Here are some of the statistical highlights from the weekend.
The Grandy Man Can … and Does
Curtis Granderson’s walk-off sacrifice fly marked his first walk-off RBI since the 2006 season.
Granderson is hitless in his last 16 at-bats and hitting .127 this season. That’s the fifth-lowest batting average in the majors and explains why Young was walked, even though David Wright (who had four hits in the game) was waiting to hit after Granderson.
It is the second-longest game the Mets have won by a walk-off sacrifice fly. They had a 15-inning win against the San Diego Padres in 1983, with the sacrifice fly coming from Brian Giles.
Daisuke’s stellar effort
Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched three hitless innings with five strikeouts on Sunday, one of the better relief efforts by a Mets pitcher in some time.
The last Mets reliever to throw at least three hitless innings with five strikeouts was Pat Mahomes against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1999.
The new closer
Kyle Farnsworth becomes the third pitcher to be appointed Mets closer this season, following Bobby Parnell and Jose Valverde.
One thing to be wary of with Farnsworth: even though he has a 1.08 ERA in nine appearances, he’s been hit hard.
Our video-tracking system has Farnsworth as having allowed seven hard-hit balls in 8 1/3 innings already, or the same number as Jenrry Mejia in 7 2/3 fewer innings.
As for the old closer, Valverde allowed a home run for the third straight game in the middle game of this series. That he was able to avoid allowing one in a fourth straight saved him from a historical distinction. Three Mets relievers have allowed a homer in four straight appearances -- Mark Bomback (1980), Randy Myers (1987) and Jonathan Hurst (1994).
Setting the pace
With the season one-ninth done (18 games), here are three paces that Mets players are on so far, with an observation on each:
1. David Wright is on pace for 216 base hits (he has 24), which would be the most in his career, but only nine home runs, which would be the fewest in his career.
2. Lucas Duda is on pace for 27 home runs and 81 RBIs. Last season, the Mets got only 15 home runs and 59 RBI from their first basemen.
3. Eric Young Jr. is on pace for 90 steals (he has 10), which would break Jose Reyes’ single-season record by 12.
View from the other side: Harang’s awesome night
Harang became the second pitcher to throw at least seven no-hit innings against the Mets and not be credited with a no-hitter.
The other was Clay Kirby, who threw eight no-hit innings for the 1970 San Diego Padres but left trailing 1-0. The Mets would get two runs and three hits in the ninth inning to win the game, 3-0. The Padres have still never had a no-hitter.
NEW YORK -- Terry Collins keeps coming back to the idea that Curtis Granderson will be fine, that this three-week horror show at the start of his New York Mets career is not a sign that Granderson's $60 million contract will turn into another Mets disaster.
"We're going to all look up in July, and this is all going to be forgotten," Collins said Sunday.
Not all of it, Collins hopes. The Mets manager would like to think that we'll long remember the 14th inning Sunday as the moment when Granderson's Mets career turned positive.
For while the box score shows that Granderson went 0-for-6 to drop his Mets batting average to .127 -- even Jason Bay never hit .127! -- the smiles in the Mets' clubhouse showed that it was Granderson whose sacrifice fly gave the Mets their 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves.
"Hopefully that gets him going, and he gets back to being his old self," said catcher Anthony Recker, who picked up Granderson and carried him in the Mets' celebration.
"I needed something positive," Granderson said.
Even that was a big admission for Granderson, who tries hard to never call anything a big deal.
At this point, though, it would have been disingenuous for Granderson to try to pretend that everything is going well and going to be just fine.
"I'm hoping a lot of things our manager is saying will turn out to be true," he said.
The Mets didn't pay Granderson all that money to be a No. 2 hitter. They paid him because they believed he was, as Collins said, "the perfect guy" to hit behind David Wright.
You can come up with reasons why Granderson really isn't perfect as a cleanup hitter, but none of them would really suggest that he would be as bad as he has been for the first three weeks of his Mets career. He may not be perfect, but he's not close to being this bad, either.
