The Mets had an absolute field-day this afternoon with an 11-0 romp over against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.
Jonathon Niese got the start against Detroit and continues to roll, tossing four and two thirds innings of scoreless ball and allowing just one hit while walking four. Niese has yet to allow a run this Spring. It won’t be long until he ‘s officially tapped as the Opening Day starter. I sense a big season in 2013 for the southpaw.
Matt den Dekker played a big part in preventing any damage with yet another spectacular grab in centerfield. His solid effort on that play did not go unnoticed by his teammate Niese. “Oh, it was amazing. He plays a great outfield. It’s great to have that defense behind you.”
If Den Dekker can find a way to show Terry Collins that he could hit better than Mike Baxter, Kirk Nieuwenhuis (still nursing an injury), Marlon Byrd or Collin Cowgill, the lefthanded human highlight reel would stand a good chance to make the team. But after two more strikeouts today, he now has ten in his last 27 at-bats and for a team starving for outfield offense, his chances are slim to none.
SPIN THE THROTTLE: Jordany Valdespin wasted no time making news today after leading off today’s game with home run off Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Later in the game during the fifth inning, Verlander drilled Valdespin with a 95 mph fastball right in the groin (ouch!). But the kid just laughed it off and then created some comic relief on Twitter when Mike Puma of the NY Post asked him where the pitch hit him. “On my d*ck,” replied Valdespin, who could probably star in his own reality show at this point. He leads the team with three homers and is batting .370 this spring.
HEFNER IS THE MAN: If you haven’t figured it out already, Terry Collins made it crystal clear when he said that Jeremy Hefner will be the replacement for Johan Santana if he ends up on the DL to start the season. “We’re getting Jeremy Hefner ready,” Collins said. The Mets will now focus on stretching Hefner out so that they can get 6-7 innings out of him when he gets the nod. So far, the righty has 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched and has held opposing batters to a .189 average.
NO NO-HAN: There is nobody in camp that believes Johan Santana will avoid the DL to start the season. Even though there has been no official announcement yet, it looks like Sandy Alderson is the only one holding out any hope, while Collins is planning to start the season without him.
SWELTERING HOT: Ike Davis smacked a two-run single to right in the fifth and is now batting .364 in Grapefruit League play. Catcher John Buck went 2-for-3 and scored twice while notching a pair of doubles. After Valdespin was removed from the game, he was replaced at second base by Brian Bixler who had two hits, two runs scored and two RBIs, including an eighth-inning solo homer. Three deuces beats aces and kings all the time.
THE WRIGHT STUFF: If you’re concerned that David Wright isn’t getting enough work in while competing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, put your mind at ease. Wright is batting .455 with five RBIs through three games and carried his team through their last two victories. Team USA has advanced to the Semi-Finals and faces the very tough Puerto Rican team on Tuesday at 8:00 PM.
ON DECK: The Mets are off tomorrow, but RHP Matt Harvey looks to continue his hot start against the Washington Nationals squad at 1:05 PM on Wednesday. Harvey is coming off a four and a third hitless innings in his last appearance. Word has it that Harvey won’t ever win a Cy Young Award so temper those expectations.
CONGRATULATIONS: The Mets, SNY and the local papers are stealing all our talent on MMO so far in 2013. Just kidding, I think it’s a credit to all of us at Metsmerized. Our latest congratulations go out to Elliot Chester who recently wrote this post on Collin McHugh last week for MMO. Elliot was chosen to intern for the Mets Media Relations Department this Summer. We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him at the park this season. Say hello to Jay, Shannon, Danielle and Ethan for us.