Series preview: Mets vs. Giants

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
12:36
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Associated PressRecently acquired Jake Peavy made his Giants debut Sunday against the Dodgers.
METS (52-56, fourth place/NL East) vs. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (58-50, second place/NL West)

Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6, 3.23) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (5-8, 4.45), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jacob deGrom (5-5, 2.79) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (1-10, 4.71), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (10-8, 3.88) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (12-8, 3.41), 1:10 p.m. ET

Monday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.77) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (8-8, 2.71), 12:10 p.m. ET

Giants short hops

Jake Peavy was acquired from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday for right-hander Heath Hembree and minor-league left-hander Edwin Escobar. Peavy allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings in an eventual 4-3 loss to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in his Giants debut. Since a win on April 25 with Boston, Peavy has lost 10 straight decisions. Boston scored two runs or fewer in each of his final eight starts with the club. The Giants and Red Sox agreed to split the $5 million remaining on the 33-year-old Peavy’s contract.

Peavy’s acquisition gives the Giants an upgrade over former Mets farmhand Yusmeiro Petit with Matt Cain on the disabled list. Cain (2-7, 4.18 ERA) sought a second opinion this week on his balky right elbow and could be in line for Tommy John surgery that forces him to miss next season as well.

• First baseman Brandon Belt is expected to return this weekend from the concussion DL. He had persistent symptoms after being struck in the face with a baseball while fielding during batting practice.


Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesGregor Blanco has handled center field with Angel Pagan on the disabled list.


Angel Pagan is expected to remain on the disabled list through the Mets series, but should be activated next week. He last appeared for the Giants on June 14. The ex-Met has a bulging disk that pinched a nerve and caused leg pain. Gregor Blanco has manned center field with Pagan sidelined.

• Dissatisfied at second base, the Giants took a chance on Dan Uggla, who was released by the Atlanta Braves. Uggla, however, went 0-for-11 with six strikeouts and committed three errors in four games. He reportedly did not travel with the Giants to New York and is mulling an offer to join the Giants’ Triple-A Fresno affiliate. Overall, Uggla has only one hit in his past 32 major league at-bats.

San Francisco searched for a second baseman via trade, but let Thursday’s deadline pass with no activity.

St. John’s University product Joe Panik, who graduated from John Jay High School in East Fishkill, N.Y., started Wednesday at second base. The rookie Panik was selected in the first round (29th overall) in 2011. He made his major league debut June 29, but is hitting only .214. There is speculation Double-A prospect Matt Duffy could take over the position. Marco Scutaro (back) is on the DL.

Brandon Hicks, who started at second base when the Mets played in San Francisco in early June, has been in Triple-A for the past two weeks after hitting only .162 with eight homers in 71 games with the Giants.

• San Francisco snapped a season-high-matching six-game losing streak with a win in Wednesday’s homestand finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants averaged one run per game during that skid. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one other time in the past 99 seasons did the Giants produced six runs or fewer in a six-game span -- back in 1992. The Giants have lost 29 of their last 45 games. They once owned a 42-21 record.

Ryan Vogelsong has received no run support while on the mound in five of his last six outings. San Francisco ultimately was shut out in four of those games.

• The lone Giants active starting pitcher the Mets miss in the four-game series is Tim Lincecum. He tossed a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on June 25, becoming the second pitcher in major league history to produce the feat twice against the same opponent. Lincecum joined Hall of Famer Addie Joss, who accomplished it in the early 20th century.

Sergio Romo was displaced as Giants closer on June 29 after blowing three saves in a five-chance span. He has allowed a career-high eight homers this season. Santiago Casilla has notched seven of the Giants’ last eight saves.

• Shortstop Brandon Crawford is 4-for-his-last-23.

• Right fielder Hunter Pence is 4-for-his-last-33. Pence has appeared in 330 straight games and started 280 straight games. Both are the longest active streaks in the majors.

Buster Posey is hitting .386 as a first baseman and .255 as a catcher this season.

Minors 7.31.14: Nimmo fuels B-Mets

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
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LAS VEGAS 2, EL PASO 0: Rafael Montero allowed three hits and two walks in 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Miguel Socolovich and Gonzalez Germen completed the shutout. Taylor Teagarden's RBI single opened the scoring in the fourth. Matt Reynolds doubled and scored on Andrew Brown's single an inning later for a two-run lead. Box

BINGHAMTON 9, BOWIE 4: Matt Bowman (7-6) surrendered one run and struck out six in seven innings. Brandon Nimmo scored twice and drove in three runs. T.J. Rivera produced

lastname
Nimmo
three hits and extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games. The lone run against Bowman came in the first on Mike Yastrzemski's game-opening homer. Facing Matt Bischoff in the bottom half, Nimmo walked and moved to third on Brian Burgamy's single. Dustin Lawley's RBI double evened the score at 1. In the third, Lawley's 19th homer -- a solo shot -- gave Binghamton the lead for good. The B-Mets took a 6-1 lead with a four-run fourth. Travis Taijeron and Xorge Carrillo had back-to-back singles and Kyle Johnson walked to load the bases with none out. Nimmo then plated all three and chased Bischoff with a triple. Dilson Herrera kept the inning going with a single against Julio DePaula that plated Nimmo. Bowie cut into a 9-1 lead with two eighth-inning runs against Adam Kolarek. Jon Velasquez surrendered a run in the ninth. Box

