New York Mets: A.J. Burnett

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Phillies 5

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
4:25
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Enjoy last place, Philly!

Anthony Recker produced a tie-breaking three-run homer against A.J. Burnett in the sixth inning Sunday, and the New York Mets held on to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 at Citi Field.

The Mets completed the season series with a 13-6 record against the Phillies. That matches the most wins in a season against Philadelphia in franchise history. The Mets went 13-5 against the Phillies in 1970, ’71, ’72 and ’87.

The victory prevented the Mets (64-73) from dropping into last place in the NL East for the first time since June 27.


Kathy Kmonicek/Associated PressAnthony Recker receives congratulations after delivering a tie-breaking three-run homer in the sixth inning.


Recker, whose three-run shot staked the Mets to a 5-2 lead, now has 12 career long balls. Nine of those home runs have tied the score or given his team a lead, including four of five this season.

Jeurys Familia surrendered a solo homer to Domonic Brown in the eighth inning as Philadelphia (62-74) pulled to within 5-4. Dilson Herrera's first career RBI in the bottom half of the inning restored a two-run cushion for Jenrry Mejia, who needed the insurance. Mejia notched his 21st save despite allowing a run in the ninth.

In the seventh, Dana Eveland allowed a runner inherited from starter Dillon Gee to score, but left a pair of Phillies in scoring position by retiring Chase Utley on a pop-out and consecutively striking out Ryan Howard and Grady Sizemore.

Not him again: Gee must have nightmares about Howard, right? Howard’s solo homer in the sixth against Gee evened the score at 2. Earlier, Howard’s RBI double in the fourth opened the game’s scoring -- although Gee left the bases loaded in that frame by coaxing a double-play grounder from Wil Nieves.

Howard is hitting .423 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 26 career at-bats against Gee.

Howard also is the active leader in long balls against the Mets with 41, ahead of a pair of his Phillies teammates -- Utley (33), and No. 3 Jimmy Rollins (30).

Gee entered Sunday’s start with a 6.53 ERA in 13 career appearances (12 starts) against the Phillies. He departed with a 5-2 lead after walking Freddy Galvis to open the seventh. Gee’s final line: 6+ IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 1 HR.

Halted! David Wright snapped a career-high 14-game RBI-less drought when his two-out single in the sixth against Burnett plated Matt den Dekker and staked the Mets to a 2-1 lead. Wright’s previous high without an RBI had been 13 straight games in Aug. 2010.

Wright’s hit also gave the Mets seven in the game. That snapped a streak of 10 straight games at Citi Field with six hits or fewer, which had matched the longest home streak in the majors since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Den Dekker’s RBI double had pulled the Mets even at 1.

Three cheers: Wilmer Flores went 3-for-4 and also recorded his first career stolen base, although a good throw from the Nieves would have nailed him at third base. It marked the third time Flores produced that career-high three-hit total.

What’s next: The Mets head to Miami for a three-game series. Zack Wheeler (9-9, 3.44 ERA) opposes right-hander Henderson Alvarez (10-6, 2.75) in the 1:10 p.m. opener on Labor Day. Wheeler is 2-0 with a 0.65 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this season.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
11:45
PM ET

Associated PressThe Mets face David Buchanan, Jerome Williams and A.J. Burnett at Citi Field this weekend.
METS (62-72, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (61-72, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jacob deGrom (6-6, 3.13) vs. RHP David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Bartolo Colon (12-10, 3.82) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (2-5, 6.71), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (5-6, 3.77) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (7-14, 4.30), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• Manager Ryne Sandberg reportedly has been having difficulty with veteran players treating him disrespectfully. The latest incident occurred Monday, when Cole Hamels began walking off and did a “handoff” of the baseball to Sandberg before the manager reached the mound to remove the southpaw, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Kyle Kendrick reportedly pulled the same antics a couple of weeks earlier and subsequently apologized.

• The Phillies arrive at Citi Field coming off a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals that capped a 7-2 homestand.

• Right-hander Jerome Williams was claimed off waivers by the Phillies from the Texas Rangers on Aug. 10. Williams, 32, is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts since the change of scenery. He began the season with the Houston Astros and was released on July 8.

A.J. Burnett was 0-6 with a 7.41 ERA in his first seven starts after the All-Star break. He then limited the Nats to one run on three hits while striking out 12 in seven innings Monday.

Ben Revere's .310 batting average ranks second in the National League. With his next steal, Revere will become the 12th different player in Phillies history with a 40-steal season. The last was Jimmy Rollins in 2008.

• Ex-Met Marlon Byrd's 24 homers rank fifth in the league.

Ryan Howard's 81 RBIs rank fourth.

• Closer Jonathan Papelbon has 33 saves in 36 chances. Papelbon notched his 100th save as a Phillie on Tuesday. He had 219 with the Boston Red Sox. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first closer in major league history to produce 200 saves with one team and 100 saves with a team in the other league.

• Phillies president David Montgomery, 68, has taken a leave of absence from the ballclub as he attempts to recover from jaw cancer surgery. Former GM Pat Gillick will fill in during Montgomery’s absence.

• The Phillies and Dodgers completed the trade on Thursday that sent Roberto Hernandez to L.A. Philadelphia obtained right-hander Victor Arano, who was pitching for Class A Great Lakes.

• Infielder Freddy Galvis was recalled Saturday from Triple-A, where he had been optioned on May 9. He is hitting .085 (4-for-47) at the major league level this season … and that’s with a two-hit game Tuesday.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Phillies 4

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
9:20
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Bartolo Colon joined exclusive company as the Philadelphia Phillies continued a season in which they’ve become the team to beat up on.

