The big story here is Dillon Gee with an excellent fine-tuning as we settle into the last week of spring training. He was fantastic, keeping the Braves off-balance all day with 7 strikeouts. The Mets gave him a 3-0 cushion to begin with when he took the mound in the bottom of the 1st. They scored a single run in the 2nd, the 3rd, the 7th and the 9th for a total of 7 runs. The Braves got on the board in the 7th with Heyward-J.Upton going back-to-back against Robert Carson. Greg Burke walked a tightrope at the end, but held on to lock down the Metsian victory.
- Dillon Gee threw 6 innings. He struck out 7, gave up 2 hits, walked nobody, and got glowing reviews from the Braves Radio Network.
- Robert Carson entered in the 7th and quickly gave up back-to-back home runs to Jason Heyward and Justin Upton. Up next was Freddie Freeman, and he crushed the ball deep to center field for the 1st out. Needless to say, that got Terry out of the dugout. 2012 St. Lucie Met Jeffrey Walters replaced him and immediately gave up a single to B.J. Upton. Jordan Schafer pinch-ran for him and immediately got thrown out at 2nd by Francisco Peña for the 2nd out. Dan Uggla then popped out and the momentum was thwarted.
- Mike Minor started for the Braves and was very wild early. Ruben Tejada started the game off with a walk, but Justin Turner popped up to short. With Collin Cowgill batting, however, Minor unleased 2 wild pitches, sending Tejada all the way to 3rd. Cowgill then continued his hot spring with a single to left field, scoring Tejada for the 1st run of the game. Though Lutz struck out swinging for the 2nd out, Minor unleashed his 3rd wild pitch of the game, sending Cowgill down to 2nd with outfield hopeful Andrew Brown at the plate. Minor had to throw a strike, but unfortunately (for the Braves) one of the strikes he threw was crushed to center field by Brown to make it 3-0 Mets.
- Jamie Hoffmann led off the 2nd inning with a home run to center field as well. He went 2-2 today.
- As stated, Cowgill continued to scorch the ball, going 2-2 with 2 RBI including a solo shot to left field in the 3rd inning.
- Corey Patterson entered the game for Gee in the top of the 7th and led off the inning with a triple. Omar Quintanilla then hit a sac fly to center for the 6th Met run of the day.
- After 1 more run in the top of the 9th, Greg Burke entered the game and made it a little dicey, giving up a single to Schafer before Juan Francisco crushed it between Jordany Valdespin in left and Corey Patterson, who stayed in the game, in center field. That made it 7-3 Mets. Greg Burke then loaded the bases with only 1 out and the tying run at the plate. Luckily, the Braves were only able to get 1 more run on a force out, before Burke struck out Reed Johnson to end the ball game.
Dillon Gee is a very interesting sleeper for this rotation. When he is on like he was today, he’s getting a lot of ground balls and getting batters to swing at his concise breaking pitches. It can be said over and over again that Dillon will never blow you away, but as he enters his 3rd year as a Major League pitcher, we could very well see Dillon come into his own quite nicely.
Collin Cowgill is absolutely on fire. Yes, it’s only spring, but so far he has been as advertised, i.e., the hustle leader for this ball club. Maybe all Cowgill needed was a chance, and hopefully we are seeing him take that chance and run with it.
Robert Carson will most likely not make the team. If Pedro Feliciano is ready to go and Josh Edgin has (sorry)…the edge, that option remaining, coupled with his recent struggles, might keep Carson fine-tuning in Las Vegas (which might actually make him a better pitcher since he’ll have to focus that much harder in the hitting haven.)
Though Greg Burke struggled today, I bet the Mets would like nothing more than for Burke to make the team as another look out of the ‘pen. If he continues to have these kinds of day, he most likely will not be joining the club, ticketed for a closing role for the Las Vegas 51′s. I’m always rooting for a submariner to be successful, and hopefully as he gains experience (he’s only been submarining for a year or so) he’ll be quite the weapon our of right-center field in Citi.
I forgot about Corey Patterson. He was apparently signed for the minors and hasn’t seemed to get the kind of shot that would make it seem the Mets were giving him a shot to make the Opening Day roster. He may not be all that good anymore, but he is solid veteran depth down below, and probably wouldn’t be the worst-case scenario to take over for a outfield roster spot that makes it to the 15-day at some point. Certainly a player to keep an eye on as the season gets under way.
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