Spring Training Live! Blog

Live! — on television. Did one of these last week, so let’s try another one today. The New York Mets play a warm up game against the St. Louis Cardinals, 1 p.m., in Port St. Lucie. I’ll be live-blogging — or “logging” — said game here, this post, starting at that same time. And we’re live now:

1:00 — BUMMMM-bummm-bum-bum-bum-BUMMMM

1:10 — Mike Pelfrey on the mound for the Mets. SNY just listed the 23 pitchers set to follow him in this game.

1:12 — Pelfrey’s day begins with a single through the right side and a hard line drive caught by Duda in right field. Carlos Beltran — did you guys hear he’s a Cardinal now? — swings at the first pitch and flies out to left.

1:13 — Pelfrey is just cracking 90 with his fastball, but most of his pitches are sitting 87-88. His slider is sitting 84 . . . and David Freese cracks a two-run home run to left on an 86 MPH Pelfrey fastball. Inning ends with a ground out, but 2-0 Cardinals on two hits. Pelfrey’s pitches aren’t low in the zone, and the Cardinals have hit three balls in the air against two on the ground.

1:18 — Adam Wainwright on the mound for the Cardinals. He’s 30 already, will turn 31 in August.

1:20 — With Daniel Murphy on first and one out, Jason Bay works a 3-0 count against Wainwright . . . and then Wainwright throws a fastball down the middle, fastball outside, and then a fastball Bay rolls over to shortstop for a double play. Bay is now 1-11 with 5 strikeouts this spring. Inning over, 2-0 Cardinals after one.

1:24 — Yadier Molina yanks Pelfrey’s first pitch of the inning, a low-inside fastball, over the fence in left. The wind is blowing out in that direction, but the wind isn’t straightening out fastballs. 3-0 Cardinals.

1:26 — Lucas May, one of the many backup catcher options in camp, tries to throw out a base stealer. Pitch is in the dirt, he pops out of his crouch slowly, and then throws the ball into center field. If the Mets could only combine all their catchers into one Voltron-catcher . . .

1:30 — Daniel Descalso, the Cardinals’ shortstop, bobbles an Ike Davis grounder and Davis reaches on the error to start the home second. Davis’ pace is glacial. I can’t believe he ever played right field. When he was drafted, I remember talk that the Mets might try him in right field . . . but he’s got to be one of the slowest players in baseball. And now he’s got a permanently damaged ankle. Weeeeeee.

1:33 — Lucas Duda has a good shot at being the Mets’ best hitter this season. Wright and Davis are in the running, too, but Duda’s patience and contact is already up there with Wright and a tic better than Davis, and it seems like Duda is going to hit for even more power than 20-25 home runs simply because of his size and the laws of physics. Duda just drew a walk against Wainwright in a drawn-out battle to put two Mets on.

1:38 — Lucas May hits into a double play and Adam Loewen drives a pitch 35 feet to the pitcher, 1-3, to end the inning. 3-zip Cardinals after two.

1:40 — Carlos Beltran’s second at-bat, runner on first, none out in the away third. He flies out on another Mike Pelfrey fastball.

1:41 — Mets corner infielders turn a great double play. David Freese ground a ball towards third base, and Josh Satin, playing third, fields it and fires across the infield to get Freese — impressive throw, Satin stutter-stepped himself to a stop, set, and threw from foul territory to first base. Ike Davis immediately fired back across the diamond, shortstop Omar Quintanilla tagging out Skip Shumaker trying to go first-to-third on the ground out. Inning over, Pelfrey is done. No walks, no strikeouts, two home runs and three runs allowed. The Cardinals hit nine balls in the air against Pelf and just four balls on the ground.

1:48 — Mets go down one-two-three in the home third.

1:49 — Pelfrey is not done, apparently, and comes back out for the fourth. Matt Adams pops out to start the inning, meaning Pelfrey is up to ten balls in the air and four balls on the ground. His velocity had been a bit better this inning . . .

1:51 –– I nominate Mike Pelfrey’s curveball as the worst pitch in major league baseball. He just threw a 72 MPH curve five feet outside and in the dirt.

1:52 — The fourth ends up as Pelfrey’s best inning. Two ground ball outs to end the inning, along with a harmless foul pop up, Cardinals down in order. Now his day is done, I assume again. Three runs, four innings, no walks, no strikeouts, two home runs. Six balls on the ground and 10 in the air.

