Ollie Gets Another Life
A few notes regarding yesterdays televised exhibition “split squad” game between the Mets and Cardinals …
Oliver Perez was less than awful. He was on the mound for six outs, and he threw more strikes than balls. That’s about the best I can say. His breaking pitch was slow and loopy, and he usually threw it from a sidearm angle. His fastball was flat, slow, and generally above the belt. I’m not sure how accurate the radar reading on the TV screen was, but there were some fastballs that were clocked in the 70s. I saw a lot of big hacks by the Cardinals batters — batting-practice-type hacks, the kind where the batter is comfortable, relaxed, and looking to launch the ball into the stratosphere. I also saw a couple early-count outs, and a few balls that should have been hit to Jupiter (the city or the planet, take your pick) but were “just missed” by the hitter. At least one of the outs were thanks to Josh Thole, who pounced quickly on a potential wild pitch in the dirt and nailed the baserunner at second to end Ollie’s second inning. Since he didn’t walk anyone and didn’t allow any runs, Perez will get another shot. Hope springs eternal.
Chris Capuano’s outing was so quick I missed it — and I rewound the DVR four times and still missed it. The Cards hitters were swinging early at his low strikes. Good sign.
Like Perez, Jason Isringhausen didn’t give up any runs. Also like Perez, that wasn’t enough to impress me. I’m a huge fan of Izzy and always have been. I love this comeback story and I really hope he can make it all the way back and help the Mets in the bullpen this year. But I can’t allow emotions to cloud my analysis. Right now, Izzy’s velocity is sub-par and his command is not sharp enough for someone throwing in the 85-87 MPH range. However, from what I understand he didn’t throw much prior to spring training and he’s still kind of in rehab mode, so the lack of velocity and sharpness can be excused. My point is that he doesn’t look like someone who will be ready to face big-league hitters a month from now. On the bright side, his mechanics look good: he’s staying on a straight line to the plate, getting good extension on his follow-through, and finishing toward home plate. Also, most of fastballs appear to be “running down”; as he gains some velocity, those should turn into hard sinkers. So to me, it looks like he’s on the right track — I just doubt he’ll be ready by April.
Fernando Martinez keeps hitting the ball hard; I really hope he can stay healthy.
Every time I see Jenrry Mejia throw a pitch I cringe; I’m waiting for his arm to fly out of his shoulder socket and follow the ball to home plate. Did the Mets think that his shoulder injury was just bad luck? Did anyone consider taking a look at his harmful mechanics and making an adjustment? Oh, and every time he shakes off Josh Thole I want to scream.
Speaking of Josh Thole, he reminds me a bit of Pete Rose with his crouched stance, short stroke, bearing down on every pitch, and the way he punches line drives past the infield.
Daniel Murphy continues to handle balls that are hit to him, no matter where is standing in the field. One thing I noticed is he double taps his glove before he throws it on routine grounders. Eerily reminds me of Mackey Sasser, and a similar habit David Wright fell into a few years ago. Murph looks pretty good at the plate, and is getting good swings on the ball.
Boof Bonser’s inning was similar to Capuano’s — I blinked, and it was over. It was late in the game and the aggressive youngsters closing out the game were swinging early in the count.
So those were some of the things that struck me … what in particular caught your eye? Post your comments below.