Collins, thrilled to avoid being swept by the Braves after an encouraging road trip, would have taken any win Sunday. But he understandably hoped that a win that ended with a big Granderson moment could be a turning point.
"We don't know what will happen, but you hope this is something to build on, to move on from here," Collins said.
Besides, in the life of a manager, especially a Mets manager, there's always another problem looming. Asked after the game about moving Granderson out of the cleanup spot, Collins noted that new cleanup hitter Daniel Murphy went 1-for-6.
"I may have to flip them back," he joked. "Murph didn't have a very good day, either."
There's always something. But perhaps for the Mets, Sunday is a sign that something won't always be Curtis Granderson.
Matsuzaka's legend in Japan began to be written when he pitched a 17-inning complete game in the national high school tournament, then pitched an inning the next day for a save, then threw a nine-inning no-hitter the day after that.
Of course, that was 16 years ago. It still brings a smile to Matsuzaka's face, as it did when it was brought up after his three hitless innings in the New York Mets' 14-inning, 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves Sunday.
Matsuzaka's reaction was slightly different when he was asked what he thinks of his new role of pitching out of the bullpen. He looked, he thought, and he seemed to carefully consider his answer.
"I don't want to use not having done it before as an excuse," he said through an interpreter. "This is my role right now. I just want to go out there and do well."
Matsuzaka did very well Sunday, when he entered the game in the 11th inning. He walked the first batter he faced, but then retired the next nine in order, five of them on strikeouts.
And yes, it was the first time he had appeared on back-to-back days in a major-league game. But not the first time he had ever done it.
The Mets announced after Sunday's 4-3, 14-inning win over the Atlanta Braves that Abreu will join the team in time for Monday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets didn't immediately say whose place Abreu will take.
The 40-year-old Abreu hasn't played in the big leagues since 2012, when he played eight games for the Los Angeles Angels and then 92 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Abreu signed a minor-league contract with the Mets, and batted .395 in 15 games for Triple-A Las Vegas.
The Mets hope Abreu will provide them with an experienced bat off the bench.
The Mets needed to make a decision on Abreu, who could have asked out of his contract if he wasn't promoted by the end of this month.
NEW YORK -- Finally, Curtis Granderson has a New York Mets moment.
Does it change everything?
No, of course not, but Granderson's sacrifice fly in the 14th inning did give the Mets a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. It gave Granderson something positive on his Mets ledger.
And it brought the Mets back to .500 after an eventful and mostly negative weekend.
One win doesn't change everything. Granderson, the Mets' $60 million free-agent signing, is still struggling, even after being moved out of the cleanup spot. The Mets are on their third closer of the season, after manager Terry Collins named Kyle Farnsworth to replace Jose Valverde.
And that home record, now 3-6, still isn't close to acceptable.
Even so, things could be worse. Around the Mets, things often seem worse.
Right now, .500 isn't that bad.
The new bullpen works, sort of: Before Saturday, Daisuke Matsuzaka had never really been a major league relief pitcher (his one bullpen appearance was in a long extra-inning game). Now he has pitched on back-to-back days, and he saved the Mets on Sunday with three hitless innings out of the pen.
Collins then turned to Valverde, who got through the 14th inning (despite allowing a hit to pitcher Gus Schlosser) and got credit for the win.
Another not-so-Grand day: Granderson's struggles continue, and Collins' decision to move him out of the cleanup spot didn't help, at least not right away. Granderson went 0-for-6 before the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 14th. He also committed an error on an amazingly bad throw that somehow ended up in the Braves' third-base dugout and cost the Mets a run.
Granderson is hitless in his last 16 at-bats, dropping his batting average to .127.
Not bad for Zack: Zack Wheeler had just one bad inning, but it cost him a chance for a win. Wheeler allowed the Braves six hits in six innings. Three of them, though, were back-to-back-to-back doubles in the fifth, giving the Braves three runs.
Wheeler departed with the game tied 3-3. He remains 1-2 on the season, with a 4.63 ERA.