The 41-year-old Colon recorded career win No. 200 as the Mets beat the Phillies 5-4 in Friday’s series opener at Citizens Bank Park.

Colon departed with a 5-1 lead after eight innings. After Dana Eveland allowed the first two batters of the ninth to reach, Jenrry Mejia converted the save -- barely.

Mejia, who had experienced lower-back tightness Monday and calf tightness Thursday, allowed a single to Marlon Byrd that loaded the bases with none out. He then allowed a two-run double to Grady Sizemore. Cody Asche eventually contributed a run-scoring groundout for the second out, but Mejia left the tying run at third base by striking out Reid Brignac.

Colon joined Juan Marichal (243 wins) and Pedro Martinez (219) as the only Dominican-born pitchers to reach the 200-win plateau.

He also became the third pitcher to achieve No. 200 as a Met, joining Orel Hershiser in 1999 and Martinez in 2006.


Eric Hartline/USA TODAY SportsBartolo Colon earned his 200th career win Friday.


There are only two active pitchers with more wins than Colon: Tim Hudson (213) and CC Sabathia (208).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three pitchers in the past 90 years have notched win No. 200 when they were older than Colon: Tim Wakefield (age 45), Charlie Hough (44) and Jamie Moyer (42).

The Mets improved to 9-4 in the season series against the Phillies. The Amazin’s have won 11 of their past 13 games at Citizens Bank Park.

A.J. Burnett surrendered 11 hits -- matching Atlanta’s Julio Teheran on July 8 for the most a starting pitcher has allowed against the Mets this season. Burnett departed trailing 5-0 after six innings.

He managed to keep the game scoreless by coaxing a bases-loaded groundout from Lucas Duda in the third. Travis d'Arnaud, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores then consecutively produced hits to open what became a four-run fourth. Over that two-inning span, eight Mets in a 10-batter stretch reached base against Burnett. (And, really, it’s 8 of 9 reaching, since Colon’s strikeout shouldn’t count, right?)

A fifth-inning solo homer by d’Arnaud, who originally was drafted by the Phillies, upped the lead to 5-0. (D’Arnaud was traded to Toronto for Roy Halladay, who threw out Friday’s ceremonial first pitch.)

Colon took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning.

After a leadoff single by Chase Utley in the fourth, Colon survived consecutive shots from Ryan Howard and Byrd that settled into Lagares’ glove just in front of the 401-foot marker on the center-field wall. Byrd’s leadoff homer in the seventh finally got Philadelphia on the scoreboard.

Colon’s line: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR.

Kids' play: In the first game since Terry Collins announced Flores and Nieuwenhuis would get legitimate auditions, both contributed. Flores finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Nieuwenhuis went 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Ouch: Plate ump Mike Winters was struck by a pitch from Burnett in the first inning. He completed the game with a huge welt on his right wrist.

What’s next: Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.73 ERA) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.42) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Gee is 0-4 with a 6.85 ERA since the All-Star break.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
11:38
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets will face A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick in the opening three games of the series, as they did July 28-30 in New York.
METS (54-61, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (52-63, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Bartolo Colon (10-9, 4.12) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (6-11, 4.16), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.73) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.42), 7:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (7-8, 3.48) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.74), 1:35 p.m. ET

Monday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-8, 3.41) vs. RHP David Buchanan (6-5, 4.39), 1:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• After no activity at the non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies scratched 33-year-old Roberto Hernandez from his scheduled start on Thursday. Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) instead was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players to be named from the low minors. Hernandez, owed $1.5 million the remainder of this season, was 6-8 with a 3.87 ERA in 23 appearances (20 starts) for the Phillies.


Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY SportsRoberto Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers on Thursday.


Sean O'Sullivan was promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which was playing at Toledo, and made it in time to take the start. The journeyman right-hander surrendered three homers in six innings and departed trailing 5-1, but Ryan Howard's grand slam capped a fifth-run eighth as the Phillies rallied to complete a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros.

• The Phillies announced Thursday that a Grade 2 strain of the left elbow will prevent Cliff Lee from pitching again this season. Lee does not intend to undergo surgery. He received an opinion from Mets doctor David Altchek and has been treated with platelet-rich plasma therapy. Lee essentially is owed $37.5 million next season -- $25 million in salary, plus a $12.5 million buyout of a $27.5 million team option for 2016. David Buchanan took Lee's rotation spot.

Chase Utley's homer Wednesday, his 10th of the season, made him the fifth second basemen in major league history to produce double-digit long balls in 11 straight seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Jeff Kent (1997-2008) and Bobby Doerr (1939-51, minus 1945 while serving in World War II) had 12-season streaks. Lou Whitaker (1982-92) and Joe Gordon (1938-50, minus two years of military service) had 11-season streaks.

• Center fielder Ben Revere produced his fourth four-hit game of the season Wednesday, matching the major league high. The only Phillie with more four-hit games in a season in the past three decades was Shane Victorino, who had five in 2009. After a two-hit game Thursday, Revere is now hitting .385 since June 26.

A.J. Burnett lasted only 1 2/3 innings in his last start. He was ejected for the first time in his major league career after allowing five runs (one earned) against Washington and arguing with plate umpire Chris Guccione about the strike zone.

• With his 94th save as a Phillie on Thursday, closer Jonathan Papelbon tied Tug McGraw for fifth on the club’s all-time list. Papelbon’s 87.0 save-conversion percentage is tops in Phillies history among relievers with at least 100 chances. Jose Mesa ranks second at 86.8 percent. Papelbon reportedly has cleared waivers, which allows the Phillies to trade him to any team this month.

