Morning Briefing: Nat-swatting

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
5:24
AM ET
WASHINGTON

FIRST PITCH: The Mets entered their series at Washington having lost 10 of their last 11 games against the Nationals.

Now, after a victory in Tuesday’s opener, the Mets attempt to make it two in a row on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park.

Jonathon Niese (5-7, 3.24 ERA) opposes right-hander Doug Fister (10-3, 2.68).

Before the game, the Mets will visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

“It’s going to be a humbling experience,” Daniel Murphy said.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler had a 33-pitch second inning and allowed the first two batters to reach in four of his seven innings. Yet Wheeler managed to limit Washington to one run in 6 2/3 innings as the Mets beat the Nationals, 6-1, Tuesday. Wheeler is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his past seven starts.

Eric Campbell threw out Jayson Werth at the plate and Juan Lagares had another big-time catch to stymie the Nats.

The Mets now own a 54-59 record and trail first-place Washington by seven games. The Mets also are seven games out in the wild card.

Lucas Duda, starting against a left-hander, went 0-for-3 against Gio Gonzalez but contributed after the southpaw’s departure.

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

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News believes that while the Mets might trade from their pitching surplus this offseason, Wheeler is making himself practically untouchable.

• In his first “official” mound session, Matt Harvey threw 20 pitches in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Tuesday afternoon and pronounced the activity a success. Watch video at TCPalm.com. Read more in the Times, Daily News, Newsday, Journal and at MLB.com.

• Stan Conte, vice president of medical services for the Los Angeles Dodgers, tells Marc Carig in Newsday that 12 months appears the minimum prudent recovery time following Tommy John surgery.

"When we start seeing some of these guys with a second Tommy John, it worries me as the guy who does the rehab that we're going too fast," Conte told Carig. "I don't want the perception to be that everybody comes backs at 12 months, and if they come back at 14 months, they're behind schedule. We do this all the time. Everybody quotes the same thing. It's 12 to 18 months. But nobody pays attention to the 18 months."

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post suggests that Masahiro Tanaka and Harvey throwing on consecutive days provide hope for both New York teams.

• Mets games on SNY are the seventh-most popular programming in prime time in New York -- one of the lowest rankings for a team in its home city, according to Nielsen data compiled by Maury Brown at Forbes. Yankees games on YES rank third in NYC in prime time. Twelve teams are the most popular prime-time programming in their home cities.

Rafael Montero allowed one hit in eight scoreless innings and Matt den Dekker had another multi-hit game as Las Vegas blanked Sacramento, 3-0. Tyler Pill tossed seven scoreless innings and Brian Burgamy had four RBIs as Binghamton built a big lead and held on to beat Richmond, 9-6. Miller Diaz had a seven-inning shutout as Savannah split a doubleheader with Charleston. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Ever spot those red marks on the necks of Mets players, particularly on Daisuke Matsuzaka? Jared Diamond in the Journal speaks with players about the ancient Chinese technique of cupping therapy, which several Mets -- and other major leaguers -- employ with the team’s blessing.

Not everyone is sold it is effective, though.

"There's absolutely zero evidence that cupping has any kind of positive role in medicine," Barrie Cassileth, the chief of integrative medicine service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told Diamond. "I cannot conceive of any benefit except a psychological benefit.”

• The Mets accidentally gave away a toy truck with a Phillies logo on the side during their last homestand, Eliot Shorr-Parks writes at NJ.com.

• Darryl Strawberry said allegations that a former teammate beheaded a cat in the mid-1980s are true, Bernie Augustine writes in the Daily News.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who had a pinch-hit RBI single in his return to the majors Tuesday, told MLB.com pregame about his season of promotions and demotions: "You try and keep it on as much of an even keel as possible. I think one thing that's really been more evident to me this year is that it kind of builds character. I think you can really take some good stuff out of it. You really learn that you can only control how you play. You learn that it's a business in baseball."

BIRTHDAYS: Wilmer Flores turns 23. ... Victor Zambrano, who once was traded for Scott Kazmir, is 39. ... Reigning South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week John Gant is 22.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Can Zack Wheeler be a No. 1 starter?
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.
Follow Adam on Twitter »  Chat archive »

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187