Helpful Braves: It was a tough defensive day for the Braves, and their mistakes kept the Mets in the game. Justin Upton dropped a first-inning fly ball, leading to a run. Second baseman Dan Uggla committed two errors, one helping the Mets score a run in the second and the other on what should have been an inning-ending double play in the sixth. Instead, the Mets scored the game-tying run.
Abreu coming? The Mets have a decision upcoming on Bobby Abreu, and it would hardly be a surprise if they brought him to the big leagues soon. Joel Sherman of the Post said Sunday on Twitter that the Mets believe Abreu could provide a needed experienced bat off the bench, especially with Ike Davis now gone. Abreu entered play Sunday batting .412 at Triple-A Las Vegas, and Sunday he hit his first home run. His contract with the Mets allows him to become a free agent if they don't bring him to the big leagues by the end of this month.
What's next: The Mets open a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 7:10 p.m. ET game Monday night at Citi Field. Jenrry Mejia, who left his last start with a blister, starts for the Mets. Left-hander Tyler Lyons, 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA at Triple-A Memphis, will be called up to start for the Cardinals.
Manager Terry Collins announced Sunday morning that veteran right-hander Kyle Farnsworth is his new closer, after Valverde allowed four home runs in his last three appearances. Farnsworth didn't make the team out of spring training, but has allowed just one run in his eight appearances since joining the Mets on April 2.
The 38-year-old Farnsworth has 54 career saves, including two last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Valverde has 288 career saves, including two this season and a major league-high 49 with the 2011 Detroit Tigers.
Valverde didn't seem upset by Collins' decision.
"I'm never disappointed," he said. "If I'm not doing my job, someone else has to do it. ... [I'm a] happy guy. I stay happy."
Jason Heyward, rf
B.J. Upton, cf
Freddie Freeman, 1b
Justin Upton, lf
Chris Johnson, 3b
Dan Uggla, 2b
Andrelton Simmons, ss
Gerald Laird, c
David Hale, rhp
Eric Young Jr., lf
Curtis Granderson, rf
David Wright, 3b
Daniel Murphy, 2b
Chris Young, cf
Lucas Duda, 1b
Anthony Recker, c
Omar Quintanilla, ss
Zack Wheeler, rhp
Manager Terry Collins moved struggling Curtis Granderson out of the cleanup spot, choosing to bat him second because Granderson has had more success there in his career. Collins decided against moving Lucas Duda to cleanup, saying that he didn't want to overwhelm Duda in the same week where the Mets cleared out first base for him by trading Ike Davis to the Pirates.
FIRST PITCH: Sunday could be an eventful day for the New York Mets, in the wake of Saturday night's 7-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Manager Terry Collins suggested after the game that he will remove Jose Valverde from the closer role, and also that he could take Curtis Granderson out of the cleanup spot in the batting order.
The Mets will play the final game of the weekend series with the Braves on Sunday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET, and with Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.67) scheduled to face Braves rookie David Hale (0-0, 2.89).
Sunday's news reports:
• The Mets had a chance in the ninth inning, and even knocked Braves closer Craig Kimbrel out of the game, but Andrelton Simmons made a great play on Travis d'Arnaud to end the game as a 7-5 Braves win. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• The Granderson situation is already getting difficult, and he is already drawing comparisons to Jason Bay, the last big free agent the Mets signed. Read more about Granderson in the Post, the Star Ledger and Newsday, where columnist David Lennon goes hard with the Bay comparison.
• Speaking of comparisons, don't you think everyone will be watching how Lucas Duda does with an eye on how Ike Davis fares in Pittsburgh? Davis doubled in his first at-bat for the Pirates. He reached base in each of his first three plate appearances in his Saturday night debut, and also shed some light on his feelings about the way things went for him with the Mets.
"It was pretty negative over there for me for a little while," Davis told reporters, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Columnist George Willis of the Post carried on the Ike-Luke comparison, with the headline writer noting a bit harshly that Duda didn't deliver in the eighth inning, when his fly ball was caught just in front of the right-field fence. Read more on Duda in the Daily News and MLB.com.
