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Monday, August 22, 2011
Mets morning briefing 8.22.11

By Adam Rubin

With a 6-2 defeat Sunday, the Mets were swept by Milwaukee in a series of three-plus games in New York for the first time. The Amazin's also dropped six games under .500 for the first time since May 4 and have lost 15 of 20. And Terry Collins is concerned the goodwill with fans, if nothing else, from earlier this season is being eroded.

It doesn't get any easier, either, with the Mets headed to Philadelphia. Read the Mets-Phillies series preview here.

Monday's news reports:

Andy Martino in the Daily News reports the idea of Mike Pelfrey closing in 2012 was floated to the right-hander by Collins, but Sandy Alderson and the front office are not on board and it's not happening. With the Mets' bullpen struggling and Bobby Parnell yet to prove -- or have an opportunity to prove -- he can handle the closing role, the Mets likely will have to bring in someone at least capable of stepping in as closer as a hedge against Parnell not being up to the task.

The complication? If Jose Reyes is re-signed, much of the offseason available dollars will be devoted to shortstop, so the Mets won't be big-game hunting for a bullpen that needs an overhaul. Pelfrey is making $3.925 million this season and is arbitration-eligible, so his salary should climb to $5 million to $6 million in 2012. Alderson's model probably does not allow for a closer of that salary anyway. It's also uncertain how Pelfrey might handle high-pressure situations on a consistent basis. Another issue would be how the Mets would offset Pelfrey's ability to consistently contribute 200 innings a season, which he has done two of the past three years. He will approach that total again this season. Pelfrey currently is at 154 1/3 innings with potentially seven starts to go.

• Meanwhile, Collins said he needs bullpen help, and he cannot wait until Sept. 1. The problem? Collins intimated he's not enthused by the choices at Triple-A. So Collins mentioned Double-A right-hander Josh Stinson as a candidate. ESPNNewYork.com projected last week the September call-ups as Stinson as well as catcher Mike Nickeas, infielder Josh Satin, right-handers Chris Schwinden, John Lujan and Miguel Batista, and left-handers Robert Carson and Pat Misch.

Jose Reyes sprinted from home to first and began running on a curve before Sunday's game at Citi Field. He planned to accompany the Mets to Philadelphia, and intends to run the bases full throttle at Citizens Bank Park before Monday's Mets-Phillies game. Reyes will play in multiple minor league rehab games before being actived from the DL, according to Collins. The manager intends for those rehab games to be against a high level of minor league competition, not in Brooklyn. Watch Reyes video here. Read more in Newsday.

• After Josh Thole tried -- and failed -- to bunt Jason Bay to third base as the go-ahead run, Collins said Thole was acting on his own. Thole said he had a sign. The actual answer, according to Anthony Rieber in Newsday: Third base coach Chip Hale did give the sign to bunt, but that was a miscommunication with Collins on the bench.

• Bay's late double off the top of the wall in left field Sunday probably will be a go-ahead homer next season. The Mets appear inclined to drop the line on the so-called "Great Wall of Flushing" to eight feet, without actually moving the wall itself. "At times it's frustrating," Bay told Dan Martin in the Post postgame Sunday. "It would have been nice to have the go-ahead home run and things turn out differently, but that's the reality. At times it helps you and at times it hurts you. It's not like they just instituted the wall yesterday. It's frustrating, but this is where we play."

• Read game stories in the Star-Ledger, Record, Post, Times and Newsday.

Dan Tomasino in the Post talks with Francisco Rodriguez after the ex-Met's flawless appearance Sunday.

BIRTHDAY: Right-hander Ray Burris, who went 7-15 in 33 starts with the Mets in 1979 and '80 after being claimed off waivers from the Yankees was born on this date in 1950.