1:53 — “SOMEBODY LEFT THE GATE OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-PEN! YOOOOUUU, YOUUUU, YOUUUUU”

1:55 — Maikel Cleto is back again. He doesn’t quite earn the same recognition from the crowd as Carlos Beltran. Daniel Murphy grinds a single up the middle to say hello to Cleto.

1:57 — “Grinds,” as used above, is not the same as grind. Grind, as used above, is a word I just invented. It’s a portmanteau of “ground ball” and “liner,” and is used only to describe balls hit by Daniel Murphy. Daniel Murphy grinds singles through all the infield holes.

1:58 — Cleto loads the bases with no outs for Lucas Duda. Murphy grinded a single, Jason Bay “doubled,” and Ike Davis walked.

2:00 — Lucas Duda pops up and the wind almost carries the ball over the left field corner. Murphy comes to score easy, sacrifice fly, 3-1 Cardinals, but the Mets are on the board. If they can win this spring training game, they have a decent shot of qualifying for the regular season.

2:03 — Lucas May and Adam Loewen both strike out, ending the inning. Loewen, if you haven’t seen him yet, is an enormous, Paul Bunyan man. I’m having trouble imagining him playing center field the size he is — center fielders don’t get much bigger than Josh Hamilton, 6’4″, and Loewen has a couple of inches on Hamilton.

2:07 — I give up. The fifth inning starts and Mike Pelfrey is still pitching. I’m just going to assume he’s working a complete game today.

2:09 — And, finally, a non-Mike Pelfrey pitcher has entered the game. Garrett Olson and his beard being their LOOGY audition with a walk and a delayed double-steal of home. 4-1 Cardinals.

2:10 — Pelfrey allowed a single and a 4-3 in the fifth, making his final line four-and-a-third innings, four runs, no walks, no strikeouts, two home runs, seven balls on the ground and 11 in the air. The good: His velocity and movement ramped up in the later innings. The bad: just about everything else.

2:14 — Garrett Olson’s delivery looks exactly like Jon Niese’s delivery.

2:15 — Not sure Olson isn’t actually Jon Niese in a bad fake beard. He finished up the inning clean. 4-1 Cardinals halfway through.

2:20 — Maikel Cleto comes back out for the bottom of the fifth. Satin flies out to the track in center, Quintanilla flies out to the track in left, and Andres Torres drops a single into right.

2:21 — On the SNY broadcast, Ralph Kiner is talking about Moneyball the movie and expounding the importance of on-base percentage. Love them all, but Ralph Kiner, who was born in 1922, is easily the most-SABR friendly member of the SNY broadcast team. Daniel Murphy ends the fifth with a fly out, 9 in your scorecard. 4-1 Cards going into the sixth.

2:25 — Mets subs for the sixth: Rob Johnson comes in to catch, Matt Den Dekker comes in to play center, and Frank Francisco on the mound.

2:28 — No idea if this is intentional, but Frank Francisco seems to be working on throwing all his pitches for strikes. He’s spun a couple of mid-80s breaking balls over the plate, and just dropped a mid-70s breaking . . . thing . . . down the middle. The Cardinals plate a run against him on a single and a double, but it doesn’t look like Francisco is trying to get the Cardinals out as much as throw everything in the zone. 5-1 Cardinals going into the bottom of the sixth.

2:37 —  Keith Hernandez and Kevin Burkhardt are talking about Harry Potter in the booth this inning. “Dementors” have now been mentioned on an SNY broadcast as Mr. Burkhardt recounts his trip to Universal Studios in Orlando. And we have a “butterbeer” shoutout. Mets down in order in the sixth.

2:43 — Ramon Ramirez in to pitch. Juan Lagares in left and Cesar Puello in right now flank Den Dekker in center. Outfield of the future? Zach Lutz takes over at first.

2:46 — Carlos Beltran, still in the game, gets his fourth at-bat with two outs and a runner on first in the seventh. He singles off Ramirez — it looked like the two were actually competing against each other, with Ramirez trying to freeze Beltran and the runner in the middle of the at-bat by standing on the mound until someone else calls for time.

