The Mets made their only trip to Orlando to face the Atlanta Braves, and Oliver Perez came out and pitched very well in his final tuneup, leading the Mets to a 9-4 win.
Perez lasted 6 1-3 of an inning, allowing 7 hits and 3 earned runs. He only walked one while striking out 4 batters. Perez induced 10 fly ball outs and 5 ground ball outs. The third run was given up by Joe Smith.
Perez scared fans a bit when he made a diving toss to first to end an inning, and stayed down on the ground. Trainers were quick to react but luckily he got up and came out for the next inning. The best part about his outing here is the one walk. That's what we need to see more of from Perez.
Smith pitched 1 2-3 innings, walking one and striking out one. As noted above, he allowed one of Perez's runners to score. Ricardo Rincon pitched the final inning, allowing one run on two hits. Rincon also walked one and struck out one batter to end the game.
Smith is still battling for a bullpen spot, and even though he let in one run, he still put up a good performance on the day. Rincon has pitched very well through out spring, but his name hasn't really come into contention for a spot. Too bad.
Endy Chavez, who was batting in the leadoff position, went 2-4, driving in 2 RBI. Marlon Anderson went 2-3, with a double. He scored one run and drove in 3 RBI while playing first base today.
Meet: The Super Subs. These two are absolutely invaluable off the bench, and a lot of people forget about how strong our bench is going to be this year.
Ryan Church, the DH today, went 3-5 with a run and an RBI. Church knocked out 2 doubles today. Raul Casanova, who is going to be the backup for the Mets while Ramon Castro is down and out, had a great day, going 2-4 with 2 runs and 2 RBI. 'Nova picked up a double and knocked a solo home run in the 7th inning.
Great to see from Church, who seems to be finding his swing late in spring. Casanova has been on a tear, and will be a great guy to have come off the bench or come up from AAA when the team needs him.
In the battle for that final bench spot, which seems to be between Fernando Tatis and Brady Clark, Tatis seems to have the advantage. Today, Tatis went 1-5, striking out once and leaving 6 players on base. Clark went 1-4 with a walk and a run scored.
I still favor Clark, just because I think Tatis is going to fizzle out in early April.
Game Ball: Ollie P.