Mets ST Game 12: Loss to Cardinals

Mets mount another late-inning comeback, but fall a bit short.

I love, love, love John Lannan, and always have. However, he hasn’t shown me anything to believe he’ll be able to hold down a spot in a MLB starting rotation. Yes, he struck out 4 of the last 5 batters he faced, and the SNY crew was very excited about that, but as you know I’m more focused on the process than the result, and from what I saw, the strikeouts had more to do with batters being a little over-aggressive than Lannan doing anything special. It seems like every pitch is a struggle, and his command is nonexistent. Nearly all of the swings and misses induced were on pitches out of the strike zone; I suppose there’s something positive to say about that, but, eventually, a pitcher has to put the ball in the strike zone and prove he can do it consistently. Lannan’s curve isn’t breaking and he can’t get his fastball in the strike zone, much less spot it — I think once the regular season starts, and hitters are more serious about discipline and picking pitches to hit, he’s going to struggle even more mightily than he has so far in the spring.

Another pitcher who has yet to show me something in several spring appearances is Kyle Farnsworth, whose performance — in contrast to Lannan — better matched the process. He’s been throwing slop all spring, with poor command, and the Cardinals hitters tattooed him.

Joel Carreno performed not so well, and lacked confidence. The SNY radar gun had his fastball in the 86-88 range again, and I’m not sure whether it’s a few MPH off or not. He tends to try to put his slider in the strike zone, using it like a curve, which is a strategy of which I’ve never been fond — yet many MLB pitchers do it. The slider should really be used as a strike-three, swing-and-miss pitch just out of the strike zone, but, what the heck do I know? Pitching strategy has changed drastically in the past 25 years. Carreno is a typical sinker/slider guy, and appears to me to be a less overpowering version of Fernando Nieve. There’s value in that, but I wouldn’t expect him to be more than a 6th-inning reliever.

After blasting a homerun on Tuesday, Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed it up by smoking a triple down the first-base line in the 8th. His body language has looked better in the past two games, which is good to see.

Every time I hear an announcer mention Cardinals prospect Stephen Piscotty, all I can think about is having an espresso and a cookie.

On the bright side, the Mets offense doing well in the late innings suggests that Wally Backman will have a decent club to work with in Las Vegas.

OK, what did YOU see? Let me know 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.