In a game that was overshadowed by the fact that RHP Zack Wheeler was scratched due to a mild oblique strain he suffered while taking batting practice, the Mets lost to the Cardinals 12 to 4 this afternoon in Port St. Lucie. Wheeler, who said he expects to make his next start, was replaced by LHP Darin Gorski.
The Mets opened the scoring in the second when John Buck lined a two run homer to right center. The Cardinals, featuring a large contingent of players who are expected to be in their opening day lineup, touched up Darin Gorski for four runs in the third inning. Carlos Beltran drove in two of those runs with a double to left center that Matt den Dekker slid for but had bounce off his glove. Carlos Torres, who has virtually no shot at making the team, relieved Gorski with two on and none out in the third, and allowed both inherited runners to score (compounded by a dropped flyball by Marlon Byrd) as the Cardinals took a 4-2 lead.
Terry Collins left Torres out there for the fourth inning, and he was smacked around for four runs as the Cardinals expanded their lead to 8-2. The Mets scored two runs the rest of the way, courtesy of Anthony Recker‘s solo homer in the seventh and Collin Cowgill‘s solo blast in the ninth.
- Darin Gorski, who is being considered for a spot in the bullpen, gave up four runs in two + innings, allowing three hits and walking three. He threw mainly fastballs, topping out at 90 MPH, and flashed a good changeup.
- John Buck lined a two run homer to right center in the second.
- Marlon Byrd, who the Mets are giving every opportunity to make the team, went 1 for 3 at the plate and botched a routine fly ball in right field in the third inning that allowed a run to score.
- After missing two games with a right quad strain, Ruben Tejada started at short and went 1 for 3, delivering a single in his first at bat.
- Lucas Duda returned to the lineup after taking a few games off in order to adjust to his new stance. In his first at bat, he grounded a single up the middle. He finished 1 for 3.
- Mike Baxter went 0 for 4 and is still without a hit this spring spring (0 for 9 overall).
- David Wright, who is leaving for the World Baseball Classic on Saturday, went 2 for 3 with a pair of singles.
- Robert Carson, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen, threw two innings. He gave up one run on a wind aided home run by Shane Robinson in the sixth. He walked none and struck out one.
- Recently converted sidearmer Greg Burke came on in the seventh and retired the side in order. He came back out for the eighth and was touched up for three runs. He walked none and struck out three.
- Catcher Anthony Recker, who will likely enter the season as the backup to John Buck, lined a solo homer to left center in the seventh.
- Bobby Parnell, who is expected to open the year as the closer, pitched a scoreless ninth. His lone blemish was a leadoff walk.
- Brandon Hicks, who is competing for a spot as a backup infielder, botched not one, but two balls at third base in the ninth inning that should have been routine double plays.
- Collin Cowgill hit a mammoth solo homer to left center in the ninth.
Darin Gorski was solid early against the Cardinals’ “A” lineup. He coasted through the first inning, and got out of a first and third, one out jam in the second. In the third, however, Gorski ran out of gas and was touched up a bit. He was removed after his 49th pitch, having given up two runs, and ended up being charged with four runs after Carlos Torres allowed two inherited runners to score. With Pedro Feliciano‘s status in doubt, Gorski has a legitimate chance to make the team in a relief role if the Mets carry two lefties.
Most fans weren’t pleased when Terry Collins stated early in camp that the right field job could be Marlon Byrd‘s to lose, and Byrd hasn’t done anything to change that. He was bad in 2011, and was one of the worst players in baseball in 2012 before being suspended for using performance enhancing drugs. He botched a routine fly ball in the outfield today, and went 1 for 3 at the plate. His lone hit came on a grounder that should’ve been fielded by third baseman Daniel Descalso, but trickled by him. In addition to the ball he dropped, Byrd’s range in right field has looked poor this spring.
Today illustrated perfectly why the outcome of spring training games (and most spring stats for that matter) are virtually meaningless. Darin Gorski, who wasn’t supposed to start, got the call and was effective until the third inning. At that point, after giving up two runs, Carlos Torres (who is not being seriously considered for the bullpen) entered and allowed both inherited runners to score. Terry Collins left Torres out there for the fourth, and he proceeded to get knocked around for four more runs as the Cardinals took an 8-2 lead.
The Mets travel to Viera tomorrow to take on the Nationals at 6:05 PM. RHP Rafael Montero will get the start for the Mets. The game can be seen on the MLB Network.