Pitching was the highlight of the ballgame for both teams today, as Mets and Cardinals pitchers allowed a total of three runs and 9 hits today, but it was New York who came through with the timely hitting, as they beat St. Louis 3-0 this afternoon. Shaun Marcum set the tone with a strong start, and Jordany Valdespin came away with what ended up being the game-winning hit in the top of the eighth inning in Jupiter.
- Shaun Marcum put together his best outing of the Spring, one-hitting the Cardinals over 3.2 innings pitched, with the lone knock being a double off the bat of Shane Robinson. He displayed his ability to put the ball over the plate, as he struck out two and walked none prior to making his exit.
- Pedro Feliciano came in to get the final out of the fourth inning, then the rest of the bullpen shut down the St. Louis bats to complete the shutout. Scott Atchison, Scott Rice, Jeurys Familia, Greg Burke, and Carlos Torres each threw an inning the rest of the way, only allowing two hits, one walk, and two strikeouts (both by Rice).
- Travis d’Arnaud walked in front of Jordany Valdespin in the top of the eighth, who singled in the catcher, finally breaking the scoreless tie.
- Jamie Hoffman provided some insurance in the ninth, as he hit a two-run double, scoring both Mike Baxter and Collin Cowgill.
The pitching was on full display today, and with all the talk about Johan Santana likely not being ready for the start of the season, it was comforting to watch Marcum put together a strong outing. He’s the only other pitcher in the Mets rotation that can truly be considered a veteran, so he’ll need to help lead the way if Santana has to spend time on the shelf while he builds up some shoulder strength.
There wasn’t much offense to speak of today, but I liked how Cowgill and Baxter were able to get on base via the walk before Hoffman drove them home with his double. We will see plenty of times when the lineup isn’t able to put the ball in play with much luck, so they’ll need to find other ways to make things happen on the bases. I was happy to see Lucas Duda follow up yesterday’s three-hit performance with another one today, as I hope he continues to stay hot and continue to build confidence at the plate as we move closer to Opening Day.
New York will have to make another bus trip to Lakeland to face the Tigers, with the first pitch scheduled to be thrown at 1:05p EST.