Gary Cohen is not a big fan of interleague play. During one of the broadcasts this week SNY showed the out of town scoreboard and Gary noted that SEA WAS looked more like an address than a rivalry.
Certainly true. He did miss another one though.
Another one not from this weekend would be TB FLA.
Gary Cohen: “It‘s the bottom of the third inning here at Digital Domain Park. The Marlins just made a pitching change, bringing in their ace Josh Johnson to get his work in. David Wright at the plate with the bases loaded.
Ron Darling: “The Mets are down a run, this is the perfect opportunity for them to tie the game even with an out.”
Keith Hernandez: “They’ve got some speed on the bases. With..who’s on first?”
Gary: “Hu’s on second.”
Keith: “No, on first. Who’s there?”
All teams have a variety of different roster spots open for the taking in Spring Training. So what should we be watching in Port St. Lucie with the Mets? (And if you’re watching on SNY, the games will be in HD this year!)
Keeping players healthy is definitely number one. This includes building up arm strength and recovering from an injury that ended last season, or simply not getting hurt. Jason Bay, Francisco Rodriguez and Daniel Murphy ended up the season on the disabled list. The primary goal from them is to get to Opening Day without experiencing any pain or lingering effects of what ailed them last year. Bay and Rodriguez have both been reported healthy and pain free, but it’ll be good to show that in real spring training games. Daniel Murphy has had some knee issues, and the best shot he has at winning a job this season is to not be hampered by lingering pain that prevents him from putting in the work both at second base, and at the plate, that he needs.
Some guys have been injured frequently, to various degrees, and may be at risk again. Chris Young, Chris Capuano, Carlos Beltran are three of the most recent cases. Beltran has mainly been dealing with one issue, a lack of cartilage in his knee, and may have that under control via an understanding of what ails him, and a knee brace that keeps his knee bones from bruising further. Beltran’s goal this spring is to prove the brace hasn’t reduced his range significantly in center field, and to get the reps at the plate he needs to keep up to speed without needlessly stressing his knee in exhibition games.
Young and Capuano have more to prove if they want to earn a spot on this team and continue contributing for the entire season. Consistent starts this spring with no reports of pain or soreness would go a long way to giving us confidence that can give us some quality innings.
Jose Reyes often gets mentioned in the injury discussion, but really he was healthy for most of 2011. He had a medical condition that had him almost literally rolling out of bed and into the field in April, and had a slight oblique strain mid-season that was so poorly managed by the Mets and their manager that it probably cost him twice as many games as it needed to. Players get nicked u, and an oblique strain isn’t something to worry about. Given these parameters, it seems like 2010 is the absolute floor of what we can expect out of Reyes for any given season, and given a full spring worth of preparation it’s not unfair to expect him to be much better again.
The results may not matter, but it’s still fun to watch some of the best in the game play. The Mets have a nice core of excellent players. David Wright and Jason Bay can launch home runs and bash the ball all over the place. Jose Reyes can run wild and be his energetic, fun to watch self. Carlos Beltran may go back to making difficult defensive plays look easy while blasting home runs.
While maybe not on the same level, yet, many other players that have jobs secured are fun to watch. Ike Davis has some great power and is maturing as a hitter. R.A. Dickey is an amazing guy and watching him taunt hitters with the knuckleball is always fun. Jon Niese progressing with his devastating curveball or Bobby Parnell blowing guys away with his occasionally triple digit fastball will make highlights reels all spring long.
Rounding Out the Roster
Which guys will make the team seemingly out of nowhere? Who will have a monster spring and launch themselves into the conversation for 5th starter, or long reliever, or first pinch hitter off the bench? A lot of the bullpen is open for guys looking to have a strong showing. Beyond second base that has a couple of favorites, but is an open competition, there are a couple of different ways the Mets could fill out the extra bench spots. Could it be Nick Evans? Or Scott Hairston? What about Jason Pridie or Justin Turner?
What’s more exciting than seeing what may be on tap for the years to come? Jenrry Mejia make a lot of noise last spring, enough that he mistakenly got a roster spot in the bullpen. He’ll be exciting to watch this year to see how’s he progressed and if he’s someone we can look forward to in the future. You’ve got some possible outfielders that look exciting, like Lucas Duda or Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Besides the games finally being in high definition, Gary, Keith, Ron, and Kevin are a joy to listen to do a game. Just like Spring Training is a little more lax than the regular season, so are the broadcasts. Obviously most of us don’t have the opportunity to listen to them live, because most games are on at 1pm, but if you do get a chance it’s well worth it.
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Tags: bobby parnell, broadcast, Carlos Beltran, chris young, daniel murphy, David Wright, dickey, digital domain park, Gary Cohen, Gary Keith and Ron, jason bay, jason pridie, jenrry mejia, jon niese, Jose Reyes, justin turner, Keith hernandez, kevin burkhardt, kirk nieuwenhuis, lucas duda, Mets, mets spring, mets spring training, mets spring training in HD, New York Mets, nick evans, port st lucie, r a dickey, ron darling, scott hairston, sny, sny HD, tiki hut
I think the Mets are a better team than the Yankees, and despite the past two weeks, I think the Mets are going to win this series. I’ll give some reasons for each game, I’m not panicking, and I don’t think the Mets are either.
Game 1: Perez vs. Clemens
Oliver Perez has really pitched well here in New York. He’s pitched some of the biggest games and done well. Game 7 last year, the three wins against Atlanta, and he beat the Yankees at Shea. He lost his last start and he hasn’t had two bad outings like that all season. I expect him to bounce back strong tonight.
Obviously the offense is the problem, but I think they can wake up tonight. Clemens threw well over 100 pitches just getting through six innings against Pittsburgh, and the Mets offense is a lot scarier than that. If the Mets work counts, and let Clemens throw as many pitches as he did in his last start, he won’t make it six. Even if the Mets don’t capitalize on him, that leaves a good stretch of iffy Yankee bullpen to beat up on. Nothing wakes up bats like Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth.
Game 2: Clippard vs. Glavine
Would you believe people are actually saying that this match-up favors the Yankees? Seriously? Tom Glavine is miles ahead of Tyler Clippard, and after his poor start in Detroit, you know he’s going to come back strong. The Mets often struggle against new guys, but Clippard is no longer new, they’ve seen him before, and they’re going to be ready for him. This will be another early to the bullpen day for the Yankees.
Game 3: Hernandez vs. Wang
I feel like this match-up may favor the Yankees a bit, but Hernandez is a fierce competitor, facing his old team, coming off a bad start, and has pitched very very well recently besides that. The Mets have apparently never seen Wang, but he’s been around enough that I don’t think they’re going to fall prey to him the way they would’ve if this was his first year. At the very least I think the Mets will compete, and he won’t pitch a complete game like he did recently. The Yankee bullpen could be tired by this point if my other two games went as planned, so even if he does pitch well, the Mets have a chance to put their foot down on a tiring bullpen.
The Mets are done with their slump. They’re going to win these games, because they need to start winning games. Everybody needs to have some Faith in this team. It was 24 years ago today that the Mets started putting together the ’86 puzzle by acquiring Keith Hernandez. I wonder if Gary will remember that and mention it to him tonight.