Note the lineup. It's interesting to see a manager who puts a shortstop batting 3rd and a thus far high contact hitter without much power hitting cleanup. Whenever Amed Rosario makes the majors, rest assured that Terry Collins will bat him 8th. He habitually sets rookies up to fail.
Las Vegas starter Sean Gilmartin looked a little shaky. Even though his first inning was a 1-2-3 affair, he was not fooling anyone as two of the three hitters tattooed the ball off of him. It didn’t take long for those hard outs to become productive hits.
The first one was deposited over the CF wall by the Chihuahuas journeyman 1st baseman Jamie Romak who added his 3rd HR of the young season.
There were a few tenuous Mets connections to the hometown team with their manager having played catcher for the 2010 squad – Rod Barajas. I got to see a lot of him as he took his place as the 3rd base coach and my seats were behind that dugout.
The more surprising connection was 2013 opening day centerfielder Collin Cowgill who now toils in relative obscurity at 30 years of age for the El Paso Chihuahuas. He struck out in his first AB leading me to ridicule him. Retribution was swift when Cowgill hit a long home run off Gilmartin but then rebounded to strike out again.
The final long ball damage was done off recent Met Erik Goeddel who served one up to 3rd baseman Cory Spangenberg.
Now 2nd baseman Gavin Cecchini hit everything hard each time he was up but had nothing to show for it. He certainly looks as if he could handle the offensive side of the game in the big leagues now, but the defense is going to be what determines whether or not he can take the next step.
Dominic Smith is surprisingly adept at fielding for a big man giving me some Bartolo Colon flashbacks. On the offensive side, he hit an opposite field line drive so hard off the left field wall that he was held to a single due more to the fast ricochet to the left fielder than to his lack of running speed. Later in the game he delivered a clutch single pulled to right field to drive in a run and set up what would become a failed comeback attempt.
Amed Rosario reminds you of a younger Jose Reyes not so much for his speed, but for his overall athleticism. He only handled two chances in the game, but during one of them he was in the middle of 4-6-3 double play (Cecchini to Rosario to Smith). Unfortunately when he did his Jose Reyes impression, easily stealing 2B but oversliding the bag and getting tagged out. More importantly, it was done when the team was behind 4-0 and was probably ill advised taking the chance in the first place.
The lineup was a little bit of a surprise with diminutive (5’9”) infielder Phil Evans starting in left field. He flashed some surprising leather on a laser beam to left which Evans handled tumbling feet over head while making the impressive catch. Even the Chihuahuas fans gave a rousing ovation for the effort. Surprisingly manager Pedro Lopez midway through the game flip flopped him with Matt Reynolds who had started at 3B. I guess both are trying to improve their versatility in order to get promoted it was a bit odd to do so in the middle of the game.
Travis Taijeron demonstrated a very good eye at the plate, but did strike out once and left a bad taste in your mouth for his poor execution on a drive to right field that he totally misjudged into a double. He looked like a Little Leaguer confused as a ball flew over his head.
Newcomer Desmond Jennings looked quite athletic in CF and mostly looked professional at the plate. I can see him arriving in Queens at some point later this season.
Perhaps the offensive highlight of the forgettable day for the 51s was a pinch hit HR by Josh Rodriguez.
On the pitching side, Sean Gilmartin was most definitely prone to the long ball. Logan Taylor in the middle innings was adequate but Erik Goeddel coughed up the 2 runs the 51s had posted in the bottom of the previous inning. David Roseboom allowed an inherited runner to score but otherwise emerged unscathed.
Another day another game. Las Vegas 51s lose 7-2.