Dillon Gee got the start as the Mets traveled to Lakeland this afternoon to take on the Tigers. The Mets brought three position players (four tops) who should be on the opening day roster. In the third, Matt Tuiasosopo delivered the first hit for either team (an RBI double) that also resulted in the first run, as the Tigers went ahead 1-0. In the top of the fourth, the Mets drew even on Zach Lutz‘s RBI single.
Jordany Valdespin put the Mets ahead 2-1 in the seventh with a solo homer to right field. Detroit promptly tied the game with two outs in the seventh on an error by Mets shortstop Wilfredo Tovar on a force attempt, which allowed the tying run to score from third. The Tigers took the lead back in the eighth, when Tyler Collins hit a leadoff homer off Cory Mazzoni. That run turned out to be the deciding one, as the Tigers held on for a 3-2 victory.
- Dillon Gee struggled with his control over four innings of work, but limited the damage. He allowed one run on one hit, walked three, and struck out one.
- Jordany Valdespin started the game in left field, and clubbed a solo homer in the seventh.
- Zach Lutz delivered an RBI single in the fourth. He finished 1 for 3 with an RBI and two strikeouts.
- Collin Cowgill reached base two more times (via two walks), stole another base, and made a diving catch in center to end the sixth inning.
- LaTroy Hawkins came on for the fifth and worked around two singles while keeping the Tigers off the board. He walked none and struck out one. His fastball touched 92 MPH.
- Travis d’Arnaud was hit with a pitch between his elbow and forearm, and left in the fifth inning (one inning early) as a precaution. He told Adam Rubin he was fine.
- Bobby Parnell retired the side in order in the sixth.
- Josh Edgin pitched the seventh, walked two, and surrendered an unearned run when Wilfredo Tovar made a two out error.
- Cory Mazzoni pitched the eighth, and gave up the eventual winning run when he allowed a leadoff homer to Tyler Collins. He struck out two.
Jordany Valespin’s performance this spring is giving the Mets a lot to think about. Today was his first start in the outfield, but it seems that as each day passes, Valdespin’s chances of making the opening day roster increase. Mike Baxter is playing terribly, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was struggling and is now sidelined, and Lucas Duda has been bad. If he’s on the roster, Valdespin can play all three outfield spots (though he’s a work in progress defensively), at second base, and as a lefty bat off the bench with some pop.
Today offered another prime example why spring training records don’t matter. The game was tied due to a two out error by Wilfredo Tovar (no chance to make the team) in the seventh, and was decided when Cory Mazzoni (ticketed for AA or AAA to start the season), gave up the deciding run in the eighth.
The Mets host the Astros tomorrow at 1:10 PM. The game can be seen on SNY and heard on WFAN 660 AM/101.9 FM.