Mets rout the Rays, full lineup will play against Cardinals on Saturday night, and a discussion about a quiet off-season acquisition
The Mets have two days left of Grapefruit League play and will have their full lineup on display for the first time in three weeks
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
The Mets blew out the Rays 11-2 on Friday at Tropicana Field (Box)
Max Scherzer - the Mets Opening Day starter against the Marlins on Thursday - made his final start of the spring for the Mets, and while is outing got off to a rocky start, he settled in to allow just two runs over six innings with 11 strikeouts
The Mets pounded out 14 hits, five of which were extra-base hits including a long, three-run home run from Pete Alonso and a two-run home run from Omar Narváez
Darin Ruf and Daniel Vogelbach combined to go 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored out of the DH spot
Narváez, Alonso, Mark Canha, and Francisco Lindor each had two-hit afternoons at the plate
Mets manager Buck Showalter plans to have his full lineup on display in their penultimate game of the spring tonight against the Cardinals in Port St. Lucie
Kodai Senga threw 45 pitches in a minor league game in Port St. Lucie on Friday, and included his forkball, a pitch he has shied away from recently in an effort to start the season 100% healthy
Both Adam Ottavino and David Robertson threw in a minor league game on Friday, giving them back-to-back appearances for the first time this spring
Injury Updates 🏥
CF Brandon Nimmo (knee and ankle sprain) will return to the lineup tonight against the Cardinals in Port St. Lucie
Today’s Game 🦩
Game 2️⃣9️⃣ of 3️⃣0️⃣
Match-up: Cardinals vs. Mets
Where: Clover Park, Port St. Lucie, FL
Starters: RHP Andre Pallante vs. RHP Tylor Megill
When: 6:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX
Thoughts on the bullpen and the importance of one small acquisition from the winter… ✍🏻
The Mets and the rest of MLB have reached the final weekend of exhibition play, and it certainly hasn’t come without its typical twists and turns. For the Mets specifically, things have changed from the day the gates opened at Clover Park in mid-February and suddenly there are several roster spots up for grabs thanks to an untimely injury with Edwin Díaz, some surprise performances from their exciting crop of prospects, and perhaps some underperformance with a few of their big league incumbents.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Mets closer situation over the last ten days. I mean, who hasn’t? It got totally screwed up as a result of this absurd injury with Díaz, but it has had a reactionary impact on the rest of the bullpen and how that will all shake out. People such as Drew Smith and Stephen Nogosek in particular are going to be asked, or perhaps forced to take that necessary next step in their careers. It’s an opportunity for them for sure, but at least one of them will have to become a standout reliever over the next couple of months to buy the Mets time.
The obviously replacement for Díaz is David Robertson, but I really don’t think it’s a slam dunk that he will hold the job for any specific length of time. He has the experience, he has proven his ability to pitch in big spots in big markets, and so yeah he should be the first choice. But I think this is going to be a closer-by-committee situation and its not because I believe Robertson will be ineffective in this job, rather it’s going to be a matchup-based situation for Showalter, at least until they can address their bullpen problem directly with a major external acquisition, something we all know is inevitable and more of a question of when its going to happen (think the All-Star Break at the earliest).
As for the lineup, Friday was the first time in a while the Mets had almost all of their pieces playing at the same time, and they all looked really good against Luis Patino and the Rays. They made a lot of loud contact, appeared to be easily recognizing the breaking ball, and all-in-all looked really fluid from start to finish. They will have their lineup completely intact tonight when both Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo rejoin the unit against St. Louis in Port St. Lucie.
But that’s not what I took away from the afternoon.
Yes, it was nice to see Max Scherzer be Max Scherzer and the lineup hit the way we all know they can and probably will over the course of the season, but I came away particularly impressed with Omar Narváez and his play on both sides of the ball. I thought he did a great job settling Scherzer down and working with what was working for Scherzer after he got off to that rocky start. He showed quickness and athleticism behind the plate, and obviously had a strong showing at the plate with his two-run home run. All-in-all, Narváez demonstrated why it was necessary for the Mets to find a stop-gap upgrade back there and become even more defensive-centric while they wait for Francisco Álvarez to polish his skills in the minor leagues. I personally believe that if he stays healthy, he is going to prove to be a major asset and contributor in the run prevention category, and whatever he provides offensively (which anything will be an upgrade over James McCann) will be gravy.
We will see how it all looks when the bell rings of course. For all of them.
Around the League 🚩
MLB has approved pitchers using PitchCom to call their own pitches in 2023 (ESPN)
Yankees top prospect and area native Anthony Volpe hit his third homer of the spring as he eyes winning a spot on the bombers opening day roster (MLB.com)
Ryan Pepiot has won the Dodgers fifth spot in their rotation (MLB.com)
The Cardinals and RHP Miles Mikolas have agreed to a two-year, $40 million contract extension (ESPN)
The Pirates are still working to sign star OF Bryan Reynolds to a long-term contract extension (New York Post)
Darick Hall appears to be on-track to replace Rhys Hoskins as the Phillies first baseman (Philadelphia Inquirer)