New York Mets: Chris Young
FIRST PITCH: More than three months after they last had been three games under .500, the Mets (72-76) can ascend to that point again Saturday.
Zack Wheeler (10-9, 3.38 ERA) opposes right-hander Doug Fister (13-8, 2.53) at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.
The Mets last were within three games of breakeven on June 4 (28-31).
Saturday’s news reports:
• Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com suggests Terry Collins is “all but certain” to return as manager in 2015. Collins is under contract for next season. And he has the Mets playing well down the stretch, including winning eight of their past 10 games. So there appears little momentum toward making a change. Writes Heyman:
While there hasn't been a great deal of outward enthusiasm for the job Collins has done this year, that may not mean much; one front-office member went so far as to say he'd be "shocked" if a change was made in the manager's office.
Though no one within the team has alluded to any possible changes on the coaching staff, a couple rival executives said they wouldn't rule out some alterations there if the front office isn't completely satisfied.
• The Mets ended Washington’s 12-game Citi Field winning streak with a 4-3 victory against the Nats on Friday. Travis d'Arnaud plated three runs with a first-inning double against Gio Gonzalez. Juan Lagares broke a 3-all tie with a fifth-inning RBI double.
Jenrry Mejia allowed the potential tying run to reach second base in the ninth inning. He then intentionally walked Adam LaRoche to get to Ian Desmond, who struck out to end the game.
“You never like to walk the go-ahead run, but Adam has just killed us,” Collins said. “Desmond hits us pretty good too, but you’ve just got to pick your poison at that point.”
After recording the final out, Mejia unveiled a new postgame celebration that involved pointing in Desmond’s direction and reeling him in, mimicking a fisherman. That rubbed some of the Nats the wrong way.
Read game recaps in the Washington Post, Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Newsday’s Marc Carig objected to me tweeting my disapproval about Mejia’s celebration and then not being one of the reporters to ask the closer a question in Mejia’s postgame session with reporters at his locker, which I attended. Carig tweeted: “I just think you’re a damned coward if you take a shot at a player and then don’t have the guts to face that player.”
• Double-A Binghamton won its first Eastern League championship since 1994 on Friday. The B-Mets completed a three-game sweep of Richmond with a 2-1 walk-off win on pinch hitter Jayce Boyd’s RBI double. Long Island native Steven Matz took a no-hit bid one out into the eighth inning in a no-decision. Xorge Carrillo was named postseason MVP. Matz, named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year by team brass, will be among the Mets prospects at Citi Field on Monday to be recognized as Sterling Award winners. Read the final minor-league recap of the season here. Read more in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. Watch video highlights of the B-Mets' clincher from WBNG and News Channel 34.
• Triple-A manager Wally Backman is due to join the Mets on Friday in Atlanta. He will serve as an extra coach for the final nine games of the season.
• A day after getting struck with a pitch, Daniel Murphy sat out Friday’s game with continued swelling in his left wrist. Murphy may be able to return Saturday.
• Collins told reporters pregame that he was happy Chris Young has found early success with the Yankees. The manager added that he believed Citi Field’s dimensions adversely affected Young as a Met.
"You've got to hit them here," Collins said. "And sometimes there's nights when you hit them, they don't go anywhere due to the wind, due to the humidity -- whatever it is, sometimes balls just don't carry here. We see it every single day that it's a tough place to hit. It affected Jason Bay immensely. It's affected David [Wright] some. It's affected [Curtis] Granderson some. It's affected Chris Young."
Read more in the Post, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Columnist Larry Brooks in the Post suggests Lucas Duda is “not quite a finished product.”
• Joe Lemire in the Journal notes that Anthony Recker has homered in three straight appearances despite limited playing time making it challenging to stay sharp.
• From the bloggers …John Delcos at NY Mets Report envisions Dillon Gee pitching elsewhere in 2015.
BIRTHDAYS: Daisuke Matsuzaka turns 34. ... Tenth-round pick Kelly Secrest out of UNC Wilmington, who made 20 relief appearances with Brooklyn after the draft, is 23.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Do you support Terry Collins returning in 2015?
Go choke on your facial hair, Nats. #Mets— Kyle Paul (@FLMetsFan973) September 13, 2014
FIRST PITCH: Well, if the Mets have designs on reaching .500 and beyond, they will have to accomplish it against a tough nemesis.
Of the 16 games remaining for the Amazin’s this season, seven are against the Washington Nationals. That includes a four-game series at Citi Field that begins Thursday at 7:10 p.m., when Bartolo Colon (13-11, 3.96 ERA) opposes right-hander Tanner Roark (12-10, 2.97).
The Mets remain 5½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second wild-card spot. The Amazin’s are four games under .500, at 71-75, and have won a season-high-matching four straight.
The Nats have a 10-2 record and have outscored the Mets 62-34 this season.
Washington has won 11 straight games in Queens. That’s the longest-ever winning streak by a visiting team against the Mets. The Atlanta Braves won 10 straight games at Shea Stadium in 1991 and '92.
The Nats are 25-4 at Citi Field since September 2011.
