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Saturday, September 17, 2011
Mets morning briefing 9.17.11

By Adam Rubin

The Mets scored their most runs in a game at Turner Field since the stadium opened to baseball after the 1996 Olympics as David Wright homered twice and drove in five runs in a 12-2 victory against the Braves. Atlanta's loss allowed St. Louis to pull within 3˝ games of the wild-card lead.

Saturday's news reports:

• Wright smirked as he downplayed the impact of Terry Collins' passionate Thursday rebuke of the team causing Friday's 20-hit night, which matched the season-high output. “I give him a lot of credit, but I’m not quite ready to give him credit for 20 hits,” Wright said. Watch Wright video here.

• Collins said pregame Friday that his quibble was not with the team's level of caring, but with its execution. The manager tinkered with the lineup Friday, moving Angel Pagan to second and restoring Wright to third. That was the order he planned out of spring training.

Jose Reyes went 3-for-5 with a walk and his second steal since returning from the DL. He is now hitting .334, four points better than runner-up Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, who nonetheless joined the 30-homer, 30-steal club Friday. Collins said similar exertion by Reyes on Saturday would prompt the manager to sit Reyes in the series finale out of caution.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Carlos Beltran told reporters he believes Reyes is a perfect fit for the top of the Giants  lineup. Beltran even suggested adding a weapon like Reyes might be a prerequisite to the outfielder re-signing with San Francisco. Reyes, for his part, laughed it off. “No way. He said that?" Reyes asked. "I’m going to call him, ‘What are you talking about?’”

• ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Mets will not patiently wait for Reyes to decide where he will sign this offseason. Writes Stark:

If Reyes' preference is to test the market, collect offers and then ask the Mets to counter, there are indications that the Mets don't want to play by that script. And Reyes' lackluster second half (.277/.316/.378, with only six stolen-base ATTEMPTS) only figures to reinforce their reluctance to do anything crazy right out of the chute to keep him from exploring the market.

• Double-A right-hander Brandon Moore, a sinker/slider pitcher who was due to represent the organization in the Arizona Fall League, was suspended 50 games for testing positive for the second time for a "drug of abuse," Major League Baseball announced. An MLB official said Moore is now ineligible for the Fall League, but the 50-game suspension clock will not start until the beginning of the 2012 regular season.

• Savannah was one strike away from capturing the South Atlantic League title, but instead lost a one-run lead in the ninth for the second time in the championship series. An 11-inning defeat sets up a winner-take-all Game 5 on Saturday night in Savannah with Angel Cuan on the mound for the Gnats.

Jason Bay robbed Alex Gonzalez of a home run by leaping at the left-field wall, and later was deprived of an RBI when Gonzalez gunned him out at first base with the bases loaded. Bay, despite the highlight-reel play at the wall, said Endy Chavez did it better. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Chris Schwinden will get two more starts for the Mets this season. The staff could have delayed Schwinden's next start until next Saturday because of an upcoming off-day, but will keep the rookie on turn to get a better gauge of his major league readiness.

Rick Tomlin is out as minor league pitching coordinator, sources told ESPNNewYork.com. It's the second straight year there has been a change at that position.

• Read more on the Mets' 12-2 win Friday/response to Collins' remarks in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News, Post and Record.

• Newsday's Neil Best reports ratings for the Mets are down on SNY. Writes Best:

SNY is averaging 2.23 percent of area homes for its Mets games this season, down from 2.75 at this time last season and headed for the lowest full-season Mets ratings in the network's history. (SNY's best full-season ratings were 3.3 in both 2007 and '08, when the team was locked in close playoff races to the bitter end.) Yankees games on YES are averaging 4.31 percent of area homes, down from 4.47 at a similar point in 2010.

• Wright had a clean game at third base on Friday. Collins said pregame there was no thought of even bringing up the third baseman's eight errors in the previous 10 games to Wright, or to provide more instruction. “He’s so aggressive in the way he plays the game, I don’t even want to put it in his head that there’s something wrong,” Collins said. “Like the yips. I don’t even want to bring it up.” Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Third base coach Chip Hale aspires to be a manager, and was a finalist for the position that went to Collins. Hale told Mike Puma in the Post that the team's lack of success this year and the relatively few projected openings make it an uphill battle to secure a managerial gig this offseason. On the flip side, Hale noted, working for Sandy Alderson deputies J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta with the Mets could pay dividends at some point, since they both are capable of returning to GM roles. "The more people you work for, the more people you know," Hale told Puma.

D.J. Carrasco talks with Mike Sielski in the Journal about throwing exclusively sidearm his past three relief appearances trying to find success. Carrasco is under contract for next season at $1.2 million, but has struggled this year, and even found himself at Triple-A Buffalo for a prolonged stretch of this season. Writes Sielski:

With nothing left to lose, and with the blessing of Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen, Carrasco has set to tinkering again. In his last three appearances, he's thrown exclusively sidearm. "I've done it strictly just to see what that's like because I've struggled so bad here," he said. "If it's something where I can help the team out more and throw more often and come into more situations to help out or give that different look, then shoot, I'm all for it."  So far, the results haven't been spectacular. As a sidearm pitcher, Carrasco has surrendered five hits and one earned run in three innings.

• Braves starter Derek Lowe lasted only 2 1/3 innings on Friday night. Lowe is 3-8 with a 6.12 ERA in his past 11 starts. (Remember, the Mets flirted with Lowe three winters ago, before signing Oliver Perez to a three-year, $36 million deal instead. Lowe went to Atlanta for four years, $60 million.) “This was terrible," Lowe said in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Friday's start.  "It was non-competitive pitching from the first pitch. ... Honestly, what can you say? They did anything they wanted. You tried to make competitive pitches, and it just didn’t happen. Again, bad game at the wrong time."

BIRTHDAY: John Franco, who has volunteered to mentor Bobby Parnell, turns 51.