After retiring eight straight hitters to start the game, Mets pitcher Jon Niese gave up three consecutive hits and a walk and left Sunday’s 6-3 loss to Boston after 52 pitches.
It is too early to make a judgment, but a familiar flaw resurfaced, which is Niese’s inability to pitch out of trouble and put away an inning.
On the plus side, Niese worked quickly and showed good command in his first two innings. Also on the plus side, he pitched without pain or discomfort.
Regarding his health, Niese told SNY after his outing: “I feel a lot different. All my pitches are working. I’m progressing well and my velocity is up there.’’
A healthy and productive Niese is important because he offers somewhat of a lefty balance to the rotation and eats innings.
MURPHY UPDATE: Daniel Murphy took batting practice Sunday and reported no pain.
Murphy was struck on the right hand by a David Price pitch Friday and is day-to-day.
DUDA NEWS: Lucas Duda, sidelined with a strained left intercostal muscle, has been hitting off a tee and is expected to take batting practice Monday.
Duda might play this week.
OPENING DAY PARTY: The Mets will host a viewing party at Citi Field for their Opening Day game against Washington. The tickets are free, but it will cost you $10 to park. Presumably, concessions will also be available. Tickets can be ordered online at mets.com/watchparty.
EXTRA INNINGS: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who is out of options and figures to make the team as a back-up outfielder, continued his good spring with a double and two singles. … Center fielder Juan Lagares is nursing a sore right elbow, which is what forced him to end last year early. … Five straight Met relievers walked the first batter they faced. … Mets pitchers walked ten and hit a batter. That will get you beat. … Former Mets first baseman Tony Clark and current MLBPA chief Tony Clark visited camp Sunday. He did not object to the Mets’ payroll or their voluntary-but-really-mandatory offseason workouts. … Zack Wheeler starts for the Mets Monday against Miami at Tradition Field. The game will be broadcast on SNY.