Antonio Bastardo on Tuesday became the only major league pitcher since 1900 to have two separate games notching at least six outs, with all of the outs recorded via strikeout. His other such appearance came April 8, 2011 at Atlanta.

• Left fielder Domonic Brown pinch hit Thursday, but has not started in the past nine games because of a tonsil infection.

Grady Sizemore has hit safely in 15 of 19 starts since joining the Phillies. After going 1-for-3 Thursday, he is hitting .333 (27-for-81) with the club. Sizemore started in center field on Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox. He hit .216 with two homers in 185 at-bats before being designated for assignment on June 17. He was released the following day.

• The Chicago Cubs reportedly claimed Cole Hamels but have no intention of trading for him. Ex-Met Marlon Byrd reportedly also was claimed, with the 48-hour period to negotiate a deal expiring Friday.

• The Phillies signed Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor-league contract a week after releasing him from the big-league squad.

Morning Briefing: 2 days until deadline

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
5:15
AM ET
FIRST PITCH: On a roll, the Mets turn to Dillon Gee on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. to face the Philadelphia Phillies.

Gee (4-3, 3.49 ERA) has allowed 10 runs in 10 innings in two starts since the All-Star break. He opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.72).

Tuesday’s news reports:

• Sandy Alderson said the Mets consummating a deal before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline is “unlikely.” The GM went on to suggest that trading Bartolo Colon might be more sensible during the offseason, when teams may view the $11 million owed to Colon in 2015 a bargain relative to the price of a comparably talented free-agent pitcher.

Whether for Colon, Phillies starter A.J. Burnett or otherwise, scouts from the Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers were among those in attendance at Citi Field on Monday.

Writes columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post on the trade topic:

Let’s make this perfectly clear. Don’t trade any of the young pitchers, Mets. There is too much to lose. Dealing Bartolo Colon, however, for an offensive piece is a must.

Read more in the Post, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports reports the Mets would be willing to trade Noah Syndergaard in a deal for Troy Tulowitzki. Writes Passan:


Icon SMIThere are conflicting reports about what the Mets would be willing to surrender in a deal for Troy Tulowitzki.


The St. Louis Cardinals expressed significant interest in him last offseason. They continue to reach out to the Rockies, as have the New York Mets, who are prepared to offer top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard in a deal for the 29-year-old. And the response is: Not yet. We’re not ready to deal him. We want to hear it from him.

Which is to say: We want him to be the bad guy, not us. It’s a ludicrous way to run a business, of course, and it highlights how little confidence the Rockies have in themselves to make the sort of a deal that reinvigorates and reenergizes a ballclub in desperate need of both.

Columnist David Lennon in Newsday has a different understanding, at least with respect to Syndergaard. Writes Lennon:

Tulowitzki is everything the Mets need -- a power bat for the middle of the lineup and a Gold-Glove caliber shortstop. What could be more perfect? But there also is a reluctance to plow headfirst into such a trade, a feeling that after stockpiling so much pitching talent, it's not a deal that has to get done tomorrow.

That's why the Mets -- for now -- are holding back on including Noah Syndergaard in any package, for Tulo or otherwise, according to a source. Syndergaard is the name at the top of every team's wish list, and as long as the Mets won't budge on that demand, it's going to take longer to work around such an obstacle for a player like Tulowitzki -- if a compromise can be struck at all.


Brian D. Kersey/Getty ImagesJacob deGrom is co-NL Player of the Week.


Jacob deGrom shared the NL Player of the Week Award with Miami Marlins closer Steve Cishek. Given deGrom and the Mets’ overall success of late, Alderson indicated there are no immediate plans to dislodge deGrom from the rotation, even though an 185-inning cap is creeping closer. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Colon took a scoreless effort into the eighth inning and Juan Lagares snapped an 0-for-17 drought with an opposite-field two-run double to cap a four-run first inning as the Mets beat the Phillies, 7-1, Monday at Citi Field. Travis d'Arnaud had a three-run homer and doubled twice as the Mets exceeded three runs for the first time in 10 games. With 56 games remaining, the Mets (51-55) trail the first-place Washington Nationals by 7 games. The Amazin’s are six games back of the second wild-card position, which is shared by the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants.

In what was his final start before the non-waiver trade deadline, Colon notched career win No. 199. On Sunday with the Mets -- or elsewhere, in the less-likely scenario he is traded -- Colon will try to join Juan Marichal (243) and Pedro Martinez (219) are the only Dominican-born pitchers to reach the 200-win plateau. Martinez notched No. 200 as a Met back in 2006.

Colon became only the second major league pitcher in the last five years to reach 10 wins in a season at age 41 order older, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Andy Pettitte won his 10th game last season when he was eight days older than Colon’s age Monday.

“I’m happy here,” Colon said through an interpreter regarding the trade deadline. “I would like to stay here, but it’s really not up to me.”

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

• Read more on d’Arnaud in the Star-Ledger.

Dana Eveland took a line drive to the left elbow and was forced to depart in the ninth inning. X-rays were negative.

Daisuke Matsuzaka's elbow injury, which landed him on the DL on Friday, is not severe. Matsuzaka should resume tossing a baseball within days, Terry Collins said.

• Alderson said he has “absolutely no recollection whatsoever” of a conversation with Tony La Russa during their Oakland days in which La Russa allegedly conveyed concerns about players using steroids. Read more in the Daily News, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

• Kevin Plawecki went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his return from vertigo and John Lannan tossed six scoreless innings in his season debut in Triple-A as Las Vegas beat Salt Lake, 5-3. Albert Cordero’s single in the 12th plated Gavin Cecchini as St. Lucie beat Dunedin, 7-6. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Tim Rohan in the Times profiles the introverted Lucas Duda.

