2011 New York Mets Spring Training: Reactions to 7-2 Victory over the Astros
Every Mets fan has his or her own opinions on the direction the team is headed in, but as I watched today’s spring training game against the Houston Astros in Port St. Lucie, I can honestly say the New York Mets are looking good.
I’ve been meaning to write something like this for awhile and now that Spring Training is well underway, it seems as good a time as any to give my reactions to what I witnessed today At Digital Domain Park.
Chris Young’s Progress
New Met Chris Young started his second game for the Mets today, the first that was televised on SNY.
He went four innings of five-hit ball, two strikeouts, no walks and gave up just two runs on two solo home runs to Astros’ J.D. Martinez and Matt Downs.
Young’s performance was so-so today and his 82-85 mph fastball was down from his previous start, but manager Terry Collins came to Young’s defense saying, “The mound was not in good shape today” (ESPN New York).
For what it’s worth, the grounds crew did come out in the top of the second to fix the mound with what looked like kitty litter and a stomper.
So when Collins said, “He really couldn’t push off it because there was a hole in front that was pretty loose and he was concerned about it,”(ESPN New York) that’s probably as legit as an excuse a pitcher can make.
Overall, Young’s 6’10” frame looked good. His patented ball hiding was in full-effect today and as Young said himself, “ Some good things. Some bad things. A lot of room for improvement. Overall I feel good” (ESPN New York).
Second Base Is Still a Tight Race
Luis Castillo got the start today for the Mets and apparently he has turned into Mr. OBP.
In his first two at bats Castillo was patient and walked, then hit an opposite field bloop that landed in between the shortstop and leftfielder for a base hit.
With days like today from Castillo, it’s making Terry Collins’ job that much harder to weed out who will be the Opening Day second baseman.
Daniel Murphy was the DH today and with two outs and two on in the fifth, he hit a fly ball that landed between the center and right fielder that drove in Castillo from second and speedy Angel Pagan from first.
Brad Emaus then subbed in for Castillo in the seventh and went hitless in his only at bat.
Collins plans to keep Justin Turner on the bench this week as he is enduring a thigh bruise after the Nationals' Nyjer Morgan slid into him in Tuesday’s game.
Run Production from Unlikely Sources
Josh Thole went deep today to give the Mets a 2-1 lead in the second inning and fought the strong wind to muscle the ball out.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis also hit a two-run bomb in the seventh inning to extend the Mets lead and drive in Thole.
With Fernando Martinez on second, Russ Adams drove him home with a two-out double and the Mets eventually sealed the deal winning today 7-2.
The Bullpen Continues to Be Solid
Francisco Rodriguez faced five Astros today and sat down five Astros.
He ended his outing with consecutive strikeouts and his fastball and breaking ball were on point today.
K-Rod said post-game to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, “Usually you have that [his breaking pitches] almost in the middle of the season, but in the middle of spring training I feel good about it.”
That’s definitely a good sign and if the Mets consistent winning means K-Rod gets in there more than 55 times this year, I’m all for it.
John Lujan came in to relieve Chris Young and pitched a clean inning. Same for Josh Stinson who relieved Lujan.
Blaine Boyer reliever Rodriguez in the middle of the seventh and produced a strike out from the only batter he faced.
Manny Acosta came in for the top of the ninth and put up solid numbers that are keeping him in the mix for a bullpen job.
He struck out the side in the ninth on nine pitches and continues to shine in every spring appearance he gets.
Up Next for the Mets
The Mets will face a split-squad tomorrow, half in Jupiter against the Marlins, half in Viera against the Nationals.
Dillon Gee will get the start in Jupiter where Terry Collins will be on hand to witness, while Pedro Beato, Boof Bonser, D.J. Carrasco and John Lujan will also appear in the game.
Mike Pelfrey will be starting in Viera with Manny Acosta, Taylor Buchholz, Taylor Tankersley, and Ryota Igarashi also seeing some time.
Hopefully the Mets can keep up the consistent pitching and keep the offense on track to create an early winning atmosphere for the 2011 season.