DUNEDIN 4, ST. LUCIE 3: The Jays broke a 3-all tie with an unearned run in the ninth. With two outs and Pierce Rankin on first, the Mets played their outfielders deep, in a no-doubles defense. Kevin Patterson then hit a routine fly ball to left field, but Jared King couldn’t race up to it fast enough. It dropped for a hit and put runners on the corners. Emilio Guerrero then sent a grounder to second base, but Phillip Evans could not handle it cleanly. Rankin scored the tiebreaking run on the error. King led off the bottom of the ninth with a double against Arik Sikula. However, Sikula got Cole Frenzel to line out, Gavin Cecchini to ground out and struck out Eudy Pina for his 24th save in 26 chances. He had blown a two-run lead in the ninth against the Mets on Monday. The Mets had jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning Thursday. Jays starter Efrain Nieves walked back-to-back hitters with two outs and King singled home Evans. King got caught in a rundown between first and second on the play, allowing Cam Maron to score, too. The Jays answered in the third when Kevin McGowan surrendered a three-run homer to Rankin. With the Mets still trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Wilfredo Tovar drew a walk from Justin Jackson and stole second. Gilbert Gomez advanced Tovar to third with a groundout. After Evans struck out, Tony Davis entered and tossed a wild pitch that allowed Tovar to score. The Mets mustered five hits in the game, including two from King. McGowan struck out three and walked three in six innings. The Mets finished July with a 12-15 record. It was their first losing month this season. Box

HICKORY 10, SAVANNAH 1: Historic Grayson Stadium surrenders very few homers, but it could not hold Travis Demeritte, who went deep twice. Demeritte leads the South Atlantic League with 23 homers. The Crawdads scored twice in the first against Logan Taylor, using an RBI double by Zach Cone and run-scoring single from Jairo Beras. Demeritte drilled a long homer against Taylor in the second to put the Crawdads up 3-0. His second longball came against reliever Hunter Carnevale in the ninth to cap the game's scoring. The Gnats scored their lone run in the third. Yeixon Ruiz singled, stole second and scored on Champ Stuart's single. Hickory padded its lead on Taylor's bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning. The Crawdads scored three times in an eighth inning that was marred by three Savannah errors. Box

ELIZABETHTON at KINGSPORT (ppd.)

AUBURN 14, BROOKLYN 3: Starter Octavio Acosta allowed six runs (four earned) in three innings. Brandon Welch, the first reliever to enter for the Cyclones, allowed eight runs in two innings. Box

GCL NATIONALS 13, GCL METS 10: Milton Ramos and Arnaldo Berrios drove in three runs apiece and John Mora scored four times in the loss. Starter Jose Medina allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Nats overcame a 10-9 deficit with a four-run eighth against Waldo Rodriguez. Box

Compiled with team reports
NEW YORK -- Addressing the Mets' lack of activity at the trade deadline, Sandy Alderson suggested the club had conversations about "significant" players as buyers and sellers. Still, Alderson said, he acted cautiously in not subtracting players at this point. And on the buying front, Alderson said the Mets were not at this moment prepared to part with top prospects, which a notable acquisition would have required.

Here's a full transcript:

Why was it prudent for no activity at the deadline?

"There was some activity. Nothing came to fruition. There were some proposals that we made that were not acceptable and some made to us that we didn't feel were reasonable. And so, while we were active in conversations, although not super active, we just didn't make any deals. I think going in we didn't intend to be sellers and we didn't intend to be buyers necessarily. We were looking at the market and what it would dictate. We set a price on some of our players. And, under the circumstances, they weren't met. So be it. We're happy with the team that we have. We're happy we retained all of our players. And we're looking forward to the last 60 or so games of the season."

Some fans appear frustrated there was nothing done to improve the club. What would you say to those people? Was there just nothing out there right now that was worth the cost? Or is the team just not where it needed to be to pull the trigger on something aggressive?

"The question of improving the club is certainly a legitimate one. In order to potentially improve the club some significant way as opposed to some incremental way, we would have had to have been prepared to deal some of our young pitching. At this particular stage, we're not prepared to do that, at least in the deals that were presented, or were available to us. I actually think that if we're going to trade some of our young prospects, that we're probably better off doing that in the offseason. I mean, we have a known commodity in those prospects -- I think a recognizable group of prospect assets in the game. In some way, we don't want to limit ourselves to the options that are available now as opposed to what we think may be available in the offseason. That leaves you with some sort of an incremental improvement. We just didn't see that out there. So we were alert to the possibility, but we didn't feel the opportunity presented itself."

Regarding Bartolo Colon, you had said that the offseason might make more sense because you're competing against teams that otherwise might have to give three- or four-year deals to free agents. Is that the logic that prevailed? Or was it more that you didn't want to subtract because the team is doing well?

"I think it may be a combination of things. First of all, I hate to talk specifically about individual players, but don't assume in all cases that we were fielding numerous calls from numerous teams. For whatever reason, the market doesn't always develop for certain players. Yes, on Monday I felt our assessment was that in the case of someone like Bartolo that he might be viewed as more valuable in the offseason than he would be today. I think the lack of activity surrounding Bartolo indicated that. I think the other thing that happened was so many of these marquee pitchers went late, just before the deadline, as well as some second-tier starters, that whatever teams might have circled back on someone like Colon may not have had time to do it."

How much did the 52-56 record -- still in hunt, but still 7 1/2 games back in division -- affect decision-making?

"I think our record and our standing in the division race and the wild-card race had an impact, which is to say that we're neither here nor there at the moment. But I think taking into account where we stand led us to, as I said before, set a price on the players that we have. We felt comfortable where we set that level. We took the standings into account. We also took [into account] the chemistry of the team and how we play over the next 60 days irrespective of the standings, and what might things look like in the offseason, what our options may be. So a number of factors came into play. Our standing in the National League being one of them."

What were you targeting?

