4:16 Six-Four-Three. This is how the first Mets Spring Training game ended. Although the score was greatly uneven: Mets-9, Orioles-3, score isn’t really a factor in these Exhibition games. Instead, we can look at how a few key players did during their limited playing time and hope that they give us a glimpse into how the season will play out. Of course, the main headlines of the game came when Sean Green left before he could even finish the first inning. He was seen holding his right hand, but the hope is that it is just a minor blister that can be attended to right away. As you can see from the score the Mets had no trouble scoring runs. Although the Orioles don’t have the most recognized pitching rotation in the big leagues, it is still promising to see them get 9 across the plate. Most of the runs came thanks to Ryan Church and Luis Castillo, who combined for 7 RBIs and 4 hits. This was a great showing for both of them who need to continue to prove to the fans, Jerry Manuel, and themselves that they are indeed ready for a productive 2009 season. I know that it’s early, but if they continue to produce like they did in this game the Mets will definitely be the team to beat. Daniel Murphy also came through with 2 hits, 2 runs, and a walk. With all of this production from the expected starters, I can’t help but feel giddy about the upcoming season. Day one is now in the books and the Mets are 1-0 so far in the Grapefruit League. Is this any indication to how the Amazins’ will be standing on the last day of the season? Only time will tell.
3:14 Church and Castillo have now been replaced by Jeremy Reed and Andy Green, respectively. I guess their combined total of 7 RBIs was enough to give them both an A+ for the day. This is the part of the game where a plethora of unfamiliar names are heard from (in my case) my computer speakers. It’s exciting to here youngsters get a shot at the big leagues. There is still no word on Sean Green, who left in the first inning while looking gingerly at his right hand. Murphy just got on base for the third time today with ANOTHER opposite field hit. Pagan’s single gives him 3 hits and a walk for the day so far. Wow. It seems that everyone is producing hits. Reed scores Murphy and picks up an RBI in his first at bat of the day. Mets-8, Orioles-3.
2:54 Cora gathers a stand up double with yet another opposite field hit. It seems to me that the Mets have been doing nothing else all afternoon. It seems as if Mauel’s batting practice technique is working well so far. Opposite field doubles are good to hear. Maybe even better than home runs. Speaking of home runs: I have yet to hear one in 2009. The Orioles announcer kindly just reminded me that the Mets bullpen accounted for 29 blown saves last year. The top of the fifth inning comes to an end thanks to a great throw from Montanez, beating Cora to the plate. This reminds me of another one of my favorite sights of spring: the clearing of dust over home plate. Suspense like no other. Mets-7, Orioles-3.
2:35 Castillo picks up 2 more RBIs in the top of the fourth inning with a double, although it was partially misjudged by Luke Scott in the outfield. That gives him 4 RBIs in just the first half of todays game. Nick Evans also garnered another hit, making him 2 for 2 thus far. Murphy has also looked sharp with a walk in the first, and an infield base hit here in the fourth. Church picks up 2 more RBIs by slicing a single in between second and third with the bases loaded. The Mets offense is looking perfect, led by Castillo and Church. The second and third outs come when Ramon Castro hits into a double play. Mets-7, Orioles-2.
2:14 Duaner Sanchez came out to pitch for the first time and immediately walked the first batter he faced: Adam Jones. The next batter, Luke Scott, was issued a free pass on four straight pitches as well. Uh-oh. Flashbacks from last season come back to me. 2 Adam Jones scores on a line drive from Salazar. Salazar is caught in a run down which ends the third inning. However, Sanchez really only accounted for 1 out in the inning as the other two outs came as a result of poor running on the part of the Orioles. Mets-3, Orioles-2.
1:58 Ryan Church just doubled off the wall, scoring Pagan. The Mets now lead 3-1 thanks to 2 RBIs from Castillo and the RBI from Church. It seems like both Church and Castillo are well on their way to proving to the Mets fans that they are primed for solid seasons. Castillo is trying to prove that he can be healthy, and produce as the everyday player at second base, finally giving New York a solid player at the middle bag. Church is also trying to back up his claims that he has completely recovered from the concussions that continued to nag at him all last season. It’s hard not to believe Ryan when you hear a ball hit that hard into the wind. First solid contact that I’ve heard during the 2009 season. Man, thats a good sound. So far so good.
1:09 It’s here! As I type this, Sean Green is walking out to the mound at Ft. Lauderdale to face the lineup that the Baltimore Orioles have put together for this first game in the MLB’s Spring Training schedule. Although only 3 players in the Mets lineup today are expected to start later on in the season (Murphy, Church, Castillo) it is still a chance for fans to finally listen to live baseball again. Valentine will be playing third, Pagan will be occupying center field, Nick Evans will take the place of Delgado at first, and Cora will get a chance at shortstop.
In fact, right when I was about to start writing about Sean Green, who got the start today, he was taken out of the game. He came off of the mound after giving up an
RBI hit to Wiggington. He immediately looked down at his right hand, which seems to indicate a minor blister. This is disappointing as I have been looking forward to seeing what kind of stuff our new righty has. He will be replaced by Pedro Feliciano for now, however.
More coverage to come. Until then, enjoy the first day of exhibition games!