• Mets bench coach Ricky Bones will serve as the pitching coach for Margarita in Venezuela during the winter season, a source told ESPNNewYork.com. Binghamton manager Pedro Lopez will serve as the bench coach for Dave Hudgens with Caracas.

• Will Sammon in Newsday catches up with Marlon Byrd, who could be traded by the Phillies in the next two days.

• Displeased with his ejection Sunday, Vegas pitching coach Frank Viola tweeted:

Amazing, my contemporaries are going into the Hall, and I'm getting tossed by kids who don't know a thing about the game. #gamegoingtohell

He then added in another tweet:

Tossed out of my 2nd AAAgame in a month! Can'topen mouth, otherwise I'm gone!;Still haven't said anything wrong, but been tossed twice!;BS!!

BIRTHDAYS: Felix Mantilla, who played 141 games for the original '62 Mets, was born on this date in 1934.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe Sandy Alderson that the Mets likely will make no deals by Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Phillies 1

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
10:05
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Don’t break up this juggernaut!

In his final start before the non-waiver trade deadline, Bartolo Colon took a scoreless effort into the eighth inning and the Mets routed on-the-block A.J. Burnett and the Philadelphia Phillies with a 7-1 victory on Monday at Citi Field.

Travis d'Arnaud doubled and scored in a four-run first inning and later had a three-run homer against Burnett as the Mets (51-55) emphatically snapped a streak of nine straight games scoring three runs or fewer.


Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesBartolo Colon took a scoreless effort into the eighth inning on Monday.


Pending the West Coast results, the Mets moved to within 6 games of a wild-card spot.

Coming off a start in Seattle in which he retired the first 20 Mariners, Colon surrendered 10 hits and one walk in a 121-pitch effort, but kept the Phillies off the scoreboard until consecutive two-out doubles in the eighth by Domonic Brown and Carlos Ruiz. Colon had faced a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the sixth, but struck out Cody Asche.

Although Mets GM Sandy Alderson implied during pregame media time that waiting until the offseason to trade Colon would be more prudent, the 41-year-old right-hander did make a strong final pitch that he could be valuable to a postseason contender.

Colon improved to 10-8 with a 3.88 ERA. He joined Tom Glavine (2007) and Orel Hershiser (1999) as the only pitchers in franchise history to notch double-digit wins at age 41 or older, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays were among the teams with scouts at Citi Field on Monday, with speculation at the ballpark that they were at least monitoring both starting pitchers.

Burnett allowed seven runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings.

Snapped: The Mets scored four runs during a 33-pitch first inning by Burnett. That snapped a string of nine straight games in which the Mets scored three runs or fewer. The drought had matched the franchise’s longest streak since 1981, when the Mets went 11 straight games failing to reach four runs.

Daniel Murphy had an RBI double, Lucas Duda had a run-scoring single and Juan Lagares had a two-run double in the first.

D’Arnaud’s double preceded Lagares’ two-bagger. It ended a streak of 29 straight hitless at-bats with two outs and runners on base for the Mets, according to Elias.

D’Arnaud's fifth-inning homer staked the Mets to a 7-0 lead. He finished with three extra-base hits.

Ouch: Dana Eveland departed in the ninth inning after apparently getting struck in the back of the elbow by a line drive off the bat of Ben Revere.

What’s next: Dillon Gee (4-3, 3.49 ERA) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.72) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Eric Campbell will be in the starting lineup, Terry Collins pledged, although the manager was noncommittal about the position. Campbell would appear most likely to play first base, since Duda is a career 1-for-13 with seven strikeouts and five walks against Hamels.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
8:45
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick as they return home to play the Phillies.
METS (50-55, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (46-59, fifth place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Bartolo Colon (9-8, 4.03) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (6-9, 3.86), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-3, 3.49) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.72), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.64) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87), 12:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Ryan Howard was benched for three straight games last week, with Darin Ruf -- who was promoted from Triple-A on Tuesday -- instead starting at first base. In the 21 games before the Wednesday-Friday sit-down, Howard was hitting .141 with one homer in 78 at-bats.

Howard is owed a combined $60 million in 2015 and 2016, including the buyout of the following season. He could get dealt before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline. The Phillies reportedly have contemplated releasing him during the offseason and eating the remaining contract if the 34-year-old Howard is not dealt by then, although GM Ruben Amaro has denied that is a consideration.


Gene J. Puskar/Associated PressRyan Howard has been at the center of recent drama in Philly.


Howard did produce a two-out, two-run first-inning homer against left-hander Vidal Nuno on Sunday as the Phillies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-2. Despite struggles, Howard’s 62 RBIs rank fifth in the National League.

Howard is one of multiple Phillies who could be traded this week. Others include ex-Met Marlon Byrd, right-hander A.J. Burnett, left-hander Cliff Lee and closer Jonathan Papelbon.

However, two of Byrd’s potential suitors, the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals, reportedly are on his no-trade list.

Byrd jumped on a two-year, $16 million contract with the Phillies early in the offseason. The deal includes an $8 million club and vesting option for 2016. Byrd’s 20 homers are tied for fourth in the NL, trailing only Anthony Rizzo (25), Giancarlo Stanton (23) and Troy Tulowitzki (21).

Papelbon has converted 25 saves in 28 chances, but did have a blown save and a loss in consecutive appearances against the San Francisco Giants last week.

Burnett tossed eight scoreless innings against San Francisco in his last outing.

Jimmy Rollins essentially triggered an $11 million vesting option for 2015 when he logged his 1,100th plate appearance of the 2013 and ’14 seasons over the weekend. Rollins still must avoid finishing the season on the disabled list for the option to formally kick in.

