New York Mets spring training notes: A tie in St. Lucie

PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20: Jake Marisnick #16 of the New York Mets poses for a photo during Photo Day at Clover Park on February 20, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The New York Mets hosted the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. The game ended in a tie, the third across MLB so far this spring. 

Kyle Newman

New York Mets 3
St. Louis Cardinals 3

Pitchers

The New York Mets had nine pitchers appear in this game, with Steven Matz taking the initial reps. This was Matz’s first start of spring training.

Despite only pitching the first inning, Matz began the game the worst way imaginable. Cardinals centerfielder Harrison Bader took the lefty deep on just the second pitch of the afternoon. Matz would retire the next three Cardinals in order.

It wasn’t the start Matz wanted considering the fact that he’s competing with Michael Wacha for a spot in the rotation. Allowing a home run to start a game doesn’t bode well. Of course, it is only his first appearance this spring and he has plenty of time to win his spot in the rotation.

Jeurys Familia pitched next and also saw just one inning of work. It was a typical inning from the 30-year-old, as he retired the first two batters before allowing a hit and walking one. He was able to complete the appearance without allowing a run, but he looked awfully similar to the shaky version of Familia fans were accustomed to seeing in 2019.

Familia’s made some significant changes to his repertoire though. His slider is now more of a cutter. He’s also throwing the split-finger again and plans for it to be a major weapon this season.

Brad Brach and Robert Gsellman both pitched scoreless innings. Brach struck out two hitters in his appearance, while Gsellman was the victim of poor defense. The latter saw a runner reach base due to an error and then had a subsequent double play fall apart because of a poor throw.

There was only one lowlight on the pitching side, and that was Franklyn Kilome. The right-hander is one of the Mets’ top pitching prospects. They expect him to be a part of their future either as a starter or reliever, but probably not anytime soon.

This was Kilome’s first appearance since he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018. It didn’t go well, to say the least. He entered in the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead and allowed a triple and a home run, which tied the game. Kilome managed to retire the next three batters, but the damage was done.

Kilome earns the benefit of the doubt here considering he’s coming back from injury. He’ll likely be in camp for the long haul and see a number of appearances before his minor-league season begins.

Position Players

Eighteen different position players took part in the matchup, but not many big names. Amed Rosario and J.D. Davis were the only big-league starters to play.

Rosario spent time as the designated hitter for the second straight game. He went 0-for-3, just like he did on Saturday. It’s been a rough start to the spring for Amed, who is expected to build off the strong second half he had in 2019.

Rosario is not in any danger of losing his starting spot, so a slow start in spring shouldn’t cause anyone to worry. So long as he’s ready by Opening Day, his spring numbers will mean little.

Davis continued his strong start from the batter’s box. He recorded an RBI sacrifice fly, a single, and a walk during Sunday’s game. With outfielder Yoenis Céspedes looking to return to the field by Opening Day, Davis is fighting for playing time. Continuing to play the way he has will leave the Mets little choice.

Andrés Giménez played shortstop on Sunday. He underwent a rough outing in the field, committing the team’s first error of the spring which is surprising considering his defensive reputation.

Giménez also struggled with the bat, going 0-for-2 with a walk.

Jake Marisnick had the highlight of the day in the early stages. He hit the Mets’ first home run of spring training in his first at-bat. He went 1-for-2 on the day.

Luis Guillorme went 1-for-3 from the plate and continued his strong start offensively. He was shaky in the field, botching a throw on a potential double play. Like Giménez, Guillorme possesses an excellent defensive reputation, so the poor throw was out of character.

Guillorme’s offensive output is exactly what he was looking for to start the spring. He’s in a battle for the 26th spot on the roster, so a significant growth in that department might be enough to seal the deal.

The star of the day though was Ryan Cordell. The right fielder displayed offense, base running, and defense in an outstanding showing. Cordell went 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored, turning a Davis pop-up to the second baseman into a sacrifice fly.

He made the defensive play of the day when he covered up for Guillorme and Giménez. After the two of them struggled in the fourth inning, Cordell utilized his strong arm. On a flyout to right field, Cordell fired the ball back to first base to double-up the runner and put an end to the inning.

Cordell is trying to work his way into the discussion for the 26th spot on the roster. It’ll be difficult with so many outfielders already on the team, but days like Sunday will force management to think long and hard.

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