"In the event that we were to make a trade, we were looking for players that would have a chance to play for us as soon as this season. We weren't looking to subtract from our big league club just to add to our stash of prospects. We were looking for some players that were close to ready or ready. Those didn't eventuate."

How open are you to an August trade involving waivers?

"That's exactly what happened last season. We didn't make a deal at the deadline and we ended up moving Marlon Byrd sometime in August. Those kinds of deals are difficult to predict because you don't know whether you're going to get waivers (player clears), who might claim a player if you don't get the waivers. It's a little bit -- or a lot -- of unpredictability. But there's certainly that possibility. And also, as time moves on through the course of the month, you know a little bit more about where you stand as a team. That's always a possibility. And I would expect that you'll see more deals in August, if not from us from other clubs when you take into account contracts and things of that sort. That will often dictate whether a player gets through waivers or not."

Is the mandate this winter now to upgrade at shortstop and left field? And is it looking like trades are going to have to be the avenue for those? Or is it too soon to know?

"I think that's a little speculative. If you were to look at those two positions, we do have a number of middle infielders that are close in our system -- probably fewer corner outfielders. But I think right now it's much too early to know. It may be somebody who emerges between now and the end of the season that we don't expect out of the system."

Daniel Murphy's name was out there a lot. When you make the deliberation about whether Murphy is going to be a long-term piece for you or you might look to trade him at some point, are the factors (1) what his salary is going to become, (2) what that salary otherwise could be allotted for and (3) that you have guys like Dilson Herrera and Matt Reynolds in the upper levels of the minors?

"Any time you're making the decision on the future of a player, you're talking about all of those factors -- future control, cost, performance, available alternatives within the system and potentially outside the system. All those come into play. And timing as well -- the [July 31] deadline, August, the offseason, just before free agency. So all of those things will come into play and do come into play. Going back to this time frame, when you're basically setting a price, if you will, in terms of prospects or other players ... all of those things come into play."

It's not unfounded that there's some consideration to moving Murphy, correct? There were those leaked Astros documents indicating some conversation last winter.

"Rumors always abound with regards to the Mets. Every conversation, which can range from idle to intense, somehow becomes a little bit larger than life. We talk about players all the time with clubs. It's part of what you do to survey the market and get a feel for what's out there. That doesn't mean that you're actually intent on trading someone when you have those conversations. So the fact that we talked to Houston or some other team about a particular player doesn't necessarily suggest that we're actively looking to trade a player. Those conversations take place. ... And it's always nice to know what the market believes that player is worth versus what we internally believe that player is worth. It's a checkpoint for us."

How did you approach this trade deadline relative to last year's deadline?

"The fact that we didn't make a deal at the deadline this year I guess indicates that we took the same approach. But I think we feel a little more confident about the team this year than we did last year. Maybe that factored into what we didn't do at the deadline this year. But I don't think we took a consciously different approach. The players, we feel they have a certain value. And if we don't see that value in return in discussions with other clubs, we're not going to do it."

How would you characterize the talks? Anything serious? Anything close? Big in scale? Small in scale?

"We had conversations regarding significant players both from the Mets and from other teams in return. We just never agreed on anything. In terms of moving anybody off of our major league club, we were a little bit careful about moving people off of the team, where we couldn't get somebody who was major league ready, or able to be plugged in, in return. Then, as I said before, in actually acquiring other players as opposed to 'selling our own,' it always came back to our handful of top prospects. And we just aren't ready to move any of them at the moment."

Teagarden clears waivers, accepts minors

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
5:17
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NEW YORK -- Catcher Taylor Teagarden, whose rehab assignment was expiring, has cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Teagarden had landed on the DL on June 22 with a strained left hamstring.

Anthony Recker will remain as the major league backup.

Mets stand pat at non-waiver deadline

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
3:59
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NEW YORK -- In the end, the Mets were neither buyers nor sellers.

Winners of 14 of their last 21, the Mets (52-56) allowed Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline to pass with no activity, as general manager Sandy Alderson had suggested Monday was the likelihood.

The Mets opted to retain Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy at the trade deadline, although Colon in reality appeared the only piece with some inclination to deal.

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Alderson noted this week that Colon probably will command more in an offseason deal, provided he continued to produce through the end of the season.

The logic: Teams needing a starting pitcher this offseason might find acquiring Colon and taking on the $11 million owed in 2015 more palatable than signing a comparably talented (and albeit younger) free agent to a three- or four-year deal.

In Murphy’s case, it still appears very possible he gets dealt before reaching free agency at the end of the 2015 season -- whether that’s during the upcoming offseason or a year from now. In fact, Houston Astros documentation of trade conversations with the Mets regarding Murphy from December since has leaked (or was stolen and posted online, according to Astros officials).

Murphy, a first-time All-Star this season, is making $5.7 million and is arbitration-eligible one more time. His salary could exceed $8 million in 2015 and rise to more than $10 million a year in 2016 and beyond. So the Mets ultimately could use Murphy to acquire another potentially attractive piece or prospects and reallocate his dollars elsewhere. They have upper-level second-base prospects: Dilson Herrera in Double-A and Matt Reynolds in Triple-A, plus Wilmer Flores.

There were teams looking to acquire a second baseman at the trade deadline, including the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals. On Thursday, the Nats traded infield prospect Zach Walters to the Cleveland Indians for Asdrubal Cabrera and cash.

On the acquisition side, the Mets were uninterested in rental players. So the acquisition would have needed to make sense for 2015 and potentially beyond. Alderson said Monday, “It’s not clear that there’s something out there.”

A team insider told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday that there was no movement toward acquiring a shortstop. The source said there was one “intriguing” but not overly likely potential outfield acquisition. The source did not disclose the player but suggested after the deadline that he remained with his original team.

