New York Mets manager Luis Rojas used his pitching staff in a very similar manner as to what we can expect during the regular season. Jacob deGrom started and pitched four solid innings, and Rojas used his three big relievers after that as the Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 7-3.
It was an excellent way for all of us at the soldout Clover Park to see what was an almost full game with starters, as that may not be the case down the road as the fears of the coronavirus are starting to affect attendance at other major sporting events. Nonetheless, it was quite encouraging to see most of the top arms for the Mets pitch well under the warm Florida sun.
deGrom rounding into form for the New York Mets
The two time Cy Young winner looked exactly what you would expect in the first three innings. He struck out Dexter Fowler and Yadier Molina in the first inning. The other Cardinal batters in those three innings could only manage weak groundouts or pop-ups against deGrom.
His fastball velocity looked good, although exact MPH numbers are not posted during this game, we overheard a Mets staffer say he was in the upper 90s. It certainly looked and sounded like the upper 90’s. His other pitches kept players off-balance, much as we have seen in previous years. He stumbled a bit in the fourth inning when it looked like he got a couple of pitches up in the strike zone, and Matt Carpenter sent one of those over the left-field wall, albeit with maybe a little help from a nice breeze. In all, deGrom faced 13 batters, striking out three without walking anyone.
The New York Mets three big bullpen arms had good outings
Dellin Betances came in to pitch the fifth inning, and while a bit shaky, was much better than his first outing. He walked one batter and retired three batters on fly-outs that were hit pretty hard. Overall, a very encouraging effort. Jeurys Familia pitched the sixth inning. The Met’s single-season franchise saves record-holder walked one but gave up no hits and looked solid. Edwin Diaz pitched the seventh, still facing mostly Cardinal starters, and had a 1-2-3 inning. Very comforting to see all three pitch well.
The only negative of the day came from Brad Brach. The veteran reliever gave up three hits, including a home run in only recording two outs in the eighth inning. Brach appeared to have some difficulty in locating his pitches.