St. Lucie 8, Bradenton 2
The migration to Class A Advanced St. Lucie certainly hasn’t slowed the development of budding pitching prospect Matthew Bowman. The impressive right-hander, who is quickly becoming a juggernaut at the lower level, worked through minor trouble and held visiting Bradenton to two runs on eight hits — just two for extra bases — over seven innings during the Mets’ 8-2 victory Sunday afternoon.
Bowman (3-0), a 13th-round selection in last year’s MLB Draft out of Princeton University, has worked at least six innings in all four of his starts since being promoted from Savannah earlier this month. Boasting an arsenal that already contains four quality pitches — the changeup being viewed as his primary out pitch — he painted the corners masterfully and sent down the first six Marauders batters he faced on just 21 pitches. He struck out five batters and walked only one.
His only hiccup came in the third inning when he surrendered both runs, halting a nine-inning scoreless streak at his new home park. Bowman walked leadoff hitter Jacob Stallings on four pitches — an uncharacteristic mistake for the young standout who had issued just seven walks total in his previous eight starts this season.
He then permitted a single and fired a wild pitch to put runners at second and third with no outs. Bowman allowed his first run on a sacrifice fly before a fielding error by third baseman Aderlin Rodriguez on a bunt resulted in another run. But he limited the damage by inducing a pair of ground-ball outs around an infield single to finish the inning.
Bowman is the latest player to emerge as an intriguing prospect in the Mets’ farm system that has become abundantly rich with young pitching across every level. The Maryland native possesses a build and delivery similar to the San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, and pitches to contact. He entered Sunday’s game holding opponents to a meager .181 batting average with St. Lucie.
After managing only one run in a triumph over Bradenton on Saturday, the St. Lucie offense provided Bowman enough support to help him secure his third win with the club. In nine total starts between St. Lucie and Savannah this season, the 21-year-old has compiled a 7-0 record and 2.48 ERA. He has also piled up 59 strikeouts, including 33 with the Mets, against just eight walks over 57 2/3 total innings.
Trailing 2-0 after two, St. Lucie scored a run in each of the final six innings to erase the early deficit, bolstered by a three-run fifth that snapped a 2-all tie. Shortstop Matt Reynolds and designated hitter Dustin Lawley led off the inning with back-to-back singles before Rodriguez struck out. First baseman Rylan Sandoval followed with a run-scoring single and left fielder Travis Taijeron plated two runs with a base hit to right.
Taijeron went 2-for-4 with a double — his fifth multi-hit outing in the past eight games — and totaled four RBI. His 17th double of the season pulled him into a tie for second-most in the Florida State League. Rodriguez finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as his six-game hitting streak ended. With Rodriguez going hitless, Lawley climbed back into a split for the team lead in RBI (37) with him following his run-scoring double in the sixth inning. The outfielder, who had just one hit in his previous five games, went 3-for-5 and scored a run.
Hamilton Bennett and Ryan Fraser each tossed a perfect inning of relief after Bowman departed as the Mets won the last two contests of the three-game series. The bullpen has not allowed a run over the past nine innings, a stretch that includes appearances by rehabbing relievers Scott Atchison and Jeurys Familia from the parent club.
St. Lucie is off for Memorial Day before beginning a three-game series against Jupiter on Tuesday at Tradition Field. The Hammerheads rank third behind the second-place Mets in the FSL South Division. St. Lucie opened the season with four straight wins against Jupiter and outscored the Miami Marlins’ affiliate 15-3.
Noah Syndergaard (2-2, 2.86 ERA) is slated to make his 10th start of the season for the Mets in the series opener. He will be followed by Jenrry Mejia on Wednesday for his third rehab start and Alex Panteliodis on Thursday. Recently promoted pitcher Rainy Lara is scheduled to make his team debut in the series opener at Charlotte on Friday, according to the team’s radio broadcast.
T.J. Rivera: 2-for-4, 1 BB, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Dustin Lawley: 3-for-5, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI
Rylan Sandoval: 2-for-3, 2 BB, 2 R, 1 RBI
Cam Maron: 1-for-4, 1 BB, 1 RBI
Travis Taijeron: 2-for-4, 1 2B 4 RBI
Charley Thurber: 1-for-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 SB
Matthew Bowman: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, 6 K