The Mets fell to the Marlins 10-3 this afternoon at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie. Noah Syndergaard looked dominant for most of his outing, but fell victim to the home run ball, which made his pitching line look uglier than the stuff he had on the mound today. After struggling to put hitters away last season despite having arguably the best stuff of any starter in the game, Syndergaard expressed a desire to rack up more strikeouts this season. In that regard, he was successful today, flashing an absolutely filthy slider and amassing eight strikeouts in his four innings of work.
Syndergaard only made a few mistakes all afternoon, but they were costly. He gave up a three-run homer to ex-Met Neil Walker in the third inning. However, one of those three runs was unearned, as that runner reached base as a result of an error by Dominic Smith. It was one of four errors committed by the Mets on the day, as the team continues to look poor defensively. Syndergaard hung a 2-0 changeup to J.T. Riddle in the top of the fourth and Riddle parked it over the right field wall to give the Marlins a 4-1 lead.
The Mets’ one run at that point came from a solo home run from Jeff McNeil to lead off the bottom of the first inning—McNeil’s first hit of spring training. In fact, all of the Mets’ runs on the day came in the form of solo home runs. Robinson Cano answered Riddle’s home run in the bottom of the fourth with an absolutely majestic shot off Marlins starter Dan Straily. In the bottom of the seventh, Andres Giminez made up for his fielding error by blasting a solo shot of his own for the Mets’ third run.
But the Mets were far behind at that point. Seth Lugo followed Syndergaard’s example, racking up the strikeouts—four over his 1 2⁄3 innings of work—but giving up some loud hits as well. Neil Walker struck again in the fifth inning, cracking a solo shot off Lugo to make the score 5-2. Things really went awry for the Mets in the sixth inning, when Austin Dean reached first base on an errant throw by Dilson Herrera, playing off his natural position at third base. Lugo then surrendered a triple to Isaac Galloway to make the score 6-2. He got Santiago Chavez to strike out swinging, but Gabriel Guerrero hit a booming double for the Marlins’ seventh run to put an end to Lugo’s day. Casey Coleman then came in and gave up another run-scoring double to Yadiel Rivera before finally ending the inning.
Some other highlights from today’s action:
- Edwin Diaz worked around a single from Dixon Machado to work a scoreless seventh inning. Like Syndergaard, his filthy slider was on full display and he was getting plenty of swings and misses with the pitch.
- Luis Avilan continues to impress this spring and tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning with a strikeout.
- The Mets’ spring of poor defense continues. In addition to the four errors committed by the Mets, Jeff McNeil had a bit of a rough time in left field this afternoon. He went back on a ball that was admittedly crushed by Isaac Galloway (although perhaps aided by the wind slightly) and misplayed it, allowing it to drop. However, McNeil recovered quickly and launched a perfect throw to hit the cutoff man and the Mets were able to nab Austin Dean at the plate to end the second inning.
- Andres Gimenez made one of the Mets’ four errors, but made up for it, not only with his solo homer, but with a sparkling play in the top of the ninth with Robert Gsellman on the mound that resulted in a double play and helped get Gsellman out of the inning.
- Gsellman gave up two runs in his inning of work, but only one of them was earned due to an error by Arismendy Alcantara.
Full box score: MLB.com
The Mets head to Fort Myers tomorrow take on the Red Sox at JetBlue park at 1:05pm. Zack Wheeler will take the mound for the Mets and Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Keon Broxton, and Tim Tebow will all be among the Mets traveling Fort Myers. Jeff McNeil also says he will be playing third base in Sunday’s game, as Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier are progressing, but remain sidelined.