MMLN – Pitching and Defense Falter in Loss

PORT ST. LUCIE – In the series finale against the Palm Beach, Claudio Vargas made a rehab start before handing the ball over to scratched starter Eric Niesen. After the 14-inning affair Sunday night, the club turned around for a 10:30 AM start time. The Mets' bats were sluggish until a late inning burst pulled the Mets closer before ultimately falling 9-5.

Eric Niesen replaced Claudio Vargas in the sixth inning and immediately ran into trouble in large part to an inability to retire right-handers and porous outfield defense behind him. After walking the first batter he faced, two batters later a long fly ball to Jamar Hill was misplayed, putting runners on second and third. Ezequiel Carrera fell victim to the sun on the next batter as he let a ball over his head fall, allowing to runs to score. Those were just two examples of faulty defense behind him on the afternoon, but his infield also did him no favors.

Despite the shotty outfield defense, Niesen did not find any rhythm in his three innings of work as right-handers one after another ripped singles and doubles off him causing five runs to cross the plate during his outing. His two-seam fastball routinely clocked at 90-91 MPH, his slider in the low-to-mid 80s, and his changeup in the mid-to-high 70s. His trouble against right-handers appears to come from a lack of ability to pitch them inside with velocity or good movement. Throughout his appearance, right-handers got good wood on his two-seam fastball which faded back over the plate.

Coming in from the bullpen may have played a part in Niesen's ineffectiveness, but his troubles against right-handers existed before Monday's outing, and against Palm Beach those issues were accentuated. He fell to 0-3 on the season with the loss and has still yet to record his first professional win.

After observing Ruben Tejada for the weekend, there is reason to get excited about his talent to come, but there is still much work to do on his swing. His struggles in the Florida State League stem from his bat speed which currently is not quick enough to catch up to the league's pitching which has been cause for many pop-ups and routine fly balls over the weekend. Defensively, while his quick feet and good reaction time allow him to make plays on balls that would seem out of his reach, there is still much mechanical work to be done on his approach to the ball.

In the top of the seventh inning, Ezequiel Carrera's poor pursuit of a ball over his head allowed the ball to bounce off the wall, over his head and back towards the infield. With two runners on, the misplay allowed for an inside-the-park home run to be scored. After showing steady defensive angles and retrievals, Carrera's bad day allowed at four runs to cross the plate.

Hector Pellot notched his only hit of the series with a line-drive single to centerfield in the seventh inning. Though he states that confidence is not an issue, it is clear to see that Pellot is not stepping to the plate with the same vigor that brought him success last season.

Lucas Duda demonstrated why he could be a very strong hitter in the future. He earned two five-pitch walks, refusing to expand the strike zone as pitchers worked him off the plate away and tried busting him inside. He did register a quality opposite-field single on a hard, inside fastball in the fifth inning and in the ninth inning redirected a slider in on his hands for a ripped double down the right field line.

Jason Jacobs continues to show why he should be in the lineup more often than the playing time he receives. He entered the game cold off the bench in the top of the eighth inning, replacing Ramon Castro [also on a rehab assignment], and in the bottom of half the inning smacked a double down the left field line.

The outfield's poor performance was a direct result in Monday's loss, and manager Tim Teufel was sure to let his outfield unit know it. Immediately following the last out of the game, Teufel could be seen hitting fly balls to outfielders trying to emulate the situations that caused the miscues.

An unfortunate result of the workout was the injury of Brahiam Maldonado. While retreating on a ball, Maldonado suffered a lower leg injury and was knocked to the ground for some time in obvious pain. Unless the injury was not as severe as it appeared, expect Maldonado to go on the disabled list.

Brandon Nall pitched a perfect ninth inning in which he took the mound, worked quickly and poured his sinker into the bottom third of the strike zone. Two groundballs and a humpback line drive to right field was all Palm Beach could muster.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nEric Niesen replaced Claudio Vargas in the sixth inning and immediately ran into trouble in large part to an inability to retire right-handers and porous outfield defense behind him. After walking the first batter he faced, two batters later a long fly ball to Jamar Hill was misplayed, putting runners on second and third. Ezequiel Carrera fell victim to the sun on the next batter as he let a ball over his head fall, allowing to runs to score. Those were just two examples of faulty defense behind him on the afternoon, but his infield also did him no favors.
\r\n
\r\nDespite the shotty outfield defense, Niesen did not find any rhythm in his three innings of work as right-handers one after another ripped singles and doubles off him causing five runs to cross the plate during his outing. His two-seam fastball routinely clocked at 90-91 MPH, his slider in the low-to-mid 80s, and his changeup in the mid-to-high 70s. His trouble against right-handers appears to come from a lack of ability to pitch them inside with velocity or good movement. Throughout his appearance, right-handers got good wood on his two-seam fastball which faded back over the plate.
\r\n
\r\nComing in from the bullpen may have played a part in Niesen's ineffectiveness, but his troubles against right-handers existed before Monday's outing, and against Palm Beach those issues were accentuated. He fell to 0-3 on the season with the loss and has still yet to record his first professional win.
\r\n
\r\nAfter observing Ruben Tejada for the weekend, there is reason to get excited about his talent to come, but there is still much work to do on his swing. His struggles in the Florida State League stem from his bat speed which currently is not quick enough to catch up to the league's pitching which has been cause for many pop-ups and routine fly balls over the weekend. Defensively, while his quick feet and good reaction time allow him to make plays on balls that would seem out of his reach, there is still much mechanical work to be done on his approach to the ball.
\r\n
\r\nIn the top of the seventh inning, Ezequiel Carrera's poor pursuit of a ball over his head allowed the ball to bounce off the wall, over his head and back towards the infield. With two runners on, the misplay allowed for an inside-the-park home run to be scored. After showing steady defensive angles and retrievals, Carrera's bad day allowed at four runs to cross the plate.
\r\n
\r\nHector Pellot notched his only hit of the series with a line-drive single to centerfield in the seventh inning. Though he states that confidence is not an issue, it is clear to see that Pellot is not stepping to the plate with the same vigor that brought him success last season.
\r\n
\r\nLucas Duda demonstrated why he could be a very strong hitter in the future. He earned two five-pitch walks, refusing to expand the strike zone as pitchers worked him off the plate away and tried busting him inside. He did register a quality opposite-field single on a hard, inside fastball in the fifth inning and in the ninth inning redirected a slider in on his hands for a ripped double down the right field line.
\r\n
\r\nJason Jacobs continues to show why he should be in the lineup more often than the playing time he receives. He entered the game cold off the bench in the top of the eighth inning, replacing Ramon Castro [also on a rehab assignment], and in the bottom of half the inning smacked a double down the left field line.
\r\n
\r\nThe outfield's poor performance was a direct result in Monday's loss, and manager Tim Teufel was sure to let his outfield unit know it. Immediately following the last out of the game, Teufel could be seen hitting fly balls to outfielders trying to emulate the situations that caused the miscues.
\r\n
\r\nAn unfortunate result of the workout was the injury of Brahiam Maldonado. While retreating on a ball, Maldonado suffered a lower leg injury and was knocked to the ground for some time in obvious pain. Unless the injury was not as severe as it appeared, expect Maldonado to go on the disabled list.
\r\n
\r\nBrandon Nall pitched a perfect ninth inning in which he took the mound, worked quickly and poured his sinker into the bottom third of the strike zone. Two groundballs and a humpback line drive to right field was all Palm Beach could muster.
\r\n
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