It was a great day for Jon Niese and the rest of the Mets this afternoon at Digital Domain Park, as they blanked the Florida Marlins 7-0. Niese faced seven batters in his two innings of work, striking out two and walking one while throwing 19 of 31 pitches for strikes. Niese has been working on developing a changeup this offseason and he really had it working today.
Mets manager Terry Collins raved about his performance. “The changeup is the best pitch in baseball. His command was outstanding. He kept the ball down. He’s got outstanding stuff and when he pounds that strike zone he gets easy outs.”
The young southpaw will be focusing on his change all spring long as he seeks to get it to a velocity 10-12 mph below his fastball and get batters out in front, resulting in more groundouts or popups. If this changeup ends up being a plus offering for Niese, we could see him take his performance to an all new higher level. This is very encouraging news.
Other highlights from today’s victory…
Reliever Manny Acosta had an impressive outing and pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts. Bobby Parnell also pitched a perfect inning.
Justin Turner was the hitting star of the day picking up three hits including a home run, and three RBIs in three at-bats. I really love the energy he brings to the field. Collins later said Turner is the perfect guy to have on this club. ”He showed everybody that he belongs in the big leagues. One thing he gives us is that he can play anywhere in the infield, which is going to be huge for us.”
Center fielder Matt den Dekker and DH Josh Thole each had RBI doubles and catcher Mike Nickeas had two hits and an RBI.
Ruben Tejada was hitless in the game, but did draw two walks and scored a run.
Mike Pelfrey will make his Grapefruit League debut Thursday in a 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Marlins at Digital Domain Park.