Jonathon Niese got the start as the Mets took on Team Venezuela today in Port St. Lucie. Venezuela opened the scoring in the top of the first, notching three hits off Niese and taking a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Carlos Gonzalez. In the third, Venezuela made it 2-0 courtesy of an RBI single to center by Salvador Perez. Carlos Torres, who has no shot to make the team, came in to replace Niese and did what he’s been doing so far this spring: pitched poorly. He allowed both inherited runners to score after a walk and a ground rule double, and gave up a run of his own as Venezuela took a 5-0 lead.
Torres remained in the game for the fourth and imploded, giving up six more runs as Venezuela took an 11-0 lead to completely blow the game open. Elvin Ramirez, another pitcher destined for anywhere but the Mets’ opening day roster, came on for the fifth and gave up a homer to Miguel Cabrera to make the score 12-0 Venezuela.
The Mets stormed back in the fifth inning, scoring seven runs to make it a 12-7 game. Collin Cowgill delivered an RBI double, and the big blow came on Marlon Byrd‘s three run homer. Elvin Ramirez pitched the sixth and gave one of those runs right back, allowing an RBI single to Omar Infante as Venezuela upped its lead to 13-7. The Mets answered back in the bottom of the inning, scoring on an RBI single by Mike Baxter and an RBI double (his second in as many innings) by Cowgill to draw within four at 13-9. Hansel Robles promptly gave one of those runs back in the seventh to make it 14-9 Venezuela.
Wilmer Flores hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth to make it 14-10 and close out the scoring.
- Jonathon Niese went two innings and a third and allowed four runs (two of which scored after Carlos Torres relieved him). He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out one.
- Lots of today’s highlights were provided by Team Venezuela, with a big assist from Mets reliever Carlos Torres, who won’t make the club. He replaced Niese with runners on the corners and one out in the third inning. He allowed both inherited runners to score and was then charged with a run of his own. Torres stayed in for the fourth and surrendered six more runs. In his inning and two thirds, he gave up seven hits and seven runs (including two homers). His ERA for the spring stands at 37.80.
- Marlon Byrd got the start in center field and smacked a three run homer in the fifth. He finished 1 for 3 with three RBI’s.
- Collin Cowgill continued his torrid spring, as he went 3 for 4 with two doubles, a run scored, and two RBI’s.
- Mike Baxter, who has been struggling at the plate this spring, had an RBI single in the sixth and finished 1 for 4.
- Jordany Valdespin, whose chances of making the roster are increasing, replaced Marlon Byrd in center field in the seventh inning.
- Scott Atchison tossed a perfect frame in the eighth.
- Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth for the Mets and was solid once again. His only blemish was a one out walk.
- Wilmer Flores hit a solo homer in the 9th.
Since today’s game wasn’t televised or on English speaking radio, it’s a bit tough to opine about what transpired. However, this much is clear: Carlos Torres will be among the first players cut this spring. He entered in the third inning and allowed both inherited runners to score before giving up another run. He came back out for the fourth and got bombed, giving up another six runs. Torres has literally zero chance to make the team and never has. Instead of Torres getting these innings, the Mets should be giving them to anyone else.
Marlon Byrd started in center field and continued to hit, crushing a three run homer. Barring injury, he’s cemented his spot on the roster. What the Mets shouldn’t do, though, is consider playing him in center during the regular season.
Collin Cowgill, who’s fighting to determine what his role on the team will be (he’s a lock to make the roster), continues to rake. Cowgill deserves to start in the outfield on opening day (whether it’s in center or a corner). There isn’t any outfielder on the roster who deserves to play over Cowgill, let alone three.
Matt Harvey gets the start as the Mets host the Marlins tomorrow at 1:10 PM. The game can be seen on SNY.