So Alderson’s heavy lifting shifts to the winter, when he clearly will need to upgrade at shortstop and left field. At one point, it seemed as though the Mets might need to address four positions this winter, but Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud’s ascents have shifted the offseason mandate to focusing on the positions currently occupied by Ruben Tejada and Chris Young.

Morning Briefing: Deadline day!

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
5:48
AM ET
FIRST PITCH: It’s a day of rest for the Mets, aside from early wakeup calls for those participating in third-base coach Tim Teufel’s charity golf tournament in Greenwich, Conn.

So the focus turns to GM Sandy Alderson. The non-waiver trade deadline is 4 p.m. Thursday.

Mets insiders have suggested the very likely scenario is the team stands pat, but stay tuned.

The Mets return to Citi Field on Friday to open a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants. Jonathon Niese (5-6, 3.23 ERA) opposes right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (5-8, 4.45) in the opener.

Thursday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler limited Philadelphia to two runs in 6 2/3 innings and Daniel Murphy launched a tiebreaking three-run homer en route to an 11-2 victory against the reeling Phillies on Wednesday at Citi Field. Lucas Duda produced three RBIs and has now driven in a run in a career-best six straight games.


Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsThe Mets celebrate after Wednesday's 11-2 win against the Phillies.


Murphy’s opposite-field shot against Kyle Kendrick in the fifth made it 5-1. “I hit the ball that way,” Murphy quipped about the frequency he goes to left field. “It just doesn’t ever go that far.”

On Duda, David Wright said: “It’s just amazing the transformation in such a short time period where he’s become one of the more dangerous hitters in the National League. It’s been fun to watch, because every time he picks up the bat you think he’s going to hit the ball hard. And most of the time he does.”

Terry Collins complimented Wheeler, who has a 1.63 ERA over his past six starts. “You saw a guy battle really without his best command,” the manager said.

Even Jeurys Familia had an RBI single.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

Matt Harvey told ESPNNewYork.com he expects to get on a mound next week for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22, 2013.

Harvey told Mike Puma in the Post he still would like to make a cameo in the majors before the season ends, even though it is clear that’s highly unlikely. “Even if it was one inning out of the bullpen, I would be happy,” Harvey said.

The expectation is Harvey will pitch in the fall instructional league in Port St. Lucie, Fla., which spans late September and early October. He told Puma a brief appearance in the Arizona Fall League is likely, too.

Marc Carig in Newsday reports the initial Harvey mound session actually could occur as soon as Friday.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post advocates the Mets acquiring outfielder Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Writes Kernan:

Matt Kemp would be moved by the Dodgers if the price were right, and, yes, the price is always an issue with the Mets. Kemp is owed $107 million over the next five years. Kemp would be a great fit for the Yankees, too, if they wanted to go there.

• Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com notes any Mets pursuit of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez would have to wait until the winter. Heyman portrays CarGo as more realistic for the Mets. Writes Heyman:

Ultimately, the Mets don't see themselves as likely to land Tulowitzki -- "he wants to be a Yankee" one Mets person said, stating what has becoming obvious -- so Gonzalez will presumably be the main focus of talks once they hook up.

• A Mets insider told ESPNNewYork.com there was one scenario, although it seemed unlikely to materialize, in which the Mets could acquire an “intriguing” outfielder before 4 p.m. It’s not clear who that is, though.

Nick Piecoro in The Arizona Republic reports there’s buzz the Diamondbacks’ Gerardo Parra is available. Parra, earning $4.85 million this season, has one more year of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent following the 2015 season.

• Mets chief operating Jeff Wilpon served on a three-member arbitration panel trying to determine how much the Washington Nationals should be paid for their TV rights by the regional sports network MASN. The principal owner of that network is the Baltimore Orioles.

As a concession for entering O’s territory when the Nats relocated from Montreal for the 2005 season, the Nats agreed to discounted rights fees through 2011. Since then, however, there has been a squabble about how much the Nats should receive from MASN.

Despite a reported favorable ruling for the Nats by the arbitration panel that included Wilpon, the issue apparently still could be headed to court, irking commissioner Bud Selig. Read the full story in The Hollywood Reporter.

• Michael Fulmer tossed six scoreless innings and St. Lucie beat Dunedin, 4-3. Wuilmer Becerra had a two-run triple as Kingsport beat Danville, 8-3. 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in Brooklyn’s 9-4 win against Auburn. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Read more on Wheeler in the Post and Newsday.

• Read more on Duda in the Record and Daily News.

• Read more on Familia in the Star-Ledger.

• The Giants recently signed Dan Uggla after he was released by the Atlanta Braves. There are conflicting reports about Uggla’s status, but it appears he will not be a Giant when the club arrives at Citi Field on Friday. Uggla is 0-for-11 with a walk and has committed three errors since joining San Francisco. Writes Henry Schulman in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Dan Uggla is still a Giant, but probably won’t be when the team gets to New York. I got indications earlier today that Uggla was going to be cut loose. MLB.com reported that he and (incorrectly, [Tyler] Colvin) were released, but Giants officials say there was no roster move with Uggla.

In any event, it seems Uggla’s tenure with the Giants might conclude with three errors, no hits and a few more days of service time applied to his big-league pension.

One spot likely will go to Brandon Belt, who is expected to be activated in New York. Another could foretell a trade, but none was imminent when I left the ballpark around 6 p.m.

• Read a review of Sharknado 2 in Rolling Stone. One line from Wednesday's premiere pleased Mets fans: "You don't mess with a Mets fan on the 7 train." (See clip on Vine here.)

From the bloggers …NY Mets Life gives Alderson some pointers on what the Mets should do at the deadline.

