Mets Squeeze Past St. Louis in ST Game 11
The Mets rallied late to outlast the Cardinals 9-8 in Grapefruit League action.
I’m not sure what it means to beat a team in late innings in spring training, because once games get past the 6th inning, it’s more or less AA and AAA players fighting it out. But, it’s always preferable to win, rather than lose.
Jonathon Niese made his first start of the spring and did not do well. We don’t care much about numbers — and Niese’s were ugly in this game — but that’s not the concern. Rather, what was worrisome was Niese’s inability to repeat consistent, safe mechanics, and, in turn, have command of his pitches. Niese missed high, low, inside, and out, and it wasn’t surprising considering that his motion changed a few times and his arm angle and release point were all over the place. Yes, it was his first time on the mound in a game in the spring, but you’d like to have seen him more comfortable; Niese seemed to be uncomfortable, frustrated, and unable to find a rhythm. Being rusty is one thing, but being completely lost is another. Niese insists that his previously ailing shoulder is fine, but his body language wasn’t convincing — at least, not to me. I have to wonder if he’s still feeling discomfort in his shoulder, if not pain.
Rafael Montero threw a fine initial inning, a not-so-fine second frame. He threw plenty of strikes, which is great, but also threw plenty of very hittable pitches, which often is not so great. I think he got away with a few meatballs that wound up being just missed or hit foul. Still, I like that he’s not afraid to attack the strike zone.
Remember when Jeff Wilpon told us there was a “glut” at first base, and that’s why the Mets weren’t going after any free agent first sackers, such as, for example, Jose Abreu and Kendrys Morales? Well, would someone please explain to me who the heck is Matt Clark and why do we keep seeing him manning the right corner for the Mets?
Wilmer Flores made his first start of the spring at shortstop, and was fine enough defensively, though we can’t make any determination based on one game.
Jose Valverde was not so pretty in his one inning of work, allowing two runs on three hits. I’m getting the feeling that it doesn’t matter what Valverde does, so long as he doesn’t completely implode — he’s making the team.
Xavier Scruggs is one of the more interesting baseball names to enter the league in the past few years. Sounds like a character from a spaghetti western or a Mel Brooks movie.
Juan Lagares made a spectacular diving catch early in the ballgame. But we already know he can flash the leather; he needs to show that he can hit enough to find a place in the lineup.
Vic Black struck out three in his one inning of work, but allowed two hits and threw 23 pitches in the process. I’m still not sure what to make of him — even when the results are good, it seems like an adventure. But, that’s often the way it goes with late-inning relievers.
Gonzalez Germen gained the victory by allowing the Cardinals to tie the score; funny how that works. Germen has been underwhelming thus far in the spring, and doesn’t seem to realize that he’s fighting for a bullpen spot.
OK, what did you see? Post your notes in the comments.