With the first pitch of 2013 set to be thrown in less than nine hours, it’s about time we reflect on the spring.
This past weekend, I visited Viera and Port St. Lucie to catch two Mets spring training games: Thursday vs. the Nationals, Friday vs. the Cardinals.
There wasn’t much to be excited about in Thursday’s game. Shaun Marcum was supposed to start, and, as we all know, he was scratched. His status is still up in the air for the start of the season.
Single-A prospect Domingo Tapia got the start, and you could tell he’s pretty raw. The Nationals played most of their starting lineup, and Tapia had a difficult time finding the strike zone. It didn’t help that Anthony Recker couldn’t block a ball for his life.
The Mets only salvaged two hits, and it was more about being out in the nice weather instead of being in the office.
Friday’s game against the Cardinals was much better, especially since my boss is a lifelong Cards fan.
The Mets played what ended up being a good chunk of what will be the Opening Day lineup. Matt Harvey was on the mound, and the Mets won.
But I wanted to touch on a few thoughts as the Mets get ready for the Padres …
No. 1: I believe the Mets will surprise people this year. Why? Lucas Duda couldn’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag when spring started. That turned out pretty quickly. Let’s just hope he didn’t hit all of his homers during March. Also, I’m a believer that Collin Cowgill will hit more than 15 home runs this season. He is aggressive and provides something a little different that what is on the Mets’ roster.
Duda, Cowgill and Marlon Byrd have more power than the Mets outfield has had the last few seasons. So, while it’s still not a bunch of household names, I think the outfield has the potential to be better than a Triple-A outfield.
No. 2: Coming into March, many believed starting pitching would be the backbone of this year’s team. Santana and Marcum would provide depth. Well, Santana is out indefinitely, and no one knows what Marcum’s deal is — not even Marcum himself, I don’t think. Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner, despite struggling over the final few days of the spring, should get back on track. But until the Mets give in and call up Zack Wheeler, it will be up to Matt Harvey and Jon Niese will to be a good — err, great — one-two punch.
No. 3: Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud will be called up quickly. Not because of injuries necessarily, but because they will be ready. And once they are ready, why wait?
Spring is over. Games count starting tomorrow. LGM.