New York Mets: Jenrry Mejia
FIRST PITCH: The Mets’ tragic number for postseason elimination is down to five. The Amazin’s trail the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second wild-card spot by eight games with 11 to play.
Even reaching .500 is slipping away. The Mets (72-79) must going 9-2 the rest of the way to avoid a sixth straight losing season. If they again finish below .500, they will match the Houston Astros for MLB’s longest active streak of losing seasons -- six straight.
Bartolo Colon (13-12, 4.14 ERA) tries to get the Mets back on track Tuesday. He opposes Miami Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (6-11, 4.29) at 7:10 p.m.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Jacob deGrom matched a modern-day major league record by striking out the first eight batters he faced, but Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia could not hold a lead in the eighth and the Mets lost to the Marlins, 6-5, Monday. DeGrom, who had a no-decision, finished with a career-high 13 strikeouts.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Matt Harvey's 2014 throwing program is in the books. Harvey put on one final show at Citi Field on Monday afternoon, throwing a simulated game on the main mound. He regularly touched 95 mph despite not quite throwing 100 percent. He used all of his pitches except the slider. Sandy Alderson expects Harvey to be on the same program as other starting pitchers during spring training. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Alderson and Terry Collins are due to meet in Atlanta this weekend to discuss Collins’ future as well as plan for 2015. Both are expected to return.
Writes columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post on the topic:
Alderson and Collins have overseen a mostly janitorial period with these Mets (72-79), one during which the Wilpons and Saul Katz have slashed payroll at a record-setting pace. Inaction and inertia have largely defined this time, so much so that it often felt difficult to evaluate these two men given how handcuffed they were by their superiors.
Yet with four years nearly in the books, we finally know Alderson’s and Collins’ strengths and weaknesses. And therefore the Mets should know how both men need to improve for this franchise to make its much-desired leap to bona fide contention.
For Alderson, it’s about filling out the roster and sweeping away the silliness. For Collins, it’s about maximizing that roster and embracing Citi Field.
Read columnist David Lennon’s take in Newsday and more in the Daily News.
• The Mets presented Sterling Awards to Steven Matz as the organization’s top pitcher and Dilson Herrera as the organization’s top position player. They also gave out awards during a pregame ceremony for the top performers at each level of the minors.
Long Island’s Matz spoke with media Monday afternoon about flirting with a no-hitter in Binghamton’s Eastern League championship clincher. Arizona Fall League-bound Matt Reynolds said he understood the September call-up snub. Alderson said Brandon Nimmo is a “lot more man” than a year ago. Kevin Plawecki said batterymate Noah Syndergaard’s numbers did not tell the whole story at Las Vegas. Plawecki also said his vertigo has not resurfaced.
• Vic Black was diagnosed with a mild rotator-cuff strain in his right shoulder. He will refrain from throwing for five to six days. While he is not officially shut down for the season, Black may not appear again in 2014. Read more in the Post and Newsday.
• Jeremy Hefner “likely” is headed for a second Tommy John surgery after an unfavorable visit to Dr. James Andrews.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal prints the opening two rounds of the Mets’ fantasy-football draft. The Dillon Gee/bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello team took Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy first overall. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles went second overall to Harvey and strength coach Jim Malone.
• Harvey was named among New York's most stylish by Us Weekly.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear reflects on witnessing pitching history.
BIRTHDAYS: Orel Hershiser turns 56. ... Desi Relaford is 41. ... Chris (Animal) Carter is 32.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
DeGrom matched a modern-day major league record by striking out the first eight Miami Marlins batters and took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning. He ended up with a no-decision, however, as the Mets twice squandered two-run leads and lost, 6-5, Monday at Citi Field.
Jeurys Familia, whose 20 holds are a franchise rookie record, surrendered a two-run single to Adeiny Hechavarria in the eighth as the Marlins pulled even at 5.
Jenrry Mejia, entering with two outs in the eighth, allowed an inherited run to score on Jeff Mathis' go-ahead RBI single later in the frame.
The Mets (72-79) dropped two games behind the Giancarlo Stanton-less Marlins (73-76) for third place in the NL East. The Mets must go 9-2 the rest of the way to avoid their sixth straight losing season.
