Monday, March 10, 2014
Marlins 11, Mets 1: Colon logs 4 in debut
By Adam Rubin
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Bartolo Colon surrendered three fourth-inning runs and the Mets whiffed at an early bases-loaded, no-out situation in an 11-1 loss to the Miami Marlins on Monday afternoon at Tradition Field.
Colon, making his Mets debut after being slowed by a calf injury early in camp, surrendered a two-run triple to Ed Lucas for the big blow after the teams had been scoreless through three innings.
“It was meaningful,” Colon said through an interpreter about his four-inning Mets debut. “I was happy I was able to locate my pitches today and was able to pitch well.”
Colon had plenty of extra work to do in the second inning. He twice had Jake Marisnick picked off first base, but ump Jerry Meals twice called Marisnick safe. (No video replay was in effect for this spring-training game.) Reed Johnson, at the plate at the time of those safe calls, then was mistakenly ruled safe by Meals after David Wright dove and fielded his grounder and fired to first base.
Colon, a master of adding and subtracting velocity from his fastball, said he pitched against the Marlins as he would during the regular season and was not guarded against the division opponent.
“I don’t shy away from throwing what I’m going to throw normally,” Colon said. “That’s my pitch. I’m a fastball pitcher. That’s what I’m going to use. I’m going to use my best pitch.”
Asked if it was realistic to expect he could duplicate last year’s 2.65 ERA with the Oakland Athletics, Colon said: “Whatever happened last year, it already happened. I’m focusing on this coming year.”
Shortcoming: Ruben Tejada, who had three misplays and was charged with one error Friday, again had difficulty in the field. Tejada lost the baseball exchanging it from his glove to hand on a routine second-inning grounder by Marisnick for his second Grapefruit League error.
A half-inning later, Tejada did snap an 0-for-7 drought to begin exhibition play with a double down the left-field line against Brad Hand.
It’s no secret the Mets would like to upgrade at shortstop. Probably not coincidentally, the Seattle Mariners again had two scouts at Monday’s game.
Terry Collins has indicated Wilmer Flores will start a game at shortstop early this week, although it would appear unlikely Flores would demonstrate the requisite range to return to a regular role at that position.
Strike force: The Mets set a franchise record with 1,384 strikeouts last season. They may break that record this season, and even threaten the MLB single-season record (1,535 by the Houston Astros, also in 2013).
That strikeout propensity was on display Monday. After loading the bases with none out in the first inning against Hand, Curtis Granderson, Josh Satin and Travis d’Arnaud consecutively struck out -- albeit Satin on a very borderline called third strike. Hand went on to strike out five straight batters before Tejada doubled in the second inning.
Monster shot: Giancarlo Stanton produced a monster two-run homer against left-handed prospect Jack Leathersich in the seventh inning, after belting a monster shot earlier in the at-bat that went foul.
Other deep thoughts: Ryan Reid surrendered a two-run homer to Derek Dietrich in a four-run, six-hit eighth against him.
What’s next: Expected Opening Day starter Jonathon Niese makes his 2014 Grapefruit League debut Tuesday against Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. in Jupiter, Fla. Niese had been dispatched to New York on Feb. 26 for an MRI of his pitching shoulder.