Morning Briefing: And now we pause

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
5:40
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets open the second half with Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler facing the Padres.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets headed into the All-Star break with an Amazin’ finish to the first half.

They completed their homestand with eight wins in 10 games. It marked the second-most wins on a homestand in Citi Field history. The Amazin’s went 9-1 from April 18-28, 2010.

“We came off the road and, actually, I was talking to the coaches the first day,” Terry Collins said. “I said, ‘If we go 7-3, that’s going to be a tremendous homestand for us.’ These guys just stepped it up -- got the offense and pitching going at the same time. And that’s how you put streaks together.”

The Mets are still 45-50 on the season and seven games behind the co-division-leading Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.

Those teams are on pace for 89 wins. So it may require that magical 90 wins for the Mets to capture the division. And that would mean a 45-22 record the rest of the way.

The Mets reconvene Friday in San Diego. Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler face the Padres that series.

“What we’ve shown the last 10 days is, yes, we can compete,” Collins said. “Now, we’ve got 67 more games. We’ve got to go out and do it. We can’t just talk about it. We’ve got to go do it. If we continue to play like this, September is going to be a fun month.”

Monday’s news reports:

• The Mets closed the first half with a 9-1 win against the Marlins as Jacob deGrom limited Miami to one run in seven innings and also drove in the tiebreaking run for his first career RBI.

The Mets leapfrogged Miami and moved into sole possession of third place for the first time since May 4.

After the victory, David Wright suggested the Nationals and Braves are within striking distance of the Mets.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Wright still is playing through shoulder discomfort. He planned to receive a cortisone injection after Sunday’s game to try to address swelling and his bruised left rotator cuff. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Despite Collins floating Saturday that deGrom may have to open the second half in the bullpen for a week or two to conserve innings, the manager confirmed postgame Sunday that deGrom would remain uninterrupted in the rotation. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Jonathon Niese returned to the mound for a bullpen session Sunday and declared himself fit to return from the disabled list next Monday in Seattle. With deGrom remaining in the rotation, that signals Daisuke Matsuzaka is reverting to relief work. Read more in the Post.

• Noah Syndergaard, sporting a Mohawk, produced the save for the U.S. team and Kevin Plawecki started at catcher and drove in the opening run as the Mets prospects were on the winning side of a 3-2 victory in the Futures Game on Sunday in Minneapolis.


Jeff Roberson/Associated PressNoah Syndergaard confessed he was affected by lofty expectations while struggling in Triple-A.


Syndergaard told the Daily News’ John Haper afterward about closing: “It’s a different mentality. My heart is still racing. I’ll leave that to someone else.”

He said about a 5.31 Triple-A ERA in 16 starts with Las Vegas this season: “I feel like the expectations got to me a little bit.” On rearing back and firing fastballs with men on base, he added: “I have to become more of a pitcher than a thrower.”

Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.

• Collins offered no indication Wilmer Flores is returning to the majors soon, despite a 17-game hitting streak with Las Vegas. The manager expects the Mets to remain with an outfield-heavy bench at the major league level.

• Dilson Herrera had a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh and Binghamton overcame four errors from third baseman Dustin Lawley in a 5-4 win against Erie. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Tim Rohan in the Times addresses Jenrry Mejia’s demonstrative post-save antics. Writes Rohan:

As Mejia progressed, so did the celebrations. For weeks he appeared to tinker with that dance, and finally, against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, he executed it smoothly and confidently. Tommy La Stella, the batter Mejia struck out to end the game, and Jason Heyward, a young Braves star, said they hardly noticed it.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “If stuff like that bothered you, you’d be fighting every day. Whatever he’s got to do. I’m glad that my closer and my team, when we win games, we just walk off the field. Like we’ve done it.”

The Mets did not appear to have a clear opinion, either. Manager Terry Collins said that times had changed and that closers’ celebrations were more acceptable than they once were. He cited a conversation he once had with the former manager Jim Leyland, who put up with Jose Valverde's antics for years in Detroit. If Leyland could do it, Collins could, too.

Travis d'Arnaud says amateur lip readers on Twitter are incorrect if they think he was cursing the Marlins postgame Saturday. Read more in Newsday.

• Columnist George Willis in the Post lists reasons to be bullish about the Mets.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal labels All-Star Daniel Murphy the Mets’ MVP, Chris Young the biggest letdown and Lucas Duda the biggest surprise.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets third baseman Robin Ventura turns 47. ... Minor-league flamethrower Jack Leathersich, who is averaging 15.3 strikeouts per nine innings in his pro career, turns 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe?
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
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187