2:50 — Two-run double into the right field gap, courtesy of Ryan Anderson, puts the Cardinals up 7-1. Ramirez strikeouts out big Matt Anderson to end the inning — actually the first strikeout of the day by a Mets pitcher. It’s a Spring Training game for the Cardinals too, you know.

2:55 — J.C. Romero, pitching for the Cardinals in the home seventh, almost destroys his ankle pivoting and then hopping off one foot to throw out Rob Johnson on a little roller to the pitcher. If you’re the manager of a team, do you like the effort or cringe at the near injury in an exhibition game? I’m leaning towards the second.

3:00 — Josh Satin and his “everything is moving” swing dump a ball over the shortstop, then Omar Quintanilla grounds out to end the seventh. 7-1 Cardinals.

3:01 — Still haven’t seen Jon Niese and Garrett Olson standing next to each other in the dugout. Growing suspicious.

3:06 — “Sean Kazmar” is now playing shortstop for the Mets. No idea. Manny Acosta is pitching.

3:07 — Double-A center fielder Matt Den Dekker beats a fly ball to the track in center field. I assume the questions are about the bat with regards to Den Dekker.

3:10 — And then Juan Lagares shows up Den Dekker with a full-extension catch on a sinking fly ball near the left field line. Cesar Puello, your move. Solid inning by Acosta, and we’re going to the bottom of the eighth, Mets down 7-1.

3:13 — Scrabble in to pitch for the Cardinals this inning, Den Dekker leading off. Den Dekker’s stance kind of resembles a mirror image of Jason Bay, but Den Dekker’s swing is longer and more hands through the zone, whereas Bay almost pulls (or used to pull) the bat through with an explosive hip rotation. Den Dekker walks.

3:16 — Murphy flies out, bringing up Juan Lagares. Lagares swings on totally level plain, looks like he’s a high ball hitter. (But, probably, I’m only saying that because he just swung through a pitch in the dirt to strikeout.) Analysis!

3:19 –– Zach Lutz is up, two outs, Den Dekker on first. Lutz, who suffered a concussion last season, looks to be rocking a reduced version of the Great Gazoo helmet David Wright wore for a game after his concussion three years ago. Lutz walks, two on, two out, bottom eight.

3:20 — Cesar Puello swings at the first pitch and pops it to the warning track in right. Inning over, but a nice one to see plenty of potential future Mets.

3:23 — Top nine, Mets changes: Bobby Parnell in to pitch, Wilmer Flores in to second base. By the way, if Flores has outgrown shortstop, it’s hard to imagine he meets the similar lateral requirements of second base.

3:26 — Could you imagine if David Eckstein had an actual elf name like “Skip Schumaker”?

3:27 — Flores fields a grounder, flips it to “Sean Kazmar” and then “Sean Kazmar” throws it to first to complete the 4-6-3 double play. Parnell works a relatively quiet ninth, still 7-1 Cardinals and we’re going to the bottom of the ninth.

3:35 — “Sean Kazmar,” whom the booth announces as a pinch hitter, grounds out to end the ninth. Game over. Cardinals win 7-1. Mets in danger of failing to qualify for regular season. End live blog.

 

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7 Comments

Filed under Words

7 responses to “Spring Training Live! Blog

  1. I am going to use “grinds” to describe Murphy’s hits from now on, thank you. It is the perfect description.

  2. “2:28 – No idea if this is intentional, but Frank Francisco seems to be working on throwing all his pitches for strikes. He’s spun a couple of mid-80s breaking balls over the plate, and just dropped a mid-70s breaking . . . thing . . . down the middle. The Cardinals plate a run against him on a single and a double, but it doesn’t look like Francisco is trying to get the Cardinals out as much as throw everything in the zone. 5-1 Cardinals going into the bottom of the sixth.”

    Why there is no reason to get worked up about Spring Training results, no matter how good or bad, for anybody.

    • Patrick Flood

      Indeed. Remember last year, when Josh Thole slugged like .700 in the spring? It’s fun to watch the games, but they’re just exhibitions and half the pitchers are just messing around with things.

  3. AV

    I tried posting this twice but it didn’t take for some reason. The Mets signed Sean Kazmar on January 10, 2012. The original Metsblog post misspelled it as ‘Kazmir’, which prompted the usual flurry of non-sensical speculation.

  4. “they have a decent shot of qualifying for the regular season.”

    Bravo, this cracked me up huge.

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