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David Wright, New Bullpen Lead New York Mets Sweep of Atlanta Braves

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: David Wright #5 of the New York Mets singles on a line drive in the 3rd inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on April 7, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Bryan BrandomContributor IIApril 8, 2012

David Wright and Daniel Murphy keyed the New York Mets offense and the bullpen shined as the Amazin’s swept the division rival Atlanta Braves during the season-opening weekend at Citi Field. 

Heading into the season, little was thought of the Mets’ postseason aspirations in the now-stacked National League East.  But the Mets made an early statement by allowing seven runs overall and bashing seven doubles and three home runs in their three-game clash with the Braves. 

Wright led the way on offense, hitting 6-for-9 with three RBI and three walks.

Today, for the second game in a row, the Mets sported seven homegrown players in their starting lineup and it paid off.  After an offseason in which the Mets’ financial viability was discussed more than their roster, some have noted that this “youth movement” is more the result of limited funds and free-agent options than by design.  This may be true, but I challenge you to find a Mets fan who cares.

Winning in New York has always been made to be a wonderful feeling, but winning with years of patience, planning and development behind it is perhaps even more fulfilling (particularly when it’s so contrary to the talent-amassing method of certain crosstown rivals).

And for all the Mets' hand-strapped hesitation with the roster this offseason, the bullpen, where the team actually made a marked improvement, provided a huge boost heading into the last 159 games of the season.  Among the names added were veterans Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch and closer Frank Francisco.  In the three games, the ‘pen combined for 10 innings and only one run allowed. 

Another offseason move may have played a role in today’s 7-5 win.  Both the Mets and Jonathon Niese gambled by agreeing to a five-year, $25 million extension a week before the season started. 

When asked by reporters in the clubhouse after the game whether his contract affected his strong performance (two earned runs in six innings), Niese responded: “The contract more or less settles my mind, in that I can go out and pitch and not worry about anything else.”

Three games into this young season, the Mets’ new formula for success has paid off.

Bryan Brandom is a contributor and former editor for Bleacher Report.  To read more of his work, visit his basketball blog, TheOffGuard.net.

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