It was a wild finish at Roger Dean Stadium as the St Lucie Mets rallied to defeat the Palm Beach Cardinals 6-3 with a crazy five-run ninth inning involving lots of line drives, errors and clutch hitting. I was luck enough to have attended this inning….I mean game today.
For eight innings, the St. Lucie Mets looked lifeless at the plate, not showing any ability to catch up to the opposing pitcher Ryan Helsley‘s fastballs and breaking stuff on the day. While showing to be a bit wild at times himself, Helsey kept the ball down all day, with many swings and misses through his five no-hit innings, totally six strikeouts on the day.
On the pitching side for the Mets, Nabil Crismatt was going right with Helsley in the early going, utilizing solid command of his fastball and breaking pitches. He threw an amazing 19 strikes against one called ball over the first two hitless innings.
Crismatt continued through the first five innings maintaining a low pitch count, keeping the ball down, showing a really solid hook, with this below video of one of his three strikeouts on the day.
I was obviously impressed with Crismatt command, use of his breaking pitch to get big outs, along with some questionable ump calls preventing a couple of extra Ks in this game. It was in the sixth inning that some of the wheels appeared to fall off with Crismatt, who saw the opposing batters begin to make solid contact, with his pitches appearing to be more up than they had in the first five innings. However, Crismatt was able to limit the damage.
On the day pitching; Crismatt pitched six innings allowing two earned runs on five hits, two walks and three strikeouts.
As for the hitters, the Mets offense was being no-hit through most of the game into the late innings, all swinging late on pitches and not generating any solid contact.
John Mora was 0 for 3 on the day but showed a good approach at the play drawing two walks and scoring a run. Mora also was caught stealing but per the guy in my section there’s clear camera evidence of Mora stealing the bag.
Regarding the top hitting prospects, Wuilmer Becerra was batting third but was once again serving as the designated hitter. Becerra was credited with a hit and an RBI but it was a pop fly that the Cardinals infielder lost in the sun. Becerra was having trouble all day catching up to the fastball and struck out twice swinging.
On the other end, first base prospect Peter Alonso hit a liner past the infielders glove in the nine, but the scorer made it an error instead of a hit, so officially finished 0 for 4. He did make contact all game but no solid contact until that last at-bat. Alonso is physically imposing, not a lot of speed at all on the bases, and had a couple of fielding issues in the game.
One player I found intriguing was catcher Patrick Mazeika. I was impressed with him defensively. He showed great footwork and a solid accurate arm. He had one caught stealing on the day, but he also had another base stealer who looked out but was called safe.
Other random notes and thoughts from the game:
My guy Jhoan Urena had one of the ninth inning hits, batting as a righty, drilling a ball down the third base line side for an RBI. In the field at third base, he again showed a solid glove but had a throwing error in the game that Alonso was unable to snag in the air and stay on the bag. Urena is now hitting .286 overall which is where I really want to see him stay around all year, while showing his doubles and homer power throughout the year.
The diminutive spark plug Nick Sergakis got one of the big ninth inning hits on the day.
Jeff Diehl has an absolute canon of an arm in the outfield.
My possible new sleeper prospect is outfielder Enmanuel Zabala. I was impressed with Zabala. I liked his solid compact swing in every AB.
The game was closed out by pitcher Alex Palsha, who literally broke three of a guys bats in the ninth during one at-bat with his hard throwing, solid command and control in recording his first save of the year.
Overall it was a quite eight innings and wild ninth for the St. Lucie Mets. Great Trip. Can’t wait till next time!
All Photos and video courtesy of Ernest Dove.