On Tuesday, the New York Mets entertained the St. Louis Cardinals at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The visitors defeated the Metropolitans by a 7-1 score.
Mike Pelfrey gave up 21 home runs last season plus two more in his first two innings on this day. Several balls were hard-hit in the first frame, including a sinker to David Freese that didn’t sink enough. The result was a two-run home run by the 2011 post-season hero. The third baseman’s shot hit off the top of the outfield wall and kept on going. It was Freese’s second home run in two days.
Yadier Molina opened the second with a blast that was hit up into the jet stream and landed far over the left field wall. Molina is coming off his best season offensively in 2011 so won’t sneak up on anyone in drafts this season.
Pelfrey departed with a runner on third base with one out in the fifth. Garrett Olson was greeted by a delayed double steal, which ended with speedy infielder Tyler Greene coming home. Greene has considerable upside if he can earn the Cardinals starting job at second.
Pelfrey was charged with four runs in 4 1/3 frames. He allowed six hits, no walks and struck out two. 25 of his 42 pitches went for strikes.
Adam Wainwright made his second start since his return from Tommy John surgery, throwing 40 pitches, 24 strikes over three innings. He was helped out by double plays in each of the first two frames. Wainwright allowed one hit, walked one, fanned one and worked around an error behind him. He should not be undervalued in fantasy drafts much longer.
Following Wainwright was a young, hard thrower, Maikel Cleto. Despite loading the bases with no out, all the Mets managed was a sacrifice fly by right fielder Lucas Duda. It was their only run of the day. Cleto can hit upper 90's but could not command his fastball on Tuesday. He did show a good slider. He is expected to be a Triple-A starter in 2012.
Frank Francisco, slated to open as Mets closer, pitched the sixth. He gave up a Molina single, then an RBI double to Matt Carpenter, vying for a utility infield job with St. Louis. Francisco should continue to be one of the last closers taken in NL drafts, but has the capability to surprise.
Facing his old Mets teammates for the first time since his trade to San Francisco at the deadline last summer, Carlos Beltran played his first spring game in the field. Expected to play every day in right for St. Louis once the regular season gets underway, Beltran singled once in four at-bats. He should hit either second or fifth in new manager Mike Matheny’s regular season lineup.
Bryan Anderson plated two in the seventh after depositing a full-count fastball from well-traveled Ramon Ramirez into the right-center gap. Once a top prospect, Anderson is in a three-way battle with veteran Koyie Hill and Tony Cruz to back up Molina.
A previous Mets closer, Bobby Parnell, pitched the ninth of the blowout loss. He has a chance of making the roster, though with options remaining, he could return to Triple-A as well. He’d need several to stumble, including Francisco, to receive another chance at the ninth-inning job.
David Wright did not participate in the game, having gone back to New York for a cortisone injection for his sore ribs.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com and in-season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.