Mets Top 10 prospect Justin Dunn was back on the mound today for the St. Lucie Mets as they ended their home stand and played their final game in April against the Palm Beach Cardinals.
Most of the action occurred in the seventh inning. After some power outage issues at the ballpark on Saturday, there were signs of electricity from Dunn on the Sunday afternoon, but a sluggish start, untimely error and differences of opinions of the strike zone all played a part in the loss.
Dunn battled through the first inning giving up a leadoff single and a walk with a soft ground out in between. The Cardinals, who showed an ability all day to make contact, then hit two groundball singles which scored runs to put the Mets down 2-0 quickly. The next batter then drove a liner to shortstop but was played beautifully by Luis Carpio, who had a solid overall game throughout on offense and defense. Dunn avoided further damage by inducing a soft fly out to end the inning. Dunn was sitting 93-94 MPH during the inning while mixing in a curveball and slider.
In the bottom half of the first it was Luis Carpio, batting leadoff today, who sent the second pitch he saw over the left field wall for a home run to put St. Lucie on the board. The rest of the inning went quietly as Andres Gimenez flied out the left field, Desmond Lindsay grounded out to shortstop and Ian Strom struck out swinging. Mets trailed 2-1.
Dunn settled in nicely in the second with a perfect inning, recording his first strikeout on an 84 MPH breaking pitch followed by ground outs to shortstop and third base for a perfect inning. His velocity increased into the 94-95 range on his fastball during the inning. Here’s video of a Dunn strikeout.
In the bottom of the second, Anthony Dimino started it off with a pop out the third base. Michael Paez then hit a lined shot to left field for a single. Dale Burdick then struck out looking and was not happy with the call. During the at bat the opposing pitcher attempted a pick off of Paez which sailed past the first baseman leading to Paez reaching all the way the third. After a Dan Rizzie walk, it was Gene Cone who scored Paez from third on a hard liner to second base that the fielder could not hold onto, scored a single and RBI for Cone to tie the game at 2-2.
After giving up a leadoff single to start the third inning, Dunn then gave up a hard shot to right field where Ian Strom made a leaping catch for the first out. The final batters of the inning then lined out and grounded out. Two straight scoreless innings for Dunn who mixed in more off speed pitches in the inning.
Andres Gimenez led off the bottom half of the third with a single. Here’s video of one of his two hits on the day.
Desmond Lindsay then hit a single of his own into left field followed by an Ian Strom strikeout (not happy with the called third strike inside) and an infield single by Anthony Dimino loaded the bases. But then Michael Paez popped out and Dale Burdick grounded out to the pitcher to end a golden opportunity for the Mets who remain tied, 2-2.
Dunn continued to ramp up his fastball velocity in the fourth hitting mostly 95 MPH with continued solid off speed pitches in a perfect 1-2-3 inning. A pop out, Fly out and ground out kept the score tied.
In the bottom of the fourth, Dan Rizzie started things off with ripped double into left field. However, the bats quickly went quite as Gene Cone grounded out on a force out of Rizzie as the fielder went to third for the tag out. Carpio then flew out to right field and Gimenez grounded out.
The best of Justin Dunn came in the top of the fifth. Dunn looked electric mostly with his off speed pitches, recording two strikeouts, both swinging strikes and both off his breaking pitches. The third out was a lined shot to third base where Michael Paez made a solid play to rob the hitter of possible extra bases to end the frame.
The Mets went down just as quickly in the bottom half of the fifth with Lindsay, Strom and Dimino all grounding out. Game remains tied, 2-2.
To start the sixth Dunn gives up a leadoff single. After inducing a pop out the next batter would reach on a hit to first baseman Dale Burdick who then made an errant throw to try to nab the lead runner for the error. Dunn was then removed from the game due to pitch count (92 pitches).
Ryder Ryan relieved Dunn had a rough outing overall on the day. The right-handed Ryder came out throwing his usual 95 MPH with low 80s off speed pitches but the first batter he faced line one hard but another solid play at third base by Michael Paez saved him in the at-bat. However the next batter singled into center field scoring the unearned run charged to Dunn. Desmond Lindsay might have a chance but bobbled the ball just for second. Lindsay’s only play at that point was to third to nab the back runner trying to take the extra base but the inning ended with Mets now trailing 3-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Mets started with a Paez ground out and a Burdick single which lead to a pitching change. Reliever Jacob Patterson would then strikeout both Dan Rizzie and Gene Cone to end the inning.
The seventh inning is where everything happened in this game. To start the seventh, with Ryder Ryan still on the mound, the leadoff hitter singled on a soft liner into left field. The next batter singled past Gimenez. After a sac bunt put the runners on second and third Ryan then walked batter Stefan Trosclair to load the bases. Ryan was replaced by reliever righty Matt Blackham.
