Friday, May 18, 2012
Series Preview: Mets at Blue Jays
By Adam Rubin
US Presswire/Getty Images
METS (21-17, third place/NL East) vs. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (21-18, third place/AL East)
The Mets face (l to r) Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez this weekend in interleague play.
Friday: LHP Jon Niese (2-1, 3.40) vs. LHP Ricky Romero (4-1, 3.88), 7:07 p.m. ET
Saturday: RHP Miguel Batista (1-1, 4.26) vs. RHP Brandon Morrow (4-2, 2.22), 1:07 p.m. ET
Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-3, 5.65) vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez (3-3, 2.62), 1:07 p.m. ET
Blue Jays short hops
• Third baseman Brett Lawrie withdrew his appeal and began serving a four-game suspension Thursday stemming from throwing a helmet near Bill Miller, which bounced and then hit the plate umpire. With Lawrie out for the weekend series against the Mets, Toronto promoted Yan Gomes, who went 2-for-3 in his major league debut Thursday against the Yankees while starting at third base. The 24-year-old Gomes, the first Brazilian-born player to appear in the majors, was hitting .359 with five homers and 22 RBIs at Triple-A Las Vegas. He played high school baseball in Miami, then at the University of Tennessee and Barry University. In the minors, Gomes played 149 games at catcher, 29 at first base and 10 at third base.
The Blue Jays demoted Adam Lind to clear the roster spot for Gomes, despite Lind being in the third season of a four-year, $18 million contract. Lind hit .305 with 35 homers and 114 RBIs with Toronto in 2009, but had only a .186 average and three homers in 118 at-bats this season.
John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty ImagesFormer Cardinal Colby Rasmus is in an 0-for-18 rut.
• Right fielder Jose Bautista -- who led the majors in homers each of the past two seasons, with 54 and then 43 -- launched his 10th homer of 2012 on Thursday, against the Yankees' Phil Hughes. Bautista, despite an uncharacteristic .207 average, has five homers in his past seven games. Bautista was part of the three-team trade in July 2004 between the Mets, Pirates and Royals that landed Kris Benson in New York.
• DH/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion worked with Luis Mercedes in the Dominican Republic during the offseason to retool his swing, including keeping both hands on the bat, rather than removing the top hand on the follow-through. Mercedes previously had worked with the Yankees' Robinson Cano. The result: Encarnacion leads the Jays in homers with 13. He also ranks second in the AL in RBIs with 34, trailing only Texas' Josh Hamilton.
• Shortstop Yunel Escobar, who had been hitless in eight at-bats, returned to the lineup Thursday after sitting a day and produced singles in his first two at-bats. Eleven-time Gold Glove winner Omar Vizquel, 45, started at shortstop for the second time this season on Wednesday. Escobar was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 14, 2010, with Jo-Jo Reyes for Alex Gonzalez, Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins.
• Ricky Romero and Justin Turner were college teammates for three seasons and roommates at Cal State Fullerton.
• Center fielder Colby Rasmus is mired in an 0-for-18 skid that has dropped his average to .203. He was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at last season's trading deadline with Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters for Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson, Corey Patterson and Marc Rzepczynski.
• Right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who made his major league debut last August, has produced a quality start in seven of eight outings this season. He tossed his first career shutout May 4 against the Angels in Anaheim.
• Toronto signed previously unemployed Vladimir Guerrero to a minor league deal. He arrived at the Jays' complex in Dunedin, Fla., Tuesday.
• Right-hander Brandon Morrow has walked a combined eight batters in his past two outings, albeit while striking out 17 in 11 innings during that span. Morrow's fastball has averaged 92.8 mph this season, down from 93.9 mph a season ago and a career-high 95.5 mph in 2008 with the Seattle Mariners while primarily working in relief.
• Closer Sergio Santos, who had 30 saves with the Chicago White Sox last season, is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Casey Janssen is 3-for-3 in save chances this month since assuming the role. Francisco Cordero struggled in the role for the Blue Jays, who lead the AL in blown saves, so the team turned to Janssen. The Mets' Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch comprised the back end of Toronto's bullpen last season.
• The Blue Jays are among the most radical defensive shifters in the majors under second-year manager John Farrell. Toronto leads the American League in errors, too.
