraged,'' he said. "How we go the rest of the year is going to be largely dictated by how the team performs, and I think this team is a better team than last year's. If the team is more competitive and stays that way throughout the year, given the fact we have substantially lower prices, it should translate into an uptick in ticket sales.''

The Times, you may recall, reported the Mets sold the equivalent of 10,000 season tickets when partial plans are counted as fractions. That means it's very possible the Mets will be announcing crowds in the 15,000 range during the Monday-Thursday series against the Rockies.

Richard Sandomir of The Times speaks with fans at the home opener about the state of the Mets. “It’s a scary situation with Madoff,” Annie Neglia, a physical education teacher from Oceanside, L.I., tells Sandomir. “But I can’t focus on that. I’ve got to focus on pitching, hitting and running. Let’s keep buying beer and they’ll be OK.”

• Newsday's Tom Rock discusses the new seven-day DL for concussions. "I think it's a good idea,'' says David Wright, who was beaned by a fastball from Matt Cain two seasons ago and suffered a concussion. "That was probably the best thing for me, to go against what I wanted to do and kind of trust the doctors. I didn't feel like I needed all 15 days, so I think it's good that you have that seven-day option.''

• Rep. Peter King (R-NY) doesn't like the amount of money trustee Irving Picard is billing while trying to recover funds for Bernard Madoff victims -- currently about $288 million, according to a report. You may recall King, according to the Daily News, also supports the government covering all losses of victims, rather than the recovery being footed by clawback lawsuits such as the one against Fred Wilpon and family because they allegedly withdrew more than they deposited from certain accounts.

• Daily News columnist John Harper looks at the mixed day for Jose Reyes. His diving stop of Rick Ankiel's sharp, one-hop grounder with the bases loaded resulted in an inning-ending double play in the fifth and limited the damage against Dickey. Yet Reyes also struck out two innings later with two runners in scoring position and the Mets trailing 3-2. Even a groundout to the right side of the infield would have evened the score after Chin-lung Hu had sacrificed two runners ahead a base. Reyes is batting .303. But he does not have a walk, so his on-base percentage also is .303. Writes Harper:

The thing is, it wasn't simply that Reyes struck out in such a key situation. It was the way he struck out that the Mets' new talent evaluators surely noted with displeasure, as he looked like a man without a plan at the plate -- which has been a knock on him forever. Indeed, advance scouts have been telling their pitchers for years that in a key situation, Reyes will chase pitches early in the count, especially changeups, and either get himself out or get himself into bad counts that give the pitcher a huge advantage. "We have one rule with Reyes in a big spot," an NL scout told me during spring training a few weeks ago. "Don't throw him a strike until he makes you do it. Because more times than not, you won't have to."

Davey Johnson, who managed the Mets' last World Series winner, is a Nationals adviser. He spoke Friday with the Star-Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro about his former club. “Fans here expect a winner, and they’ve been kind of teased a little bit,” Johnson says. “That’s how it goes around here, and sometimes the fans drive you to do better. But as long as the effort is there from top to bottom, why should there be gloom? It’s not like they aren’t trying. How can anyone deny that? They built this amazing stadium. And there are a lot of positives. The manager just has to get them to play.”

• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro has this take on the home opener:

All the goodwill accrued during the season's first week hasn't evaporated entirely. The Mets have talked splitting the season up series by series, and there's still a chance to win this series, still a chance for a quality homestand, still a favorable April schedule in which to get themselves above sea level. And if you believe in Collins, you believe that can happen. You believe there really will be more nights when the good Mets are on display and the bad Mets are kept at bay. It just would've been nice if they could've traded places on Opening Day.

BIRTHDAY: Grame Lloyd was born in 1967.