“I’m very pleased,” Terry Collins said about the Mets’ recent play, which includes winning seven of their last eight games and four straight series wins. “We’ve still got a tough road ahead here. We’ve got the Nats coming in, who we have not played very well, [and] who play absolutely great here. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re aware of that.”
Thursday’s news reports:
• A civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn alleges chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon “humiliated” the club’s senior vice president overseeing ticket sales because she was pregnant and unmarried. The Mets responded that former employee Leigh Castergine’s lawsuit is “without merit.”
Read more in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Times, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Read columnist Mike Vaccaro’s take on the Mets’ wild-card pursuit and the lawsuit in the Post and columnist David Lennon’s take in Newsday. Jeff Passan has a scathing critique of the latter topic at Yahoo!, as does Bob Klapisch in the Record.
• Despite a high pitch count, Rafael Montero tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings and earned his first major league win as the Mets swept the Rockies with a 2-0 win Wednesday. Eric Young Jr. went 3-for-3 with an RBI triple and Jenrry Mejia became the youngest player in franchise history to notch 25 saves in a season. Mets pitchers have logged 19 straight scoreless innings, two shy of matching the season high (April 20-22), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.
• Daniel Murphy was shifted to third base Wednesday with David Wright done for the season because of persistent left-shoulder woes. Murphy received no fielding chances in his first start at the position since July 21, 2011. The move allows rookie Dilson Herrera to get continued playing time at second base. Read more in the Times and Star-Ledger.
• ESPN’s Buster Olney suggests it could be a quiet offseason for the Mets, at least spending-wise. Writes Olney:
The reality appears to be that the Mets' front office will be left with little money to improve the roster, perhaps bypassing pricey veterans who could represent pivotal upgrades, such as shortstop J.J. Hardy. It appears Alderson will instead pick through the bargain bin for short-term gambles, which is how Chris Young came to be a Met last winter; he was a bargain for a reason.
The Mets' ownership could choose to take a different path and look to spend money to make money. But once again, that does not appear to be the route this team will go, and it's bad for the sport when a New York City team pretends it must adhere to its budget the way the Tampa Bay Rays do.
ESPN Insiders can read Olney’s full analysis here.
• Matt den Dekker remained sore and did not appear in Wednesday’s game a day after getting plunked on the back of his left hand with a pitch.
• Binghamton is one win from the Eastern League championship after a 5-1 victory at Richmond on Wednesday. Xorge Carrillo and Travis Taijeron homered and Greg Peavey limited the Squirrels to one run in seven innings as the B-Mets took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Binghamton will go for the sweep at home on Friday with Steven Matz on the mound. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Matz and Herrera were named the pitcher and player of the year in the Mets organization, the club announced. Sterling Award winners at individual levels of the organization were Matt Reynolds, Kevin Plawecki, Brandon Nimmo, Dario Alvarez, Akeel Morris, Vicente Lupo, Marcos Molina, John Mora, Ali Sanchez and Walter Rasquin.
• Wright and Dillon Gee visited FDNY Squad 288/Hazmat 1 in Maspeth, Queens, on Wednesday.
• Chris Young homered and had two RBIs as the Yankees rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Rays. Young became the second player ever to homer for the Mets and Yankees in the same season, joining Dave Kingman in 1977, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
• Andrew Beaton in the Journal looks into the Mets being 16-2 this season in games started by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. That’s the best winning percentage for any player in the majors with a minimum of 15 starts.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos at NY Mets Report doesn’t believe Wright’s injury and Herrera playing second base could pave the way for Murphy to be traded this offseason.
BIRTHDAYS: Former closer Frank Francisco turns 35.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
FIRST PITCH: On a modest three-game winning streak (and with their run differential sliced to minus-four), the Mets try to keep things rolling in steamy Cincinnati on Saturday.
Dillon Gee (6-6, 3.61 ERA) opposes right-hander Johnny Cueto (16-8, 2.26) at 4:10 p.m.
Cueto’s 16 wins are one shy of matching the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw for the major league lead.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Rafael Montero has been promoted to the major league club. Montero, who allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings in the opener of the Pacific Coast League playoffs on Wednesday, should get at least one start down the stretch.
• The man charged with making threats on Twitter against the Mets and Citi Field was handed a 90-day suspended sentence in Milford (Connecticut) Superior Court after pleading no contest to disorderly conduct. He must refrain from contact with Mets personnel, Justin Turner and Turner’s girlfriend and is barred from Citi Field, but is otherwise free to use the Internet.
• The Mets produced five home runs and routed the Reds, 14-5, Friday at Great American Ball Park. It marked the most long balls in a game by the Mets since they also went deep five times on Sept. 30, 2006 at Washington (Ramon Castro, Endy Chavez, Julio Franco, David Wright and Shawn Green). This time, Travis d'Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Curtis Granderson, Dilson Herrera and Lucas Duda did the honors. Granderson’s shot, which came on the day he was dropped to sixth in the order, snapped an 0-for-18 drought. Wright went 4-for-5 before departing the lopsided game.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal suggests Granderson looks like a worse signing than Chris Young.
