The Mets faced the Cardinals at 1 p.m. on February 27 with lineups closely resembling a regular season game. The Amazins got mauled 12-4.
Daniel Murphy will replace Justin Turner at second base once he is healthy again, and Matt den Dekker is unlikely to make the big leagues out of Spring Training, but this lineup, for the most part, is what manager Terry Collins will have to work with.
Lucas Duda was slotted sixth in the batting order, although he truly belongs in the five spot, right after powerhouse Ike Davis. But until he lives up to his potential with consistency, Duda may fall near the bottom of the lineup, or perhaps even begin the season in the minors. No outfield spots are guaranteed at this point.
The Mets faced former teammate and current Cardinals slugger Carlos Beltran, who was traded to the San Francisco Giants for top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler in 2011. Unfortunately, Wheeler sustained a mild oblique injury that kept him from starting against St. Louis and was a late scratch in Wednesday’s game.
Darin Gorski got the start instead and sent down John Jay, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday in order in the first inning. A walk and single in the second inning created a first and third base threat to the Mets with one out, but Gorski walked off the mound unscathed. However, he began the third inning with a four-pitch walk, a first-pitch single and then a two-RBI double Beltran. After he issued another walk, his third of the outing, Collins had to end his day.
An injury to the budding star Wheeler created an opportunity for Gorski to show his stuff against a Major League lineup, but also his inability to handle the second going of a lineup. Mets pitching quickly unraveled as the Cardinals overwhelmed New York with hit after hit.
With David Wright and Ruben Tejada on first and second base on singles with one out in the first inning, Ike Davis and outfield prospect Marlon Byrd squandered the RBI opportunity. Since the Mets lineup has little power, they often strand runners on base, a sad reminder of its offensive woes last season, especially in August.
Lucas Duda got his first Spring Training hit in the second inning and John Buck followed with a line drive, opposite field two-run homerun. It is rare enough for the Mets to score four or more runs in a game, but if the pitching staff allows three times as many to the opposing team the Mets’ current three-game Spring Training losing streak is sure to continue.