The Amazins in Astoria: March 29-April 3
Image: Yahoo Sports
Welcome back to the Amazins in Astoria, a season-long diary of the 2022 New York Mets.
For the first installment of the series, click here.
For the previous installment, click here.
March 29th-Spring Training at Miami Marlins
After the weekend, with Opening Day just a week and a half away, I felt a bit surprised in the fact that the Mets hadn't made any roster cuts. In my own hubris, I realized that I had simply not been paying attention to Twitter, and read Tuesday morning that the Mets had made eleven cuts on Monday. Reported by Tim Healey of Newsday, two of the biggest names that stuck out to me were C Francisco Alvarez and 3B Brett Baty. The top two ranked prospects in the system respectively, I didn't expect them to make this year's final roster, but I do expect to see them at Citi field in the next year or so.
The Mets head to Jupiter to face the Marlins this evening, but my mind is elsewhere for the night. It's NIT week at the Garden, and I weave my way through a mob of St Bonaventure fans to my seat for the semifinals. No doubt the home crowd this evening, the Bonnies are outworked by Xavier, falling 84-77 as Jack Nunge drops 18 points for the Musketeers. The vibe in the second game is definitely a bit tamer between Washington State and Texas A&M, as the bummed Bonnies fans begin to trickle out. I've kinda had my fill of marathon college basketball events this season, so I also dip at halftime.
Coming out of the stadium, I check the Mets scored, and they've taken down the Marlins 10-0. Lindor gets his fourth homer of the season, a 3-run nuke into right field. With 15 hits total, I think my trust in this offense is at an all-time high.
March 30th-Spring Training vs. Houston Astros
I have to record a podcast at 8, but I have just enough time to watch the first couple of innings against the 'Stros. Along with testing out a lot of young players, something I've always loved about Spring Training is seeing which up-and-coming broadcasters are getting a shot in the booth. Although the day that Gary, Keith, and Ron leave the booth will be a very sad one for me, it's interesting to see who could eventually take on the mantle. Today, it's SNY semi-regular Wayne Randazzo and....Terry Collins. Strange.
As the game gets going, Carrasco still looks to be in his 2021 form, a season in which he recorded an ERA+ of 67. He might need another start to really earn his spot in the rotation, as he earns 3 runs in 4 innings pitched, all off of homers. Defensively, I like the way the outfield has been developing, with Nimmo doing some good work near the warning track, but I just don't know who can stand out in this starting rotation yet outside of the two big dogs. At the plate, Starling Marte gets on base by rocketing a line drive into the hip of Jose Urquidy. If they gotta get on base by putting the fear of god in their opponents, then so be it.
By the end of the fourth, the Mets are down 3-0, and I have to jump in my podcast. After helping to present the inaugural College Hoops Digest awards, I see that Alonso tied the game with a three-run homer, only for the Mets to blow it in the tenth. Along with fielding and a shallow pitching rotation, I guess stamina is added to the list of wrinkles they need to iron out in the next week.
March 31st-Spring Training vs. Washington Nationals
Another day, another game at the Garden. I arrive a bit early to the NIT Championship, and my friends and I are rewarded seat upgrades as soon as we enter the stadium. They're not really upgrades, more of just an MSG employee handing out different tickets that were actually a bit further than our purchased seats, but it's not too much of a difference for me to really complain. The only thing I'm really bitter about is the fact that this is the last NIT to be held at the garden for the foreseeable future. I could go on a whole rant about how taking the New York flair out of the NIT essentially ruins the tournament, but this is a baseball series, so I'll save it for another day.
After Jack Nunge hits the game winner for Xavier, I check the Mets score to see that they've lost to the Nationals 7-3. Taijuan Walker has a much more impressive stat line with 0 ER and 2 K in 3.2 IP, and it's enough for me to remind myself that it is Spring Training.
April 1st-Spring Training at St. Louis Cardinals
As I awake on April Fools day, I'm really hoping that the news regarding Jacob DeGrom's shoulder tightness is some sick joke. To take my mind off the news, I head over to the Italian deli under my apartment for a roast beef and provolone sandwich that they call the "De Niro." With just a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it's possibly one of the best sandwiches in Astoria.
As the cold cut concoction calms my nerves, I flip to the radio broadcast of the Mets as they play the Cards in Jupiter, in a stadium they share with the Marlins. Since returning from an early injury, I've loved Starling Marte's effort in this roster. I have a strong feeling that his athleticism will be a huge difference maker this year. That being said, he has a pretty slow day, with a groundout being his only plate appearance of the day. In the 2.1 innings before the rain came in, Marte and the rest of the outfield were a major highlight, especially as Felix Pena allowed 3 runs in the first two innings.
As the rain got heavier in Florida, I turned off the broadcast to run some errands and catch up on some work. I was too caught up in other things to notice when the game resumed play, and when I saw the 7-2 final score in favor of the Cards, I'm relatively unphased. What does phase me is the news that after an MRI, DeGrom has suffered as stress fracture in his right scapula and will be out for the next four weeks. In a 1-2 punch, it is then reported that Max Scherzer is experiencing some tightness in his hamstring, and will be limited solely to playing catch in practice. As we head into the weekend, I wonder if the DeGrom-Scherzer game was some cruel tease devised by vengeful baseball gods.
April 2nd-No Game
The trade rumors start to flow as the Mets scramble to replenish their rotation. I'm a bit worried that they'll give away too good of an asset in a panic, but my focus shifts elsewhere as I'm out in Manhattan. For now, my biggest worry is taking down Piston Honda on the Punch-Out machine at Barcade.
April 3rd-Spring Training vs. Miami Marlins
The Mets do end up making a trade this weekend, swapping Miguel Castro with the Yankees to grab Joely Rodriguez. I'm not much of a day-1 evaluator when it comes to trades, so I'll just have to wait and see how he pans out in the rotation. I don't have much time to listen to the game, as I'm scouring Astoria for a decent comic shop, but am glad to see that the Mets are making do on offense as the pitching rotation lets up four runs. If the relationship between the Mets' pitching and hitting continues to maintain this complete swap of years past, I may have to check that I haven't swapped into a parallel universe.