Granderson downplayed the drop to No. 6. “I’ve batted in every spot in the lineup over the course of my career,” he told reporters. “To get moved up, down, middle, out is nothing new to me.” Read more in the Post.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Edgin rejoined the Mets after getting cortisone shots in their pitching elbows in New York during the Marlins series. Meanwhile, Vic Black (herniated disk) pledged to be ready to come off the disabled list on Monday when he is eligible to be activated. Daniel Murphy (calf) also is making progress toward a potential return early next week. Murphy is eligible to be activated on Tuesday. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Noah Syndergaard was charged with six runs in four-plus innings and Las Vegas is facing elimination after a 7-5 loss at Reno. The big blow came on a go-ahead three-run homer by ex-Met Mike Jacobs against Miguel Socolovich that allowed a couple of inherited runners to score. Portland moved within a game of ousting Binghamton with a 6-3 win. Facing elimination, Savannah’s game Friday was suspended in the eighth inning with the Gnats trailing Asheville, 2-1. Savannah will have the tying run on second base and one out when play resumes. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Matt Harvey will throw off a mound every five days like he is simulating starts this month, but is poised to be shut down within weeks, Marc Carig writes in Newsday. Harvey will have a winter throwing program like any other pitcher, which should include tossing a baseball beginning in early November. He will ramp up in February alongside other pitchers in spring training and face batters then.
• John DeMarzo in the Post names Herrera the standout performer in the minors for the Mets, with Syndergaard the biggest disappointment and Matt Reynolds making the biggest leap.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear salutes the unsung contributions of Buddy Carlyle and Dana Eveland.
BIRTHDAYS: Alex Escobar turns 36. ... Fran Healy is 68. ... Minor-leaguers Maikis De La Cruz and L.J. Mazzilli are 24.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
FIRST PITCH: It’s Jacob deGrom Day at Marlins Park as his NL Rookie of the Year campaign continues.
DeGrom (7-6, 2.94 ERA) opposes Stony Brook University product Tom Koehler (9-9, 3.79) in the 7:10 p.m. rubber game on Wednesday against the Miami Marlins.
The minor-league playoffs also get underway Wednesday.
Rafael Montero starts for Las Vegas against Reno. Tyler Pill starts for Binghamton against Portland. Robert Gsellman starts for Savannah at Asheville.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Juan Lagares went 4-for-4 with a walk and two steals and David Wright went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and his first two extra-base hits in nearly a month as the Mets beat the Marlins, 8-6, Tuesday. Wright said he is finally feeling “dangerous” at the plate. Terry Collins has been pushing Lagares to steal more frequently. Jonathon Niese qualified for the win despite allowing six runs in six innings.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Niese’s outing in the Post.
• Read more on Lagares’ five steals in his past five games after prodding in the Journal and Newsday.
• Chris Young debuted with the Yankees on Tuesday. He struck out on three pitches as a pinch hitter in his first at-bat in pinstripes. Read more in the Daily News.
• Josh Edgin and Daisuke Matsuzaka received cortisone injections in their pitching elbows on Tuesday in New York and are expected to rejoin the Mets for the weekend series at Cincinnati. Read more in the Record.
• Noah Syndergaard fed a lion with his pitching hand.
• Matt Harvey made Page Six in the Post.
• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post says it’s up to the Jets and Giants to rescue New York sports fans. Writes Vaccaro:
And let’s face it: If you are a baseball fan with a team in this city, your summer hasn’t exactly been one for the ages. If you care for the Mets, you saw another season enter its denouement phase before the Fourth. If you are a Yankees fan, you’ve seen a few stops and a few starts and they all left you more frustrated the deeper we pushed into summer.
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post recommends the Mets retain Daniel Murphy for next season, pay him the $8 million he will command and use him as a super utility player. The logic: The Mets aim to contend in 2015. And they do not need the prospects or pitching that a team would be willing to trade for Murphy.
• The Mets finally do not need to rebuild their bullpen this offseason, writes Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger.
• Mark Carig in Newsday revisits the trade last August that brought Vic Black and Dilson Herrera from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Marlon Byrd and John Buck. "You can say we've made some bad signings or whatever," Collins told Carig. "Sandy Alderson's changed what's gone on here. You make the trades he's made and get those guys to the big leagues, he deserves a little credit for that."
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear searches for meaning in what's left of another lost Mets season.
BIRTHDAYS: Minor-league right-hander Corey Oswalt turns 21.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Is David Wright going to be OK?
David is having such a good game. I'm so happy for him. Take that haters. #mets— colferhummel (@colferhummel) September 3, 2014
FIRST PITCH: In 2007 and ’08, the Mets and Philadelphia Phillies went down to the wire for the NL East crown.
This year, they are jockeying for the basement.
In fact, the Phillies (61-72) arrive at Citi Field for a weekend series trailing the Amazin’s by only a half-game for fourth place in the division.
Meanwhile, the Mets (62-72) need to run the table over their final 28 games in order to achieve Sandy Alderson’s 90-win goal.
DeGrom (6-6, 3.13 ERA) opposes right-hander David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21) in the 7:10 p.m. series opener.