Grady Sizemore started in center field on Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox. He hit .216 with two homers in 185 at-bats with the club before being designated for assignment on June 17. He was released the following day.

Sizemore, who turns 32 on Friday, is hitting .319 (15-for-47) since joining the Phillies on July 11 after 11 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He has started six games in center field and five games in left field with Philadelphia. A three-time All-Star, Sizemore missed the 2012 and ’13 seasons because of multiple surgeries on both knees.

Sizemore’s role could further increase if Byrd is traded and if Domonic Brown (.231, 7 HR, 49 RBIs, 341 ABs) continues to not produce. Sizemore notched his 1,000th career hit on Friday.

• Catcher Carlos Ruiz was activated from the concussion DL on Wednesday. He originally was hit in the head with a pitch from Miami’s A.J. Ramos on June 26.

• Rookie right-handed reliever Ken Giles tossed another scoreless inning Sunday. Giles, 23, has allowed two earned runs in 18 1/3 major league innings. He has struck out 26 during that span.

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 6, Mets 5 (14)

May, 31, 2014
May 31
12:30
AM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Better late than ... oh, never mind.

Jenrry Mejia surrendered a walk-off single to Reid Brignac that plated Marlon Byrd as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets, 6-5, in 14 innings on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Byrd had reached on a two-base error by Chris Young, who dropped a routine fly ball to right field to open the inning.

Mets manager Terry Collins used Jacob deGrom as a pinch hitter in the top of the 14th and had Anthony Recker in the bullpen next to pitch after Mejia. DeGrom struck out to fall to 4-for-6 in his major league career.

The game lasted five hours, 23 minutes.

The Mets had a six-game Philly winning streak snapped, one shy of matching the franchise record set in 1969-70 at Connie Mack Stadium.

Growing pains: Rafael Montero lasted only 3⅔ innings in his fourth major league start. The 23-year-old rookie surrendered a three-run homer to Domonic Brown that staked Philadelphia to a 4-3 lead in the fourth. Montero departed later in the inning with runners on the corners. He was bailed out of further damage when, with Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching, David Wright retreated into left field to make a stellar catch on Chase Utley’s flare.

Montero’s line: 3⅔ IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. He threw 80 pitches (45 strikes). His ERA rose to 5.40.

Montero has allowed at least one home run in each of his first four major league appearances. The only other pitchers in franchise history to do so? Jack Fisher surrendered homers in his first five career games in 1964. Don Schulze allowed homers in each of his first four appearances in 1987.

40-something: Bobby Abreu went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk. He also notched his 400th career stolen base.

Abreu is 8-for-17 with five walks in his past five starts.

With the score tied at 5, he had a leadoff infield single in the eighth, then stole second with none out. However, Abreu ultimately was stranded at third base when Ruben Tejada grounded out.

The Mets had taken a 5-4 lead in the fifth on Abreu’s two-out, two-run double against A.J. Burnett. The Phillies, however, evened the score in the bottom half when Brown picked up his fourth RBI of the game, on a run-scoring groundout against Matsuzaka.

Three of the five runs the Mets scored against Burnett reached on walks, including Abreu in a three-run second inning.

Abreu, despite a solid game, struck out to strand three baserunners in the top of the ninth. The Mets are now hitless in their past 13 at-bats with the bases loaded.

Inside Edge: Josh Edgin breezed through the lefties in the Phillies' lineup, retiring all four batters he faced spanning the sixth and seven innings. Jeurys Familia enjoyed similar dominance, following with 1⅔ scoreless innings to send the game to the ninth tied at 5. Carlos Torres contributed 2⅔ scoreless innings. Vic Black tossed two scoreless innings.

What’s next: DeGrom (0-2, 1.83 ERA) -- still bidding for his first major league win after Jose Valverde failed to hold a lead in the rookie’s last start -- opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.04) on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. Kendrick snapped a streak of 16 straight winless starts in his last outing. He tossed 6⅔ scoreless innings in a 9-0 win against the Colorado Rockies.

TC: Catchers need to pick up production

May, 29, 2014
May 29
5:10
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Travis d'Arnaud is back in the lineup for the first time in 16 days on Thursday night, and Terry Collins noted it's not just him who needs to pick up his production.

"We've got to start getting some offense out of our catching position, for sure," Collins said.

Overall, Mets catchers rank 27th in the majors in average (.217), 24th in on-base percentage (.282) and 26th in slugging percentage (.339). They have driven in 16 runs, better than only the Phillies (14), Royals (13) and Dodgers (11).

D'Arnaud was hitting .196 with three homers and eight RBIs in 102 at-bats before landing on the concussion DL two weeks ago.

D'Arnaud indicated the most difficult thing during his week of concussion symptoms was dealing with noise. He was on the bench with the Mets on Wednesday ahead of Thursday's official activation. D'Arnaud went 1-for-8 with a two-run homer and caught seven innings during his rehab assignment with Double-A Binghamton. His final game for the B-Mets was cut short by rain. The game was suspended in the second inning.

D'Arnaud will switch to a conventional catcher's mask (with separate skull cap) now that he's back. While the mask sits slightly farther away from his face than the hockey-goaltender mask he formerly wore, slightly reducing his peripheral vision, d'Arnaud feels the conventional style is less restrictive. He received his last two concussions while wearing the hockey mask and wants to switch things up anyway.

D'Arnaud's return incidentally gives the Mets a statistical quirk. He joins Jacob deGrom and Matt den Dekker on the active roster, making the Mets the first team in MLB history with three active players with surnames beginning with a lower-case "D."

