- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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Citi Field will host a fireworks spectacular postgame, as it did last season.NEW YORK
FIRST PITCH: How’s this for unlucky?
Because there had been a threat of rain interrupting Thursday’s Texas Rangers game in Baltimore, the club decided to scratch Yu Darvish and instead have the ace face the Mets in their Fourth of July series opener at Citi Field.
Darvish (8-4, 2.42 ERA) now will oppose Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.88) in the 7:10 p.m. game Friday.Ray Stubblebine/Associated Press
The Mets will have a pregame moment of silence for former GM Frank Cashen.
The Mets will have a pregame moment of silence to honor former general manager Frank Cashen, who died Monday at age 88. The team also will debut a patch, which will contain Cashen’s initials, on their right sleeves. The patch will be placed below a patch honoring the late broadcaster Ralph Kiner.
Also pregame, the Mets -- like other home teams -- will play a video recreating Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech. This Fourth of July is the 75th anniversary of it originally being delivered. Lucas Duda and 29 other first basemen around baseball will share in reading the lines.
David Wright, who has not appeared in a game since his left rotator cuff became painful during last Thursday’s game at Pittsburgh, is expected back in the lineup. At least, that’s what Terry Collins intended to be the case less than 48 hours ago.
The Rangers, like the Mets, are reeling. Both teams are 37-48 and in fourth place in their divisions. The Mets have lost four straight. Texas has lost five straight and 14 of 17. The Rangers also have a nine-game road losing streak.
The Mets will have a fireworks show postgame Friday.
Read the Mets-Rangers series preview here.
Friday’s news reports:
• The magazine at Loyola University in Maryland, the alma mater of Cashen, posted an obituary as well as a 2011 Q&A with the former Mets GM. “I’ve just had an incredible amount of luck,” Cashen, who graduated in 1945, told the magazine three years ago. “I was a writer by choice, a lawyer by education, a horseman by heritage, a brewery worker by necessity, and a baseball executive by good fortune.”
• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post asserts that Collins and Sandy Alderson merit continuing in their roles. Writes Davidoff:
Collins is in no imminent danger of being dismissed as the team’s manager, and it’s a safe bet general manager Sandy Alderson will have his team option picked up for 2015. The Mets are pleased with their macro development, no matter how brutal the micro has looked.
Alderson probably displeased some of the fiercer Romans in the Colosseum when he boasted of the team’s encouraging run differential to CBSsports.com. After all, the fact the Mets have scored 328 runs and allowed 334 doesn’t make their 37-48 record any less terrible.
So try looking at it this way: How many of these Mets are outright busts? I count just one -- Chris Young.
• All-Star voting officially has concluded. ESPN will televise the rosters at 7 p.m. ET Sunday. The All-Star Game will be played on July 15 at Minnesota.
• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News suggests the Mets and Yankees have at least one thing in common -- they’re duds. Writes Harper:
On the Fourth of July, a holiday associated with baseball as much as fireworks, there’s no avoiding the harsh reality that the Yankees and Mets aren’t even as interesting as the hot dog eating contest on Coney Island. That’s what makes this season particularly painful for fans: their teams aren’t just bad, they’re boring, even unwatchable at times.
• Roger Rubin in the Daily News chats with Niese about his evolution as a pitcher.
• Marc Carig in Newsday writes about the Mets’ hitting woes:
Even though general manager Sandy Alderson thinks the Mets are better than their 37-48 record, they maintain just a 0.8 chance of making the playoffs, according to the playoff odds tracker at Baseball Prospectus.
Much of the difference lies with the Mets' maddening inability to pull out close games. Of their 85 games this season, 61 have been decided by three or fewer runs, tied for the second-highest total in baseball. Their winning percentage in those games is .377 (23-38) -- the lowest mark in the game.
• Kyle Johnson homered twice, including a tiebreaking solo shot in extra innings, as Binghamton beat New Britain 6-4 in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The nightcap, which was supposed to feature Gabriel Ynoa’s Double-A debut, was rained out. Gavin Cecchini had a tiebreaking grand slam as St. Lucie beat Charlotte, 7-4. Alex Panteliodis allowed one run in seven innings in Savannah’s 10-5 win against Charleston. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Matt Clark, who was crowded out of playing time at Binghamton despite hitting .297 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs in 219 at-bats, has signed with the Milwaukee Brewers organization, he tweeted. Clark, 27, had asked for his release from the Mets. He will report to Triple-A Nashville. He slugged 25 homers in Japan in 2013.
• Tim Healey at MLB.com catches up with 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo at Double-A Binghamton.
BIRTHDAYS: Longtime St. Louis Cardinals coach and former Mets shortstop Jose Oquendo was born on the Fourth of July. He turns 51.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
@AdamRubinESPN your tweets are actually my favorite haha
— Ryan Labriola (@Rlabs19) July 4, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Do you believe David Wright returning will make a difference for the Mets?