DeGrom is now 8-6 with a 2.68 ERA through 21 career starts.
He finished with 13 strikeouts -- the most by a Met since Matt Harvey achieved the same total on June 18, 2013 against the Atlanta Braves.
Newly installed No. 3 hitter Travis d'Arnaud had produced a tiebreaking RBI single in a three-run bottom of the seventh as the Mets took a 5-3 lead.
Nursing a 2-0 lead a half-inning earlier, deGrom surrendered a two-run single to ex-Met Jordany Valdespin and sacrifice fly to pinch hitter Reed Johnson. The three-run frame snapped deGrom’s streak without allowing an earned run at 28 innings.
It was the longest streak by a rookie in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Previous record-holder John Maine had gone 26 innings without allowing an earned run in 2006. Overall, it was the fifth-longest streak in the majors this season, trailing only efforts by Clayton Kershaw (41.0 IP without an earned run), Burke Badenhop (32.1 IP), Wade Davis (30.2 IP) and Kelvin Herrera (29.2 IP).
Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart broke up deGrom’s game-opening string of strikeouts at eight with an opposite-field single through the right side of the infield with two outs in the top of the third. DeGrom matched Jim Deshaies of the 1986 Houston Astros for the modern-day record for consecutive Ks to open a game. Pete Falcone formerly held the Mets record. He had six straight strikeouts to open a game in 1980 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
What’s next: Bartolo Colon (13-12, 4.14 ERA) opposes right-hander Nathan Eovaldo (6-11, 4.29) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesJacob deGrom continues his NL Rookie if the Year campaign on Monday night.
FIRST PITCH: Time to reel in the Miami Marlins!
Jacob deGrom's Rookie of the Year campaign continues Monday as the Mets open a three-game series against the Giancarlo Stanton-less Marlins at Citi Field. Stanton, an MVP candidate, suffered facial fractures when he was struck with an 88 mph pitch from Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers on Thursday.
The Marlins (72-76) are a game ahead of the Mets (72-78) for third place in the NL East. For the record, the Mets are 7½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second wild-card spot with 12 games remaining.
DeGrom (8-6, 2.62 ERA) opposes right-hander Jarred Cosart (13-9, 3.70), who was acquired on July 31 in a deal that sent outfielder Jake Marisnick to the Houston Astros.
Since allowing six runs and 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings at St. Louis on June 16 to drop to 0-4, deGrom has posted a 1.77 ERA, .210 opponent batting average and 0.996 WHIP in 13 starts.
Pregame, the Mets will honor their Sterling Award winners, including Stony Brook, Long Island, native Steven Matz as pitcher of the year and Dilson Herrera as position player of the year. Matz took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning Friday in Double-A Binghamton’s Eastern League championship clincher against Richmond.
Also due to be honored Monday as top performers at their respective minor-league levels:
Las Vegas -- Matt Reynolds, ss
Binghamton -- Kevin Plawecki, c
St. Lucie -- Brandon Nimmo, of
Savannah -- Dario Alvarez, lhp and Akeel Morris, rhp
Kingsport -- Vicente Lupo, of
Brooklyn -- Marcos Molina, rhp
Gulf Coast League -- John Mora, of
Dominican Summer League 1 -- Ali Sanchez, c
Dominican Summer League 2 -- Walter Rasquin, c
Monday’s news reports:
• Wilson Ramos delivered a two-run homer against Jonathon Niese to break a scoreless tie in the seventh and the Nationals beat the Mets, 3-0, Sunday. The Mets officially were eliminated from the NL East race.
The Nats have won 14 of their last 15 games at Citi Field and have out-homered the Mets 35-7 in Queens during that span.
Washington has homered in 15 straight games at Citi Field, the longest streak ever by a team at the ballpark, including the Mets. The Atlanta Braves rank second, having homered in 11 straight games at the Queens stadium from April 2012 through May 2013. The Mets’ longest streak is nine straight games with a Citi Field homer, which came June 15-July 9 of this season.
The Mets went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position Sunday and hit .176 (6-for-34) in those situations during the four-game series.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Journal, Record and at MLB.com.