According to research by ESPN’s Doug Kern, the Kansas City Royals had two -- first baseman Luis de los Santos and pitcher Jose de Jesus -- for two Septembers (1988 and '89).

Taking the fifth: Keith Hernandez steered clear of discussing with reporters on Thursday afternoon fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens' critical comments about the SNY analysts. It was Mex's first time assigned to a game since Hudgens did the media circuit.

Bobby O: Collins plans to start Bobby Abreu on Friday against right-hander A.J. Burnett. The manager might have used Abreu in the outfield on Thursday, too -- with Chris Young on the bench -- had Phillies starter David Buchanan's numbers made it sensible. Although Buchanan is a right-hander, righty batters hit .305 against him in nine Triple-A starts this season (versus .297 for lefty batters).

Collins noted it certainly is easier to play right field at Citizens Bank Park than at Citi Field, which makes prioritizing offense easier. The manager added that he just needs to be careful about overdoing it with Abreu.

"You've just got to be careful about wearing him down," Collins said.

Con'grad'ulations: Guy Conti, who served as the Mets' bullpen coach during the Pedro Martinez era, is back with the big-league club for the three-city road trip. Conti, 72, officially will step in when bench coach Bob Geren takes a brief leave for his son's graduation from Princeton and again when Dan Warthen takes a brief leave for his daughter's high school graduation in Oregon.

Record-setting: Barring a postponement, this series in Philly will mark the first time in franchise history the Mets play five straight days in one road city.

That prompted Collins to recall his days managing in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and Hawaii had a team, which spanned from 1961-87. Because of the extensive travel involved, visiting teams would go there for 10 games. Collins laughed that the visiting team would typically win the first two games and then lose the next eight because of the island's distractions.

The same danger presumably does not exist in Philly, although perhaps the Mets will have to avoid overdosing on cheesesteaks.

More seriously, Collins noted that hostilities can start to rage toward the end of a five-game series, especially if one side -- or batter -- is dominating the other side. So stay tuned to see if emotions stay in check come Monday's finale.

The Mets play 25 of their next 33 games on the road.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
12:30
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Kyle Kendrick in Game 2 of the series, after Cole Hamels in the opener.
METS (14-11, second place/NL East) at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (13-12, fourth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (1-2, 2.45) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (0-1, 3.00), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-3, 4.50) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.52), 7:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cole Hamels made his season debut Wednesday. He allowed two runs on six hits in six innings while tossing 86 pitches at Dodger Stadium. He had opened the season on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Hamels averaged 91.4 mph with his fastball, consistent with last year’s velocity. He is 7-13 with a 4.44 ERA in 26 career starts against the Mets.

• Ex-Met Marlon Byrd signed a two-year, $16 million deal on Nov. 12 to play right field. He is hitting .269 with two homers and 16 RBIs through 93 at-bats.

Chase Utley ranks second in the NL in batting average at .360, trailing only Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon (.402). Utley became the first Phillie since Von Hayes in 1989 to produce 20 hits in his first 40 at-bats of a season.


Charlie Neibergall/Associated PressThe Phillies are no longer the team to beat, but Jimmy Rollins remains the shortstop.


Jimmy Rollins and Utley have started 1,090 games together as a double-play combination, the most among active shortstop/second-base pairings. Similarly, Utley and Ryan Howard are the active leaders in games started alongside each other at second and first base, at 965.

Rollins, historically a leadoff man, has been a fixture in the No. 2 hole this season, with center fielder Ben Revere leading off. Howard largely remains the cleanup hitter, although he was placed No. 5 a couple of times during the opening week against left-handed pitching.

Rollins briefly clashed with manager Ryne Sandberg during spring training, when Rollins was held out of games for three days over apparent manager concerns about his “dedication,” to use the Philadelphia Inquirer’s term.

• After batting .204 with no RBIs in his first 14 games, catcher Carlos Ruiz has been on a tear. Ruiz enters the Mets series hitting .500 (11-for-22) with six extra-base hits, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in six games. Ruiz signed a three-year, $26 million deal on Nov. 18 to remain a Phillie after receiving strong interest from the Boston Red Sox.

• Closer Jonathan Papelbon has made 10 straight scoreless relief appearances and is 8-for-8 in saves during that span.

Overall, though, the Phillies have an NL-worst 5.14 bullpen ERA. Already, three members of the Opening Day bullpen have been demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley: Justin De Fratus (7.20 ERA), Brad Lincoln (11.57) and B.J. Rosenberg (7.11).

Now active with the big-league club: Mike Adams, Shawn Camp and Jeff Manship. Adams opened the season on the disabled list still recovering from shoulder surgery last July to repair his right labrum and rotator cuff. Camp and Manship (who has a career 6.44 ERA) were signed as minor-league free agents during the offseason.

• Left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with a homer, five RBIs and two walks against left-handed pitching this season.

• Lefty hitters are 3-for-their-last-30 against left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo since last June 27.

A.J. Burnett, who will not pitch in the Mets series, has a 0.83 ERA in three starts since learning he has a hernia, which he will wait until after the season to have surgically repaired.

• Third baseman Cody Asche, 23, went 3-for-4 with a homer on Opening Day. He since is hitting .173 (9-for-52) with no homers and four RBIs in 20 games (14 starts). Now, Asche has only started two of the Phillies’ past six games. Freddy Galvis has started three games and Jayson Nix once at third base during that span.

• Galvis dealt with a MRSA infection late in spring training. He required hospitalization to treat the staph infection in his leg.