DeGrom had a streak of five straight winning decisions snapped when he allowed five runs in six innings at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.
The Mets are 11-5 against the Phillies in 2014.
Read the Mets-Phillies series preview here.
Friday’s news reports:
• With Daniel Murphy landing on the disabled list with a strained right calf, Herrera has been promoted from Double-A, where the 20-year-old Colombian was hitting .340 with 10 homers, 48 RBIs and nine steals in 241 at-bats. If Herrera shows he can succeed in the majors, that could make it easier for the Mets to justify trading Murphy this offseason.
Murphy, who leads the NL in hits at the moment with 159, is due for a healthy raise from his $5.7 million salary this season. He is eligible for free agency during the 2015-16 winter.
Herrera was acquired with Vic Black from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 27, 2013 for Marlon Byrd and John Buck.
"He's a player that moves this team," Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. "He brings a lot of energy. I think everybody feeds from that. Whenever you have a player like him that is excited to be out there and plays the game the right way, I think everybody else feeds from that."
Herrera joins Wilfredo Tovar in 2013 and Robert Carson in 2012 as prospects who made the jump directly from Double-A to the Mets.
Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Black, who has a herniated disk in his neck, was given a cortisone injection and landed on the DL before Thursday’s game. Daisuke Matsuzaka was activated from the DL.
• Terry Collins told the Daily News that team personnel have engaged in internal conversations about moving Travis d'Arnaud from catcher to left field, although the manager cautioned that it’s not some plan set to be put into action. The motivation would be to keep d’Arnaud’s bat in the lineup and avoid further concussions.
While d’Arnaud may be a capable hitter as a catcher, as an outfielder that production might be considered fairly ordinary. And moving d’Arnaud presumes Triple-A catching prospect Kevin Plawecki will succeed at the major league level.
• Alderson implied there is nothing overly active as another trade deadline approaches Sunday. Players must be dealt by Aug. 31 in order to be eligible for the acquiring team’s postseason roster. Translation: Bartolo Colon looks like he is starting Saturday and will remain a Met at least into the offseason.
“I would say right now there’s a lot less going on than some people speculate,” Alderson said.
• David Wright (neck/shoulder) returned to the lineup Thursday and Josh Edgin (elbow) supposedly was available had his services been required. Wright went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double play.
• Mike Minor held the Mets without a baserunner until Lucas Duda's leadoff single in the fifth and the Braves ultimately won Thursday’s rubber game, 6-1, at Citi Field. Jonathon Niese kept the deficit at 1-0 until surrendering two runs in the eighth. In his first major league action since July 24, Matsuzaka allowed a pinch-hit two-run homer to Ryan Doumit in a three-run ninth.
The Mets are 4-10 and are hitting .164 at Citi Field in August.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Record, Times, Journal and at MLB.com.
• The Mets extended their player-development agreement with Triple-A Las Vegas through the 2016 season. With no apparent vacancies on the East Coast, the Mets preferred having direct flights from Vegas over pursuing a home in an alternate Pacific Coast League city. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• The Mets worked out lower-tier Cuban free agents Pavel Quesada and Roberto Carlos in the Dominican Republic, the Post’s Mike Puma reported.
• Chris Young made his debut with the Yankees organization on Thursday. Young, who signed a minor-league contract this week, started in right field for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and went 1-for-4 with an RBI and two strikeouts. If Young joins the Yankees after rosters expand, the Mets will save $73,700. That’s the prorated portion of the major league minimum the Yankees would need to pay Young for the final month of the season.
• Columnist Larry Brooks in the Post says Curtis Granderson has been “simply dreadful.”
• Rafael Montero allowed eight runs (five earned) in six innings as Albuquerque beat Las Vegas, 10-5. Luis Cessa and two relievers combined on a five-hit shutout as St. Lucie remained on the fringe of the Florida State League playoff race with a 2-0 win against Palm Beach. Robert Gsellman contributed to a four-hit shutout as Savannah blanked Augusta, 3-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Marc Carig in Newsday chronicles a glut of hits d’Arnaud has lost because of Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons' fielding prowess.
• From the bloggers ... Blogging Mets wonders if the Mets could have gotten Addison Russell from the A's before the Cubs did.
BIRTHDAYS: Anthony Recker turns 31. ... Noah Syndergaard turns 22. ... Henry Blanco is 43.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Would you have preferred Dilson Herrera or Matt Reynolds get the promotion?
This man is heading to the Big Leagues. The rest of us poor saps are riding a bus overnight to Virginia. pic.twitter.com/Y6NFfMT2Xz— Tim Heiman (@TimHeiman) August 29, 2014
FIRST PITCH: After getting swept in a three-game series at Wrigley Field in June, the Mets began getting some payback Friday against the Chicago Cubs.
Next up: Jonathon Niese (6-8, 3.46 ERA) opposes right-hander Dan Straily (1-2, 4.93) on Saturday at 7:10 p.m.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Zack Wheeler remained unbeaten in his last nine starts and Eric Campbell launched a three-run homer as the Mets beat the Cubs, 3-2, Friday at Citi Field. The Mets rebounded after a disastrous three-game series against the Washington Nationals.