BIRTHDAYS: Billy Wynne, who made his major league debut with the Mets in 1967 and was traded the following offseason in a deal that returned Tommie Agee, was born on this date in 1943.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should be the ideal (but realistic) acquisition target for the Mets before the trade deadline?

Minors 7.30.14: Conforto 3-for-3, 2 RBIs

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
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EL PASO 8, LAS VEGAS 5: Starter Logan Verrett surrendered four runs in six innings, including homers to Tyler Greene, Cody Decker and Taylor Lindsey. Trailing 7-1, the 51s posted a four-run eighth that included a three-run double by Allan Dykstra. Box

NEW HAMPSHIRE 7, BINGHAMTON 2: Starter Greg Peavey allowed four first-inning runs, including a two-run homer to Matt Newman, en route to his first Eastern League loss since April 14. Peavey (8-2) followed with five straight scoreless innings. The B-Mets clawed within 4-1 in the second against Casey Lawrence. T.J. Rivera doubled, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Jayce Boyd's sacrifice fly. In the sixth, Brian Burgamy walked and stole second base. After a pair of strikeouts, Darrell Ceciliani produced an RBI double as Binghamton moved within two runs. The Fisher Cats pulled away from there, though. Hansel Robles and Jack Leathersich combined to handle the final three innings. They surrendered a total of three runs -- all unearned -- on a four-error night for the B-Mets. Box

ST. LUCIE 4, DUNEDIN 3: Michael Fulmer tossed six scoreless innings and Eudy Pina went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Pina's two-run double in the sixth staked St. Lucie to a 4-0 lead. Dunedin pulled within a run with a three-run eighth against Beck Wheeler. T.J. Chism inherited the tying run on second base and, after issuing a walk, coaxed an inning-ending groundout. Chism then tossed a perfect ninth for his fourth save. The intended second game was canceled because rules prohibit three doubleheaders in a seven-day span. Box

KINGSPORT 8, DANVILLE 3: Wuilmer Becerra had a two-run triple and Eudor Garcia followed with an RBI double in a five-run first inning. Box

BROOKLYN 9, AUBURN 4: 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto finished 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and two RBIs and the Cyclones jumped on Auburn with a seven-run second inning. Tyler Moore began that outburst with a walk and advanced on a wild pitch. Auburn starter James Bourque then plunked Will Fulmer. Joe Tuschak followed with an RBI double. Anthony Chavez had a run-scoring infield single. Chavez ultimately scored on a successful double steal as Amed Rosario swiped second. Conforto's RBI single made it 5-0. A balk during Moore’s second at-bat of the inning plated another run. Moore's RBI double made it 7-0. Box

GCL CARDINALS 10, GCL METS 1: Dash Winningham's ninth-inning solo homer accounted for the lone Mets run. Starter Jose Celas surrendered five runs on seven hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. Box

Compiled with team reports

For Mets, light at end of tunnel appears

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
5:13
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NEW YORK -- Apparently there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

After two collapses and five consecutive losing seasons, things are starting to look up for the New York Mets.

The Amazin's still are a modest 52-56 with one-third of the season remaining.

Courtesy Brian SullivanTime to lose the paper bag. Things are looking up for the Mets.
Yet they have won 14 of their past 21 games. And with Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell poised to return from Tommy John surgery next season, with the emergence of young arms such as Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, and with solid recent contributions from Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud, the Mets may only be a shortstop and a left fielder away from legitimate contention.

That’s a far cry from how it looked early in the season, when Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth comprised the back end of the bullpen, Ike Davis versus Duda had yet to be resolved, deGrom had yet to debut and d'Arnaud struggled so mightily he eventually ended up with Triple-A Las Vegas.

“These guys have competed all year,” manager Terry Collins said after the Mets' 11-2 rubber-game win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday. “Always you’re being evaluated, regardless of what anybody says, on wins and losses. Again, we aren’t happy with the fact we don’t have more wins. But all we can do is compete. All you can do is go out there and play nine innings as hard as you can play and then tip your hat and get ready for tomorrow. And that’s the way we’ve approached it.”

Wheeler did not have his sharpest control Wednesday, but he nonetheless limited the Phillies to two runs in 6 2/3 innings.

“We’re a good team right now, I feel,” Wheeler said. “We’re just a couple of swings or outs away from turning the corner. I feel like we’re a whole different team from the beginning of the season, honestly -- with the bats, with the pitching all around.”

Said David Wright: “We’ve dug ourselves a hole, obviously, so we’ve got to find our way out of it. I’ve been impressed mostly with the consistency that this team has played with the last month or three weeks or however long it’s been, where we’re not going through such streaks where you’re hot for a week, cold for a week, hot for a week, cold for a week.

“It seems like we’ve been going out there winning series against some quality teams. Hopefully that continues, because that’s what it takes. You can’t just get hot for a couple of weeks and try to ride that. You’ve got to consistently get better as a team, and we’re doing that.”

The non-waiver trading deadline nonetheless is expected to pass at 4 p.m. Thursday without any action from the Mets.

“Guys understand the deadline, and you just go about your business and get ready for the game,” Wright said. “There’s no talk of it. There’s no real thought of it.”

Said Daniel Murphy, feigning ignorance: “What is it, tomorrow? I’ll be hanging out with my son and my wife tomorrow. I’ll be fine.”

Matt Harvey to mound next week

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
4:34
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey has the go-ahead to get on a mound next week for the first time

lastname
Harvey
since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22, 2013.

Harvey had wanted to be on a mound in June, but did not have organization permission.

It's clear Harvey will not pitch in the majors this season. Still, it's possible Harvey will pitch briefly in the fall instructional league, which spans late September and early October in Florida.

