Morning Briefing: Crowd shrinks by the day


FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets had their smallest announced crowd of the season Tuesday ... at least until they announced an even smaller crowd Wednesday.

Now it's Thursday. Can they do it three days in a row?

Oh, and the Mets still have a chance to win a series from a first-place team, too, if they can find a way to beat the Milwaukee Brewers' top starting pitcher. Kyle Lohse (7-2, 3.27) starts the series finale for the Brewers, against the Mets' Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.68).

Thursday's news reports:

• The Mets lost a game Wednesday, but a lot of the talk was about how they also lost a replay challenge and then lost their manager to a fifth-inning ejection. Terry Collins was tossed for the first time this season for arguing the replay decision in the 3-1 loss to the Brewers. Read game stories in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record and MLB.com.

Jacob deGrom wasn't at his best, but he pitched well enough to win Wednesday. He and the Mets lost, 3-1, as they've lost so often this season when their starting pitcher has been good enough. Columnist Ken Davidoff says in the Post that the Mets are proving that starting pitching isn't everything.

• Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth inning for the Brewers, earning his 20th save of the season to tie the Giants' Sergio Romo for the major-league lead. Rodriguez told reporters he'd love to return to the Mets someday, citing unfinished business. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Star Ledger.

• The Mets would love to have us talk only about their fine young prospects, but as Tyler Kepner points out in the Times, they're "caught between the reality of needing patience and the desire to finally start winning again." Kepner also makes the point that the Mets' most dependable starting pitcher this year has been Niese, who was never hyped.

BIRTHDAYS: Keith Miller, the ex-Met who went on to become a player agent, is 51 . . . Damon Buford is 44 . . . Gerry Arrigo, who pitched in 17 games for the 1966 Mets, is 73.


YOU'RE UP: Did you like seeing Terry Collins get angry and get ejected from a game?