• Freddie Freeman had another big game against the Mets, bringing up Chipper Jones comparisons. Read more in the Daily News.
• Not everyone was upset with the Mets Saturday. They did a nice thing for a Queens kid whose family lost their home in a Jan. 1 fire. The Post has the story.
• The Mets have a decision coming up on Bobby Abreu. Tim Rohan of the Times went to see Abreu and his Las Vegas 51s teammates in Reno.
• More replay issues Saturday night, as John Harper points out in the Daily News. More on replay in Newsday.
• Not the best timing for a in-depth Q and A with Valverde, is it? But Steve Serby has one in the Post.
• Is this a good time for a Steve Phillips update? If you're interested in what the ex-GM is doing, read more in the Daily News.
From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear is pretty sure it sat through Saturday night's game plenty of times at Shea.
BIRTHDAYS: Sean Green, the reliever, turns 35. ... Masato Yoshii is 49. ... Jason Roach turns 38.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU'RE UP: With Bobby Parnell out for the year and Jose Valverde struggling, who would you use as Mets closer?
BINGHAMTON 3, NEW HAMPSHIRE 2: Shortstop Matt Reynolds had a career-high four hits and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. Reynolds has a seven-game hitting streak and is now batting .383. Starter Rainy Lara pitched well for the B-Mets (six innings, two hits, one unearned run), but the Fisher Cats tied the score when Jack Murphy homered off John Church in the seventh. Reynolds led off the eighth inning with his fourth hit of the day, then scored all the way from first on Matt Clark's single. Chasen Bradford pitched the ninth for his third save. Box
FORT MYERS 4, ST. LUCIE 0: The Mets were blanked on four hits by three Miracle pitchers. Dilson Herrera had one of the Mets' hits, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Mets starter Domingo Tapia went four innings and gave up the first two Fort Myers runs. Box
SAVANNAH 3, GREENVILLE 3 (suspended): Jeff McNeil and Jeff Glenn had two hits apiece for the Sand Gnats, whose game with Greenville was suspended in the bottom of the sixth inning because of rain. It will be resumed May 14, before the next scheduled game between the two teams in Savannah. Starter John Gant allowed three runs in five innings. Box
Instead, there's this: By Sunday morning, the New York Mets could have a new cleanup hitter and a new closer.
Saturday night's 7-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves wasn't even that bad a game for the Mets, who knocked Braves closer Craig Kimbrel out and nearly beat him in the ninth inning. But it was another terrible game for Curtis Granderson, the $60 million cleanup man, and for Jose Valverde, the fill-in closer.
Granderson went 0-for-5, left six runners on base, is now hitting .140 with just four RBIs on the season, and has Mets fans thinking this is Jason Bay revisited. Valverde gave up a long three-run homer that ended up being decisive, the fourth homer he has allowed in his past three appearances.
The Mets are only one game under .500, at 8-9. It's only the third week in April. But manager Terry Collins can't ignore what he sees.
Collins met with Granderson before Saturday's game, and basically admitted after the game that he plans to move Granderson out of the cleanup spot, if only to change things up. Collins also basically admitted that he's going to need a new closer, because he can't send Valverde out there in a big situation again.
"I'm going to address that [Sunday]," Collins said.
Collins also said he's been troubled by some of the pitches Valverde has made this week, describing them as being in the "nitro zone." That was certainly true of the ninth-inning fastball Valverde threw to Justin Upton, the one Upton launched over the center-field fence to give the Braves a 7-3 lead.
The fact that the Mets rallied against Kimbrel, even forcing Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez into the unusual move of removing his closer from the game with a lead, only made Valverde's most recent failure feel worse.
While Collins doesn't have great options to replace Valverde, the option of keeping him in the closer role looks even less appealing. So it will likely be Kyle Farnsworth who gets the next chance, or perhaps Carlos Torres or Gonzalez Germen.
