When the New York Mets took on the Detroit Tigers Friday afternoon, Matt Harvey was particularly interested in watching how Detroit ace Justin Verlander went about his business before and during games. While he didn’t get a chance to actually pick his brain, the young Mets right-hander took notice of his warm up routine and how he prepared himself for his start. Although he was only throwing in the low-90s, Verlander showed his control of the strike zone and dominance of the opposition, shutting down Mets hitters rather easily for three innings. Terry Collins is close to Jim Leyland, so he’s hoping he can ask his old buddy to facilitate a chat between the two hurlers in the near future.
It’s no surprise that we’ve all been impressed with how Matt Harvey carries himself; he doesn’t act like your normal 23-year-old baseball player, which leads us to believe he has nothing but great things ahead in his career (at least, that’s what we’re hoping). Probably the most important tactic a player can use to get himself to the next level (no matter how much talent they have) is to study and pick the brains of those with more wisdom. We’ve also seen it with Travis d’Arnaud and John Buck this spring, and Harvey is willing to talk to pretty much anyone if he feels they have something that can give him an edge and continue his growth in the game.
At the start of every season, players have personal goals they’d like to see through by the time the regular season is over. It’s tough for a pitcher to not say they want to win a certain number of games, or a hitter to say they want to hit for a certain average. However, if a player is confident in his ability, the annual goal should be an easy one: to stay healthy. That’s what Harvey has continually said; as long as he stays healthy and registers 30+ starts to go with 200+ IP, the rest will fall into place. Again, his mind is in the right place as he preps for 2013, and it’ll be fun to watch him progress into a top-of-the-line Major League starter.
As I mentioned yesterday, it’s becoming more doubtful that we’ll see Frank Francisco in the bullpen and ready to be the team’s closer on Opening Day. Whether that ends up being a good thing or a bad thing for the Mets remains to be seen, but Terry Collins said Frank Frank isn’t scheduled to throw off a mound for at least another week and a half, which could likely put him on the disabled list to start the year. So, as long as he performs, Bobby Parnell will be the team’s closer.
While it’s too early to tell at this point if Johan Santana needs to start the season on the disabled list to continue building arm strength, the Mets are not happy the southpaw obviously didn’t report to camp in proper pitching shape this spring. After having to rehab from injuries since the 2008 off-season, Santana’s agent said his client was mentally and physically exhausted, and needed to completely rest this winter, using Spring Training as the time to get into shape.
That’s all well and good, but the burning question now is: how was he was planning to participate in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela? He continually said he’d like to pitch for his country, but New York officially declined that request last month. If it was determined he’s still not ready to pitch in a Spring Training game, how did Santana expect to contribute and perform well in the WBC? I don’t understand what was going through Johan’s head when he was petitioning to get cleared, especially with what we know now regarding his left arm.
The Mets take on the Marlins in Jupiter at 1:05p. Nathan Eovaldi is expected to start for Miami, as Dillon Gee is taking the hill for New York. After Gee, Cory Mazzoni, Scott Rice, and Josh Edgin are also expected to pitch. Here’s your starting lineup:
Omar Quintanilla, SS
John Buck, C
Mike Baxter, RF
Andrew Brown, LF
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
Jamie Hoffmann, DH
Brandon Hicks, 3B
Josh Satin, 1B