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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Morning Briefing: Greinke on tap for L.A.

By Adam Rubin


Lenny Ignelzi/Associated PressZack Greinke can pitch the Dodgers to a sweep of the Mets on Thursday.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets face a tall order Thursday in trying to avoid getting swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field.

Zack Greinke (7-1, 2.03 ERA) pitches for the Dodgers in the 7:10 series finale. He opposes Jonathon Niese (2-3, 2.54).

Greinke is tied with Adam Wainwright for the National League lead in wins and ranks second in ERA, trailing only the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija (1.46).

Greinke has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 21 straight starts. That matches Roger Clemens (1990-91) for the longest streak in the majors since earned runs became an official stat in 1913, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Thursday’s news reports:

Jacob deGrom surrendered solo homers to Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez and the Mets failed to turn a routine double play in the eighth as a costly run scored as the Dodgers won, 4-3, Wednesday night at Citi Field. Eric Campbell produced his first major-league homer, a two-run shot in the sixth against Hyun-Jin Ryu that had pulled the Mets within 3-2.

Curtis Granderson struck out with the bases loaded to end the third and Chris Young stranded two in scoring position in the seventh as the Mets lost despite outhitting the Dodgers, 13-5. The Mets (20-25) are now a season-worst five games under .500.

As for the botched eighth-inning double play, both Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy converged at second base, causing Jeurys Familia to hesitate before releasing the baseball. That ultimately allowed Ramirez to beat the throw to first as L.A.’s fourth run scored.

DeGrom, incidentally, now has both hits by Mets pitchers this season. In franchise history, deGrom joins Dillon Gee (2010) and Walt Terrell (1982) as the pitchers who produced hits in their first two games with the club.

Juan Lagares, who missed Tuesday’s game while in the Dominican Republic mourning the death of the aunt who raised him, went 3-for-5 in his return. In addition to the defensive miscue in the eighth, Flores went 3-for-4.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.


Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesEric Campbell, who produced his first major-league homer Wednesday, could find himself contributing in the outfield.


• Campbell, who has seen action in the minors in the corner outfield spots, may find himself playing there with the Mets soon as Terry Collins looks for ways to get more offense. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Travis d’Arnaud passed some initial concussion tests Wednesday and is due to see a doctor Thursday, aiming for clearance to be activated from the concussion DL. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Tim Rohan in the Times writes an in-depth feature on deGrom, which covers the length of his hair, how he transitioned to pitching from shortstop in college at Stetson and Johan Santana’s influence in teaching him a changeup while they both rehabbed in Port St. Lucie in 2011 (deGrom from Tommy John surgery). Writes Rohan:

Santana proceeded to teach deGrom his famous changeup, how to grip the ball, how it should look the same as a fastball coming out of his hand. Santana told him to practice throwing at 180 feet. If he threw it correctly, the ball would fall well short.

When his arm was healthy enough, deGrom practiced until he felt he had the pitch down. Armed with a new weapon, he posted a 2.43 earned run average in 2012 in 19 starts in Class A Savannah and St. Lucie. He learned the nuances of pitching -- and he began growing his hair long again.

Also read a feature on deGrom in the Star-Ledger.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed three runs -- and two homers -- in five innings for Las Vegas at Fresno. Binghamton was swept at Portland in a doubleheader. Luis Cessa was tagged with the loss in Game 1, in his Double-A debut. Dilson Herrera finished 3-for-4 with a homer as St. Lucie beat Clearwater, 5-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Marc Carig in Newsday suggests Citi Field’s dimensions may be in the Mets players’ heads. Writes Carig:

For some team officials, the ugly truth is that Citi Field has once again gotten in the heads of their hitters. They are trying too hard -- swinging harder, pressing, you name it -- to conquer the park's dimensions. Whether or not they're willing to admit it, they are competitors who have given way to human nature, even though compromising the process has made it even harder to get results.

“It gets to be more of a mental thing than it actually is physical,” hitting coach Dave Hudgens said. “Because the swings get longer, you try to do a little bit more. It’s more about us than it is anything else.”

• The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, a devout Mets fan, had a little fun with Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg’s claim of food poisoning.

Matt Harvey is back on Twitter after a month-long timeout. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday likes Puig’s flair. Puig, apparently, plans to visit the Statue of Liberty before Thursday’s game.

From the bloggers … Blogging Mets says Citi Field’s walls are not going anywhere.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Mets outfielder Collin Cowgill will need more candles. He turns 28. ... 2013 third-round pick Casey Meisner, a high school selection out of Texas, is 19.

TWEETS OF THE DAY:

Mets brass huddling right now to figure out how to take at-bats away from Lagares, Campbell and Flores. #justkidding #ithink

— Anthony Rieber (@therealarieber) May 22, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets use Eric Campbell in the outfield? At the expense of whose playing time?