Anybody but Valverde.
And what about Granderson? The Mets have much more invested in him than they do in Valverde, and his failures have been just as dramatic.
"He's not squaring balls up," Collins said.
Granderson told Collins on Saturday that he doesn't believe he's pressing because of the big contract, or because of the ice-cold start, or because he's hitting in a key spot in the order that he has rarely occupied before. Granderson basically repeated that when speaking to reporters after the game.
"No, not at all," Granderson said, in answer to both the pressing question and the cleanup question. "Stay focused, stay ready, stay aggressive and eventually things will turn."
Collins has little choice but to believe things will turn for Granderson. But he also has little choice in terms of what he can do to try to help things turn.
Maybe a move out of the cleanup spot won't work? But maybe it will?
At this point, it can't hurt to try.
Or whether he hits it off his own foot.
The biggest play in the Mets' 7-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday did indeed deflect off Freeman's foot, or so it appeared on television replays. The ball ended up rolling down the third-base line, and when Mets starter Bartolo Colon threw it away down the right-field line, the Braves had two runs and a third-inning lead they would never give up.
Freeman had yet another hit against the Mets. He would finish the night with three of them, including an RBI double in the fifth inning that gave him 41 RBIs in his past 40 games against the Mets. Freeman is hitting .350 with 12 home runs in that span.
It's worth noting that Freeman hits well against everyone (his batting average this season is .413). Also worth noting is the fact that the Mets are now 2-6 at home this season, as opposed to 6-3 on the road.
To replay or not: The new instant-replay system hasn't helped the Mets the past two nights. On Friday, it was a questionable call at first base that was followed by a "fourth out" at third base, which kept manager Terry Collins from putting in a challenge.
Then came the key play in Saturday night's game, the third-inning Freeman infield single. Television replays showed the ball might have hit Freeman's front foot, which would have made it a foul ball. Collins asked the umpires about it but was never able to put in an official challenge because the replay rules don't allow managers to challenge fair/foul calls when the ball doesn't leave the infield or was hit off the batter's foot. There was some disagreement on how conclusive the replays were, anyway.
Not so Grand: The boos at Citi Field are getting louder for Curtis Granderson, the $60 million cleanup hitter whose Mets career is off to a dreadful start. Granderson was hitless in five at-bats Saturday, dropping his average to .140 through 16 games. Worse yet, he has just four RBIs after leaving six more runners on base in this game.
More boos: Is Jose Valverde really still the Mets' closer? Valverde didn't pitch in a save situation Saturday, but the long three-run homer he allowed to Justin Upton deprived Braves closer Craig Kimbrel of a chance at a save. Valverde has allowed four home runs in his past three appearances, and the latest one looked bigger after the Mets scored two runs and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.
Luke vs. Ike: The first-base competition that never was essentially ended when the Mets traded Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. But minutes after Davis doubled in his first at-bat Saturday night in Pittsburgh, Lucas Duda doubled to lead off the second inning for the Mets. Davis reached base safely in his first three plate appearances for the Pirates and scored two runs. Duda ended the night 1-for-4 after just missing a go-ahead home run on an eighth-inning fly ball to the wall in right field.
Young firsts: Chris Young, who missed two weeks with a quadriceps injury, finally got his first Mets hit, a leadoff double off Ervin Santana in the fourth inning. Meanwhile, Eric Young Jr. was caught stealing for the first time this season after being successful on his first 10 tries (including one that led to the Mets' first-inning run Saturday).
The Colon show: Colon was neither as good as he was 10 days ago against the Braves (seven shutout innings) nor as bad as he was last Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels (nine runs allowed), but Colon (three earned runs in seven innings) was as entertaining as ever, especially when he came to the plate. He struck out in both at-bats Saturday, seeing six pitches and swinging violently at five of them.
On one swing in the second inning, Colon swung so hard his helmet came off. Perhaps not the best thing for a pitcher who complained last week of back spasms, but entertaining nonetheless.
