Gulf Coast report: Extra effort

Florida in July isn't usually regarded as a comfortable atmosphere in which to spend hours outdoors, but the Gulf Coast Mets have nevertheless logged their fair share of extra time in the sunshine over the past week.

The Mets played three extra-inning affairs over their last week of action, with the most grueling contest being a 15-inning affair on July 20 against the Gulf Coast Nationals in Port St. Lucie.

The marathon contest – overshadowed that afternoon by the Brooklyn Cyclones' 26-inning endurance test against the Oneonta Tigers at KeySpan Park – featured 21 hits, 10 errors and nine pitchers before Matt Spath finally put an end to the afternoon, singling home the winning run against Washington's Yonatan Cuello.

The game kicked off a troublesome trend for the Gulf Coast Mets, who came back the very next day at Washington's Space Coast Stadium complex and played an 11-inning contest, a 2-1 victory that came to fruition when Jonathan Santos doubled and scored on a Daniel Stegall single in the top half of the decisive frame.

Not to cut things short, the Mets then played a third consecutive extra-inning affair on July 22, a 6-5 victory over the Gulf Coast Marlins in 10 innings that was started by knuckleballer Zac Clements.

A former catcher in the Mets system who was a non-roster invitee during major league spring training, the 28-year-old Clements worked five innings in that most recent appearance, allowing four runs and three hits while walking four and striking out four.

Through six starts for Gulf Coast, Clements is 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA, limiting opponents to a .200 average in 28 innings. He picked up his first career victory on July 11 against the Dodgers.

Gulf Coast leaderboard, offense: Shortstop Jonathan Santos' .318 average (27-85) is the third-best in the system and tops among short-season players … As a club, the GCL Mets are batting .232, sixth among the Mets' seven farm clubs and leading only Brooklyn (.217).

Gulf Coast leaderboard, pitching: Clements (1-1) has compiled a 3.41 ERA through 29 innings, which actually qualifies as sixth-best in the system … As a staff, Gulf Coast has a 4.92 ERA, highest in the organization.

ON THE RISE

First baseman Ben Saylor is batting .333 (19-57) through 16 games for the GCL Mets, stroking seven doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI while batting cleanup for Bobby Floyd's squad.

Saylor, 24, went undrafted in June but signed with the Mets this month. A product of Brigham Young University, Saylor was a third-team All-American this season after batting .354 with 21 home runs for BYU.

TOUGH TIMES

Matt Durkin, a San Jose State University product who was selected in the second round of the 2004 draft, is pitching with Gulf Coast.

Through four appearances (three starts), the 23-year-old has a 5.63 ERA, and has still exhibited some of the same control problems that marked his 2005 season at Hagerstown.

Durkin walked four in a 2 2/3 inning stint against the GCL Marlins on July 15 and has issued eight free passes (with eight strikeouts) in eight total innings for the Mets; last season at Hagerstown, Durkin walked 54 and struck out 79 in 76.1 innings.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories