New York Mets: Bobby Parnell
WHAT IT MEANS: Juan Lagares belted his first major league homer -- a game-tying two-run shot in the seventh against Travis Wood -- and Daniel Murphy gave the Mets the lead an inning later with a solo homer against Kyuji Fujikawa as the Mets rallied for a 4-3 rubber-game victory against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The Mets went 3-4 on their trip to St. Louis and Chicago.
Murphy had been installed in the leadoff spot for the first time since 2009. He went 1-for-4 Sunday and 14-for-28 on the trip.
FRIED RICE: Scott Rice earned the win in his 25th appearance in 41 Mets games. This time, he logged two innings, retiring all six batters he faced.
Bobby Parnell then handled the ninth for his sixth save.
GOLLY GEE: The opposing pitcher hurt the Mets with his bat again. Wood belted a two-run homer to left field to break a scoreless tie in the fifth. It marked the second straight day a Cubs pitcher helped undermine the Mets. Scott Feldman had a two-run double in a four-run fourth Saturday that helped sidetrack Jeremy Hefner's outing.
Gee's final line: 5-plus IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 HR.
He surrendered a leadoff homer to Ryan Sweeney in the sixth that staked Chicago to a 3-1 lead.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Mets return home to begin a challenging 10-game stretch against the Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and Yankees. Shaun Marcum (0-4, 6.75 ERA) searches for his first Mets win Monday when he opposes Johnny Cueto (1-0, 2.60) in the Reds right-hander's return from the disabled list.
Seth Wenig/Associated Press
Ike Davis is in danger of a demotion within five days or so if he does not start producing.
FIRST PITCH: For the first time since May 1-2, the Mets have a two-game winning streak.
Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61 ERA) looks to keep the roll going when he opposes Chicago Cubs right-hander Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53) at 1:05 p.m. ET today at Wrigley Field.
“Hef’s been pitching good enough,” Terry Collins said. “We’ve got to start putting some points on the board so these guys have something to work with.”
Saturday’s news reports:
• Ike Davis does not have many days remaining to prove he deserves to avoid a demotion, ESPNNewYork.com has learned. Davis did snap a hitless skid at 24 at-bats Friday. Andrew Brown played first base for Triple-A Las Vegas for the first time on Friday, and would seem the most likely call-up if a swap is made. Brown does have to stay in the minors for another five days before potentially returning, since he only was demoted Monday, when Rick Ankiel arrived. Zach Lutz and Josh Satin would appear less-likely alternatives. That also would appear to signal that the Mets do not want to disrupt Lucas Duda in left field, since any potential Davis absence would not be indefinite.
• Matt Harvey took the Mets’ offensive woes into his own hands, driving in the go-ahead run in the seventh after Collins passed on using a pinch hitter. Harvey improved to 5-0 and snapped a four-start streak of no-decisions as the Mets beat the Cubs, 3-2, at Wrigley Field.
Harvey became the second starting pitcher in the majors this season with a go-ahead RBI in his win in the seventh inning or later. The other: Clayton Kershaw against San Francisco on Opening Day. Harvey is the first Mets pitcher to do so since Sid Fernandez in 1993. It was only the second RBI by a Mets pitcher this season.
Bobby Parnell tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save, although Anthony Rizzo put a charge into a ball that got knocked down by the winds blowing in at Wrigley Field. Harvey and Parnell are a combined 9-0 with a 1.44 ERA; the rest of the Mets pitching staff is 7-23 with a 5.35 ERA, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Cubs third-base coach David Bell took responsibility for Darwin Barney getting thrown out at the plate in the eighth by right fielder Marlon Byrd with the would-be tying run. ”Obviously it is disappointing. It turned out it wasn't a very close play," Bell told ESPNChicago.com. "I just watched the replay again and it wasn't close. As a third-base coach you always want to make the right decision, and that clearly wasn't the right decision."
Matt Harvey relied on offspeed pitches after the first time through the Cubs lineup.
“They were coming out swinging,” Harvey said.
Harvey has allowed five hits or fewer in 15 of his first 20 career starts, the most in franchise history. Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, Randy Tate and Fernandez are tied for second (13 apiece).
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Travis d’Arnaud will be required to wear a boot and avoid placing pressure on his left foot for two more weeks, doctor Struan Coleman advised after examining the top catching prospect Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. The Mets had hoped d’Arnaud would be cleared to begin weight-bearing activity after suffering a fractured first metatarsal on April 17 on a foul ball while catching.
Since d’Arnaud needs more Triple-A seasoning once he ultimately returns to play (perhaps in six weeks), he may end up no more than a September call-up to the majors at this point. Because of knee and foot injuries, d’Arnaud has played in only 79 Pacific Coast League games over two seasons.
The news was positive for Zack Wheeler yesterday. The Mets have slotted him back into Las Vegas’ rotation on Wednesday at Iowa.
Read more on d’Arnaud and Wheeler in Newsday and the Daily News.
• Cubs outfielder Scott Hairston told ESPNNewYork.com he had no hard feelings about how Sandy Alderson handled his free agency, although he questioned how much the Mets really wanted him.
• Satin had a three-run homer and Matt Fox earned the win in his organization debut as Las Vegas beat Omaha, 7-3. Jenrry Mejia allowed two runs on five hits and three walks in three innings in his first official rehab appearance with St. Lucie. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Keith Law projects the Mets will select California high school first baseman Dominic Smith with the 11th overall pick in next month’s draft.
Mookie Wilson says lay off Jordany Valdespin.
• Jose Reyes offered this to Dan Martin in the Post about Jordany Valdespin:
“I talk to Valdespin almost every day,” Reyes said. “He’s a very good friend of mine … I don’t know what’s going on over there. I don’t want to touch that. Valdespin, I support him in everything he [does] because he’s a good friend of mine. Other than that, I don’t know what’s going on over there.”
Mookie Wilson told the Daily News that Valdespin needs a chance to succeed without a bull’s-eye n his back.
“Give the kid a chance,” Wilson said. “He is a very spirited kid, very young and has a lot to learn, no question about that. But some things are being blown out of proportion. I think we need to back up and not overanalyze everything.”
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing discovers everything works on Harvey Day. … John Delcos at Mets Report asserts the Mets should demote Davis.
BIRTHDAYS: Brooklyn-born Nelson Figueroa is 39.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Would you be OK with Andrew Brown at first base? Or would you prefer Lucas Duda at first base and Brown available as an outfielder if Ike Davis’ demotion materializes?
Hey "guy who wants to give me a public scolding about being on my cellphone in the elevator", I'm not listening because I'm busy on my phone— Collin McHugh (@Collin_McHugh) May 17, 2013
Daniel Murphy reached base all five plate appearances and twice scored on David Wright hits and Jonathon Niese rebounded from a pair of dismal starts as the Mets snapped a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium.
The Mets (15-23) avoided getting swept in a series of four or more games by the Cardinals for the first time since 1982.
Jordany Valdespin scores from first base on Daniel Murphy's third-inning double.
DANNY BOY: Murphy went 4-for-4 with two doubles and also walked. He is now 11-for-his-last-17 since going hitless in the previous 17 at-bats.
Murphy’s third-inning double against Adam Wainwright scored Jordany Valdespin from first base and evened the score at 1.
Both times Murphy doubled, Wright followed by driving him in -- for the tiebreaking run in the third and then to give the Mets a 3-1 lead against Wainwright in the sixth.
The last Mets to reach base five times in a game without benefit of an error? That would be Mike Baxter (five walks) and Murphy (4-for-4, BB) last Aug. 4 at San Diego.
NIESELY DONE: After allowing a combined 15 runs in 8 1/3 innings in his previous two starts, Niese got back on track to earn his first win since April 12.
Niese’s teammates actually did more damage than the Cardinals. The lone run against the southpaw came when Rick Ankiel broke late on what was ruled a double by Pete Kozma into shallow right-center with two outs in the second inning. That scored Yadier Molina with the game’s opening run.
Niese logged 7 1/3 innings. He departed with his pitch count at 113 and a 5-1 lead after a one-out double by Matt Carpenter and walk to Shane Robinson. Brandon Lyon allowed an inherited runner to score on Carlos Beltran’s RBI single. Lyon then coaxed an inning-ending double play from Allen Craig.
CLOSE CALL: Bobby Parnell earned only his fourth 2013 save. He had not had an opportunity since May 1.
OH-NO: Ike Davis went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. He is hitless in his last 22 at-bats, with 10 strikeouts during that span.
NOT PRETTY: The Mets may have won, but that does not mean they played crisply. With runners on the corners and none out leading 4-1 in the seventh, Niese struck out bunting. Valdespin then bunted, and popped out in foul territory to Molina. After Murphy walked to load the bases, Wright lined out to second base to end the threat.
WHAT’S NEXT: Matt Harvey Day! Harvey (4-0, 1.44 ERA), the SI cover boy who has suffered four straight no-decisions despite stellar pitching, opposes Chicago Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson in the 2:20 p.m. ET opener to a three-game weekend series Friday at Wrigley Field.
Bill Boyce/Associated Press
Rick Ankiel made his Mets debut last night at Busch Stadium.
FIRST PITCH: Less Cowgill. More Ankiel?
Desperate for outfield production, the Mets signed strikeout-prone Rick Ankiel and will use him in a center-field platoon with Juan Lagares. Ankiel debuted last night at Busch Stadium, going 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
The signing seemed to be met by widespread dismay from Mets fans.
And this is not a slam at Ankiel.
The question becomes: If the Mets are not going to be a playoff team this season -- and who seriously thinks they are -- why not just experiment with young players? Get them experience for when the Mets again are relevant.
It doesn’t even matter which young player -- Lagares … Kirk Nieuwenhuis … Jordany Valdespin … anyone.
The Mets will counter that line of thinking by saying that Ankiel is a placeholder. And if they had someone ready to step in, they would be up, which is an indictment in itself.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The Mets, no matter the GM, have a tradition of trying to squeeze out a few wins in meaningless seasons by using the veteran at the expense of a young person playing, which leaves the prospect less prepared to contribute to brighter days.
It happened pre-Sandy Alderson, too.
Remember when Hisanori Takahashi was compiling saves late in the 2010 season after K-Rod’s family meltdown at Citi Field?
All that did was deprive Bobby Parnell of some closing experience back then and set up Takahashi for a two-year, $8 million deal that offseason as a free agent with the Los Angeles Angels.
Lagares, by the way, does start Tuesday. Dillon Gee (2-4, 5.55 ERA) will face left-hander John Gast in the southpaw’s major league debut at 8:15 p.m. ET.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Having borrowed a glove from Jonathon Niese because his had yet to find its way from Houston, Ankiel dropped a sinking liner off the bat of Ty Wigginton in the seventh inning Monday night. Wigginton eventually scored the deciding run when the Mets failed to cover home plate and the Cardinals won, 6-3, at Busch Stadium. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record, Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and MLB.com.
• The Mets optioned Andrew Brown to Las Vegas and moved Jenrry Mejia to the 60-day DL in order to clear a spot for Ankiel. Mejia will continue to pitch in the minors uninterrupted. Until early June, though, he will not count against the 40-man roster. Read more on Ankiel’s signing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Star-Ledger.
While pitching for the Red Sox last season, Scott Atchison passed on Tommy John surgery and instead let his elbow calm down for a couple of months.
• Frank Francisco was examined Monday in New York for continued elbow discomfort. He was diagnosed with a strained flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow and was advised to refrain from throwing for 72 hours. He may then attempt to resume activity. Bottom line: He is making $6.5 million this season. And he likely will not contribute anytime soon. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, who fractured the first metatarsal in his left foot four weeks ago, has an exam scheduled for Friday in New York. He hopes to be cleared to shed an immobilizing boot and begin weight-bearing activity.
• Alderson, appearing on WFAN, touched on a variety of topics:
--Alderson said he couldn’t foresee rock bottom any lower. “I’m not sure that things can devolve any further,” he said.
--He said this time of year, the only players available are generally via waiver claims and releases, as was the case with Ankiel. In other words: Don’t expect a cavalry.
“This is not the time of year when clubs, at least most clubs, are making massive changes,” Alderson said. “… At this particular juncture, there is not a lot that is available to us. Some of the players who are not playing well have to play better. It’s as simple as that.
(Pause and process that.)
Yet, ready or not, the struggling Mets hitters face the top rotation in the majors in a four-game series beginning tonight at Busch Stadium. That includes facing Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright the final two games. That duo combined to retire an MLB-record-tying 40 straight batters this weekend against the Colorado Rockies.
Terry Collins has committed to Ike Davis batting cleanup.
Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.63 ERA) and right-hander Lance Lynn (5-1, 2.72) face off in the series opener at 7:05 p.m. ET.
One issue to monitor: How patient will Terry Collins be with Ike Davis?
Collins stuck with his promise and moved Davis to the cleanup spot Sunday.
Did the manager box himself into a corner by pledging the lineup would be stable with Ike in that spot? Davis went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as the Mets lost to Pittsburgh, 3-2, Sunday. He has 24 Ks in his last 59 at-bats, yet Collins now would appear committed to keeping Davis batting cleanup for a while.
Monday’s news reports:
• Although he did not possess his best stuff, Harvey limited the Pirates to two runs in seven innings Sunday. Harvey suffered his fourth straight no-decision, even though he has a 1.98 ERA during that span. The Mets have scored six total runs with Harvey in the game during that four-game stretch.
Closer Bobby Parnell entered in an unusual spot -- a tie game with two outs in the eighth and two baserunners aboard -- and surrendered a game-deciding RBI single to Manhattan-raised Pedro Alvarez.
Daniel Murphy snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a one-out double in the bottom half of that frame, but he was stranded at third base when Collins’ revised lineup flopped. Davis struck out and Lucas Duda grounded out against Mark Melancon to strand Murphy at third base. Duda was flat-out unlucky. His grounder up the first-base line hit the bag and ricocheted to second baseman Brandon Inge, who threw to Melancon covering first to end the threat.
The Mets (14-20) dropped six games under .500 for the first time this season and lost for only the second time in a Harvey start this year. The Pirates had been 3-12 since the opening of Citi Field before taking three of four during the weekend.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record, Times, Journal and MLB.com.
• Davis acknowledged he “let the team down.” Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post writes Davis may need a ticket to Vegas to correct himself. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Writes columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News:
I am here to report Matt Harvey is human -- which made for a doubly aggravating Mother’s Day experience for Met fans.
For even when Harvey is inhuman, as he was in his previous start when he nearly perfect-gamed the Chicago White Sox Tuesday at Citi Field, the bumbling Mets were unable to muster enough runs to get him a win. And such was the case again Sunday when Harvey battled with his command most of the afternoon but still was able to hold the Pittsburgh Pirates to just two runs over seven innings and put the Mets in position for a much-needed “W.”
Writes columnist David Lennon in Newsday:
Matt Harvey is a potentially great pitcher on an undeniably bad team, which is why he walked away empty-handed yet again Sunday despite a performance that was merely good in the Mets' 3-2 loss to the Pirates.
Get used to it, because without significant upgrades to this roster, Harvey is going to feel pretty lonely out there this season. While he didn't have his A-plus stuff against Pittsburgh, Harvey still allowed only two runs over seven innings, which normally is more than adequate for a win.
But not in Flushing, where Harvey was left to explain everything he couldn't do Sunday. Despite a lack of his usual pinpoint control, Harvey's biggest problem wasn't throwing the baseball. The issue was the Mets' chronic inability to make contact with it that doomed him.
Read more on Harvey in the Times and Daily News.
Frank Francisco needs to see a doctor for elbow discomfort.
The Mets officially promoted sidearmer Greg Burke from Triple-A Las Vegas to try to spell an overused bullpen, although Burke went unused Sunday. The team placed Jeurys Familia on the DL with biceps tendinitis. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Collin McHugh (3-2, 2.74 ERA) limited Albuquerque to one run in seven innings. 51s reliever Sean Henn then allowed a pair of ninth-inning runs but stranded Tony Gwynn Jr. in scoring position by striking out Jeremy Moore as Las Vegas won, 4-3. In his second start since returning from the DL, Cory Mazzoni allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings as Binghamton split a doubleheader with a 9-3 win in Game 2 against Harrisburg. Stefan Sabol’s solo homer accounted for the only Savannah run in a 4-1 loss to Rome. Read the minor league recap here.
• Mets instructors had praise for Zack Wheeler’s 7 1/3-inning outing Sunday with Vegas. Read more in Newsday.
• In the Record, John Buck pays a Mother’s Day tribute to his wife Brooke -- “the steadying force” as they dealt with the early days following the premature birth of twins.
• From the bloggers … After seeing a photo of Mr. Met getting flowers for his mom -- his mom? -- Mets Police worked out the Met Family Tree.
BIRTHDAYS: Manager-turned-TV analyst Bobby Valentine turns 63.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Collins said team officials were huddling to determine their next move. Their original inclination appeared to be to have Francisco briefly continue his rehab assignment at a higher minor league level than Class A St. Lucie. Now, though, Francisco could simply return to the Mets if Familia needs to be placed on the disabled list.
Collins said Familia's velocity sat at about 92 mph instead of 96 mph in his Wednesday appearance, and Familia acknowledged afterward that he could not really let go of his fastball with its usual zip because of the biceps issue. The manager suggested biceps tendinitis may be as harmless as an early indicator of fatigue.
Familia is active but unavailable for Friday night's game.
"When you start to get fatigued, that's the first place it sets in," Collins said about the biceps. "We'll just give him another day and see how he is tomorrow. He brought it up two days ago after the game, that he couldn't really let his fastball go. That was the first we heard about it."
Bobby Parnell will remain closer once Francisco returns.
•Jonathon Niese has no issue with his back that would complicate starting Saturday against the Pirates, Collins added. The southpaw even participated with pitchers in batting practice before Friday's game. "He says he feels a lot better than he did a week ago," Collins said. "Everything's good."
• Anthony Recker starts for only the fifth time in 32 games on Friday night. Collins preferred having John Buck (27 starts) catch Niese in Saturday's day game. "Shaun Marcum kind of controls his own game a little bit, so it's a good day for John to have off," Collins said.
• Justin Turner, who started at first base in place of Ike Davis on Thursday, this time starts at second base over Daniel Murphy against left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. Murphy is hitting .130 (6-for-46) with one RBI in his past 11 games. "Murph's a perfectionist when it comes to hitting," Collins said. "The other night he was in the cages long after the game was over trying to clean up some things. We know at the end of the day he's going to be hitting .295 to .315. It was another day where we've got a left-hander. I wanted to get Justin back in the game."
Parnell does have two blown saves on his ledger, though one was the fault of his defense (Ruben Tejada’s bad throw in Colorado). Since Parnell was passed up for a save chance against the Marlins (with a 1-0 lead in the ninth), he’s made four scoreless appearances, racking up a save and three straight wins.
He’s the third Mets reliever in the last 35 seasons to record a win in three straight appearances, joining Dennis Cook (1999) and Duaner Sanchez (2006), though that’s much more based on circumstance than performance.
But what meaningful takeaways can we observe from Parnell’s work this season? Here’s a snapshot look at four key takeaways. Share your thoughts on if this performance is sustainable in the comments section.
The defense is (mostly) helping, not hurting
Mets fielders (save the one miscue by Tejada) have been good about turning batted balls hit versus Parnell into outs.
Parnell’s BABIP from 2010 to 2012 is .335 and when you add in 10 hitters who reached via error (six last season), opponents were reaching about 36 percent of the time when they hit the ball and it stayed in the park.
This season, they’ve reached only eight of 36 times that the ball was put in play (22 percent).
Parnell can thank the likes of Juan Lagares, who made the fantastic catch in the ninth inning last night, for that.
Fewer swings and misses, but more foul balls
Parnell is getting misses on 17 percent of swings against him, or about one of every six swings. That’s a little unusual for Parnell, who has gotten misses at a rate closer to one of every four swings over the last three seasons.
However, hitters are not squaring up Parnell often. Though the miss rate is down, the rate of foul balls against Parnell has jumped, particularly prior to two-strike counts (when a foul counts the same as a missed swing).
Opponents have fouled off 34 of 64 swings against Parnell prior to two strikes (53 percent rate). Parnell’s numbers from 2010 to 2012 were such that he would net about 24 foul in those situations.
That helps account for how Parnell has thrown 68 percent strikes this season (up from 63 percent over the last three seasons) and his 14-to-2 strikeout-to-walk rate.
Good offspeed stuff
Parnell has made good use of both his slider and curveball this season, particularly the last couple of weeks.
In his last 10 appearances, Parnell has thrown 35 breaking pitches, retiring 11 hitters (including one via double play) and yielding only one walk
Shutting down lefties
This wasn’t applicable last night, but Parnell’s work against left-handed hitters this season has been terrific.
Lefties are 2-for-22 with no walks against him. Dating back to last season, left-handed hitters are 2-for-their-last-40 with 16 strikeouts and one walk.
Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
Mike Baxter received a whipped-cream pie to the face from Justin Turner after delivering a walk-off RBI.
Friday’s news reports:
• Mike Baxter for the second time in three days delivered a walk-off RBI single, this time against Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jason Grilli, and the Mets won 3-2 at Citi Field on Thursday night. The Mets’ last three home wins have come in walk-off fashion.
Marlon Byrd greets Mike Baxter after Baxter's game-winning hit.
“He gets better jumps and routes to balls than Matt,” one Mets official said, contrasting Lagares with Matt den Dekker. “He makes it look easier. Matt makes up for his not-so-good jumps with his speed. But Juan is much better than people think.”
Dillon Gee took a scoreless effort into the sixth inning, when he loaded the bases and departed.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and MLB.com.
• Wally Backman believes Zack Wheeler could be promoted to the majors “after a couple of more starts.”
• In a memoir on sale next month, Dwight Gooden details an all-night cocaine party that caused him to miss the parade down the Canyon of Heroes celebrating the Mets’ 1986 championship. Read more in the Post and Daily News.
• The Double-A Binghamton Mets were no-hit by Washington Nationals farmhands Paul Demny and Ian Krol. Meanwhile, St. Lucie right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in December, limited Palm Beach to one run in a career-high-matching seven innings in a 17-1 rout. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News speculates about the Mets’ 2013-14 offseason pursuit of an outfielder. Writes Harper:
One, in particular, I’ve heard multiple times this week is Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds’ center fielder and leadoff hitter, who will be one of the more attractive free-agent outfielders available next winter.
“I’d bet on him being a Met next season,” one major league exec with past ties to GM Sandy Alderson said on Thursday. “He’s a high on-base percentage guy, which is what Sandy wants, and he’s a really good hitter. If they’re going to sign a free-agent outfielder, it’s going to be a pretty thin outfield class. I don’t really think Choo can play center field long term, and his power won’t play like it does in Cincinnati’s ballpark, but he’s a clutch hitter who would be a major upgrade for the Mets.”
Plenty of people getting bloody noses like Matt Harvey.
Richard Lebowitz, an associate professor of otolaryngology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said he "can't go a week" without seeing a patient suffering from nosebleeds. The dry, cold air Harvey experienced in Denver only made things worse.
"There is a collection of blood vessels right in front of the nose, and it takes just a little bit of trauma to open them up," Lebowitz said. "Then there's nothing there between him and his jersey." …
He said people suffering from nosebleeds can have the offending blood vessel cauterized, which will almost always fix the problem. Short of that, Harvey will need to wait until it heals -- and potentially deal with more nosebleeds.
"It's not going to take much to get it to open up and bleed again," Lebowitz said.
• Jonathon Niese said Thursday he felt a little knot in his back after his last start, but suggested it no longer is an issue and he is fine to take the mound Saturday. Read more at MLB.com.
• Jeurys Familia was unavailable Thursday with a sore right elbow, he told Mike Puma in the Post.
• Frank Francisco likely will pitch at a higher level in the minors than St. Lucie, where he has been working, before being activated from the DL within a week. Francisco is unlikely to unseat Parnell as closer -- not in the near-term anyway. Read more in Newsday, the Daily News and Times.
• Pedro Feliciano is on the St. Lucie DL with a strain of food poisoning known as ciguatera.
• Jenrry Mejia, who was shut down with forearm tendinitis during spring training, is ready to pitch for St. Lucie as Saturday’s starter.
• Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud is scheduled for an exam on his fractured left foot next Friday in New York.
• Ike Davis did not start Thursday, but did have a key RBI double off the bench that gave the Mets a short-lived lead in the seventh. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Read more on Gee’s outing in the Post.
• Justin Terranova in the Post speaks with Howie Rose about splitting his time between calling the Islanders and Mets.
• The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is offering grants to New York-area youth baseball and softball organizations that were directly affected by Superstorm Sandy. Get more details and apply here.
• From the bloggers … Rising Apple notes the Mets are on pace to turn a ton of double plays this season.
BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander Pete Schourek turns 44. … Craig Brazell, who teamed with Victor Diaz to help prevent the Cubs from a postseason berth in 2004, is 33. He played from 2009-12 for Hanshin in Japan.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: What date do you think Zack Wheeler will be promoted?
Gonna try to convince my wife that going to see Matt Harvey pitch on Sunday would be a great Mother's Day present ;-)#Mets— Tony V (@1AngryItalian) May 10, 2013
WHAT IT MEANS: Clint Hurdle inserted his closer, Jason Grilli, with the score tied for the bottom of the ninth. The Mets found magic again anyway.
Marlon Byrd led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a sac bunt from Andrew Brown and scored the winning run in walk-off fashion on Mike Baxter's pinch-hit single as the Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-2, Thursday night at Citi Field. Baxter had provided the walk-off win two days early to get a 1-0 win in 10 innings in Matt Harvey's near-perfect outing.
The Mets' last three home wins have come via walk-offs.
Juan Lagares -- who had received wide praise for his outfield skills in the minors -- deserved plenty of credit, too. With the go-ahead run on base and two out in the top of the ninth, the rookie center fielder leaped at the wall and took away a sure go-ahead extra-base hit (and potentially homer) off the bat of Andrew McCutchen to preserve a scoreless frame from Bobby Parnell.
The Mets had squandered a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Pedro Alvarez delivered a game-tying one-out solo homer against LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins had not allowed an earned run in his previous 10 appearances.
LIKE IKE: Ike Davis did not start Thursday, because Terry Collins preferred righty-hitting Justin Turner face Pirates southpaw starter Jeff Locke. In the end, Davis was at the plate against a left-hander in a big spot. And Davis delivered.
Davis, who entered on a double-switch with Scott Rice the previous half-inning, laced a two-out RBI double to right-center in the seventh against reliever Tony Watson to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
The Mets had not produced a hit since the second inning until Brown delivered his first Mets hit, a one-out single, ahead of Davis’ two-bagger in the seventh. Davis entered the game hitting .167 (8-for-48) with 20 strikeouts over his previous 15 games.
SIZZLING RICE: Rice, the second-oldest U.S.-born player ever to debut for the Mets (31 years, 192 days old), continues to excel. Rice inherited a runner on second and one out in the seventh from Lyon and retired a pair of batters (sandwiched around an intentional walk to McCutchen) to preserve a 1-1 tie.
GEE WHIZ: Dillon Gee took a scoreless effort into the sixth, when he allowed singles to Travis Snider and McCutchen and plunked Garrett Jones to load the bases with none out.
Brandon Lyon entered the precarious situation and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Alvarez that evened the score at 1. But Lyon limited the damage to that run.
Gee’s final line: 5+ IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HBP.
The Mets opened the scoring in the second inning on a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly, which plated John Buck. Buck had snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a leadoff single. The Mets produced only three hits in six innings against Locke.
WHAT’S NEXT: Shaun Marcum (0-2, 7.20 ERA) looks for his first Mets win when he opposes left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 4.02) at 7:10 p.m. Friday at Citi Field.
Pitching for the first time since being named NL Pitcher of the Month for April, and with three extra days of rest thanks to a rainout in Atlanta, Harvey retired the first 20 Chicago White Sox batters he faced.
Robin Ventura, Fred Wilpon and John Franco chat during batting practice.
That was the only batter who reached in nine innings against Harvey, but the Mets also failed to score. So when Bobby Parnell entered for the 10th, Harvey was saddled with a no-decision despite shaving his ERA to 1.28.
The Mets ultimately won in walk-off fashion, 1-0 in the 10th, when pinch-hitter Mike Baxter singled against Nate Jones to score Ike Davis. Davis had walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Juan Lagares. It was Baxter's first career walk-off hit.
The last MLB pitchers to log nine or more innings, allow no runs and one or fewer hits and get a no-decision: Travis Wood (Cincinnati, 2010), Ben Sheets (Milwaukee, 2004), Miguel Batista (Arizona, 2002), Ryan Rupe (Tampa Bay, 1999), Francisco Cordova (Pittsburgh, 1997) and Alan Benes (St. Louis, 1997).
Harvey's 6 2/3 perfect innings marked the longest perfect stretch by a Met since Rick Reed against Tampa Bay at Shea Stadium on June 8, 1998. Reed also was perfect for 6 2/3 innings, until Wade Boggs doubled.
Harvey -- who pitched the first inning with blood running from his nose -- finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts. It was his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season (also April 3 against San Diego) and fourth of his career. His previous career high had been 11 strikeouts in his major league debut last July 26 at Arizona.
He required only 105 pitches to complete nine innings. He had been annoyed with his most recent outing in Miami, when he tossed a career-high 121 pitches in 5 1/3 innings against the Marlins.
Newark’s Hector Santiago matched the zeroes Harvey was putting up before departing with his pitch count at 111 for the bottom of the eighth in a 0-0 game. The Mets left four runners on base over the first two innings and mustered only four hits against Santiago.
WHAT’S NEXT: The two-game series comes to a close Wednesday as Jeremy Hefner (0-3, 4.34 ERA) opposes right-hander Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.38) at 7:10 p.m.
Bobby Parnell isn't giving up the closer role when Frank Francisco returns. Not immediately, anyway.
What happens when Francisco returns from the bout of elbow inflammation?
No surprise: At least initially Bobby Parnell will remain the closer.
"Frankie has got to show us that he can pitch back-to-back days up here -- that he's strong enough," Collins said. "We're talking three days in a row. Can he do that? The one thing I don't think we're ready to do is start to juggle our bullpen at this particular moment when Bobby has done such a good job. We'll wait until Frankie gets here to make those determinations."
As for Francisco's Sunday and Monday appearances in the Florida State League, Collins said: "The reports are his velocity has been good, his command has been pretty good."
Francisco's maximum 30-day rehab assignment began on April 17 with St. Lucie, so he almost definitely is within 10 days of returning.
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports
Robin Ventura visits Flushing today as manager of the Chicago White Sox.
From ESPN Stats & Information:
Harvey has allowed more than one run in only one of his past eight starts, dating to last season. His only prior interleague start was eight innings of two-hit ball against the Minnesota Twins on April 13.
Ventura played only three seasons for the Mets (1999-2001), but made quite an impact. David Wright, Dave Kingman and Ventura share the club record for the most six-RBI games in Mets history with three. Ventura also hit five grand slams with the Mets, one shy of Mike Piazza’s club record.
Of course, that does not include Ventura’s “grand-slam single” in the 15th inning of Game 5 of the 1999 National League Championship Series against the Braves to cap an epic comeback win.
The White Sox are actually playing the Mets in New York for the first time.
Harvey opposes Newark's Hector Santiago tonight. Harvey originally was supposed to line up to face fellow 2010 first-round pick Chris Sale, but Sale's start moved up a day to Monday in K.C. after Jake Peavy needed to be delayed due to back spasms.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Harvey last pitched last Monday in Miami. He is unconcerned about the extra rest as well as logging a career-high 121 pitches against the Marlins. His last offering in Miami registered 96 mph. "I feel like I can go out there 120, 130 pitches each time and my body can handle it," Harvey said. (Terry Collins said that pitch count will not be the norm.) Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal:
Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander led baseball with six complete games last season and still averaged only 114.2 pitches per start. No other pitcher even averaged 110. Harvey is averaging 104.5 so far this year.
Last season, the Mets curtailed Harvey's season after 169 1/3 innings between the majors and minors. They say they won't limit him this season, but their actions suggest they remain at least somewhat concerned about their phenom's workload.
After Harvey's 121-pitch outing last week, the Mets planned to give him an extra day of rest so he could recover. Harvey said he didn't need it and wanted to start on his regular rotation.
Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.
Zack Wheeler has shaved his ERA to 4.00 with Las Vegas.
