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Friday, April 15, 2011
Mets morning briefing 4.15.11

By Adam Rubin

Losers of five straight and eight of nine, the Mets limp into Atlanta for a weekend series with D.J. Carrasco due to get a spot start in the opener opposite Derek Lowe. "Depressing," Terry Collins told reporters about the 1-6 home stand. "We're better than this."

Friday's news reports:

David Waldstein in the Times summarizes the atmosphere surrounding the Rockies completing a four-game sweep with Wednesday's victories:

The combined attendance for the doubleheader, which was made necessary by a rainout on Tuesday, was 25,758. But long before the end there was only a smattering of fans, and most of them were either extremely detached or very unhappy. A few wore bags on top of their heads, and by the end of the second game a handful attempted to generate a chant of “Sell The Team!” -- something the owners are currently pursuing, but only on a limited basis that would still give them control of the organization. Gone, in just one week, is the good feeling the Mets generated by winning three consecutive games on their opening trip. After starting 3-1, this team, the one that Collins swore would play the game the right way, has regressed to a new level of sloppiness.

• Post columnist George Willis suggests the Mets are becoming the Knicks, and Citi Field is becoming Madison Square Garden. Willis writes:

The Mets are fast becoming what the Knicks used to be in this town -- a team short on talent and low on expectations that can’t find a way to keep from losing. You remember what it was like going to the Garden in those days. You didn’t go there expecting to win. You just hoped it wouldn’t get ugly. And most of the time, those who filled the World’s Most Famous Arena came to watch the stars on the other team, because watching the Knicks had became too painful.

• The Post's Dan Martin also delivers zingers in his game recap of the doubleheader sweep by the Rockies. Writes Martin:

Turns out team meetings don’t make players catch fly balls. Or run the bases properly. Or field ground balls. Or hold on to leads. Despite manager Terry Collins’ fiery clubhouse meeting with his players after Wednesday night’s loss, the Mets dropped both ends of yesterday’s doubleheader to the Rockies at Citi Field, and now have lost five straight and eight of nine.

Troy Tulowitzki went 10-for-16 with four homers and eight RBIs in the series. He becomes the first ballplayer in Citi Field's three-year history to homer in four straight games played there. The previous record was three straight by David Wright, Gary Sheffield and Mark Reynolds. “There’s big parks,” Tulowitzki said, according to Brett Cyrgalis in the Post, “but when I do get a ball, I will take my chances pretty much at any park.”

• Wright, who flied out with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth in Game 1 on Thursday, tells Newsday: "I feel like I'm having good at-bats and just picked the wrong part of the ballpark to hit that ball."

• Here are game stories from the Star-LedgerRecord, Daily News and Journal.

• The Mets struck out an unsightly 17 times in 11 innings against the Washington Nationals on Sunday, and Newsday's David Lennon speaks with hitting coach Dave Hudgens about the issue. Writes Lennon:

Hudgens understands there is a price tag that comes with being more patient at the plate, and that can mean a spike in strikeout totals. The trick is to create a more favorable balance in the frequency of walks -- another offshoot of deeper counts -- and make the Mets better at exploiting their particular piece of the strike zone. "We shouldn't strike out 17 times," Hudgens said. "The guys are trying to minimize that and it's something we work on. We want to put balls in play, but we want to do it the right way. You want to make sure you get good pitches to hit. ... My message wasn't really about just taking pitches. The plate is 17 inches wide. I asked them to shrink the plate down to 13 inches and take the corner pitches. That's the general idea, because in the middle of the plate, guys hit for a very high average. There are times you're going to get deep in counts. But if you get your pitch on the first pitch, you better be swinging."

• Newsday's Tom Rock contrasts the 38-year-old Jason Isringhausen to his first tour with the Mets in his early 20s. “I was that dumb young kid who didn’t listen to anybody,” Izzy tells Rock. “I thought I knew it all.”

• In addition to the 13th overall pick in the June draft, Major League Baseball announced the Mets will get the 44th overall pick as compensation for losing Pedro Feliciano to the Yankees.

Feliciano is likely to have surgery to repair a torn posterior capsule in his left shoulder. That's the procedure from which Chien-Ming Wang has yet to successfully return, Ben Shpigel notes in the Times. Meanwhile, regarding Yankees GM Brian Cashman's recent assertion the Mets abused Feliciano, Shpigel writes:

Before a free-agent signing can be completed, the player must pass a physical examination. The M.R.I. Feliciano took in December showed “no evidence of a capsular tear whatsoever,” Cashman said.

Francisco Rodriguez picked up his third game finished of the season in Game 2, with the Mets trailing. (Two of K-Rod's three games finished have come with the Mets not leading.) The Times notes K-Rod would have been pulled had he not gotten out of the inning when he did, by retiring the last batter he faced, Ryan Spilborghs. The closer's contract vests at $17.5 million for 2012 with 55 games finished. The last player to throw a pitch for each team is credited with a game finished -- not just the person to throw the game's last pitch.

Chris Young, whose start in Atlanta was pushed back two days to Sunday because of biceps tendinitis, threw a bullpen session Thursday at Citi Field and said he can proceed with his start. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• The Daily News reports Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz hope to select a new minority owner from four finalists within 30 days.

BIRTHDAY: Jeromy Burnitz turns 42. Burnitz had two stints with the Mets, the first from 1993 to 1994, and the second in 2002 and 2003. He hit 53 of his 315 career home runs for the Mets, but his .237 batting average is the lowest of any player (minimum 1,000 PA) whose stint with the team started since 1990. -Mark Simon