Cardinals 12 Mets 4
Never mind the score — these spring training games mean nothing. Really. No, really.
Mets Game Notes
Darin Gorski seems like a nice kid. And he was unexpectedly starting this game when Zack Wheeler came up lame with an oblique tweak. However, I’m seeing his ceiling as a LOOGY. In my job as a PR man for a wine company, I often read a phrase penned by wine critics when they review an underwhelming wine: “tasted twice, with consistent notes.” What that means is they tried the wine on two different occasions, and found that their first impression of the wine was confirmed — in other words, it tasted exactly the same both times. I’d like to customize this phrase for Gorski, and say, “seen twice, with consistent notes”; go back to the first spring training game to get my take on Gorski.
Have to love that Gorski hails from tiny Kutztown University in Pennsylvania — the alma mater of former Buffalo Bills star wide receiver Andre Reed.
Another player from a small school in Pensey is the Cardinals’ Matt Adams, an alumnus of Slippery Rock University. Adams is a bulky guy with a sweet swing; his build and swing remind me a bit of Lance Berkman. Looking at his numbers, it’s hard to believe Adams hasn’t yet busted into the big leagues. After leading NCAA D-2 hitters with a .495 AVG in 2009, Adams then hit .365, .346, .310, .300, and .329 in five stops over four minor-league seasons, with a career .930 OPS. A first baseman, he was blocked by that Pujols guy prior to last year, but Adams didn’t take advantage of his first big chance, hitting only .244 in 91 plate appearances with the Cards. I imagine this is his make-or-break year — he’ll either find a spot on the Cardinals roster, or fall into that never-never land of “AAAA” status.
Reliever Carlos Torres did nothing to help himself win a job in the Mets bullpen. He was tagged for four runs on five hits and three walks in two innings. Ouch. And though we don’t necessarily look at stats in the spring, they did help describe his story. Torres had awful control and didn’t show anything remarkable. Maybe it was just a bad day, but anyone fighting for a job can’t afford to have bad days.
It was a similar story for Robert Carson and Greg Burke; neither showed anything that screamed “take me north!” Carson, though, has the excuse of getting whacked on the foot by a sharp grounder in his first inning of work; maybe that affected his performance. Also in defense of Carson, his role is as a LOOGY or at most, a one-inning reliever; the solo homer he allowed came he retired five batters. Burke, in my humble opinion, doesn’t get under enough to be effective; his sidewinding release results in fairly flat pitches that stay on one plane and tend to be easy to see and hit.
Unlike the Mets relievers, Anthony Recker made the most of his opportunity, lifting a ball into the jet stream and over the left-field wall. That probably isn’t a homer in any MLB stadium during the regular season, but, it certainly doesn’t hurt his chances nor his confidence.
BTW, would Recker’s nickname be “Home”? As in, Anthony “Home” Recker? It would be if Chris Berman had a say in the matter.
St. Louis righthander Michael Wacha was impressive, pounding the strike zone with a live fastball, dead-fish change-up, and showing a sharp overhand curveball; he struck out five and allowed one hit in three innings. Only 20 years old and the Cards’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft, the lanky 6’6″ Texan struck out 40 batters in 21 innings — allowing only four walks and eight hits — at three different levels in his first pro half-season last year. The uniform, build, and repertoire remind me of Chris Carpenter. The kid looks legit — remember his name, as you’ll hear it again.
Generally speaking, every hitter at every level of baseball is a “fastball hitter.” However, during this telecast, Ron Darling identified Marlon Byrd as a “breaking ball hitter.” Byrd promptly struck out on a breaking ball — as if on cue. However, later in the ballgame, John Buck blasted a line drive, opposite-field homer on a breaking ball. Seeing that Buck’s bat speed isn’t exactly comparable to that of Albert Pujols, and seeing him wait as long as he did on that hanger, makes me believe that Buck could be identified as a breaking ball hitter.
Speaking of Byrd, he completely missed a fly ball that allowed a run to score. I think that’s the second time he’s done that in three games, though my memory is not what it once was. Strangely, Byrd was not charged with an error — not this time, nor the last time (if there was a last time). I guess it’s spring training for the official scorers, too.
Lucas Duda returned to the lineup and hit a single up the middle. Apparently, reports of his surgically repaired wrist being an issue were greatly exaggerated — he was NOT taken out of the lineup due to his wrist. But, he also was not taken out due to striking out nearly every time up. Wait, what? Duda has now struck out 7 times out of 10 tries.
Speaking of striking out, Matt Den Dekker was more successful that Duda, accomplishing the feat twice in as many attempts — a perfect record!
Den Dekker also almost made a great catch in center field.
What did you see that I didn’t mention? Post your notes in the comments.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.