Matt Harvey was on the hill for today’s tilt against the Marlins in Port St. Lucie. The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the second when Anthony Recker drove in Marlon Byrd with a two out single. Matt den Dekker made it 2-0 Mets in the fifth with a solo homer to right center. In the sixth, longshot outfield candidate Andrew Brown doubled to right, driving in another and extending the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Justin Turner followed with an RBI single as the Mets went ahead 4-0.
The Mets’ pitching was lights out today, as they combined to two hit the Marlins. The only run they allowed came on a solo homer with two outs in the ninth that made it 4-1 Mets and closed out the scoring.
- Matt Harvey got the start for the Mets and was literally perfect. He struck out five while mixing in his changeup and an at times filthy curve. His control was impeccable – 35 of his 48 pitches were for strikes. The only hitter to reach base against Harvey did so on an E-6.
- Anthony Recker, the favorite to open the year as the backup catcher, went 1 for 2 with an RBI single.
- Marlon Byrd went 1 for 2 with a run scored.
- With Kirk Nieuwenhuis still sidelined with a knee injury, Matt den Dekker got another start in center field and came through on offense again, drilling a solo homer over the right center field fence in the fifth. In the seventh, he lined a leadoff single to center. He finished 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored.
- Ike Davis lined a double to right field in the fourth, and finished the game 2 for 3.
- Justin Turner replaced Lucas Duda in left field in the fifth inning. It was Turner’s first appearance in the outfield with the Mets. Turner had an RBI single in the sixth.
- Pedro Feliciano relieved Harvey with one out in the fifth and retired both lefties he faced. His fastball was between 83 and 84 MPH (a tick above his velocity from few days ago).
- Josh Edgin pitched a scoreless sixth, working around a two out single. He walked none and struck out one.
- Andrew Brown, who is unlikely to break camp as one of the team’s outfielders, contributed an RBI double in the sixth.
- Brandon Lyon tossed a perfect seventh.
- Scott Rice, who has an outside chance to break camp as the second lefty in the pen, pitched the eighth. His only blemish was a two out walk. He struck out one.
- Greg Burke pitched the ninth and gave up a solo homer. He struck out one.
Matt Harvey was dominant this afternoon over his four and a third perfect innings. His fastball sat between 91 and 95 MPH, and his secondary stuff looked great as he struck out five. The Marlins were off balance against him as Harvey worked fast and with a purpose. Lots of fans would love to see him get the start at Citi Field on opening day, but that honor is likely to go to Jonathon Niese in the event Johan Santana isn’t ready.
Justin Turner entered in left field in the fifth, in what was his first appearance in the outfield as a Met. With Turner the only right handed hitting option who can play first base, it seemed before today that he was close to a lock to make the roster. If Turner can handle the outfield as well, that would further cement his spot on the squad as a jack of all trades.
With Lucas Duda continuing to look lost at the plate, it would behoove the Mets to start contemplating alternative options in the outfield. Carrying Matt den Dekker would allow the team to play Collin Cowgill in center against lefties and one of the corners against righties, but it remains to be seen if the Mets are seriously considering the possibility of den Dekker breaking camp with the team.
The Mets travel to Lakeland tomorrow to take on the Tigers at 1:05 PM. Dillon Gee will get the start for the Mets. Also scheduled to pitch are LaTroy Hawkins, Cory Mazzoni, and Bobby Parnell. The game won’t be on TV or radio, but can be followed at MLB.com via MLB Gameday.