Blackham then allowed a single on a drive to center field scoring two. Mets now trailed 5-2. A sac fly then made it 6-2 in favor of the Cardinals (RF Ian Strom threw a laser directly into the catchers mitt at the plate but the runner was called safe). After Blackham walked hitter Dylan Carlson it was Cardinals batter Chase Pinder who further opened the flood gates with a double to left field scoring two. After a ground out the inning ended with five runs put on the board. Mets down by a an 8-2 score.
Mets immediately made a game of it in the bottom half of the seventh. Carpio lead things off with a single, a line drive shot the pitcher tried to catch but was unsuccessful. Gimenez then singled into right field with Carpio ending up at third. Strom then put the ball in play and reached on an error which scored Carpio. After Dimino was called out on strikes (not happy with call) there was a pitching change. Pitcher Jason Zgardowski then gave up singles to Paez, Burdick and Rizzie, all of which brought in runs to make it 8-6 before Gene Cone struck out swinging to end the inning.
Blackham came back back out for the eighth. The leadoff hitter flies out, followed by a walk and then a pop out and another fly out for a scoreless inning and much needed for Matt and the Mets.
The Mets however then went quietly in the eighth. Ground outs by Carpio, Gimenez and Lindsay keeps the score 8-6.
Blackham came back out for the ninth and recorded a strikeout swinging on the first batter. Blackham was then relieved by Joseph Zanghi who promptly walked the first batter he faced on four pitches but then caught the runner sleeping on a pick off and runner was later tagged out. After then giving up a single to hitter Dylan Carlson the next batter Chase Pinder grounded out to the end the inning. Zanghi touched 94 mph in the inning with an 87 mph breaking pitch.
The Mets would then go down quickly in their half of the ninth. After a Strom ground out, Dimino singled but would later be doubled up on a Paez lineout. Mets lose 8-6.
Luis Carpio: 2 for 5, HR, 2 R, now hitting .197/.304/.318
Anthony Dimino: 2 for 5, K now hitting .220/.278/.320
Michael Paez: 2 for 5, 2 R, RBI now hitting .226/.300/.339
Dale Burdick: 2 for 4, RBI, SB now hitting .265/.375/.412
Dan Rizzie: 2 for 3, 2B, RBI, BB, K now hitting .364/.467/.455
Gene Cone: 1 for 4, RBI, 2 Ks now hitting .288/.382/.305
Justin Dunn: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, BB, 3 K, his ERA stands at 2.13
Ryder Ryan: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, K, his ERA stands at 2.08
Matt Blackham: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, K his ERA stands at 2.19
Joseph Zanghi 0.2 IP, H, 0 R, his ERA stands at 0.00
Full box score here
Additional thoughts and analysis:
Today was the best I’ve seen of 20-year-old Luis Carpio both offensively and defensively. Solid two-hit day of course centered around the home run. He also played shortstop today and made all the plays showing good range and quick instincts.
I continue to be impressed by 19-year-old shortstop (played second today) Andres Gimenez who shows off his smooth fluid swing again today. He also quick and smooth in the field at either middle infield position. Also a good sign today going five at-bats without a strikeout. The young talent has shown to be a little too aggressive this year at the plate. Also of note Andres is showing his smooth and quick bat allows him to hit off both righty and lefty pitching.
I personally have some concerns for Desmond Lindsay who has missed a few games recently and has also served as the designated hitter during the early part of the year (he was the center fielder today). Definitely worth keeping an eye on going forward as he didn’t look like he was at 100 percent.
In the few years I’ve been covering the St. Lucie Mets I have never seen an arm as strong as Ian Strom, who has played mostly right field this year but has experience as a center fielder himself. I’m also hearing continued positive reviews of his hitting style and approach.
Much needed two-hit day for Anthony Dimino who has been struggling to find at bats with the team but made the start today as the DH.
Solid day both offensively and defensively as well for Michael Paez, who appears more suited for middle infield specifically second, but handled his position extremely well today preventing possible hits and likely runs with his quickness and solid glove.
Overall, Justin Dunn, I believe continues to show his worth and value as a future starter. He actually increased his velocity into the later innings and he used his secondary pitches more today than he did in the last two starts of his I’ve personally seen combined.
Rough day for the bullpen but all showed their talent and value going forward. Ryder Ryan still has dominating stuff with his mid-90s fastball and offspeed but ran into a few missed locations and timely hits by the Cardinals. Heh had his 23 consecutive scoreless innings streak snapped.
Blackham maintains a fastball topping out 94 mp fastball with a sloping hook of a curveball. This was my first time seeing Zanghi who threw quick and after the initial walk threw strikes but there was some hard contact.
All in all the talent continues to show on the team. I look forward to seeing more games and sharing my thoughts, pictures and videos.
All photos taken by Ernest Dove
All photos and videos courtesy of Ernest Dove.