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
7:17
PM ET

Associated Press/USA TODAY SportsIdentical to the series at Turner Field, the Mets face Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana and David Hale this weekend in Queens.
METS (8-7, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (10-5, first place/NL East)

Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.76) vs. RHP David Hale (0-0, 2.89), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Jason Heyward faces Jonathon Niese for the first time since the Mets southpaw drilled the right fielder and fractured his jaw with a 90 mph fastball last Aug. 21 at Citi Field. Heyward now wears a protective flap attached to his helmet.


Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsJason Heyward's last visit to Citi Field resulted in a broken jaw via an errant fastball from Jon Niese.


This season, Heyward is only 1-for-18 against left-handed pitching. The hit came on April 13 with a double against Washington’s Gio Gonzalez.

Heyward remains in the leadoff spot despite hitting .136 overall after an 0-for-4 performance Thursday at Philadelphia that included a pair of line-drive outs. Three of his eight hits on the season came against Zack Wheeler on April 9.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel experienced shoulder soreness during an appearance Saturday and has not appeared in a game since. He threw a 15-pitch bullpen session Wednesday and “felt great,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Right-hander David Carpenter converted Monday’s save in Philadelphia. Carpenter had a 1.78 ERA in 2013.

• Shortstop Andrelton Simmons struck out for the first time this season Thursday. The strikeout, against Philadelphia’s A.J. Burnett, came in Simmons’ 48th plate appearance this season. With Simmons no longer K-less, St. Louis’ Shane Robinson has the most plate appearances this season of any MLB player with no strikeouts -- a measly 10.

Evan Gattis is hitting .588 (10-for-17) with three homers, six RBIs and a 1.765 OPS in his past four games. With Brian McCann’s defection to the Yankees, Gattis exclusively has caught this season. Gattis started 47 games in left field and four games at first base in 2013.

• Left fielder Justin Upton is the reigning NL Player of the Week. He had four homers during that period, including a two-homer game against Jenrry Mejia.

• Braves starting pitchers have an MLB-best 1.58 ERA this season. Oakland starters rank second at 2.48.

Ervin Santana threw 20 straight strikes to open his Braves debut, against the Mets at Turner Field. He then limited the Phillies to one run on four hits while matching a career high with 11 strikeouts on Monday. Santana’s 0.64 ERA ranks second in the National League.

Santana signed for one year, $14.1 million on March 12 after Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy both suffered spring-training elbow injuries and ultimately required Tommy John surgery.

Aaron Harang, who finished last season with the Mets, has the third-best ERA in the NL, at 0.96. The Braves unexpectedly dumped Freddy Garcia on March 24 and signed the 35-year-old Harang for a rotation spot. Harang took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in Milwaukee in his Braves debut. Harang had been released by the Cleveland Indians late in spring training.

• Ex-Mets reliever Pedro Beato, claimed off waivers by the Braves on April 2, was demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett six days later, during the series the Mets took two of three at Turner Field.

• Left-hander Mike Minor, on the DL with shoulder tendinitis, should be activated next week, after one more rehab start. Right-hander Gavin Floyd, signed by the Braves in December after spending seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, also is on a rehab assignment as he nears a return from Tommy John surgery.

• First baseman Freddie Freeman ranks fourth in the NL with a .389 batting average.

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 4, Mets 2

July, 13, 2013
7/13/13
10:21
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- Ike Davis may be playing himself into watching from the bench Sunday, even with the Pittsburgh Pirates having switched from left-hander Jeff Locke to right-hander Gerrit Cole for the series finale.

Davis, who continues to bat cleanup, went hitless in four at-bats Saturday. He originally was charged with a costly seventh-inning error that later was reversed and scored a hit. Either way, it led to two runs scoring as the Pirates beat the Mets, 4-2, Saturday night at sold-out PNC Park.

The Mets had been 5-0-2 in their last seven road series, their longest unbeaten streak since winning eight straight series in 1999. But that has been snapped with consecutive losses to the Pirates.

Davis is 2-for-20 with five walks in his past five games, including a fifth-inning strikeout Saturday with two in scoring position.

On a tough but makeable play, Davis had a one-out grounder in the seventh off the bat of pinch-hitter Travis Snider scoot by him on the glove side.

Snider ultimately scored with two outs for a 3-2 lead when Andrew McCutchen delivered an RBI single against Greg Burke.

In between, Snider could have been doubled off first base. But on Starling Marte’s lineout to third base, Davis could not hold a low throw across the diamond from David Wright.

Later in the seventh, Josh Edgin issued a bases-loaded walk to Russell Martin to force in a run.

Gonzalez Germen finally ended the inning and stranded the bases loaded by entering and coaxing a foul pop-out in his second major league appearance.

Collins for days had planned to start Josh Satin on Sunday, but that was before Cole unexpectedly replaced Locke, who had lower-back tightness.

Start of something: Carlos Torres Day proved a suitable alternative while it lasted.

Given the start in place of Matt Harvey with the Mets seeking to limit their ace’s innings and allow a blister to heal (and, shhhh, start the All-Star Game), Torres took a scoreless effort into the fifth inning. Torres had not started, or exceeded three innings, since a complete game with Triple-A Las Vegas on June 9 and undoubtedly ran out of gas in his final frame.

He departed with a 2-1 lead after escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth by coaxing a double-play groundout from Jose Tabata. Torres’ final line in a no-decision: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. He threw 80 pitches (50 strikes).

Torres, who last had started a major league game with the Chicago White Sox in 2010, now has a 0.79 ERA in 22 2/3 innings as a Met.

At least until Jonathon Niese returns from the disabled list, Torres is due to remain in the rotation after the All-Star break in the spot formerly held by Shaun Marcum. Marcum is due to undergo season-ending surgery Monday in St. Louis to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which led to hand numbness. Niese just started long-tossing this week in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and will need to pitch in rehab games before rejoining the Mets.

