Just How Jerry Drew It Up: 1st Game of Season Is Encouraging

Whilst it isn't the intention of the Army to digest and regurgitate every single pitch and at-bat of every split-squad game against MLB teams and university sides this Spring Training, yesterday was, as they say, special doins' it being the very first game of 2009 and all from which the tiniest impressions of the future may or may not be extracted.

And from the 9-3 inaugural victory over the lowly Baltimore Orioles one might allow oneself to feel ever so slightly encouraging. Jerry did. My, how he gushed.

"Very, very huge for us," Manuel effused either with relief or the dementia of a man whose head has baked too long in the Florida sun. It WAS after all, just a Spring Training game.

Ok, the two batters who under the brightest spotlight this Spring, namely Luis Castillo and Ryan Church, both started and shined combining for 4 hits and 7 RBIs, a dream beginning.

Now granted, this is against some sorry Oriole pitching, the majority of which isn't likely to see the light of the Major Leagues this season or perhaps ever. A glorified batting practice if we're brutally honest.

But fast starts, especially in the wake of Castillo's somnambulistic and languorous 2008, cannot be discounted. Perhaps that was why Jerry seemed a disproportionately excited about the result.

And in the shadows of this pressurised pair, Murph had a pair of hits in three plate appearances, even managing an outfield assist just to make the Opener all the more absurd.

On the back of Jerry's demanding 80 pitch, opposite field hitting drills that have left several Mets with sore hands, the Mets hit the ball to the opposite field yesterday 14 times. Ten of their 15 hits were among those opposite field placements.

You might think Jerry is on to something, out-witting the rest of the League with this unique approach but no doubt this emphasis will fade as the season wears on or teams will start employing some sort of fielding shifts to compensate. Then again, if the Mets were getting drilled in both pulling and hitting to the opposite field nobody would know where the hell the ball was going to go and it would be a simple matter of contact for Met hitters.

The winning margin was aided and abetted by frequent Oriole base running gaffes.


Not a single potential starter appeared in this game if you'd like some perspective on the importance and gravity of this Opening Game. Sean Green, who came over in the trade with JJ Putz from Seattle, started the game and left the game covered in question marks when the nail on his middle finger split. Looks like Buffalo for him, eh? Ugh, when you consider it, what a comedown - last season, Mets Triple AAA cast-offs got to go to New Orleans. This season? Buffalo.

Green was followed by Pedro Feliciano (1 1/3 scoreless), a seemingly svelte Duaner Sanchez gave up a run and two walks in an inning of work (guess he'll be on the side of "these games don't matter", innit?) and then a string of other bullpen candidates led by Brian Stokes.


jdon said...

Duaner Sanchez always looks like he could use a bath. I am all for oppo field hitting. I am sure Delgado, playing for a contract, will buy into it. Especially since it will have scouts surmising that his bat has slowed down. And David Wright, who has chosen to essentially abandon going the other way since Papa Hojo arrived to tell him how greaat he is all the time. Beltran is also a man open to new ideas. Maybe Jerry just meant it for the peons. It would certainly help slobs like Schneider and Castro. And I remember a Ryan Church who had 40+ doubles one year, many to left center field. Last year he was pull crazy. Must have been the water in the Shea locker room. As for Jerry, he is becoming a caricature of himself. While he is likeable, he suffers from logorrhea. It's like he cannot wait to get to the post- game press conferences and do his Morgan Freeman imitation. Oh well,, one huge game behind us, only 190 to go.

jdon said...

I know...dripping with sarcasm. I just cannot help myself.

Jaap said...

well jdon, it just wouldn't be Spring without dripping sarcasm, especially after the last two Septembers, now would it?
I have the feeling Delgado is going to have a good, full season this year - he seems to really be enjoying camp having his kid to play with and every photo or video I see, he just seems like a happy guy. Happy=productive in a cynical corporate world so let's see if he hits another 40 this season...