• Second baseman Kelly Johnson was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks last Aug. 23 for John McDonald and Aaron Hill.
• Catcher J.P. Arencibia homered in consecutive games against the Yankees to increase his season total to five.
• Ex-Mets left-hander Darren Oliver has limited opponents to a .182 average. He has struck out 11 and walked one in 13 innings spanning 15 relief appearances.
Niese vs. Jays (career: never faced)
Kelly Johnson .400, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
Ben Francisco .250, 4 BB, 3 K, 17 PA
Yunel Escobar .000, 4 BB, 6 PA
Jeff Mathis .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Batista vs. Jays (career: 3-2, 1.70 ERA)
Adam Lind .667, 1 RBI, 6 PA
Rajai Davis .500, 1 BB, 3 PA
Omar Vizquel .417, 1 RBI, 6 BB, 2 K, 30 PA
Ben Francisco .250, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K, 8 PA
Jose Bautista .222, 1 BB, 3 K, 10 PA
Jeff Mathis .200, 1 RBI, 1 K, 8 PA
Edwin Encarnacion .000, 2 K, 4 PA
Kelly Johnson .000, 1 BB, 2 PA
Yunel Escobar .000, 1 K, 1 PA
Gee vs. Jays (career: never faced)
Kelly Johnson .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Ben Francisco .000, 1 PA
Romero vs. Mets (career: never faced)
Rob Johnson 1.000, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 6 PA
Justin Turner 1.000, 2 RBI, 1 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 6 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Morrow vs. Mets (career: 0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Ronny Cedeno .667, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Andres Torres .333, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 3 PA
Alvarez vs. Mets (career: never faced)
Last series results
Mets won, 2-1, at Rogers Centre, June 23-25, 2006 (AP game recaps)
Mets 6, Jays 1: Tom Glavine became baseball's first 11-game winner, David Wright hit a three-run homer and New York set a club record with its ninth straight road victory. Lastings Milledge also homered for the Mets, and Glavine (11-2) pitched seven strong innings to win his ninth consecutive decision. But it might have been a costly victory because setup man Duaner Sanchez, a key member of New York's stellar bullpen, left after only two pitches with a pinched nerve in his neck. Carlos Delgado went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game against his former team. Delgado, Toronto's career leader in home runs and RBIs, left as a free agent two years ago after the club didn't offer him a multiyear contract. Xavier Nady hit an RBI triple with two outs in the first. Wright gave New York 4-0 lead in the third with his 18th homer, a shot to left off starter Casey Janssen (5-6).
Jays 7, Mets 4: Vernon Wells homered twice and the Blue Jays ended the Mets' franchise-record nine-game road winning streak. Wells hit a three-run homer in the second off Orlando Hernandez (4-7) and a solo shot off Heath Bell in the seventh for his fifth multi-homer game of the season. Toronto's center fielder went 2-for-4, raising his average to .321. Staked to a 6-0 lead in the second, Toronto ace Roy Halladay (9-2) allowed four runs and 10 hits, while striking out four and walking none in 7 1/3 innings. The Mets loaded the bases in the eighth, but reliever Justin Speier got Jose Valentin to pop out and Xavier Nady to strike out swinging to end the threat. B.J. Ryan pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 22 chances. Jose Reyes tripled and went 4-for-5 for the Mets. He has a 12-game hitting streak and is 28-for-52 (.538). Hernandez (4-7) was forced to leave his start early in the second inning after the Mets were charged with two trips to the mound. Pitching coach Rick Peterson went out to the mound in the inning and manager Willie Randolph made a trip after Hernandez almost ignited a bench-clearing brawl by throwing a pitch high and tight to Troy Glaus after Wells hit his three-run homer a pitch before.
Mets 7, Jays 4: Jose Reyes had four hits again, including a leadoff homer, and Carlos Beltran hit a three-run shot off Josh Towers (1-9). The streaking Reyes went 4-for-5 for the second consecutive game and the third time in five days. He extended his hitting streak to 13 games and is on a 32-for-57 (.561) tear that's raised his batting average from .246 to .302. It was his fifth game this season with at least four hits, tying Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki for tops in the major leagues. Reyes also got his big league-leading 34th stolen base and scored twice. Steve Trachsel (6-4) won his fourth straight start, allowing four runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked three. Billy Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth for his 15th save in 19 chances.