Spring Training Game 6
No doubt the NY tabloids tomorrow will say that Freddy’s slipping out of the starting rotation race. Don’t believe it. Garcia’s stats are terrible, and he gave up a couple bombs, but his stuff looked pretty good compared to his previous outing. I’m still not liking his velocity — he’s in the 82-84 range on his fastball — and he may need a few extra weeks to get strong enough to pitch at the big league level. However, his curveball still has excellent bite, and he had more command of it in this game compared to the last. He also pulled the string on several nasty changeups with good down movement (in fact, one of his changeups was mistakenly reported by Kevin Burkhardt as a curveball).
For some pitchers — particularly older ones and those coming off injury — it can take a few outings before they start to “get in the groove”. I think it’s premature to pass judgment on Garcia. If his ERA is in double digits in late March, that’s another story.
This guy is a prime example of why a lefthanded young man should consider learning how to throw a baseball. Switzer reminds me of a poor man’s Tony Fossas, which isn’t saying much. It will be nice to have an extra LOOGY stashed in AAA, if only to use in one or two series against the Phillies. He’ll provide a different, probably unscouted look, which in itself can be enough to get past many batters once or twice.
Poor kid had a tough debut. Unlike Garcia, there wasn’t anything positive to take away from Gee’s performance. His fastball was below average in velocity and he had zero command of it. He reminded me of Steve Trachsel — picking around the corners, falling behind, and then having to come into the batter’s wheelhouse. Also like Garcia, however, it may take Gee some time to get going, and I’m guessing he had some jitters. It can be unnerving for a kid to face the likes of Albert Pujols, even in a meaningless spring training game. I hope he sticks around another week or two so we can see him at his best.
I’m just thrilled to see him on the field and swinging a bat. The #99 on his back is mildly comical. It looks to me like he’s closing up a little too much from the left side, turning his hips just a bit too much during his stride, which is causing him to fly open a little too much. When he hit well in 2006, he stayed more square to the pitcher. Regardless, the odds are against him.
Starting at first base in place of WBC-bound Carlos Delgado, Marlon was one of the few bright spots for the Mets, clubbing two doubles. OK, one of them was a routine fly ball that got caught up in the wind, but I’m pulling hard for Marlon to make this team.
Like most of the Mets pitchers on this day, Muniz did little to help his case as far as the stat line goes. I did like some of the low, hard heaters he threw after giving up a bomb to Joe Thurston.