Coming on the heels of sad displays against Matt Morris, Jason Marquis and Mark Prior, Cincy’s Paul Wilson was like a tonic for the Mets’ bats, those of Kaz Matsui, Jose Reyes and Mike Piazza in particular. Of all the no. 1 starters who have struggled thus far in ’05 (Schilling, Brown, Zito, etc.), Wilson, the Reds’ opening day pitcher, has perhaps been the most disappointing.

Lloyd McClendon’s favorite guy, Kris Benson, had his first decent start of the season and offered a glimmer hope that his massive new pact with New York might not be a mistake of Glavine-esque proportions.

The New York Times’ Lee Jenkins and Ken Belson on Kaz Matsui.

Just as American players in Japan are often viewed more critically than natives, Matsui is getting little sympathy in New York. He batted a respectable .272 last season and has a higher batting average than Mike Piazza this year, yet he has become the biggest target for frustrated fans since Roger Cedeño was chased out of New York.

When Matsui says that he does not regret signing with the Mets and believes the jeers have nothing to do with his being Japanese, it is hard to tell if he is being serious or diplomatic.

Without denying that Matsui might be an easier for target for some based on his nationality, it is also true that players who sign gigantic free agent contracts and are touted as saviors are often viewed more critically.