Darrell Ceciliani, who has been out since June 27 with a strained hamstring, returned as the DH and was 3-for-4 with a strikeout. He's played a whopping 15 games this season in a season essentially lost to his hamstrings. When he's played, he's hit: 18-for-57 (.316/.375/.474). The issue is that he has barely played and will probably have to repeat St. Lucie to begin 2013.
RF Cesar Puello was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. In 12 games in August, the 21-year old hit .293/.383/.488 with six extra-base hits (good) and 1 walk against 13 strikeouts (alarming). Again, note that he's playing right, while Alonzo Harris plays center. That's interesting.
C Blake Forsythe was 2-for-3 with a triple and a homer. The double was his 16th and the homer his 8th as part of a .262/.361/.427 line in 80 games. Scouts are still at least a little intrigued by the 23-year old's size and strength.
RHP Erik Goeddel followed up seven shutout innings in his last start with a clunker variety: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. He's now allowed 103 hits in 96 innings while working to a 3.75 ERA in an FSL where the league-average is 3.88.
The Gnats had a 5-0 lead after two innings and a 6-5 lead after three but could not hold it in a mess of a game that featured: 15 runs, 30 hits, 37 AB combined with RISP, a disputed inside the park HR call, two Gnats thrown out at home plate in the third inning, and all in a brisk 3 hours and 42 minutes.
Before we get to the game, a pair of minor injury updates.
- CF Gilbert Gomez returned to the lineup for the first time in a week. He had been out with a bruised hand sustained when he took a throw off the palm sliding to break up a double play.
- SS Matt Reynolds, the 2012 second round pick, missed his second straight game with a strained groin. The timing is poor for the 21-year old who had just started to hit: .333/.412/.500 in 16 games in August.
Domingo Tapia: 4 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5K, 1 HR.
The homerun was the first he had allowed in 102.1 innings this year. It came on an inside-the-parker on a ball that should have been a double pulled on the ground down the leftfield line into the corner. However, the ball lodged itself under the bench in the Asheville bullpen. The rule is that the ball stays in play unless it is stuck. Pron threw up his hands to ask the umps to stop play. 1B ump Mike Patterson did the same. The Asheville runners kept running and both scored. Pron, seeing the runners continue, kept digging under the bench, and eventually found the ball and threw it very late home. The key to the ruling is that the ump put his hands up during the play, to signal dead ball (and double) but that allowed the runners to continue running. It was an awful interpretation of a bad rule.
Anyway, as for the 20-year old Tapia, who gave up a season-high 10 hits. He looked untouchable in the first. He lost a little location in the Tourists five-run third. Many of the balls were hit hard, and a whole bunch of grounders some snuck through the Gnats infield including replacement SS Ismael Tijerina. However, this is what happens when you try to attack a good lineup with fastballs and no breaking ball. As hard as he throws and with his changeup, location can get him through the South Atlantic League.
Someone asked me on Twitter whether, with one start remaining, the Mets should shut Tapia down. Unless he's hurt, the answer is "no." This is part of what development is about: learning to pitch deep into seasons. He threw 56 innings last year, and is up to 102.1 this year with just 85 hits allowed.