What's next: The Mets and Braves close out this three-game series Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.67 ERA) starts for the Mets, while rookie right-hander David Hale (0-0, 2.89) pitches for the Braves.
Lannan, the 29-year-old left-hander who was outrighted by the New York Mets on Wednesday, could have elected to become a free agent. Instead he will report to the Triple-A Las Vegas 51's.
Lannan pitched only four innings for the Mets after signing with the team as a free agent during the winter. He gave up seven runs on seven hits, including three home runs.
It’s a little safer than it was prior to Friday, when the New York Mets traded Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates and thus made it official that Duda is their chosen first baseman. But if the Mets thought the trade would take away any pressure Duda felt, well, it may not work.
"Maybe a little bit," Duda said Saturday afternoon, before the Mets played the Atlanta Braves. "But I still have to produce. If I don't produce, I won't play. If I don’t get the job done, someone else will."
He's right, of course -- even if the trade left the Mets without an obvious option sitting on the bench.
If Duda doesn't hit -- he's batting .256 through 15 games, with three home runs and a .798 OPS -- we'll all be asking when the Mets are going to find someone else.
"I'm not done [answering questions about first base]," manager Terry Collins said. "[Sometime, Duda] is going to be 0-for-15. Ike's going to have eight home runs [with the Pirates]. You're going to ask."
Collins isn't predicting failure for Duda. The Mets chose him over Davis because they think he has a better chance to succeed. The point is simply that the game is about production, especially for 28-year-old first basemen who aren't established, big league hitters yet.
The hope is that Duda can now become established. The hope, realistic or not, is that by trading Davis now, the Mets move that along.
"I'm hoping now Lucas doesn't have to worry that Ike's looking over his shoulder and that if he's 0-for-4, Ike's going to play," Collins said. "It's like, 'Hey look, Luke, it's yours.'
"I just think it should help."
Saturday's game will mark Duda's fourth start in the past five games, and his 10th in the Mets' first 17 games of the season. The Mets still have Josh Satin on the roster -- he has started against left-handed pitchers.
Mejia OK: Jenrry Mejia had no problems during his bullpen session Saturday and is set to start Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Mejia left his last start after just 77 pitches because of a blister.
Clearing things up: Collins and the Mets asked for a clarification Saturday on a disputed play in the second inning of Friday's loss to the Braves. Travis d'Arnaud was called out at first base on a close play, one that Collins considered challenging under the new instant replay rules.
The issue was that after d'Arnaud was called out at first, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman threw the ball to third base, where Duda (running from first) was tagged out by third baseman Chris Johnson. The umpires told Collins that even if the call at first base was reversed, the inning was probably over because Duda was out.
Collins then decided to save his challenge.
The Mets were told Saturday that if the call at first had been reversed, the replay umpires could have ruled Duda safe (either at second base or third), on the basis that he slowed down once he saw the out call at first. Duda confirmed Saturday that he did slow down, and said he thinks that if he had run full speed, "it would have been close" at third.
Harvey report: Matt Harvey still has a long way to go returning from Tommy John surgery, but he has gone from throwing from 75 feet to throwing from 90 feet.
Lannan decision? The Mets said they have yet to get a decision from John Lannan, who was outrighted off the 40-man roster and offered a spot at Triple-A Las Vegas. The Mets told Lannan he could work as either a starter or a reliever -- his choice -- if he accepts the assignment.
Jason Heyward, rf
B.J. Upton, cf
Freddie Freeman, 1b
Justin Upton, lf
Evan Gattis, c
Dan Uggla, 2b
Chris Johnson, 3b
Andrelton Simmons, ss
Ervin Santana, rhp
Eric Young Jr., lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Curtis Granderson, rf
Chris Young, cf
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Ruben Tejada, ss
Bartolo Colon, rhp
The Mets believe that Colon will be good to go, despite the back spasms he complained about after his last start in Anaheim. But manager Terry Collins said they'll have Daisuke Matsuzaka ready, in case there's a last-minute issue with Colon.