By Mike Steffanos
Just some quick observations on yesterday's pitchers vs the Tigers:
John Maine pitched 3 scoreless innings. Interestingly enough, he seemed to have somewhat better command of his changeup, which he used often and to good effect, than his fastball, which he had some difficulty keeping down in the zone. I was impressed with his off-speed stuff, and the fact that he could pitch three scoreless without his best fastball is a testament to how far he's come as a pitcher.
For Philip Humber, it was a tale of two innings. He struggled through a bad fourth inning where he looked out of synch with everything he was throwing. He walked a couple of guys and gave up a homerun. He came back out for the fifth inning and reminded everyone why the Mets think so highly of him, pitching a 1-2-3 inning and striking out a couple. Humber's longshot candidacy for the rotation is on life support, but you still have to like his chances to help the club at some point this season.
Billy Wagner walked one batter in one scoreless inning of work.
Aaron Heilman didn't look quite as bad as his pitching line would indicate (1IP, 3H, 2BB, 4ER), but it was certainly not a stellar performance.
Jon Adkins gave up a pair of runs in 2 innings worked. He wasn't awful, but he's doing nothing to win a job. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do with him, as he has no remaining options and would have to clear waivers to be sent down.
Today's game against the Nationals just went into extra innings. I've been listening to it on radio. Here are a few notes:
Oliver Perez seems to have taken another step forward with this game. Keeping in mind that the Nats aren't Murderer's Row offensively, Perez breezed through 3 quick innings. He got some ground balls and seemed to be keeping the ball down fairly well. He allowed a run in the fourth and seemed to be losing his control a little, but got out of it with the one earned run in 4 innings. Not a bad effort.
Ambiorix Burgos allowed a hit in one scoreless inning of relief. He struck out one. Pedro Feliciano also pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
Alay Soler inherited a 6-1 lead, and was absolutely terrible. Last year he got himself into trouble when he wasn't aggressive in the strike zone. For the most part he avoided that this spring, but he was bad today. He was supposed to finish the last 3 innings today, but after being rather lucky in only giving up a run in his first inning of work, he was unable to retire a batter in the second. He allowed 4 runs on 2 hits and 4 BBs in his inning+ of work. While everyone is entitled to a bad outing, I would have rather seen him get beat on hits than walks. It reminded me of the way he gave up that game to the Yankees in his last start for the Mets.
Minor leaguers Clint Nageotte and Eddie Camacho combined to allow the Nationals to tie the game in the ninth and then win it in the tenth. A somewhat disheartening loss, even if it was only a spring training game. Encouraging effort by Perez, though.