Wheeler wants to go deeper in games, but nonetheless has a 2.02 ERA and is 5-0 since June 25. He struck out 10 and tossed a career-high 120 pitches on Friday. Campbell would be a regular starter if he displayed consistent power, according to Terry Collins. Campbell’s homer is the only hit the Mets have in 21 at-bats with runners in scoring position on the homestand.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Journal and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Wheeler from columnist George Willis in the Post.
• Six days after he was designated for assignment, Chris Young officially was released on Friday as the Mets ate what remained on his $7.25 million contract.
“I don’t want to leave. I want to stay here all my career,” Castro told reporters pregame Friday regarding the Cubs (via Anthony McCarron in the Daily News). “… I know myself. I know I can be a good player and I know a lot of teams can want me. But I’m here and I don’t want to leave here. I feel comfortable here and I want to be a part of this team when we compete, when we win playoffs and stuff like that.”
"The beauty of having shortstops is that they actually can transition into other positions," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said (via Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger). "They’re very athletic. … I don’t think it’s a problem. I think when you have to cross that bridge to make adjustments, you do. Right now I don’t have to really concern myself with it. Starlin’s our shortstop. And Javy is our second baseman. If there’s ever something that ever develops we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it."
• The Mets participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge on Friday afternoon to benefit ALS. They challenged the SNY broadcast crew and Mets fan Jon Stewart. Read more in Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka makes a rehab start Saturday for Double-A Binghamton at Reading. Collins said Matsuzaka’s role upon eventually returning from the DL will be contingent upon Jacob deGrom's timetable for recovery and, potentially, Rafael Montero's performance Sunday. DeGrom is due to throw Saturday for the first time since landing on the DL with rotator-cuff tendinitis. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Despite pitching with a hernia and cranky calf, Jenrry Mejia tossed a perfect ninth inning Friday for his first save in a week. Read more in the Post.
• Travis d'Arnaud took a backswing off his left elbow and is expected to protect it with a pad Saturday.
• Ruben Tejada will get a start during the Cubs series.
• Joe Lemire in the Journal discusses the travel rigors with having a Triple-A team so far away from New York.
• Will Sammon in Newsday interviews Wilmer Flores.
• Matt Bowman tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings and combined with Miguel Socolovich on the shutout as Las Vegas blanked Iowa, 2-0. Brian Burgamy had a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh and Binghamton beat Reading, 8-7. Jeff McNeil had a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth as St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 10-7. Jon Leroux had a grand slam in Savannah’s 16-4 rout of Greenville. Marcos Molina allowed one hit and one walk and struck out a career-high 12 in seven scoreless innings in Brooklyn’s 7-0 win against Vermont. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• John DeMarzo in the Post catches up with first-round pick Michael Conforto out of Oregon State, who is hitting .320/.415/.440 through 27 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones.
• From the bloggers … Blogging Mets takes an early look at the possible Mets payroll for 2015.
BIRTHDAYS: Roger Cedeno turns 40. ... Rick Reed is 50. ... Mike Jorgensen was born on this date in 1948.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
The Mets are responsible for Young's entire $7.25 million salary, less a prorated portion of the $500,000 major league minimum should he happen to sign elsewhere.
Young hit .205 with eight homers and 28 RBIs in 254 at-bats.
Matt den Dekker and Eric Campbell have platooned in left field since Young's ouster.
FIRST PITCH: With a pledge to play younger, homegrown players to determine their readiness to contribute in 2015 now in effect, the Mets continue a series at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.73 ERA) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.42).
Terry Collins, who sat Lucas Duda in New York against Hamels, said Duda will start against the southpaw this time. Part of the Mets’ gauging players for next season is determining Duda’s aptitude against left-handed pitching.
Duda is 1-for-13 with seven strikeouts and five walks in his career against Hamels.
This will be Duda’s second straight start against a southpaw. He went 0-for-3 against Gio Gonzalez in D.C.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Chris Young was designated for assignment after Friday’s game, as the Mets prepare to eat what remains of his one-year, $7.25 million contract. Matt den Dekker, who leads the Pacific Coast League with a .334 average, planned to take a redeye and join the Mets on Saturday in Philly. Collins said den Dekker will regularly start in left field, with Kirk Nieuwenhuis seeing action at all three outfield positions and serving as a lefty pinch hitter. Eric Young Jr. primarily will start against southpaws.
The den Dekker promotion is consistent with the Mets’ commitment to now give Wilmer Flores a serious look as a shortstop, to gauge his ability to handle the role in 2015.
Read more on the dumping of Young and the change of focus in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Journal, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.
• Bartolo Colon watched from the clubhouse as a four-run ninth-inning lead nearly slipped away, but he ultimately notched win No. 200 as the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-4, Friday. Colon became the third Dominican-born pitcher to reach that plateau, joining Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez. Jenrry Mejia kept a promise to Colon by stranding the tying run at third base. Meija’s calf remained tight, but he pitched through the issue.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.
• Jeremy Hefner will be sent to New York to be examined by team doctors after experiencing a forearm issue during Wednesday’s minor-league start with Class A St. Lucie. Hefner is unsure if the injury is linked to the Tommy John surgery he underwent last August.
• Collins has no intention of dropping David Wright from the No. 3 hole.
• Danny Muno had a two-run double in a five-run eighth as Las Vegas rallied to beat Albuquerque, 9-6. Ivan Wilson had a grand slam in Kingport’s 16-10 win against Bristol. Jeff Diehl had a go-ahead two-run double in Brooklyn’s 4-2 win against Mahoning Valley. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Matt Harvey is scheduled for his third mound session on Saturday.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow) should pitch in a rehab game early next week.
• Lloyd Carroll in the Queens Chronicle weighs in on the Mets.
BIRTHDAYS: The late Tommie Agee was born on this date in 1942. ... Pat Mahomes turns 44. ... Minor-league left-hander T.J. Chism turns 26. ... Savannah first baseman/DH Matt Oberste is 23.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Regardless, there is a legitimate desire to promote den Dekker. Den Dekker's .334 average leads the Pacific Coast League. Assistant GM John Ricco on Friday complimented den Dekker's reduced strikeout rate this season (64 Ks in 332 Triple-A at-bats).
Once den Dekker is promoted, the Mets plan to give him a good look in left field -- not let him wilt on the bench. At that point, Kirk Nieuwenhuis would recede to more of a pinch-hitting/bench role. Nieuwenhuis for the time being will be the one getting the serious look in left field at the expense of Young.
"We've talked a lot about the way Matt's been playing," Ricco said. "We talk to these guys who go up and down, and we say go down and play well and you'll get your shot. Well, he's been doing that. Obviously he's right at the top of the league in hitting. ... We're not doing anything right now, but he definitely has played his way into the conversation of, 'Let's give this guy a chance and see what he can do.'"
Young (.205/.283/.346) is only signed through the end of this season. He has roughly $2 million left on his $7.25 million contract.
FIRST PITCH: The season already has pretty much gotten away from the Mets, but they’ll make another last stand during a three-game series in D.C. that opens Tuesday.
Surging Zack Wheeler (6-8, 3.60 ERA) opposes Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (6-7, 3.88) at 7:05 p.m.
Wheeler is 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA in his past six starts. He also is 1-4 with a 4.75 ERA in five career starts against Washington, which occupies first place in the division.
Read the Mets-Nats series preview here.
Meanwhile, although Matt Harvey actually already threw off the slope of a mound Friday at Citi Field, the Mets are billing the ace’s Tuesday afternoon activity in Port St. Lucie, Fla., as the real launch of the mound phase of his return from Tommy John surgery.
“It’s like the official day,” Harvey said.
The procedure was performed on Oct. 22, 2013.
Although Harvey continues to express interest in pitching even an inning in the majors this season, Sandy Alderson suggested the realistic target for a game is the low-intensity fall instructional league that spans late September and early October in Florida. Harvey also may make an appearance in the Arizona Fall League before shutting things down for the winter.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Jenrry Mejia surrendered a tiebreaking RBI double to Pablo Sandoval in the ninth and the Giants beat the Mets, 4-3, Monday to take three of four games in the series. It marked the first time this season Mejia and Jeurys Familia had allowed earned runs in the same game. Both entered Monday with lengthy scoreless-inning streaks.
Mejia experienced lower-back tightness on his left side during Monday’s appearance, but downplayed the severity.
The Mets went 3-4 on the homestand. At 53-59, the Amazin’s trail the Nationals by eight games and trail a wild-card position by seven games.
“We have to win games,” Terry Collins said after Monday’s defeat. “No, I won’t say that’s a good homestand.”
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Not only is Jacob deGrom the reigning NL co-Player of the Week, he now is the NL Rookie of the Month for July, too. DeGrom went 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA and struck out 38 and walked seven in 32 1/3 innings during the month.
• The Mets designated Bobby Abreu for assignment after Monday’s defeat and will add Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A Las Vegas for Tuesday’s series opener in D.C. Abreu, 40, had been 0-for-his-last-22 as a pinch hitter. He hopes to continue his major league career and plans to play winter ball in Venezuela, but also would be interested in serving as a hitting coach one day. Read more in the Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post wants Chris Young out, too. Writes Vaccaro:
The continuing presence of Young on this roster smacks of contradiction. Alderson has talked tough for years about demanding a culture of accountability on this club. Four months into a season that now sits six games under .500 after Monday’s dyspeptic 4-3 loss to the Giants, Young has plainly shown that his five-year tumble was no aberration, and it should be clear to Alderson that his gamble belongs with the rest of the torn-up tickets at Aqueduct.
• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News suggests that while there is promise, the Mets also will have to live with growing pains from young players.
• Hard-throwing lefty reliever Jack Leathersich was promoted from Binghamton to Vegas. John Gant, who took a perfect-game bid into the seventh inning in his most recent start with Savannah, was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week.
Logan Verrett took a shutout bid into the ninth inning and Matt den Dekker with 3-for-4 with a solo homer and a walk as Las Vegas beat Sacramento, 4-2. Maikis De La Cruz went 4-for-6 with three RBIs and also reached over the wall to take away a three-run homer in St. Lucie’s 10-4 win against Clearwater. First-round pick Michael Conforto produced another RBI as Brooklyn beat Connecticut, 4-3. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Juan Lagares went 11-for-25 (.440) during the homestand. Read more on his performance Monday, which included an outfield assist on a throw to the plate, in Newsday.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear offers some thoughts on the Mets' youth movement.
BIRTHDAYS: John Olerud turns 46.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Did you want Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Matt den Dekker promoted?
@AdamRubinESPN Chris Young still here why? DenDekker should be on his away too, give 1 of these guys a chance in LF daily— DMurph (@MetsSouthFla) August 4, 2014
Still, a team official said it remains to be determined whether the Mets make the call-up(s) before rosters expand on Sept. 1.
Since a 4-for-4 performance on June 13 against the Padres, Abreu is batting .120 (6-for-50) and has one extra-base hit. He's particularly flunked in his primary role: pinch-hitting. Abreu is hitless in his past 22 at-bats as a pinch hitter and hitting .065 (2-for-31) in that role for the season.
Young, now late in a one-year, $7.25 million deal, is hitting .207 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 242 at-bats this season. He is starting his 10th game since July 21 in Monday's matinee series finale against the Giants.
den Dekker hit .420 (42-for-100) with one home run and 16 RBIs and had a .508 on-base percentage in 29 games in July with Las Vegas.
Nieuwenhuis was demoted to Las Vegas on July 24, when the Mets called up Wilmer Flores as a hedge after Ruben Tejada was beaned with a fastball in Seattle. Nieuwenhuis has now spent 10 days in the minors, making him eligible to return. He is batting .246 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 57 major league at-bats this season.
Jacob deGrom (4-5, 3.01 ERA) looks to continue his stellar rookie campaign. DeGrom has produced a 1.59 ERA over his past six starts. He has allowed only two runs in 21 innings over his past three starts.
DeGrom opposes right-hander Jimmy Nelson (1-1, 5.06) in the 2:10 p.m. ET finale.
The Mets are 4-5 on their trip to San Diego, Seattle and Milwaukee.
Sunday’s news reports:
• Milwaukee overcame a two-run deficit with three runs in the fifth against Jonathon Niese and ultimately beat the Mets, 5-2, on Saturday at Miller Park. A displeased Niese was lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth.
Chris Young started over slumping Juan Lagares and had two doubles. However, Young also had Mark Reynolds' leadoff single drop in front of him in the fifth. If caught, Niese may have escaped that inning unscathed.
The Mets have scored three runs or fewer in eight straight games. If they fail to exceed three runs on Sunday, it will match the franchise’s longest streak since going nine straight games in August 2012.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka landed on the disabled list Saturday with inflammation in his pitching elbow. Doctors will need for the inflammation to subside before making a proper diagnosis. Terry Collins expects more than a 15-day absence for Matsuzaka. Buddy Carlyle rejoined the Mets. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• How inefficient have the Mets been in spending money? Well, since 2000, only the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles were less efficient, according to an analysis at fivethirtyeight.com. During the 15-year period, the Mets overpaid by $564.3 million for their win total, the study found. The Oakland Athletics set the standard, getting $1.376 billion in extra value compared to what the average MLB dollar buys in terms of wins.
• After being promoted to Triple-A to replace Darin Gorski (broken foot), Matt Bowman dominated Salt Lake on Saturday. Bowman took a scoreless effort into the eighth inning, although he ultimately was charged with three runs (two earned) after a pair of runners he turned over to the bullpen scored. Dilson Herrera had a three-run homer and drove in four runs as Binghamton beat Trenton, 10-7. Will Fulmer’s two-run single helped lift Brooklyn past Vermont, 3-2. After undergoing surgery on a thumb ligament, Wilfredo Tovar has returned to action in the Gulf Coast League. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Mike Gavin in Newsday unearths the origins of Mets and Yankees players’ walk-up music. Writes Gavin:
Zack Wheeler recently felt that it was time to change his warm-up music. So he tracked down a scoreboard employee and requested "Purple Haze" by Hendrix.
"I like something that pumps me up," he said. "Some guys, they like it to settle them down, but I like it to get me going."
• Anthony Recker gives restaurant tips for NL cities to Jared Diamond in the Journal.
• Ex-Met (and ex-Brave) Tom Glavine will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. Glavine went 61-56 with a 3.97 ERA in 164 starts over five seasons with the Mets. Also being inducted: Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. Torre produced a 286-420 record while managing the Mets from 1977 through 1981.
Anthony McCarron in the Daily News chats with Torre about how he became Mets manager.
• Mary Kay Linge in the Post has a first-person account of participating in the Citi Field sleepover.
• John Lannan is due make his season debut with Las Vegas on Monday. Lannan had a 6.75 ERA in six starts with St. Lucie after rejoining the organization following a seven-week absence for a “personal reason.”
