Mets Spring Training Game vs. Tigers

Mets 6 Tigers 2

Yeah, it’s only spring training, but it’s nice to say your team beat the 2012 AL Champions and their ace starter Justin Verlander.

Mets Game Notes

Jonathon Niese looked fairly sharp, pounding the strike zone and working both sides of the plate. His velocity was all over the place, partially due to tinkering with a change-up — which I’m happy to see. The curve, though, was unusually slow — in the low 70s. Not a big deal, and not indicative of anything, just making a note.

On the other hand, bullpen candidate Gonzalez Germen didn’t look so hot. His velocity is average — about 89-90 MPH — and he can’t throw a fastball with movement that stays in the strike zone. He threw several balls out of the strike zone that had sink, but, that’s not enough. His breaking stuff was below-average — fairly flat and generally finishing above the batter’s knees. Perhaps it was a bad day.

Bruce Rondon is a big, big man with a big, big fastball; he was flirting with triple-digits on every fastball. He looked like he was working on his off-speed stuff, but he still looked fairly difficult to hit.

Loved seeing Justin Turner spit on two of Rondon’s 98-MPH fastballs, then line a 100-MPH heater into right field to start off the fifth-inning rally. Turner may not be the most skilled ballplayer, but he has no fear and does not lack confidence.

Brayan Pena is an awful catcher — to the point where I don’t understand how he’s in the big leagues. This may sound terrible but I hope he has some kind of injury, because his throws to second base on steal attempts were so bad there’s no other acceptable explanation. He’s a career .248 hitter with a .635 OPS, so he’s not in the bigs for his offense, either. How he’s been in MLB for 8 years and made $875,000 in salary last year is one of the world’s great mysteries.

Wilmer Flores‘ slow feet were exposed on a routine grounder in the seventh inning, which he played into what was generously scored as an infield single. Lucky for him, SNY was in the middle of a riveting interview discussing facial hair with Justin Turner so no one noticed or commented.

Speaking of, throwing sunflower seeds at a player during a TV interview is funny the first time. When it’s a constant seed shower every time, it kind of loses its comedic effect. What would Kirk Gibson do if he were the victim of a sunflower seed assault?

Tigers top prospect Nick Castellanos looks a lot like Xavier Nady, doesn’t he?

Collin Cowgill got another extra-base hit, lofting a pinch-hit double off the base of the left-field wall in the seventh. He’s red-hot, but that’s nothing new — he hit .396 with a 1.017 OPS in 53 plate appearances with the Athletics during 2012 spring training.

Matt den Dekker struck out only once in four at-bats. Baby steps.

Lucas Duda was a late scratch due to a “minor medical issue,” whatever that means. It was embarrassing or private enough to keep a secret. Hemorrhoids? Hangnail? E.D.? The clap? Maybe it’s a mental health thing; those tend to be taboo (which is a shame for society).

What did you see? Post in the comments.

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.
  1. meticated March 2, 2013 at 6:05 am
    I see that Mark prior is back with the reds in ST….didn’t you remark that his mechanics prevent him from being a successful pitcher…and do you see any visible changes in Wheelers mechanical flaws
  2. Izzy March 2, 2013 at 9:05 am
    Speaking of hair, the night before on the Nats broadcast of the Met game the highlight of the evening was the discussion by Nat GM Rizzo and Bob Carpenter about Jason’s Werth’s beard. Rizzo said as a guy with no hair, he didn’t like it but Werth’s wife likes it so….. then Carpenter asked him how many critters he thought lived in Werth’s beard! So I guess with extended Spring training, hair is the talk of the game.Was kind of disappointed in Turner trimming to have dinner with a roach like Jeff Wilpon, but I guess he doesn’t have a job locked up, so it is excusable.
  3. Joe March 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm
    Having no fear, not lacking confidence, being able to fill in various positions, good in the clubhouse and so forth makes it clear Turner is a great person to have on the roster. Unclear why this sometimes seems to be an open question around here, it an iffy proposition at times that he should be on the 25.
  4. friend March 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm
    “Lucas Duda was a late scratch due to a “minor medical issue,” whatever that means. It was embarrassing or private enough to keep a secret. Hemorrhoids? Hangnail? E.D.? The clap?”


    • Joe Janish March 3, 2013 at 1:49 am
      If so, hopefully not from the little blue pill, as that might show up in a PEDs test.
  5. Scottie March 3, 2013 at 12:39 am
    How did Niese’s changeup look? There was an article in the NY Post today where Warthen said it was getting better.
    • Joe Janish March 3, 2013 at 1:50 am
      Not ready for prime time, but it showed some promise. I didn’t see much movement and I don’t think it was slow enough. But, he has several weeks to work on it, so we’ll see.
  6. TexasGusCC March 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm
    In Newsday today:

    Fact is, road teams usually show up for exhibition games with largely anonymous lineups.
    Said Collins, “I’m sure Sandy has gotten phone calls about, ‘Hey where are your starters at?’ Little do they know, they’re playing.”

    I wish they would all stop trying to be comics. Just shut up!! Between Alderson’s jokes and Collins’, why should fans buy their product?