“Outstanding -- the best he’s pitched all year,” 51s manager Wally Backman told Mike Puma in the Post. “He’s turning the corner. That is what we have seen the last two starts. If we see that a couple of more starts, he’s going to be pushing the door open himself, forcing the issue for sure. … He’s showed excellent command the last couple of starts. Before he was missing up and out of the strike zone, arm side, all the time and [Sunday] he never missed one time up and out of the zone arm side.”
• Sandy Alderson tells Kristie Ackert in the Daily News about Ike Davis: “I don't think he's happy with what has happened to date. We would have hoped for a better performance to this point, but the evidence is he can do it. And he could do that again this season. We'll see what transpires. But Ike is a big part of the team. We expect him to come around soon.”
Read more on Davis’ slow start in the Post.
• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo was batting .414 for low-A Savannah through April 23. He now is in an 0-for-20 rut with the Gnats and actually has not played since April 29 because of a hand injury.
"We want him to go through this," Savannah manager Luis Rojas told Clint Robus in Newsday. "This is part of his development, and this is the part where he's going to ... figure out a lot more things."
Said Nimmo about the slump: "I knew this was going to happen. So I'm not too surprised."
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post notes there is one player from the Johan Santana swap with the Twins that is contributing big time. That is Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, who leads the NL with a .368 average. Gomez along with Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra went to Minnesota on Feb. 2, 2008 for Santana.
• Wright had six steals in April -- on pace for a 30-steal season. He had one 30-30 season in his career -- in 2007. "When the situation presents itself, I feel like I have the ability to take a base here and there," he told Mike Kerwick in the Record. "But I’m not going to steal bases for the sake of trying to get a certain [number of] bases or for the sake of doing it. I’m going to do it for a reason."
• St. Lucie right-hander Hansel Robles returned from an upper-back injury to limit Daytona to one run in five innings in a 6-2 win Monday. Frank Francisco pitched for the second straight day for the Florida State League club, allowing one hit in a scoreless inning. Read the full minor league recap here.
• It’s a safe bet Bobby Parnell will not lose his closer’s job once Francisco is activated from the disabled list. Read a profile of Parnell’s adaption to that role from Anthony DiComo at MLB.com.
• The Mets’ Saturday postponement in Atlanta will be made up on June 18 as part of a split doubleheader at Turner Field. It now becomes a five-game series against the Braves.
• Edgardo Alfonzo, Kevin Burkhardt and 92.3 Now's Ty Bentli will judge Saturday’s Banner Day at Citi Field.
• From the bloggers … Blogging Mets checks in to see how several ex-Mets are doing with their new teams so far this season.
BIRTHDAYS: Brook Fordyce, who was drafted by the Mets in the third round out of high school in Connecticut in 1989 and made his major league debut with the club six years later, is 43.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Where does Robin Ventura factor in among your favorite Mets of all time?
What an awesome night! #NYRBelieve— Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) May 7, 2013
FIRST PITCH: After a rainout Saturday, the Mets complete a shortened series today at 1:30 p.m. at Turner Field.
Jonathon Niese (2-2, 3.31 ERA) opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Tim Hudson (3-1, 3.86). Matt Harvey instead gets pushed to Tuesday’s homestand opener against the Chicago White Sox.
Sunday’s news reports:
• Is Lucas Duda’s selectivity at the plate an asset or a detriment? Writes Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger:
Lucas Duda could afford to swing more frequently with runners in scoring position.
"You don’t want to change a guy’s approach too much, but there’s certain times -- his swing percentage on first pitch is like seven percent or something -- I’d like to see him swing," Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens said this week.
"A lot of times he wants to see what the pitcher’s got. I totally understand that. But once you get into the game, in the at-bat, and there’s guys in scoring position, and that guy lays a good pitch there, I want guys to be able to do some damage on it -- especially a guy like him that can hit the ball out of the ballpark."
• Ruben Tejada, on the other hand, has an excellent two-strike approach. Writes Marc Carig in Newsday:
Since 2010, when Tejada made his debut, major-league hitters have reached base at roughly a .250 clip once they land in any two-strike count. But Tejada has consistently outperformed the league average. His .319 on-base percentage on two-strike counts is the eighth highest among all hitters with at least 300 plate appearances. Tejada leads the 2013 Mets with a .362 on-base percentage when he reaches two strikes, ahead of noted two-strike battler David Wright (.355).
"Ruben's really good," Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens said. "He fouls off a lot of pitches with two strikes. He lets the ball get deep . Yeah, he does a good job with that."
• David Wright has not been complacent after signing an eight-year, $138 million contract in December, writes Mike Puma in the Post.
• Bobby Parnell has largely succeeded in the ninth inning this season, writes Kristie Ackert in the Daily News.
• Read more on Harvey getting pushed back to Tuesday and the starting pitching in the Post.
• The Mets are 9-3 when they score five-plus runs this season and 3-12 otherwise, notes Mike Kerwick in the Record.
• Ray Glier in the Times gets inside Wright’s game-tying at-bat against Craig Kimbrel on Friday night. He also looks at the Braves’ ability to win despite gaudy batter strikeout totals.
• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles the arrival of Justin Upton with the Braves.
• D.J. Mitchell allowed seven first-inning runs and Las Vegas lost to Sacramento, 11-7, Saturday night. Read the full minor league recap here.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear looks forward to a night of intense Mets talk this week. … Shannon from Mets Police has a 25th-favorite Met. … John Delcos from Mets Report suggests Terry Collins unfairly is being judged.
BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets reliever Juan Acevedo turns 43.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
David Wright, also known as Captain America, had a game-tying ninth-inning homer against Craig Kimbrel on Friday night.
FIRST PITCH: After suffering a pair of demoralizing defeats early this week in Miami, the Mets felt good to be the team to come back a few outs from defeat.
David Wright produced a one-out homer in the ninth on a 97 mph fastball from Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel and the Mets ultimately won, 7-5 in 10 innings, Friday night at Turner Field.
“They’re one of the best in the game -- and then arguably the best in the game pitching the ninth,” Wright said about Atlanta’s bullpen and specifically Kimbrel. “Any time you get the opportunity to win a close game late against these guys, you’ve got to take advantage of it, because that opportunity doesn’t come around too often.”
Jonathon Niese (2-2, 3.31 ERA) looks to up the Mets’ winning streak to three games when he opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.08) at 7:10 tonight. Rain is forecast.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Sandy Alderson offered a vote of confidence -- or, at least, no indication Terry Collins’ job is in jeopardy anytime soon. Alderson also told Mike Puma in the Post about the 2013 Mets:
Sandy Alderson in Atlanta commented on Terry Collins and the Mets' performance.
“There’s a lot of the season left to play out,” the GM continued. “I do think perceptions are heightened when you go into Miami, a place everybody thinks every team should sweep ... and you end up losing two games, and you lose them basically with no offense the first two nights. But you move forward.”
Read more in the Daily News.
• Jordany Valdespin irked Mets people by failing to show up for early batting practice Friday at Turner Field, sources told ESPNNewYork.com. Valdespin, after contributing to the win with a 10th-inning pinch-hit walk and steal, suggested he was not required to attend.
Jared Diamond in the Journal discusses the merits of Valdespin as a pinch hitter and starter.
• John Buck, Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd and Wright all went deep in the Mets’ victory Friday night. Bobby Parnell inherited a runner on third base with one out from Brandon Lyon in the bottom of the ninth and wriggled free to send the game to extra innings. Jeurys Familia earned his first major league save and could be setting himself up for more late-inning work. Shaun Marcum lasted only 4 1/3 innings. The Mets felt they caught a break when Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez lifted Mike Minor after seven innings and 90 pitches, even though the southpaw had retired 18 straight batters.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record, Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and MLB.com.
Robert Carson says his mother may wear this jersey to tonight's game. Carson's mother began calling him "Pookie-Nookie" when he was young. When Mets teammates found out last year, they had the jersey made.
• Read more on Marcum in the Post.
• Mike Piazza made an appearance with the Miami City Ballet on Friday.
• There will be less Collin Cowgill with the Mets. Actually, none at all for the time being. Cowgill was demoted Friday to clear a roster spot for the promotion of fellow outfielder Andrew Brown. Brown went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his Mets debut as the starting right fielder. Read more in the Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.
• Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis had an amazing catch Friday night for Triple-A Las Vegas at Sacramento.
• Right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who arrived with Travis d’Arnaud in the R.A. Dickey deal, suffered his first loss as a member of the organization despite limiting Fort Myers to one run in six innings. Read the full minor league recap here.
• Kieran Darcy at ESPNNewYork.com profiles Columbia slugger and military veteran Joey Falcone, the son of former Mets pitcher Pete Falcone.
• Justin Turner started over Ike Davis at first base on Friday. Read more in the Record.
• Drink alcohol in the Citi Field parking lot and risk a $25 fine, writes Eric Holden at Yahoo Sports.
• From the bloggers … In recognition of the Kentucky Derby, John Delcos at Mets Report gives Mets of past and present horse names. … Faith and Fear in Flushing marvels how the Atlanta opener was two games in one. … At Mets Police, a Mets-themed coffin and a group photo of Piazza's ballet. … Rising Apple writers opine on April and what the Mets ought to do going forward.
BIRTHDAYS: Infielder Miguel Cairo is 39. … Catcher Robinson Cancel, who was nicknamed by teammates “La Tortuga,” turns 37. … Reliever Manny Aybar is 41.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
But, then, Valdespin came through in the 10th inning off the bench. He walked as a pinch hitter with two outs in the frame and swiped second. From scoring position, he came home with the go-ahead run in an eventual 7-5 win against the Atlanta Braves on Ruben Tejada’s RBI single.
Jordany Valdespin is "exciting, according to Terry Collins. He can be frustrating, too.
Collins then wryly added: “You know, you’re going to get things that you don’t expect sometimes.”
Collins was not specifically talking about the no-show for early batting practice with that final comment, but team insiders say the Mets were irked. Valdespin, for his part, told ESPNDeportes’ Marly Rivera that he had been told not to attend by a coach.
Anyway, it is all part of the Valdespin package.
Valdespin walked on a 3-2 pitch from Jordan Walden with two outs in the 10th. With Bobby Parnell due up and the bullpen short, Collins instructed Parnell to go up there for one pitch and not swing. Valdespin would steal second. Either Valdespin would make it and Collins would pinch hit for Parnell. Or Valdespin would be caught and Parnell could pitch the bottom of the 10th.
Valdespin reached second, so Parnell was called back to the dugout and Mike Baxter pinch hit. Baxter was hit by a pitch, setting up Tejada and then Daniel Murphy for RBI singles.
“Terry did a nice job with that,” David Wright said about batting and then pulling Parnell. “We were running out of players pretty quickly. So we needed to end that game.”
Said Valdespin: “You don’t win the game just hitting homers. You win the game stealing the base. A lot of things you’ve got to do to win the game. … That’s my game -- stealing the bases, putting pressure on the other team.”
- There are no games scheduled for today.