Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Southpaw Chronicles, Pt. 3: Tigers Challenge Santana, Beat Mets 9-0; And What's THIS guy doin?

(I am a little behind on my Met games. I know the Mets just played the Braves in their St. Patty's Day best, and I will have a write-up on it sometime around Midnight.) The picture is pretty blurry, but the hat the man is wearing is a St. Patty's Mets hat. He sat right behind home plate during the Mets 0-9 loss to the Tigers yesterday. So...if you're keeping score at home...this man is such a loyal Reyes fan that he rushed to a Florida sports store or the internet or whatever, and grabbed a Marlins Reyes T-shirt. So everyone is clear, however, he tossed on the Mets hat so we know he is not dumping the Mets.........Hmmmmmm.

As readers are well aware, I am a very optimistic Mets fan, but there was such sloppy play during this game (and has been for most of the spring) that it is hard to see the light right now. I know Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and the entire coaching staff are most likely more appalled than any of us are, so there is that.

Johan Santana started his 3rd game of the spring, and his limit was increased to 60 pitches. The second I saw that he would be taking on the Tigers I knew this would be his biggest challenge yet. And I was dead on. The Tigers worked Santana through all of his 60 pitches, and he only made it to 2 outs into the 3rd. His velocity was mostly where it has been (and sometimes his fastball hit 92) but his change-up was about 4-5 mph faster than the 78 it has been, and that led to more well-rounded swings by the Tigers.  As he got to 50 on the count, his pitches started traveling up in the zone, and this is understandable coming off of major shoulder surgery. There is naturally a lull for most pitchers during spring training as they build up their stamina, and our concerns shouldn't fall on the runs given up, but rather how he feels going forward. According to his post-game interview, his shoulder feels great. Here's to that continuing all the way through... October.

Yeah, I said it, and even with the ugly 3rd inning on the base paths by the Mets (I gotta keep up some optimism, right?) First off, Thole read Andres Torres' single incorrectly and started back to 2nd base before heading to 3rd. This loaded the bases for Murphy. He hit a ball that was traveling to the 2nd baseman when Torres crossed in front of it, knocking it away from the fielder and receiving an interference call. Everyone knows you hold up there. The run couldn't score and the Mets, as we've seen many times over the last few years, Left Men On Base. LOB and sloppy play have been the death of this team, and hopefully they are getting it out of their system in the middle of March.

Here are some other takeaways from the game:
  • Thole has really improved at blocking breaking balls. He is getting in front of the ball every single time, whereas last year he would incessantly backhand the ball. He is a hard worker, and truly a player you enjoy rooting for.
  • At the plate, it seems Torres will work the count. He has a good eye and will foul pitches off. Now, try not to make too many more base-running blunders. That's why we shipped Pagan outta here.
  • Despite the error he made that everyone will focus on, Murphy is getting better at 2nd base. He back-handed a ball up the middle solidly early on in the game. He is also beginning to adjust on the pick-off play and the steal play, where he finally got his legs on each side of the base instead of inexplicably putting his knee down to block it as if he were a catcher (leading to his last knee injury). He also had a great pivot on a double-play ball, doing a fantastic job of getting out of the runners way on his throw to first. We need this man's bat and energy in the line-up.
  • Duda. "The Lumberjack" as I have coined him. You expect the man to have a long swing, but he seems to know when to shorten it. He is a smart hitter who can go with a breaking pitch and take it the other way. He has quickly become one of my favorite players. Duda.
  • Bobby Parnell had a great slider going, and was not overthrowing his fastball. Could Bobby Parnell finally be turning into a pitcher?
  • The three we brought in to tighten up the bullpen (Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez) have not bee tight themselves lately. All have good stuff, and hopefully these are early spring woes.
  • Josh Edgin, a southpaw who lit up A-ball last year, has a shot to make the team because of Byrdak's injury. He looked good in his one inning of work. He has sharp stuff, good location and a nice big stride. I'm rooting for him.
  • I like this Vinny Rottino. He can hit and has good versatility. With Scott Hairston and his oblique injury up in the air, might Vinny make the bench?
  • The Tigers were in their orange grays but their home caps. Weird.
  • Omir. Santos. That guy.

No comments:

Post a Comment