Mets Blow Out Phillies

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
4:17
PM ET


video

Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda each homered in the Mets' 11-2 win over the Phillies.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 11, Phillies 2

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
3:39
PM ET
NEW YORK -- It's safe to say the Philadelphia Phillies are no longer the team to beat.

Zack Wheeler continued to make the case he is becoming an elite pitcher and Daniel Murphy launched a three-run homer as the Mets beat the Phillies, 11-2, in Wednesday’s rubber game at Citi Field.

Officially two-thirds of the way through the season, the Mets are 52-56.

Wheeler was in position to match a franchise record until Jimmy Rollins launched a pinch-hit homer to lead off the seventh that pulled Philadelphia with 4-2. With the long ball, Wheeler’s streak of limiting opponents to one earned run while completing at least six innings ended at five straight games -- one shy of matching the franchise record.

Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Zack Wheeler allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
His final line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

Four Mets pitchers have made six straight starts logging at least six innings and surrendering no more than one earned run in each outing: R.A. Dickey (2012), David Cone (1988), Nolan Ryan (1971) and Jerry Koosman (1969).

Wheeler improved to 6-8 with a 3.60 ERA.

He entered the outing with the most pitches per batter of any qualified NL starter (4.11). Consistent with that statistic, his pitch count swelled early Wednesday, rising to 45 after two innings and 60 after three innings. But Wheeler ultimately worked into the seventh inning before departing with his pitch count at 112.

Until Rollins’ homer, Wheeler limited the Phillies to a two-out RBI double in the fifth by Ryan Howard, which opened the game’s scoring.

Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick had taken a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth, when his outing unraveled.

After Juan Lagares and Ruben Tejada singled and Wheeler bunted them ahead, Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases with one out. Kendrick issued a wild pitch that evened the score. Murphy then deposited an opposite-field homer over the left-field wall for a 4-1 lead.

Kathy Willens/Associated PressDaniel Murphy's three-run homer staked the Mets to a 4-1 lead.
Murphy had gone 94 at-bats since his last homer, on July 1 against Atlanta’s Mike Minor.

Tejada finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and an intentional walk. He snapped an 0-for-13 drought. Lagares finished 3-for-5.

Bruised and battered: Dana Eveland, struck in the left elbow in the series opener and forced to depart, struggled two days later in his return to the mound. Taking over for Wheeler with two outs and none on in the seventh to face the lefty-hitting Chase Utley, Eveland issued a walk.

Utley then swiped second base after getting a huge jump. He advanced to third base on a passed ball. Eveland then plunked the lefty-hitting Howard with a pitch and departed.

Jeurys Familia bailed out Eveland and maintained the Mets’ 4-2 lead by coaxing a groundout from ex-Met Marlon Byrd.

Passing fancy: Travis d'Arnaud was charged with his 10th passed ball. That matches Colorado's Wilin Rosario for the major league lead.

Career year: Lucas Duda produced his 58th, 59th and 60th RBIs, surpassing his 2012 total (57) for a new career high. After an intentional walk to David Wright in the seventh, Duda staked the Mets to a 5-2 lead with an opposite-field RBI single against Mario Hollands. Duda added a two-run homer in the eighth against Phillippe Aumont. Duda has five homers in his past eight games.

Take that deGrom! Familia ended up batting against Justin De Fratus in what became a five-run seventh during which the Mets sent 10 batters to the plate. He delivered a run-scoring single for his first career RBI. He is 2-for-2 this season and 2-for-3 overall at the plate as a major leaguer. Familia’s other hit came May 28 against Pittsburgh’s Bryan Morris while notching a five-out save.

Not in your house: Center fielder Ben Revere leaped at the wall to take away a potential homer from Duda to open the bottom of the fourth.

What’s next: Mets players get a day off Thursday, but Sandy Alderson will continue to work the phones until the non-waiver trade deadline at 4 p.m. The Mets resume play Friday. Jonathon Niese (5-6, 3.23 ERA) opposes San Francisco Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (5-8, 4.45) in the opener of a four-game series at Citi Field.

Farm report: Undrafted Rivera ascends

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
10:23
AM ET
NEW YORK -- T.J. Rivera last regularly started at shortstop during his freshman year in college, while he played for ex-Met Mackey Sasser at Wallace-Dothan Community College in Alabama.

However, once Matt Reynolds earned a promotion to Las Vegas in mid-June, and with Wilfredo Tovar having not yet returned to Double-A following surgery to repair a thumb ligament, Rivera at least temporarily has been restored to the position he also played at Lehman High School in the Bronx as a teenager.

Rivera, 25, is hitting .340 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 27 games with Binghamton. He spent the first half at St. Lucie, hitting .341 with four homers and 47 RBIs in 252 at-bats.


Courtesy of New York MetsT.J. Rivera


Overall, his .341 season average leads the organization, narrowly ahead of Reynolds’ .337.

“With Reynolds going up to Triple-A, we didn’t have a shortstop,” B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez said. “Talking to [director of player development] Dicky [Scott], I felt like it was a good opportunity for T.J. to basically go out and play short on a daily basis. He’s done a good job.”

Said Rivera: “It’s awesome. I haven’t played there in a while. When I first signed, I played a little bit of it. But after that, last year I played maybe one or two games when Reynolds didn’t play. It’s been a great experience. It’s a great position if you can play it -- a lot of opportunities open up for you. I’m really just trying to go out there and make every routine play I can to help the team and the pitchers.”

Rivera has earned his way to Double-A, perhaps more so than most farmhands. He went undrafted as a senior as he finished his college career at Troy University in Alabama. He still doesn’t know how the Mets found him, although he believes Sasser, his JUCO coach, must have put in a good word. Rivera signed with the Mets a week after the draft in 2011.