Left-handed reliever Dana Eveland is being sent home to California because he has inflammation in his pitching elbow and will not pitch against this season.
Matt den Dekker had a pinch-hit infield single Sunday in his first plate appearance since being hit on the top of the left hand with a pitch last Tuesday.
Read more on Black in the Post and Record.
• Critic Phil Mushnick in the Post is not a fan of Jenrry Mejia's “fisherman” save celebration against the Nats. Writes Mushnick:
Terry Collins is trying to convince Jenrry Mejia that his exaggerated, self-absorbed, attention-starved, post-save fool-dancing -- even after nearly blowing a save -- is unprofessional. Let me give it a shot: Jenrry, you look like a fool.
• Joe Lemire in the Journal notes that Zack Wheeler, deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are part of a select group of lefty-hitting right-handed pitchers. That exposes their right arms while standing in the batter’s box. Wheeler and deGrom actually are natural righty hitters.
• Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin recaps the B-Mets’ title.
BIRTHDAYS: Former reliever Satoru Komiyama turns 49.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets activate Steven Matz, Matt Reynolds and Kevin Plawecki while they are in town for the Sterling Award presentation?
NYC Bound!! pic.twitter.com/A2hWiqHR6n— Enrique Hernandez (@kikehndez) September 14, 2014
FIRST PITCH: One more game.
The Washington Nationals have owned the New York Mets at Citi Field this year -- and last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. But at least after Sunday afternoon, the Nats won't be back in New York until Opening Day next year.
Maybe the Mets can even split this four-game weekend series with the Nationals. Remember, the Mets won Friday night, ending Washington's 12-game Citi Field win streak.
Jonathon Niese (8-10, 3.59) starts Sunday's 1:10 p.m. series finale, with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (11-5, 2.93) going for the Nationals.
Sunday's news reports:
• Zack Wheeler's string of good starts ended with Saturday's 10-3 loss to Washington. Read game stories in the Post, Daily News, Record and MLB.com.
• Nobody believes the Mets will spend big this winter. But will they even spend small? Columnist Joel Sherman of the Post says he's not asking for much. He just doesn't want general manager Sandy Alderson to tell us that he wants "to get to the top of the Empire State Building [without using] the elevator or stairs." Seems like a reasonable request.
• Mets fans love the idea that Wally Backman will join the team for a week as a coach, but columnist Filip Bondy of the Daily News wonders if this is the right week to be adding a guy with domestic abuse issues in his past.
• Plenty of closers celebrate after saves, but Terry Collins thought Jenrry Mejia's "fisherman" act Friday might have been a little over the top. Collins talked to Mejia about toning it down. Read more in the Post and Newsday. Columnist Anthony McCarron of the Daily News wonders why near the end of a season that has generated little excitement, the Mets want to stop their closer from having fun.
• As one ballpark elevator operator told Tim Rohan of the Times, Citi Field has been "a ghost town" through much of the season, and especially this past week. And now the Mets are dealing with a discrimination lawsuit from a former ticket sales executive.
• Vic Black, just off the disabled list with a neck problem, now has the Mets worried about his shoulder. Read more in Newsday.
From the bloggers: Faith and Fear thought the Nationals' fireworks display outstripped the one the Mets presented postgame. ... Blogging Mets looks at Collins' place in Mets managerial history.
BIRTHDAYS: Dave Hillman, who finished his career with the 1962 Mets, turns 87 today . . . Chad Bradford is 40 . . . Mike Draper is 48 . . . Harry Parker was born on this day in 1947.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU'RE UP: Does Jenrry Mejia's "fisherman" act bother you?
We're losing, but at least Mejia won't do anything fun. We can't have fun. That's what the Wilpons want. #Mets— Robb Pozarycki (@robbpoz) September 14, 2014
On Saturday, manager Terry Collins watched the video of Mejia’s Friday save celebration. Collins then met with Mejia to ask the closer to “tone it down a little bit.”
Mejia said he understood the point that it could jeopardize teammates when they step in the batter’s box.
After striking out Ian Desmond to save Friday’s 4-3 win, Mejia pantomimed being a fisherman reeling in a catch at the plate.
“He said I can do like I did before, but not like last night,” Mejia said Saturday afternoon. “I never tried to do it. I just do what comes natural. ... I say sorry if some guy takes this wrong. ... I just do it because it comes naturally.”
“Today, people watch home runs and people react differently. Everybody has got their own handshake and their own high-five. Times have changed. You’ve just got to turn your head to some of it. It’s certainly not directed at anybody or to derogatory toward the other team at all. It’s the way the game is today and the excitement of players.
“To be honest, a lot of people like it,” Collins continued. “A lot of fans like to see those things at the end of the game. But we need to tone it down, because that’s a good a team over there. We don’t need to wake them up.”
Asked if demonstrative celebrations like Mejia’s make the game more appealing to young fans, Collins said: “People love it. Fans love it. They love to see it on TV. They love to see the reactions of the players. You know, they have emotions. I’ve told you guys many times these guys are not robots. They have feelings, and they get caught up in the moment. They get caught up in the excitement. The walk-off homers have gotten out of control. The pies in the face at the end of the game are out of control. That’s the way it is. So you let it go.
“Last night was not directed at anybody in particular. It’s just that they’ve been beating us up and we finally won a game and he got excited about it. I’m writing it off as an error of enthusiasm by a young player.”
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
NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia allowed the tying run to reach scoring position, but the closer eventually nailed down a 4-3 win against the Washington Nationals on Friday with a game-ending strikeout of Ian Desmond.
Mejia then debuted his latest postgame celebration -- this time an over-the-top routine that involved pointing in Desmond’s direction and reeling him in like a fisherman.
Bryce Harper in the on-deck circle was among the Nats who appeared none too pleased. Harper stared in Mejia’s direction as the Mets gathered by the mound to congratulate each other on the victory.
"That wasn't called for," Denard Span said to D.C. reporters about Mejia's antics. "No need for that."
“I just go out there and it’s like adrenaline,” said Mejia, insisting his moves are unscripted. “I just do what comes naturally. I just struck him out, and I did something to finish the game.”
Asked if reeling in batters is his new signature move after saves, Mejia added: “No, no. I’ve told you, I don’t have any move.”
Still, Mejia added, his favorite celebration came in the Bronx earlier this season.
“Everybody said I was dancing," Mejia said. "I didn’t dance. I just did what’s natural.”
Said Terry Collins: “You’ve got to have some emotion in the game. We see it everywhere. I see other teams doing it. They can get mad, if it gives them more adrenaline. I want these guys to have some fun. I don’t want to corral them and worry about every move they make. We’ll try to settle him down a little bit. But, gosh, it’s a big win for us against a first-place team and there’s no reason not to be excited.”
The Mets beat the Nationals, 4-3, Friday to snap Washington’s 12-game Citi Field winning streak.
Dillon Gee failed to hold a three-run lead, with Anthony Rendon eventually evening the score in the fifth on a replay-awarded solo homer. Juan Lagares delivered a tiebreaking RBI double against Gio Gonzalez a half-inning later to restore the Mets’ lead.
Gee, who allowed a season-high nine hits, departed with two baserunners aboard and one out in the sixth. Carlos Torres entered and coaxed an inning-ending double-play grounder from Asdrubal Cabrera.
Torres also induced an inning-ending double play in a scoreless seventh. Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia followed with scoreless frames, although Mejia allowed the tying run to reach scoring position.
The Nats nonetheless have out-homered the Mets 32-6 in the past 13 meetings in Queens. Washington is 26-5 at Citi Field since Sept. 12, 2011.
Travis d'Arnaud produced a three-run double in the first against Gonzalez, although an E-2 allowed the third run to score. It was d’Arnaud’s first hit in 10 at-bats this season with the bases loaded. Gonzalez also surrendered three first-inning runs against the Mets on May 17.
Payback? Albeit on an 0-2 count, Gonzalez hit the second batter of the game. Lagares was drilled on the left side -- the same spot where Jayson Werth was struck Thursday, which led to Bartolo Colon's ejection. Lagares has been hit by pitches seven times this season. Three of those plunkings have come against the Nats.
What’s next: Zack Wheeler (10-9, 3.38 ERA) opposes right-hander Doug Fister (13-8, 2.53) at 7:10 p.m. Saturday.
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:
“If I continue to pitch the way I’m pitching, there will be more to come,” Montero pledged through an interpreter.
“We’ve got to fix that,” Collins said. “He knows that, and it’s no secret. His stuff plays, as we’ve seen, but we’ve got to stop getting him in those deep counts, because he’s going to run into problems.
“I thought tonight he made some really good pitches. He had some good movement tonight. But we’ve got to get him around the plate a little bit better and get him to understand what got him to the big leagues will keep him here, and that’s strikes and changing speeds with it.”
This was a spot start for Montero. Sandy Alderson has said the September call-up may get another start this month, but Collins said postgame that is not etched in stone.
“I don’t know yet,” Collins said. “I want to sit down and see how the next few days go and see where we’re at. If somebody goes real deep, we might bring [Montero] back.”
Family affair: Eric Young Jr. said he was particularly pleased with his 3-for-3 performance that included a triple and RBI because it came with his father, Rockies first-base coach Eric Young Sr., at Citi Field.
E.Y. Jr. did not start any of the games at Coors Field during the first half, in part because he was struck in the cheekbone by a batting-practice ball off the bat of Lucas Duda back in May.
“For me to do it in front of him, that was really special,” E.Y. Jr. said. “In Colorado I didn’t get a chance to get any starts. I caught that ball from Duda, so I had to sit out in Colorado, and I didn’t play the first two games this series. So, No. 1, I was just excited to get to play in front of him. And to have that type of game, I’m sure that’s something we’ll be talking about in the offseason.”
Let me in skip: Collins indicated pregame that he planned to stay away from using Jenrry Mejia on Wednesday to give his closer a rest after Mejia loaded the bases and was pulled in the ninth inning the previous day. But Mejia asked in for Wednesday’s game. And, after Collins agreed to use him, Mejia converted the save with a scoreless ninth to complete the series finale.
Mejia, 24, became the youngest Met ever with 25 saves. Randy Myers previously held that distinction. He had 26 saves in 1988 at age 25.
“He came to me today and said, ‘I want to get back in there,’” Collins said. “I love that. I love to hear that stuff. He didn’t pout anymore. He said, ‘I need to get back in there.’ I said, ‘You got it.’”
The playoffs? That still seems too ambitious.
Rafael Montero tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings and earned his first major league win as the Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 2-0 victory Wednesday at Citi Field.
With their seventh win in their past eight games, the Mets improved to 71-75. They have not been this close to .500 since Aug. 2 (53-57).
The Pittsburgh Pirates, who occupy the second wild-card spot, won 6-3 in Philadelphia, so the Mets remain 5½ back with 16 games remaining.
The Mets won despite mustering five hits. Eric Young Jr. had three of the hits, including a run-scoring triple in the second for the game’s opening run. Juan Lagares provided a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh.
For those into run differential, the Mets are back in the black at plus-one for the season.
The Mets tossed consecutive shutouts for the first time since June 29-30, 2012 at Dodger Stadium.
Jenrry Mejia tossed a perfect ninth to record the save.
Spot shine: Despite a high pitch count and effort that included issuing four walks, Montero took a no-hit bid two outs into the fifth inning. Opposing pitcher Tyler Matzek then doubled over Young’s head in left field to place two in scoring position. Montero rebounded. He coaxed a flyout from Charlie Blackmon that stranded two in scoring position.
Still nursing a 1-0 lead in the sixth, Montero allowed a leadoff double to Drew Stubbs and single to Justin Morneau that placed runners on the corners with none out. He struck out Nolan Arenado and then departed with his pitch count at 106.
Fellow rookie Dario Alvarez entered and retired Corey Dickerson on a squibber that moved Morneau to second base. Carlos Torres entered and retired Michael McKenry to leave both runners in scoring position.
Montero’s final line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K.
Terry Collins said pregame that it is undecided whether Montero would get another start this month. The Mets promoted him in part to gauge his ability in a relief role. And the Mets are reluctant to have their incumbent starting pitchers work with more than one extra day of rest between outings. Monday already is a team off-day.
Quiet night: In his first game at third base in more than three years, Daniel Murphy had no grounders he was required to field.
What’s next: If the Mets are going to make it interesting over the final 16 games, they’ll have to make noise against the first-place Washington Nationals. Two series remain between the teams, including a four-game set at Citi Field that opens Thursday. Bartolo Colon (13-11, 3.96 ERA) opposes right-hander Tanner Roark (12-10, 2.97) in the opener.
Still, Collins told ESPNNewYork.com that he is going to be conservative with Mejia's usage down the stretch. And because Mejia worked the previous day, he is unlikely to be used Wednesday in a save situation, according to the manager.
Flores is one of the five players on the 40-man roster who exhausted a final option this season.
That means, barring an offseason trade, Flores either will break spring-training camp with the Mets in 2015 or be exposed to waivers. And Flores has shown enough that he would have to be on the team, because he surely would be claimed.
An option is good for an entire season, allowing a player to move freely as many times as desired between the majors and minors without being exposed to waivers. Most players get three option years, although some get four, including Mejia. (See explanation at BaseballAmerica.com.)
Players can begin burning options even before reaching the majors. For instance, left-handed prospect Steven Matz was placed on the 40-man roster last winter to protect him from Rule 5 draft eligibility. So Matz came to camp in Port St. Lucie in February as a 40-man roster player. And when he predictably failed to make the team, he was optioned to minor-league camp. So his first option was used in 2014 despite never appearing in the majors.
In the case of Mejia, having exhausted his options is largely immaterial. Whether as the closer or some other late-inning relief role, Mejia has established himself as a major leaguer and should no longer need an option.
Nieuwenhuis is the other case like Flores. It's no wonder the Mets are testing Nieuwenhuis in a bench-type role -- with pinch hits and sporadic starts. After all, that would appear to be the role he is slated for in 2015 given he cannot be sent to the minors at that point without being exposed to waivers.
For the same reason, the Mets careers of Puello and Brown appear to be on life support. Although they are on the 40-man roster, neither player was called up in September for a look, suggesting neither is really in the 2015 plans. That means they could be the first off the roster this offseason when the Mets need a spot for a new addition -- either a prospect who needs to be shielded from the Rule 5 draft, a free-agent signing, or via a trade that adds more current 40-man roster players than it subtracts.
The Mets' 40-man roster currently is full. (See the current 40-man roster here). And, because of a rare circumstance of not many pending free agents, it will remain full even into the offseason.
Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell will need to come off the 60-day DL, where they have not been counting against the 40-man roster.
And, with their contracts expiring, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Bobby Abreu would come off.
So 40, plus 2, minus 2, still equals 40.
That means the Mets are going to have to drastically start trimming 40-man roster players this winter. Aside from free agents, there are new prospects to shield from the Rule 5 draft, beginning with Noah Syndergaard.
Getty ImagesJacob deGrom added to his resume with eight scoreless innings, but David Wright (rotator cuff) is done for the season.
FIRST PITCH: The Mets are even with the Yankees in one respect: Both teams are now 5½ games out in their respective wild-card races.
Still, that seemingly speaks more to the Bombers being out of postseason contention than the Amazin’s being in it.
With 17 games remaining, the Mets have a 70-75 record.
The San Francisco Giants seemingly are firmly entrenched in the No. 1 wild-card spot at 79-65.
Pittsburgh currently occupies the second wild-card spot at 75-69. Atlanta (74-71), freefalling Milwaukee (74-71) and Miami (71-72) also are ahead of the Mets.
The Pirates and Brewers play three more times, meaning that’s at least two additional wins for one of those teams. And Pittsburgh and Atlanta play four times, meaning that’s a minimum of two wins for one of those teams.
So .500 seems like a more realistic goal for the Mets. If the Mets fall short of breakeven, they would finish with their sixth straight losing season, which would be tied with the Houston Astros for the longest active streak in the majors.
Rafael Montero, who joined the Mets from Triple-A Las Vegas on Sunday, gets a spot start that allows the other members of the rotation to receive an extra day of rest. Montero (0-3, 5.23 ERA) opposes left-hander Tyler Matzek (5-9, 4.32), a fellow rookie.
Montero last pitched last Wednesday in Vegas’ Pacific Coast League playoff opener at Reno. He allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks in a 103-pitch effort spanning 4 1/3 innings.
Matzek is coming off a three-hit shutout against the San Diego Padres. He became the first Rockies pitcher to go the distance in a scoreless effort at Coors Field since Jhoulys Chacin on April 15, 2011 against the Chicago Cubs. Overall, Matzek has an active 21-inning scoreless streak.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• David Wright has been shut down for the remainder of the season after undergoing an MRI and examination of his troublesome left shoulder at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Tuesday. The captain is not expected to require surgery to address what was labeled “persistent inflammation” in the rotator cuff.
Wright finishes the season with a .269 average, career-low eight homers and 63 RBIs in 535 at-bats. He went homerless in his final 189 at-bats, which is the longest drought of his career.
Wright had experienced discomfort since jamming the shoulder while sliding headfirst on a steal on June 12 on a muddy surface at Citi Field. He missed a week late in the first half and then received a cortisone shot heading into the All-Star break.
“David did what captains do -- he persevered, he kept going, he gutted it out,” Sandy Alderson said. “Numbers or no numbers, he did what we expected. He made a major contribution to the team by continuing to perform. And when a player is injured, all you can expect from him is honesty about the injury and willingness to go out there and make the effort. There’s no question David did that throughout the last two and half months.”
Alderson and Terry Collins said they would huddle to determine the best infield alignment in Wright’s absence. Dilson Herrera figured to see vastly diminished playing time with Daniel Murphy having returned from a calf injury on Tuesday. Now, though, one option is to use Murphy at third base and Herrera at second. Otherwise, the likely option is to use Eric Campbell at third base -- although Josh Satin and Wilmer Flores also are capable of manning the position, too.
Murphy last played third base, his natural position, in 2011 when Wright missed time with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Read more on Wright in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Jacob deGrom retired the final 14 batters he faced and was sitting at 100 pitches through eight scoreless innings when Collins pulled him three outs away from a complete game. Collins, under pressure from his bosses to keep his young hurlers’ pitch counts in check late in the season, went to Jenrry Mejia for the ninth. Mejia eventually was pulled with the bases loaded and one out. Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia combined to bail the Mets out and preserve a 2-0 win against the Rockies on Tuesday.
Edgin had been dealing with elbow discomfort from bone spurs and had received a cortisone injection last Tuesday. He was making his first appearance since Aug. 23.
DeGrom improved to 8-6 and sliced his ERA to 2.62. He becomes the third pitcher in franchise history to have a sub-3.00 ERA through 20 starts in his debut season, joining Dwight Gooden (1984, 2.80) and Tom Seaver (1967, 2.92), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. DeGrom has not allowed an earned run in his past 22 innings.
Read game recaps in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Alderson acknowledged the Mets are considering further revising the dimensions in right-center/right field at Citi Field. According to ESPN Stats & Information’s Mark Simon, who made a crude calculation using Inside Edge data that plots of fly balls:
The Mets have hit 16 balls to right-center this season that traveled more than 395 feet -- and seven have fallen short of being home runs. Opponents have hit 15 balls to right-center that traveled more than 395 feet -- and four have been short of being home runs.
So the Mets, very roughly, could have a pickup of seven long balls for a season potentially with such a wall adjustment.
The Mets’ analysis, according to Alderson, is that Curtis Granderson could have seven more homers with particular wall tweaking.
Read more in the Journal and Newsday.
• Matt den Dekker was struck in the left hand by a pitch from Yohan Flande in the seventh inning and departed the game after the frame. X-rays were negative.
• Binghamton won Game 1 of its best-of-five Eastern League Championship series, 5-2 at Richmond. Starter Tyler Pill allowed two runs in six innings against the San Francisco Giants’ Double-A affiliate. Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs. Greg Peavey starts Game 2 for the B-Mets on Wednesday. Read the full recap here.
• Collins, Zack Wheeler and Travis d'Arnaud visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum on Tuesday. Read more in the Daily News.
• Joe Torre has sent a memo to umpires dissuading them from calling runners safe when catchers are blocking the plate unless it’s a bang-bang play, writes Jayson Stark at ESPN.com. That should avoid clearly out runners being awarded home plate on a technicality.
• Jeff Passan at Yahoo! examines the trouble with WAR, and uses Juan Lagares as an example.
• From the bloggers … John Delcos, who had been hospitalized for five months and remains in a wheelchair, is back blogging. Check out the explanation for his absence here. … Blogging Mets wonders if Collins deserves another year as Mets manager. ... Faith and Fear finds every deGrom start is a good hair day.
BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Andrew Brown, who was passed over for a September call-up, turns 30. ... Minor-league infielder Phillip Evans is 22.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets move Daniel Murphy to third base for the remainder of the season in order to get Dilson Herrera in the lineup at second base?
Am I dreaming or are the New York #Mets really just 5.5 games out of a playoff spot??— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) September 10, 2014
NEW YORK -- What more can Jacob deGrom do this season?
He can go to the mound for his 20th big league start and make it the best of what has already been a brilliant rookie season. He can go eight innings for the first time in his career -- make that eight shutout innings -- and allow only three hits to the highest-scoring team in the National League.
He can give the New York Mets a 2-0 Tuesday night win over the Colorado Rockies.
Manager Terry Collins said Tuesday afternoon that the Mets had already seen all they needed from deGrom, the 26-year-old right-hander who has exceeded all expectations.
"There's not much he needs to do except stay healthy," Collins said. "That's going to be our goal."
How about shutting down the team that leads the National League in scoring?
DeGrom allowed a Wilin Rosario double and a Josh Rutledge infield single in the second inning, and a Nolan Arenado double in the fourth. He struck out nine, he didn't walk a batter, and he kept his pitch count enough under control that Collins could have considered letting him try to finish the shutout.
Instead, with deGrom at 100 pitches (75 strikes), Collins went to closer Jenrry Mejia to start the ninth. Mejia loaded the bases with one out, so Collins went to Josh Edgin and Jeurys Familia for the final two outs. Familia got credit for his second save.
It was the fifth time in 20 starts that deGrom didn't allow a run and the seventh time he didn't allow an earned run, but it was the first time he pitched this deep into a game, and DeGrom became just the third pitcher in Mets history to have a sub-3.00 ERA 20 starts into his debut season. Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden were the other two.
"He's shown us everything we need to see," Collins said before the game.
Tuesday night, deGrom showed us even more.
Murphy's return: As Collins said Tuesday afternoon, Daniel Murphy's two-week stay on the disabled list cost him any chance at 200 hits. Murphy returned from the DL on Tuesday and had a third-inning infield single for his 160th hit.
The fence report: With the talk about whether the Mets will move the right-field fence in next year, it's probably worth noting that there were a couple of balls hit Tuesday that might have been helped by shorter fences. The first was by Rockies' Rosario, but there was also one by Curtis Granderson in the sixth inning (it went for an RBI double instead).
Lucas Duda hit a fly ball to the wall in the first inning, but it was caught in front of the right-field foul pole, a spot where the fence is unlikely to be moved.
The Flores report: When general manager Sandy Alderson said this week that he considers Wilmer Flores a viable option to be the Mets' 2015 shortstop, the biggest reaction from rival scouts was, "He can't be serious, can he?"
Alderson said he believes Flores has made all the routine plays, and he did make the routine plays again Tuesday. He did concede an infield hit on a Rutledge ground ball, but it was on a play that only a very good shortstop would make.
The Grand return: Granderson's triple in the ninth inning Monday was his first extra-base hit at Citi Field since July. His sixth-inning double Tuesday was his second, and it brought home the Mets' second run.
Den Dekker hits, gets hit: Matt den Dekker doubled in the fifth inning and scored the Mets' first run. But den Dekker was hit on the hand by a Yohan Flande pitch in the seventh inning and left the game at the end of the frame.
What's next: Rafael Montero (0-3, 5.23) makes his seventh major league start and his first since Aug. 17, when the Mets and Rockies close out this series on Wednesday night at Citi Field. Left-hander Tyler Matzek (5-9, 4.32) starts for Colorado.