Morning Briefing: The drive for 89 begins

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
5:28
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: David Wright was pragmatic in the postgame clubhouse after Saturday’s loss officially ensured the Mets would not reach 90 wins.

“This season hasn’t gone the way we would’ve liked it to,” Wright said. “We all put forth expectations for ourselves, and whether it’s individual or the team, when you don’t meet those expectations, of course it’s disappointing.”

On Sunday, the Mets (63-73) play their final game in the season series against the Phillies (62-73). Fourth place is at stake as Dillon Gee (5-6, 3.77 ERA) opposes fellow right-hander A.J. Burnett (7-14, 4.30 ERA) at 1:10 p.m.

Philadelphia has occupied last place since June 28.

Not only would a Mets win keep the Phillies in the basement, it would give the Mets 13 wins against Philadelphia in 2014 -- matching their most ever in a season series between the clubs.

Meanwhile, Sunday also marks the deadline for players to be traded and be eligible for the acquiring team’s postseason roster.

Sunday’s news reports:

Bartolo Colon allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings and Curtis Granderson left the bases loaded in the seventh with a strikeout against Antonio Bastardo as the Phillies beat the Mets, 7-2, on Saturday. Dilson Herrera produced his first major league hit with a seventh-inning single against Phillies starter Jerome Williams.

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

R.A. Dickey, who never saw a microphone he didn’t love, told David Lennon in Newsday that the Mets should not be trying to muzzle Matt Harvey.

"I enjoyed telling the truth in conversations," Dickey told Lennon. "I didn't feel like I ever threw anybody under the bus, but I also didn't want to give the ‘SportsCenter’ answers because that's not what I was really believing. And Harvey's a lot like that. We may be similar in that. I remember how he was upset that nobody retaliated for David [Wright], and that's valid. I feel like he shouldn't be chastised for speaking his mind unless he's throwing people under the bus. That's a different thing."

• Tim Rohan in the Times writes about the bond between Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola and prospect Noah Syndergaard.

• Wally Backman expressed appreciation for being named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.

“It’s an honor to get chosen by your colleagues. I’m thankful I got picked by my peers,” Backman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There’s no question Triple-A is the toughest level to manage at because of the player movement. That’s what makes it tough. There are so many different guys going back and forth.

“To win as many games as we have each year with as much movement as we’ve had, I’ve got to give the organization credit for giving us players to replace the ones who’ve gone to the majors.”

Columnist John Harper in the Daily News advocates Backman serving as Terry Collins’ bench coach next season. Writes Harper:

In that position he shouldn’t be regarded as a threat to Collins, especially given [Sandy] Alderson’s apparent lack of regard for Backman as a managerial candidate. And after all, if Collins is indeed the manager next season, he will be on a very short leash.

That is, if he doesn’t win he’ll be out, and perhaps quickly, regardless of who is perceived as a manager-in-waiting by the media or fans.

Read more on Backman in Newsday.

• Alderson told Anthony Rieber in Newsday that there is no hard-and-fast “330 rule,” even though Collins recently cited it. Collins had said the organization does not want a pitcher throwing more than 330 pitches in a three-start stretch.

"I think there's a rule of thumb," Alderson told Rieber. "I think if you go back and look at the numbers for some of our starters, it's not followed uniformly. So I'd say no, there's not a rule."

Ruben Tejada tells columnist George Willis in the Post he does not know what the future holds. “I know this is a business,” Tejada said. “Right now, I’m working for this team. But you never know whether you’re going to stay here or go to another team.”

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News writes about Wright:

The Mets can only hope their 31-year-old captain’s power outage is the product of a bum shoulder since he is owed $107 million through 2020. Still, .264 with eight home runs is a horrific decline and intolerable for a No. 3 hitter. For all their pitching depth, the coming-into-their-own of Lucas Duda, Juan Lagares and Travis d'Arnaud, and the great promise of Dilson Herrera and Kevin Plawecki, the Mets cannot expect to be any less offensively challenged and inconsistent next year than they’ve been this year if Wright is not the 20-homer, 100-RBI No. 3 hitter [of] most of his first nine years with them.

• Rieber in Newsday cites the bullpen as a positive for the 2014 Mets.

• Jay Schreiber in the Times offers his take on the Mets’ 90-win mantra.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear seeks Citi Field solace in overpriced beer.

BIRTHDAYS: Ramon Ramirez turns 33. ... Claudell Washington was born on this date in 1954. ... Kingsport infielder Pedro Perez turns 20.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets hold off the Phillies for fourth place in the division?
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