“It was weird,” Rivera said. “My senior year I p1ayed my whole year and didn’t really talk to any scouts or anything like that. I don’t know if they had seen me in junior college or they had been watching me at Troy. It was the week after and I got a call. It was out of the blue.”

For Rivera ultimately to reach the majors would be a big-time accomplishment.

According to MLB data, there were 853 players on Opening Day rosters -- either active or on the DL or restricted list. Of those, 650 were drafted and 188 were foreign-born and not subject to the draft. That leaves only 15 other players. Of those, MLB identified 10 who were eligible for the draft and went unselected: Heath Bell, Chris Colabello, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Hanigan, Elliot Johnson, Daniel Nava, Matt Shoemaker, Joe Thatcher, Dale Thayer and Ian Thomas.

Bell was an undrafted Mets signee who debuted with the Amazin’s.

Assistant GM John Ricco could only recall one Mets signee since Bell to reach the majors: right-hander Robert Manuel, who went to the Reds in a 2006 trade for Dave Williams and made his major league debut with Cincinnati in ’09.

“It’s nice that I’m showing that people that aren’t drafted can still have a chance as long as you prove yourself. I still have a lot more to prove, which I know,” Rivera said. “It’s awesome that I’m doing something like that. But either way -- if I was drafted high or not -- it’s a great experience. Hopefully I’m opening eyes for other people that aren’t drafted. We still have an opportunity to come out and play, just like anybody else does.”

Rivera by no means is a power hitter. He cleared the left-field wall once in batting practice at Trenton on Friday and expressed surprise that he accomplished it. If he reaches the majors, it probably would be as a versatile infielder. He has some minor-league experience at first and third, although the bulk of his work has been at second base and now shortstop.

“I like to stick to the gaps,” Rivera said. “When I try to do too much, my swing goes downhill. I try to keep low line drives and keep the ball in the gap and try to get on base. Once in a while I’m able to get them out.”

Said Lopez: “He’s patient, but at the same time he’s aggressive. He’s got pretty good plate discipline. Not to say he doesn’t swing at pitches out of the strike zone, because they all do. That’s the reason why they’re here. But he’s got a solid approach and he’s got a good understanding of the strike zone.”

Organization leaders

Average: T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .341; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .337; Wuilmer Becerra, Kingsport, .330; Matt den Dekker, Vegas, .326; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, .320; John Mora, GCL Mets, .318; Kevin Plawecki, Vegas, .314; Enmanuel Zabala, GCL Mets, .306; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .304; Josh Satin, Vegas, .304.

Homers: Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 18; Dustin Lawley, Binghamton, 18; Andrew Brown, Vegas, 17; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 14; Wimer Flores, Vegas, 13.

RBIs: Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 62; L.J. Mazzilli, St. Lucie, 62; Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 60; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, 60; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 57.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 22; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, 21; Champ Stuart, Savannah, 17; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, 16; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 14.

ERA: Martires Arias, Kingsport, 0.50; Marcos Molina, Brooklyn, 1.30; Octavio Acosta, Brooklyn, 2.14; Corey Oswalt, Brooklyn, 2.56; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 2.60; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 2.63; John Gant, Savannah, 2.72; Kevin McGowan, St. Lucie, 2.86; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 3.33; Matt Bowman, Binghamton, 3.35.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Binghamton, 10; John Gant, Savannah, 10; Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 9.

Saves: Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 13; Robert Coles, St. Lucie, 12; Randy Fontanez, Binghamton, 10; Akeel Morris, Savannah, 10; Cody Satterwhite, Binghamton, 10.

Strikeouts: Darin Gorski, Vegas, 105; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 100; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 99; Tyler Pill, Binghamton, 96; Dario Alvarez, Savannah, 95.

Short hops

• First-round pick Michael Conforto lost a 10-game hitting streak to begin his career when he went 0-for-3 with a walk in Brooklyn’s 4-1 win at Lowell on Tuesday. Conforto’s streak was the longest to start a professional career as a Cyclone since former first-round pick Ike Davis began his career with a 15-game hitting streak in 2008.

Conforto nonetheless is hitting .366 with four RBIs in 41 at-bats in the New York-Penn League. No promotion is imminent for the Oregon State product, but Conforto should finish his first season at a higher level -- potentially Savannah, which will be playoff-bound after winning the first half.

• Mets prospects will be assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League along with players from the Yankees, Phillies, Pirates and Giants. Jeff Bannister from Pittsburgh’s organization will manage the club. The Mets do not have a representative on the coaching staff, but Binghamton trainer Debra Iwanow will work with the AFL club.

• St. Lucie shortstop Gavin Cecchini went 3-for-6 Monday and ignited a 12th-inning rally. His Florida State League average climbed 16 points in one day, but still remains only .195 in 35 games since a promotion from Savannah.

• Binghamton first baseman Jayce Boyd, a Florida State product, had a .246 average on July 6. Since then, he leads the Eastern League with a .396 (21-for-53) average.

• Brooklyn’s Jhoan Ureña had his second 13-game hitting streak of the season snapped Monday. He became the second player in Cyclones history to have a pair of double-digit-game hitting streaks in the same season. The other: Angel Pagan in 2001, the inaugural season of the Cyclones.

• Binghamton second baseman Dilson Herrera, who was acquired from the Pirates last August, has hit safely in 29 of 35 games since a promotion to Binghamton. The production includes 12 multi-hit games. He also has produced 32 RBIs in 35 games.

• Princeton product Matt Bowman rejoined Binghamton after a spot start with Las Vegas in which he took a scoreless effort into the eighth inning.

John Lannan has joined Las Vegas after a seven-week absence from the organization, then a ramping-up process in the Florida State League.

