Mets ST Game 3: Cardinals
The Mets get blown out again, but no worries — it’s still early in the spring training season and these games don’t count, anyway.
Overall, the Cardinals looked like they were ready for Opening Day, while the Mets didn’t. Solely looking at body language — and I’m not sure if it’s a confidence thing, or having something to do with preparation, or each player knowing what their role is — the Cardinals had their act together, appearing relaxed, yet focused and intense. Understand, though, that St. Louis had most of their starting players in the lineup, while the Mets were fielding mostly a mix of players who are competing for roster spots. It wasn’t a fair matchup.
The first Mets hit was a wind-blown, opposite-field, ground-rule double by Curtis Granderson. It was also the last Mets hit until the 8th inning, when Brandon Nimmo sliced an opposite-field fly ball into an open spot in the outfield for a single.
During that initial inning, the Mets mounted something of a rally, loading the bases against Michael Wacha, but were ultimately denied from scoring by the big righthander. In Wacha’s defense, he was getting squeezed by the home plate umpire, especially against Josh Satin — who appeared to have struck out looking twice, but wound up walking instead.
From there the Redbirds pounded Mets pitching and dominated the Mets hitters. A few random observations …
At the plate, Brandon Allen kind of looks like a slightly smaller version of Ryan Howard. It appears he’ll strike out about as often as Howard, as well. Now, if only he can hit the ball over the fence with similar frequency, the Mets may have something.
Peter Bourjos is damn fast.
Daisuke Matsuzaka didn’t necessarily pitch poorly, but he wasn’t fooling anyone, either. His curve was hanging.
Travis d’Arnaud and Josh Satin perfectly executed rundown between home and third base to deny a Redbird runner from scoring.
Jose Valverde looks relatively healthy, but not dominating (yet?).
I’m going to reserve judgment on Jack Leathersich, as I assume he was nervous in his first spring appearance and perhaps over-throwing. He had a really rough outing, having a hard time finding the strike zone, and usually firing the ball at the letters or higher.
The Cards have a TON of prospects. It seems their supply of young arms is unlimited, and they have several impressive position players who are on the cusp of breaking into the big leagues. Remember, St. Louis had a really rough stretch — just like the Mets — during which they rebuilt their farm system. Though, I don’t remember that stretch lasting five years; it was more like one — 2007, to be exact. In 2008, the Cardinals added Gary LaRocque to their organization — you might know him as the man who signed David Wright. LaRocque began with St. Louis as Senior Special Assistant to general manager John Mozeliak, moved to player development, and is now their farm director. Just sayin’.
Brandon Nimmo looks to have quick hands / a fast bat.
Ike Davis struck out three times, and seems to be trying to destroy every pitch coming his way. He’s usually way ahead of everything, and looks like he’s trying to pull every pitch over the right field wall.
Most of the Cardinals hitters seemed to be focused on letting the ball get deep and hitting other way.
The Cardinals even have strong young arms in their outfield — prospect Stephen Piscotty flashed his howitzer in throwing out Nimmo at plate on an attempted sacrifice fly.
Everyone knows the Cardinals traded David Freese to the Angels for Peter Bourjos. However, the sleeper in that deal might be the throw-in — outfielder Randal Grichuk. Grichuk has a nicely balanced stance and swing, and is really strong. He blasted a double to the center-field wall, and I like his body language — he looks confident and fierce. At the plate, he reminds me — a lot — of David Wright (though it could just be the bushy eyebrows making me feel that way). He’s only 22 but has five years of pro ball under his belt. As if the Cardinals needed any more prospects.
Did you watch the game on MLB.com? If so, let me know what you saw.