• Troy Tulowitzki is headed to Philadelphia … for a visit with a doctor, writes Nick Groke in the Denver Post.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear delves into Mets fans’ intuition.
BIRTHDAYS: First base coach Tom Goodwin turns 46.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should Chris Young start the series finale after producing two doubles on Saturday?
Oh sure, now Chris Young wants to hit a double. #Mets— Irish Brute (@MrMickToYou) July 27, 2014
FIRST PITCH: The Mets look for a rubber-game win Wednesday when Bartolo Colon opposes Seattle Mariners top prospect Taijuan Walker in the 3:40 p.m. ET series finale at Safeco Field.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Jacob deGrom continued to put up NL Rookie of the Year-type numbers. DeGrom limited the Mariners to one run in seven innings as the Mets won, 3-1, Tuesday. The Amazin’s snapped a three-game losing streak. Read game recaps in the Seattle Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Ruben Tejada's left hand was swollen, but the shortstop indicated he did not need X-rays after getting struck with a fifth-inning pitch on the left hand.
• Curtis Granderson was held out of Tuesday’s lineup because of illness and Chris Young's left calf, which forced him to depart the series opener, continued to limit him. Read more in the Daily News.
• Noah Syndergaard tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 1 and Wilmer Flores lost a 22-game hitting streak as Las Vegas split a doubleheader at Tacoma. Left-hander Blake Taylor, the player to be named in the Ike Davis trade, tossed six scoreless innings as Kingsport blanked Greeneville, 5-0.
"For the most part, I attacked hitters," Syndergaard told milb.com. "I was trying to be a little unpredictable. I threw quite a bit of my curveball. I threw some pretty good curveballs, and some ended up out of the strike zone. Even though it wasn't for a strike, it showed the hitter I wasn't afraid to throw a breaking pitch in certain counts."
Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Jeremy Hefner tossed three innings in his third Gulf Coast League appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery.
• Left-handed reliever Scott Rice is due to undergo surgery on Wednesday to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow and also to relocate a troublesome nerve. Read more in the Record and at MLB.com.
• Triple-A catching prospect Kevin Plawecki has been diagnosed with vertigo. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Citing a source close to Colon, ESPNDeportes.com’s Marly Rivera reported the San Francisco Giants have interest in the 41-year-old right-hander.
Executives from other teams tell columnist Joel Sherman in the Post that the $11 million owed to Colon in 2015 will make it very difficult to trade him. Writes Sherman:
Though there are multiple teams -- including the Yankees -- looking for rotation help, the case against Colon was described by several personnel men as significant. One put it this way: “His old team [the A’s] didn’t want to sign him for two years. The only team willing to sign him for two years already has him and that second year is a killer for the Mets to move him even if they don’t want any prospects back.”
Colon has a 4.12 ERA. But when you adjust that for the league and his big ballpark, Colon’s ERA is actually 15 percent worse than the league average. He already has surrendered 14 homers -- the same number as all of last season. There is always worry about his weight and his steroid past. All of that might be possible to overlook -- to some extent -- as one NL scout said, “if his contract were expiring.”
Read more in Newsday.
• ESPN’s Keith Law ranks the Mets’ farm system No. 4 in the majors. Writes Law:
The Mets have graduated a few prospects to the majors -- Travis d'Arnaud (No. 2 in the system coming into the year) and Jacob deGrom (No. 13) in particular -- but nearly all of the guys still in the system have taken steps forward. Noah Syndergaard (No. 1) has had an excellent year in the pitchers' hell of Las Vegas. Brandon Nimmo (No. 5) is hitting for power now that he's out of Savannah, a terrible park for left-handed power hitters. Catcher Kevin Plawecki (No. 6) continues to receive well, as expected, but he also has hit well enough to push himself up to Triple-A in his second full season.
ESPN Insiders can read the full entry here.
• The Mets will play the AL East in interleague play in 2015. In those years, the Mets and Yankees will meet six times, up from the now-customary four Subway Series games. The Boston Red Sox are tentatively due to visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30, Gordon Edes writes at ESPNBoston.com.
• Read more on Walker’s call-up to face the Mets in the Seattle Times.
• Marc Carig in Newsday and Sherman in the Post revisit the R.A. Dickey deal and ask if the Mets took the right pitching prospect in Syndergaard over Aaron Sanchez.
• Eric Young Jr. cheered up a couple of boys he had a close call with in the left-field stands by giving them his wrist band after the half-inning, Carig writes in Newsday.
• Tim Rohan in the Times writes about the Mets’ second-half stumble.
BIRTHDAYS: Savannah left-hander John Mincone, a product of Half Hollow Hills East High School on Long Island, turns 25.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Do you believe Jacob deGrom can win NL Rookie of the Year?
I'd tweet something bad about Murphy, but I don't want to hurt his trade value. #mets— Coach G. Mitchell (@DGMitch14) July 23, 2014
Young pulled himself from Monday's game against the Seattle Mariners in the eighth inning with what the team announced as cramping.
Terry Collins said the training staff has recommended Young not attempt to run Tuesday.