Morning Briefing: Crowds up, ratings down


FIRST PITCH: The Mets finished April with a 15-11 record.

May did not get off to a good start Thursday.

Now, Zack Wheeler has a chance to begin remedying that. Wheeler (1-2, 3.99 ERA) opposes Colorado Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (2-3, 5.23) at 8:40 p.m. ET Friday at Coors Field.

Friday’s news reports:

• Richard Sandomir in the Times reports that Mets tickets sold are marginally up and SNY ratings are down in 2014. Writes Sandomir:

As for the Mets, the number of tickets sold through 16 dates is up 3.4 percent to 27,058 a game, a nice lift after a steady decline in attendance since the team moved into Citi Field in 2009. Still, the number of viewers on SNY has fallen 4 percent to 180,000 a game.

Because the disparity between tickets sold and the number of people at the ballpark is sometimes glaring, TV ratings might be a more accurate measurement of fan interest. As such, the drop in ratings on SNY suggests how much work the Mets still have to do to get all of their fans on board again. The 15-11 start helped, but they need to keep playing solid baseball.

Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports

Bartolo Colon allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings Thursday at Coors Field.

Bartolo Colon surrendered seven runs in 4 2/3 innings and the Mets lost to the Rockies, 7-4, Thursday. Travis d’Arnaud had a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Read game recaps in the Denver Post, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and at MLB.com.

Juan Lagares returned from the disabled list and had a two-hit game. Lagares replaced Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who received praise from Terry Collins as he was demoted to Las Vegas. Eric Young Jr., who did not start Thursday, ultimately could end up as the fourth outfielder with Lagares’ return. Read more in the Journal and Newsday.

Lucas Duda was inserted in the cleanup spot for only the third time this season Thursday.

• Rockies first-base coach Eric Young Sr. and E.Y. Jr. have a family reunion this weekend at Coors Field. Read more in the Post.

LaTroy Hawkins said he initially expected to return to the Mets for 2014, but the Mets did not make an offer competitive with the Rockies’ $2.5 million bid. Read more in the Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and Daily News.

• Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez left Thursday’s game in the fourth inning with a bruised left index finger. He had homered in the first inning. CarGo told Rockies reporters this injury is not as serious as a ligament strain he suffered to his right middle finger last July. “It’s just, when you get jammed, it hurts really bad,” Gonzalez said, according to MLB.com. “But it’s something that will go away, not like last year. Last year was a ligament. That was a tough one, when you have to play with a bad finger like that. This one, it happens.”

• Jacob deGrom (4-0) limited Reno to one run in 5 1/3 innings and shaved his Pacific Coast League ERA to 1.89. Las Vegas won, 19-2. Jairo Perez homered twice and Cam Maron and T.J. Rivera also went deep in St. Lucie’s 11-0 win against Bradenton. Rob Whalen improved to 4-0 as Savannah beat Delmarva, 6-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• The Mets are “not optimistic” about Wilmer Flores being able to handle shortstop, Mike Puma writes in the Post. Flores had six errors in April at shortstop with Vegas. He actually has not manned the position for a week because of a jammed finger that mostly has limited him to pinch-hitting.

BIRTHDAYS: Infielder Eddie Bressoud was born on this date in 1932.


YOU’RE UP: Do you believe the Mets will have similar success in May as they did in April?