It just wasn’t fair … the clean, unadulterated Mets had no chance against the juiced-up Cardinals, who appeared to be sponsored by Deca-Durobolin.
OK, OK … it’s not right to suspect the Cardinals of using PEDs. Albert Pujols, after all, wasn’t named in the Mitchell Report as had been erroneously reported before the masterpiece was published. And I’m sure that Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus, and Juan Gonzalez all did it “once” because of an injury and stopped immediately, realizing it was the worst mistake of their lives.
Anyway, enough about them. This is about the Mets.
So here’s what I saw with my own two eyes in Jupiter on Thursday afternoon; first, the pitchers:
Looked good in the first inning, not so good in the second. He got two quick outs and appeared to have a third on a strikeout of Glaus, but the umpire was intimidated by Troy’s bulging biceps, terrible breath, and apparent ‘roid rage. Maine was a bit flustered by the call, as well as a subsequent one, and finally allowed Glaus to single up the middle. From then on, Maine was a mess, looking completely uncomfortable working from the stretch. He was working from the 1B side of the rubber, opening up a hair too early, falling over a bit too much toward first, and therefore leaving his pitches up and in (to RH). From the windup he didn’t seem to have these issues, and was throwing both a good fastball and a nasty changeup.
The Show came on to throw one pitch to get Maine out of any more damage and end the second inning, then threw a scoreless third with mediocre fastballs and sloppy changeups. His velocity was somewhere in the mid-80s by my eyes. I thought for a moment I was watching Kenny Rogers.
Juan looked very loose, relaxed, and comfortable on the mound. His velocity was so-so, in the mid 80s, perhaps hitting around 87-88 here and there, with good sinking movement. His location was where it needs to be – down in the zone – and he kept his pitches over the plate.
The New York boy didn’t look so hot. His velocity was probably touching the mid 90s, but he was wild high and his arm was under the ball — looked like he was pushing it at times. He walked two and gave up a few Texas Leaguers and a few hard liners; not a good day. However, he did throw one nasty off-speed breaking pitch to strike out Glaus, who was faked out of his biceps.
Not a good day for Joe. He was wild, off the plate, and when he was around the plate, his pitches were up and flat and were getting hit.
This kid was somewhat impressive. His stuff was decent, and he looked very sharp: on the plate and low in the zone. Velocity looked to be in the 92-93 range, and he was working in what looked like a slider. He was pitching like it was midseason to batters hitting like it was the first week of spring training; still, he’s clearly trying to make an impression and win a spot.
This AAAA pickup threw high, straight fastballs around 88-90. That’s called “BP” in the bigs.
There wasn’t much to say about the hitting, so I’ll just offer my random notes.
– Fernando Martinez started in centerfield and batted second. There’s no question he’s an athlete, and his body is starting to fill out. He’s much faster than I thought, and has a strong arm; he threw one ball from the warning track to the edge of the infield dirt on a line. The kid takes a big, hard cut at the ball that causes him to spin around on occasion — reminds me of Reggie Jackson in a way.
– Carlos Delgado looks trim, in good shape, and very happy. He was smiling and cracking jokes the entire game, and spent considerable time talking to the young pitchers and trying to keep them calm.
– Jose Reyes did some smiling, but more concentrating. He and David Wright were FOCUSED and playing like it was a regular season contest.
– After Brian Schneider left the game I thought Ramon Castro was catching, but it was Robinson Cancel. That man is THICK. Poor kid has no neck, but he certainly hustles.
– I wouldn’t waste a fantasy pick on Juan Gonzalez. He’s in fantastic shape, is clean shaven, but lost his bat speed. That big, long, loopy swing is OK when you’re 25 years old and juiced up on PEDs, but hard to get away with when you’re age 38 and deflated.
Unfortunately not much else to report. However, I’ll be at Port St. Lucie on Friday morning and hope to have good reports on Johan and possibly Duaner Sanchez.
By the way, game photos are here.