The Atlanta Braves chose not to make any offseason moves to improve their lineup despite finishing near the bottom of the league in offense last season.
They hope their opener isn't a sign of things to come.
The Braves will try to bounce back after being shut out in their first game of 2012 when they continue a three-game series at the New York Mets on Saturday.
Atlanta finished 22nd in the majors in runs scored and 26th in batting average last season, when its September collapse led to missing the playoffs as the wild card.
With Chipper Jones on the disabled list after undergoing left knee surgery, the Braves looked even more anemic in their 1-0 loss to New York on Thursday. Atlanta had four hits and struck out eight times.
However, The Braves aren't concerned about the poor start.
"At least we got this game out of the way,' said Dan Uggla, who went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts. "Opening day's always a lot of fun but there's always a lot of jitters involved and a lot of butterflies."
The Mets were pleased with the outing by Johan Santana, making his first start since 2010. They also hope it's a good sign for their rotation, which figures to be one of the team's strengths.
Santana gave up two hits and struck out five in five innings Thursday while David Wright drove in the game's only run.
"Today is the perfect situation,' new closer Frank Francisco said, ``to show some negative people out there we can do it. We can win more than they think we can.'
Looking to build off the opening-day victory, R.A. Dickey will take the mound, trying to avoid another slow start.
Dickey went 8-13 with a 3.28 ERA last season, but he had a 2.45 ERA over his final 12 starts.
The knuckleballer, who led the Mets in innings pitched, has struggled with slow starts throughout his career. In nine major league seasons, he is 7-8 with a 5.10 ERA in April and went 1-3 with a 3.82 ERA in the first month of the 2011 season.
Dickey said the cold can sometimes be a factor, but with a warmer forecast for Saturday, he could be in luck.
"It can sometimes be a problem. When it's too cold, the balls feel different in your hands," Dickey said prior to the season opener. "It's like feeling a pool ball, almost. It's hard to make it do what you want it to do."
However, Dickey is 1-4 with a 4.01 ERA against the Braves.
While Dickey finished strong, Jair Jurrjens hopes to put a poor finish and less than spectacular spring behind him.
Jurrjens went 13-6 with a 2.95 ERA last season, although he had just one victory after the All-Star break and missed all of September with a knee injury.
While he similarly had a tough start to spring, he said he's healthy and ready to go after allowing two runs over 13 innings of work in his final two spring training starts.
"Mentally this is a big boost," he told the Braves' official website. "I think this made a lot of people relax. Sometimes you just need to get over the hump."
The right-hander is 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA in 13 starts against New York, but went 1-2 last season.
New York expects to be without center fielder Andres Torres, who re-injured his left calf and is likely headed to the disabled list.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved