Mets morning briefing 5.18.12

David Wright heard "MVP" chants after delivering a tiebreaking double in what became a five-run eighth and the Mets completed an abbreviated homestand with a 9-4 win against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday. Wright went 2-for-2 with three walks and three runs scored, upping his average to .411.

After going 2-2 against the NL Central this week at home, the Mets donned hockey jerseys -- including Johan Santana in a Minnesota Wild jersey here -- and proceeded to Canada late Thursday afternoon. This weekend marks the Mets' first trip to Toronto since 2006. Scott Hairston likely is to DH in the opener with left-hander Ricky Romero, Justin Turner's former roommate at Cal State Fullerton, due to start for the Blue Jays tonight.

Friday's news reports:

.400 CLUB

Among qualified batters in the past 20 years, only five other players have matched the .400 BA and .500 OBP David Wright has posted through his team’s first 38 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (min. 118 PA).

• Wright's six game-winning RBIs are tied for the major league lead. His .411 average is the highest on or after May 17 in the majors since Chipper Jones in 2008 was hitting .414 after a June 12 game (min. 3.1 PA/team game), according to STATS LLC. Terry Collins compared Wright's early season performance to when Barry Bonds was dominating early in his career for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Collins was on Jim Leyland's staff there. Wright's performance Thursday came while trying to stave off the flu. His game-deciding RBI scored Rob Johnson, who -- in his first game back from a thumb issue -- entered late in place of Mike Nickeas and bunted to get on board. Read game recaps centering on Wright's latest exploits in Newsday, the Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News and Post.

Despite lacking credible threats behind him, Wright is not chasing balls out of the strike zone. Instead, he is taking walks that have bulked up his on-base percentage to a whopping .513. Writes Brian Costa in the Journal:

The frequency with which Wright has gotten on base has at least something to do with the lack of a comparable threat behind him in the Mets' lineup. Slumping first baseman Ike Davis, who had been penciled in as the Mets' cleanup hitter, has been dropped in the order. And pitchers sometimes seem content to take their chances with the likes of Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy. Wright ranks third in the National League with 24 walks. But Wright has also shown exceptional discipline, swinging at less than 19 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, more than a 6 percent drop from 2011. And he is punishing pitchers' mistakes, hitting more than 29 percent of his batted balls for line drives, an 11 percent increase from a year ago.


Wright's surge has been fueled by his performance against inside pitches. Here's his performance against those offerings compared with last season.

Writes columnist George Willis in the Post:

David Wright pulled a Michael Jordan yesterday at Citi Field. Riddled with flu-like symptoms, he riddled the Reds yesterday, continuing a torrid season that is forcing the Mets’ hand to sign him to a contract extension before it costs them a small fortune.

Writes columnist Jeff Bradley in the Star-Ledger:

Would it be cynical now to go back a year, and dredge up the things Fred Wilpon said about David Wright in that infamous New Yorker piece? Remember? “A really good kid,” the Mets owner said of Wright. “A very good player. Not a superstar.” Would it be cynical? Of course. Perhaps even a little bit mean-spirited. But how can you not replay that tape, with the way things are playing out so far for Wright in 2012?

• The Mets began soliciting money in order to secure All-Star tickets for the July 16, 2013 game slated for Citi Field. Season-ticket holders received an email from the club Thursday that read:

As a 2012 Mets Full Season Ticket Holder, you have the exclusive opportunity to purchase three times the number of tickets in your 2013 season ticket account for all 2013 MLB All-Star events. To qualify for this offer, simply place a $250 non-refundable per seat deposit for your 2013 Full Season account renewal by July 10, 2012 by clicking on the link below. This non-refundable per seat deposit will be applied towards your 2013 regular season invoice. 2012 Mets Full Season Ticket Holders who commit to 2013 Full Season Tickets by taking advantage of this offer by July 10, 2012 will lock in 2012 season ticket pricing for the 2013 season.

The Mets also are trying to recruit new ticket buyers with the All-Star festivities as an enticement. The club is offering the right to buy tickets to the All-Star events if you buy a 15-game plan for this season, and give a $250 deposit toward a 15-game plan for next season as well. Read those details on the team's web site here.

Sandy Alderson, who concentrated his limited available dollars on retooling the bullpen during the offseason, described the relief corps' performance as a "frustration" pregame Thursday. His comments came the morning after the Mets dumped D.J. Carrasco and promoted left-hander Robert Carson from Double-A Binghamton. Alderson added that Jenrry Mejia likely will make two starts for Double-A Binghamton (beginning Saturday) and then two more for Triple-A Buffalo in what is considered an unofficial rehab phase in his return from Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2011. Collins confirmed this week that Mejia eventually should be dabbling in relief work, where he is most likely to contribute at the major league level this season. Meanwhile, Jon Rauch, Bobby Parnell and Frank Francisco actually combined to toss three scoreless innings Thursday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and the Daily News.

Zack Wheeler allowed a two-run homer in the first inning but only one other hit while tossing a season-high seven innings and winning his third straight as Binghamton routed Trenton, 12-3, Thursday. At Triple-A, Vinny Rottino had a game-deciding two-run single that extended his International League hitting streak to 20 games. Rottino owns the second-longest active streak in minor league baseball, trailing only Jurickson Profar's 27-game streak with Double-A Frisco City. Read the full minor league recap here.

Dillon Gee has shed the pronounced goatee he had sported since spring training. It apparently was time to change his fortunes after allowing 11 runs in 11 innings over his past two starts. Gee, who is winless in three starts since an April 28 victory at Colorado, next pitches Sunday at Toronto opposite right-hander Henderson Alvarez.

TRIVIA: Who managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006, the last time they faced the Mets?

Thursday's answer: R.A. Dickey was the first-round pick of the Texas Rangers (18th overall) in the 1996 draft.