Day 2 of live spring training action for the Mets ended in the form of Sunday's 3-3 tie with the Cardinals, but two performances highlighted New York's main takeaways from the draw against St. Louis.
Led by a performance on the mound and at the plate with an old and new player, sixth-year LHP Steven Matz and recently-acquired CF Jake Marisnick discussed their respective performances after they respectively flashed over the course of the afternoon at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Toeing the rubber for the first time since Sept. 28's 3-0 win over the Atlanta Braves to end his 2019 regular season, Matz got the start and was happy with how he performed overall.
"I'm actually really happy with it," said Matz, who allowed one run on one hit -- a leadoff solo shot by Cardinals CF Harrison Bader on a 1-0 count -- before retiring the next three batters to end the top of the first inning. "I think my changeup was down, curveballs were down. Arm feels good.
"I think the one critique I have of myself is just glove-side fastball. That last out to Wieters and home run, I was trying to go inside. To a righty, it's normally my bread-and-butter pitch. That's the one thing. But other than that, I felt good."
Mets manager Luis Rojas was understanding of Matz's leadoff hiccup, ultimately coming away satisfied with the 28-year-old lefty's frame, which included one strikeout.
"I liked what he saw," Rojas said of Matz, who went 11-10 with a 4.21 ERA and 153 strikeouts to 52 walks in 160.1 innings pitched over 32 games (32 starts) last year. "I mean, 1-0 ambush, Bader went after him, hit a home run to lead off the game. But I like what I saw from Matzy. Came out and talking in between innings with (C Tomas) Nido and the pitching coach (Jeremy Hefner) about how he felt out there, I thought it was a good outing for Matzy."
The Mets returned the favor in the bottom of the second inning on a 1-0 solo shot off Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright, clearing the left-center field wall and falling just below the scoreboard
"It felt good -- always feels good," said Marisnick, whom the Mets acquired Dec. 5 from the Astros in a trade for prospects LHP Blake Taylor and OF Kenedy Corona. "Yeah, that's the goal -- get a good pitch, put a good swing on it and the sooner you can do that, and the more consistent you can, the better. So it's good to get that first one out of the way."
Marisnick, whose 29th birthday is Mach 30, embraces a new start on the Mets after slashing .233/.289/.411 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI as an Astro last season.
"I mean, just focus on being a hitter and on pitch location," said Marisnick, whose MLB career included started with the Miami Marlins in 2013 and part of '14 before spending 2014-18 in Houston. "I think, at times, I can get caught being a little mechanical and that's what *(hitting coach Chili Davis) has been big on right now is just getting into counts and hunting pitches and being a hitter."