• Tovar currently is playing with St. Lucie as he works back from a ligament tear that required surgery.

Jeremy Hefner will continue pitching with St. Lucie for at least one more start as he works back from Tommy John surgery performed last August.

Wednesday's Mets-Phillies lineups

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
10:14
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Here are the lineups for Wednesday's 12:10 p.m. rubber game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

Mets
Curtis Granderson, rf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Chris Young, lf
Juan Lagares, cf
Ruben Tejada, ss
Zack Wheeler, rhp

Phillies
Ben Revere, cf
Grady Sizemore, lf
Chase Utley, 2b
Ryan Howard, 1b
Marlon Byrd, rf
Cody Asche, 3b
Wil Nieves, c
Andres Blanco, ss
Kyle Kendrick, rhp

Mets remain quiet as deadline nears

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
9:40
AM ET
NEW YORK -- With Thursday's 4 p.m.non-waiver trade deadline rapidly approaching, team insiders tell ESPNNewYork.com that it is very likely no activity occurs involving the Mets.

At this point, the lone subtraction the Mets could still make appears to be Bartolo Colon. And a source indicated there is nothing that suggests a deal will occur.

A team insider said the Mets have nothing brewing in terms of acquiring a shortstop.

There is one "intriguing" scenario in which the Mets could acquire an outfielder who would remain under control at least through 2015. But the source suggested that is even less likely to materialize than trading Colon. The source said it was too sensitive, and probably premature, to identify the player or team right now.

One plugged-in source told ESPNNewYork.com that if a deal were going to happen by Thursday at 4 p.m., something very likely would have been in a more significant stage by now. Still, the source did not want to 100 percent dismiss any activity materializing because teams could put together a deal in a matter of hours if they suddenly got motivated.

The bottom line, though: There is no evidence right now that a trade will materialize involving the Mets.

For Wheeler, Duda stats caught up to skills

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
9:00
AM ET
Put your trust in the numbers, have a little patience and you’ll be rewarded.

That’s been the story of the season for both Wednesday’s starting pitcher, Zack Wheeler, and Lucas Duda, who should be back in the lineup at first base for the 12:10 p.m. start against Philadelphia.

[+] EnlargeZack Wheeler
AP Photo/John BazemoreZack Wheeler has been considerably better in his last 11 starts.
Wheeler was 1-5 with a 4.63 ERA through 10 outings, entering his start against the Phillies on May 29. He allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings in a 4-1 win that day. It began an 11-start run in which he has allowed no earned runs or one earned run eight times. He is 4-3 with a 2.78 ERA over that span. He has a 1.41 ERA in his last five starts, during which he has allowed one earned run in each outing.

Duda entered June 13 hitting .229 with a .740 OPS -- numbers that left Mets fans still wanting for Ike Davis at that point.

Duda went 2-for-4 with an RBI in a win over the San Diego Padres, starting a tear during which he has hit .305 with a 1.023 OPS and 10 homers in 131 at-bats.

In each case, there were reasons to think each would improve.

For Wheeler, his strikeout, walk and homers allowed combination (in sabermetric terms, his FIP -- Fielding Independent Pitching) fit the profile of a pitcher with an ERA about a run better than his actual 4.63.

In Duda’s case, he had shown consistency hitting the ball hard all season. And there was reason to expect better results when he hit the ball hard.

Wheeler’s keys
When Wheeler was going bad, we noted three issues hindering his performance -- the Mets' inability to get outs when he induced a groundball, his struggles against left-handed hitters, and his performance when the opponent had runners in scoring position.

All three have improved considerably over these last 11 starts (see chart).

Wheeler has also bettered his strikeout-to-walk rate, going from a pitcher with a 2-1 ratio to one with a 3-1 ratio. He has 68 strikeouts and 22 walks in his last 11 starts, while maintaining nearly an identical home-run rate.

In turn, the numbers have balanced themselves out. Wheeler’s seasonal ERA (3.64) and his FIP (3.47) are now a near-match.

Duda’s keys
Though Duda was hitting .229 through mid-June, he was hitting the ball hard.

The video scouting service we use charted Duda with a 23 percent hard-hit rate, based on how often he was getting what they defined as favorable velocity, distance, and sweet-spot contact.

Given that hard-hit balls result in hits for hitters about 70 percent of the time -- and 68 percent of the time over Duda’s previous three seasons -- almost every hitter around that rate had a considerably higher batting average than Duda. He was 25-for-44 (.568) when recording a hard-hit ball.

A couple of things have happened for Duda of late -- most notably that his line-drive rate has soared (along with a decline in his groundball rate). The fly balls have soared too. Duda has made the most of venues friendlier than Citi Field, with seven of his last 10 homers coming on the road. He also has found success in Flushing, with eight doubles in his last 48 at-bats there.

Meanwhile, his rate of hitting the ball hard has stayed consistent. In fact, his 24 percent rate in 2014 matches that of Troy Tulowitzki for best in the NL. We’ve put those numbers in the chart.

Looking ahead
The ZiPS projection system from ESPN Insider’s Dan Szymborski forecasts Wheeler to have a 3.57 ERA over his final 11 starts this season, to finish at 3.62.

That system also looks at Duda’s track record and doesn’t fully buy into this hot streak. It has him hitting .247 with seven homers in his last 48 games to finish the season at .256 with 25 homers.

In both cases, that might not be quite what the Mets fan is hoping for. But if you’re going to trust the numbers, you need to look at it both ways.

And look at this way: The finished product is pretty promising even if it tails off from its current hot run.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.88 106 141
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .298
HRL. Duda 19
RBIL. Duda 60
RD. Murphy 62
OPSL. Duda .864
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 125