Morning Briefing: Mejia starts rubber match

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
5:35
AM ET
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: Jenrry Mejia makes his second pitch to entrench himself in the rotation when the Mets have a rubber-game matchup with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. at Turner Field.

Mejia (1-0, 1.50 ERA) opposes right-hander David Hale (0-0, 0.00) in the series finale.

Thursday’s news reports:




Zack Wheeler, returning to the scene of his big-league debut, allowed four runs in five innings and suffered his first career defeat in four decisions against the Atlanta Braves. A ninth-inning comeback fell short and the Mets lost, 4-3, Wednesday. Ervin Santana deserved some credit for tossing eight scoreless innings, but the Mets collectively are hitting .190 through eight games. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.

Freddie Freeman produced a two-run single in the fifth to cap the scoring against Wheeler and now has 37 RBIs in 38 games over the past three seasons against the Mets, making him the new Chipper Jones, ESPN Stats & Info’s Mark Simon writes.

• Terry Collins said Ike Davis will start at first base in Thursday’s series finale over Lucas Duda. So Duda’s audition appears to have run its course. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Juan Lagares crashed into the center-field wall on another highlight-reel catch after afterward suggested his right shoulder was uninjured.

John Lannan, who continues to struggle, preauthorized a demotion to Triple-A the first 45 days of the season even though his MLB service time offered him protection against getting dispatched to the minors.

David Wright entered Wednesday fighting the flu and hitless in 12 at-bats, but he participated in early batting practice and then went 2-for-4. Read more in the Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings with Triple-A Las Vegas. Princeton product Matt Bowman earned the win in his Double-A debut. St. Lucie snapped a four-game losing skid as well as a 23-inning scoreless drought with a 5-2 win against Jupiter. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes the Mets have a difficult early schedule. Writes Diamond:

The Mets' opponents in their first 22 games this season posted a combined winning percentage of .552 in 2013. The stretch includes six games against the National League East champion Atlanta Braves (96-66), four against the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals (97-65) and three against the NL wild card-winning Cincinnati Reds (90-72).

Only this weekend’s road series against the Los Angeles Angels (78-84) seems to offer the Mets some semblance of a break.

Since the league expanded to 30 teams in 1998, only 10 teams have endured a more grueling 22-game gauntlet to open a season than the 2014 Mets, using this measure.

• The Braves accidentally lit an American flag on fire during Tuesday’s Hank Aaron pregame ceremony, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear bridges the gap from Aaron to Bartolo Colon.

BIRTHDAYS: 2012 fourth-round pick Branden Kaupe turns 20. ... Fellow farmhand Edioglis Villasmil is 22.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What can be done to address the Mets’ hitting woes?
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.298 9 54 76
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .827
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180