Thursday, August 2, 2012
Mets morning briefing 8.2.12
By Adam Rubin
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Mets squandered bases-loaded chances in each of the final three innings, but held on for a 2-1 win against the Giants on Wednesday. Ruben Tejada opened the game with a homer, snapping his long ball drought at 628 at-bats, the fourth longest active streak in the majors. Jon Niese limited San Francisco to one run on three hits and two walks in seven innings, while Tim Byrdak, Jon Rauch and Bobby Parnell combined to retire all six batters they faced.
The Mets, now 4-3 on this road trip, will attempt to win the four-game series when Chris Young (2-5, 4.58 ERA) opposes left-hander Barry Zito (8-7, 3.89) at 3:45 p.m. ET today. Then it's off to San Diego for the weekend.
Thursday's news reports:
• Read game recaps in the Times, Newsday, Post, Star-Ledger, Record and Daily News.
• Top prospect Zack Wheeler has been promoted to Triple-A Buffalo. He will make his International League debut Sunday against Syracuse, the top affiliate of the Nationals. Wheeler, however, is unlikely to appear in the majors this season, Sandy Alderson said. Wheeler is nearing an innings limit, so he is expected to be shut down at the end of the month. Matt Harvey, too, has an innings cap -- at 165 or 170 innings -- that may prompt the organization to end his season in mid-September.
As for Wheeler's promotion, he told Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: “It’s probably a little bit better talent, but I’ve got to get up there and just pitch and do what I’ve been doing down here. Keep the ball down. Pound the zone. Hopefully it will work out for me." Read more in Newsday, the Times and Record.
• Terry Collins sounded resolved to using R.A. Dickey on short rest when the Mets return home next week, as a way to afford extra rest for Chris Young as well as Johan Santana, who should return during that homestand-opening Marlins series. Alderson was slightly more cautious.
Arguably, unless you consider the Mets in the postseason race, it would seem wiser to have a sixth starter such as Jeremy Hefner step in from time to time to give Santana and Young extra rest, rather than risk overusing Dickey and causing potential injury problems that affect 2013 and beyond.
What is the rationale for Dickey pitching on short rest? "So he can win 23, 24 games," Alderson deadpanned. "I guess there could be a lot of reasons from his personal standpoint. From our standpoint, it's possible the more often we get him out there, the better we're going to do won-loss wise. But we've got to take into account what effect that would have not just this year on R.A. and on the rest of the pitching staff, but what effect that would have on R.A. going into next season. So that's very much just in a discussion stage at this point." Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Jordany Valdespin, who wore a non-collared shirt to the ballpark Wednesday, received a lesson in acceptable attire from veteran teammates. Valdespin, initially unreceptive to the lesson, ended up departing wearing his defaced T-shirt.
• Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com reported the Mets and Marlins at least broached a trade of Jason Bay for Heath Bell and John Buck, although the report did not portray the discussion as having reached an advanced stage. Bay told beat writers after the report surfaced that he had not been approached about whether he would waive his no-trade clause. Read more in the Post and Star-Ledger.
• Writes columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post about the Mets' subpar outfield production:
The goal is to create an outfield of greener pastures. That will be quite the challenge for the Mets. While Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler brighten the pitching landscape, the outfield continues to be a wasteland in many ways. Provided the Mets cannot dump Jason Bay for someone else’s headache, Bay, at best, will wind up platooning in left field next season with Lucas Duda, if he is still a Met. In center, the Mets would love for young Matt den Dekker to take over next season, preferably around June, but he has a long way to go. Den Dekker is struggling at Triple-A Buffalo, hitting only .197, but that’s his history, it usually takes a little bit of time for him to get going, but once he gets his feet under him, he takes off.
• Frank Francisco, working a second straight day on a rehab assignment with Binghamton, tossed a scoreless inning, allowing one double. Francisco is expected to join the Mets on Friday in San Diego and be activated from the disabled list. Wrote Worthy in the Binghamton newspaper:
He hadn’t talked with the Mets major league training staff at the time, but he said he felt fine after throwing back-to-back days for the first time in his rehab assignment. Francisco, who gave up one hit and faced four batters Wednesday, called Tuesday night’s 1-2-3 inning featuring three strikeouts his best game of the rehab assignment. Francisco said he was happy with the way he pitched on Wednesday night, particularly with his fastball. The one hit he gave up was a double that wasn’t hit very hard, but sneaked down the first-base line. Another runner reached on a fielding error by first baseman Allan Dykstra.
“I was doing what I want to do, throwing my splitter,” Francisco said. “I knew everybody knows what I’m going to do. Everybody knows what I was working with. They were seeing the ball, but they weren’t hitting the ball in the air. It was more like a groundball or low line drive where we got a good chance. I can live with that.”
• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-4 and scored the tiebreaking run in Brooklyn's 3-2 win against Connecticut. With Kingsport, 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini was pulled midgame for a pinch runner. Read Wednesday's full minor league recap here.
• The Mets successfully appealed to Major League Baseball to change the scoring decision on a ninth-inning play Monday. Nate Schierholtz, since traded to the Phillies in the Hunter Pence deal, initially was credited with a double when Ike Davis failed to field a grounder and the tying run scored. The ruling was changed to an error.
• Brian Costa in the Journal revisits the unmemorable Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez for Angel Pagan trade. Torres missed a second straight start Wednesday because of a right thumb injury, but reported improvement. Regarding Ramirez, Costa writes:
Ramirez entered Wednesday with a 4.33 ERA in 36 appearances, up from 2.62 in 2011. But his fielding-independent pitching mark, a statistic that measures performance based only on the factors a pitcher can directly control, is 3.70. In other words, the Mets' defense has been partly to blame. "His ERA should be in the high twos right now, with plays that should have been made and things that happened in the course of the game," Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "Overall, we take about 11 or 12 of those runs off the board that should be off, and we get the guy that we bargained for."
TRIVIA: Which high school did Staten Islander Jason Marquis, who faces the Mets on Sunday in San Diego, attend?
Wednesday's answer: Pence, like Dillon Gee, played college ball at Texas-Arlington.