Misch Mediocre, Ollie Makes LOOGY Appearance
A few notes regarding the most recent televised spring training game between the Mets and Cardinals, in which Oliver Perez made an appearance in his new role of Lefthanded One Out GuY.
Pat Misch looked like Pat Misch – hittable, underwhelming, and overall so-so. His crafty-ness got him through the Cards lineup the first time around, but the second time the batters saw him, they seemed to “figure him out”. His lackluster appearance shouldn’t do anything to change our opinion of him. Misch will have good days and bad days, and hopefully just a few more of the former to outnumber the latter. He throws strikes, relies on the defense, and occasionally gets rocked. Not much is likely to change; he is what he is, and that’s a long reliever in MLB who can spot-start on occasion.
Ollie Perez made an appearance as a LOOGY: 74 MPH sidearm breaking ball, 87 MPH sinker, 86 MPH sidearm flat fastball, 88 MPH 3/4 fastball, 76 MPH sidearm breaking ball, 86 MPH sidearm fastball, 74 MPH low 3/4 breaking ball. The final pitch resulted in a popup to retire the legendary Dan Descalso.
Josh Thole keeps hitting. He’s in a zone, and let’s hope he stays there come April.
Jerry Hairston blasted a homer and had two other hits. Like Misch, he is what he is. Perhaps he can be this year’s Rod Barajas — hit around .220 but provide some dramatic late-inning homers.
Willie Harris blasted a pinch-hit, ground-rule double right after Nick Evans struck out. It’s looking more and more like Harris will take that 25th spot instead of Evans.
I’ve been waiting to see something interesting from Blaine Boyer, who I thought was a good sign and would be a sleeper to make the bullpen. He threw two strong innings in this game that should help his case toward earning a relief role.
On the heels of Terry Collins’ announcement that Luis Hernandez was in the mix at second base, Hernandez went 2-for-4 with a triple. A great story, but see Misch and Hairston: Hernandez is what he is, and that is a solid defensive middle infielder with a .633 career OPS in 9 minor league seasons. At best he could be a MLB utilityman, and unfortunately it seems that Chin-lung Hu will fill that role for the Mets come Opening Day. Who knows, though, anything can happen. I’m rooting for Luis.
Jason Bay continues to concern me, as his stride and swing look different every pitch. This new slightly closed stance is killing him, because he already steps toward the plate and now he’s leaning over the plate and off-balance as the pitch comes in. As a result he’s jamming himself even on outside pitches. Also, the adjustment of where he holds his bat during his stance — more at a 45-degree angle rather than straight up — is only adding more moving parts to his swing. Ideally, holding the bat at that angle would produce a more direct and level stroke. Instead, he is now moving the bat back toward the 90-degree angle that he’s used in the past prior to getting to the launch position. These extra movements and the leaning over the plate are the reason we’re seeing him strike out so often this spring.