Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Jon Niese Sharp in Mets Shutout of Nationals; Jay Bruce's Three-Run Blast Lifts Reds over Brewers

Players of the Day for Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Grapefruit League

Niese: 6IP, 0ER
Will this finally be the year the Mets live up to their potential and vie for the top spot in the NL East?

Could be, especially if their starting pitching works as well during the regular season as it has through exhibition games.

The 18-11 Mets find themselves currently in first place in Florida's Grapefruit League, a slim game ahead of the Pirates, Red Sox and Blue Jays after Jon Niese tossed six shutout innings en route to his third win of Spring, a 2-0 victory over the Nationals.

Scattering four hits and striking out three without issuing any bases on balls, Niese was in control before handing the ball over to the bullpen, whose three relievers finished the job.
Jay Bruce

The Mets scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, both of Nats' starter, Gio Gonzalez, including a solo homer by John Mayberry, Jr., who finished 3-for-4.

Niese went 9-11 with a 3.40 ERA last season. If he pitches back to that ERA and the Mets get some runs for him, his could be a very productive season.

Cactus League

Cincinnati's Jay Bruce went 2-for-3, including a three-run homer and the Reds cruised to a 10-4 win over the Brewers.

It was Cincinnati's 14th win against 11 losses, leaving them in fourth place, four games back of Oakland in the Cactus League.

Bruce will once again be an integral part of Cincinnati's offensive plans, and will usually be patrolling right field when the Reds play defense.

Last season, Bruce missed some playing time, appearing in only 137 games, but still managed to club 18 homers and drive in 66 runs, though those numbers were well below his usual production. From 2011-2013, Bruce average better than 30 homers and 100 RBI per season.

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