Torres had been staked to a 2-0 lead.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis opened the scoring with an RBI double against A.J. Burnett in the fourth that plated Marlon Byrd, who had walked. An inning later, after the Mets appeared poised to waste an opportunity with two runners in scoring position, Byrd beat out a two-out infield single and Daniel Murphy scored.

Aargh! David Aardsma surrendered a leadoff homer to McCutchen in the sixth as Pittsburgh evened the score at 2.

Boo hoo? Wright was booed for a second straight day at PNC Park for not originally picking Pedro Alvarez for the Home Run Derby. Wright tabbed Alvarez as the replacement for Carlos Gonzalez on the eve of the Mets-Pirates series.

What’s next: The Mets and Pirates conclude the first half as Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60 ERA) opposes the former first overall pick Cole (4-2, 3.68) at 1:35 p.m. Sunday.

What2Watch4 Mets-Yankees on Saturday

May, 21, 2011
5/21/11
1:06
PM ET
With the help of a few colleagues in Stats & Information, a few matchups and nuggets to ponder heading into Saturday night's Mets-Yankees clash.

Chris Capuano Matchup to Watch
Yankees catcher Russell Martin is 7-for-11 (.636 BA) against Capuano with four doubles. But the two haven’t faced each other since 2007. Capuano has survived Martin’s prowess previously. On April 3, 2007, Martin singled, doubled, and homered against him, but Capuano still managed to get the Brewers a win over the Dodgers, 4-3.

The only batter Capuano dreads facing more than Martin is former Met Damion Easley, who went 8-for-12 against him. His .667 batting average is the best among hitters with at least 10 at-bats against Capuano. The good news: Easley is now retired.

A.J. Burnett Matchup to Watch
There are two matchups of great significance to Burnett tonight.

For one, Jason Bay is 8-for-21 (.381 BA) with a home run against him. The two last met in 2009, with Bay going 4-for-8 with four RBI against Burnett.

The other is Jose Reyes, who is 0-for-17 against Burnett, though the two haven’t met since 2005. Reyes is 0-for-14 against Burnett when putting the ball in play, though he did twice reach on errors.

That is both Burnett’s best 0-for against a hitter and Reyes’ worst 0-for against a pitcher.

Burnett has made consecutive starts against the Mets, in which he allowed no runs in seven or more innings.

The last pitcher to make three straight such starts against them was 1986 World Series nemesis Bruce Hurst, who did so for the Padres in 1992.

On Mets trying to win 2 in a row
Since the teams began playing in 1997, the Mets have won consecutive games in the same series in Yankee Stadium twice. They did it on June 24-25, 2005 and May 17-18, 2008.

On the Mets stellar pitching
The Mets have allowed two runs or fewer in four straight games ... the only team that has a longer such streak this season is the Mariners, who have allowed two runs or fewer in each of their last five games.

On the struggles of A-Rod
Over a span of 100 at-bats dating back to April 24, Alex Rodriguez is hitting .210 with three home runs and eight RBI in 25 games (24 starts).

Rodriguez’s biggest issues are with right-handed pitching, which wouldn’t come into play until he faces a reliever this evening. He could certainly see the likes of Pedro Beato, Jason Isringhausen or Francisco Rodriguez again.

If he does, keep an eye on what he does against fastballs up.

The heat maps below show Rodriguez’s cold spots and hot spots in terms of slugging percentage against fastballs from right-handed pitchers. Blue shading indicates a cold zone. Red shading shows a hot zone.

The one on the left shows his first 14 games of the season, in which he hit five homers against fastballs from righties.

The one on the right shows him from his last 25, in which he has three homers.

It's Interesting to note in these two stretches. When Rodriguez was going good, he fouled off one of every four swings he took against a righty fastball. In this current stretch, he's fouling off half of those swings. He's making contact, but not doing any damage.

And yes, the samples are small, but the differences (1.292 slugging pct on left, .333 slugging pct on right) are great.

Left image: Alex Rodriguez vs righty fastballs through April 23.
Right image: Rodriguez vs righty fastballs since then.

Mets morning briefing 5.21.11

May, 21, 2011
5/21/11
9:38
AM ET
Mike O'Connor, Jason Isringhausen and Francisco Rodriguez backed R.A. Dickey with three scoreless relief innings as the Mets moved to .500 for the first time since April 9 with a 2-1 victory in the Bronx.

Saturday's news reports:

• Read game stories in the Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday, Daily News, Post and Record.

Justin Turner has an RBI in six straight games, tying the rookie franchise record originally set by Ron Swoboda in August 1965. Turner, it turns out, was a 29th-round pick of the Yankees after his junior year of college at Cal State Fullerton. Read a full profile here.

The Post's Joel Sherman talks to the Yankees' Damon Oppenheimer about drafting Turner that year. Oppenheimer tells Sherman: "You know how he will play and prepare and you will know his determination. He will not beat himself on or off the field. He is a self-starter. You are not going to have to tell him to work. ... I really liked 'Red' Turner. He was a good baseball player. He did not have the standard tools you look for, but you always thought he was a kid who would find his way to the big leagues."

Jose Reyes had the play of the game, diving up the middle to stop Alex Rodriguez's grounder and throwing to first base to strand two runners. "That's the difference in the game," Yankees skipper Joe Girardi said. Read more in the Star-Ledger and the Post.

Pedro Feliciano, who signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Yankees, is trying blood-spinning -- where doctors remove blood, spin it to isolate the platelets, then reinject it into a troublesome spot -- rather than surgery for a partially torn capsule in his left shoulder. You may recall Feliciano vowed to strike out Ike Davis as revenge for Dan Warthen's defense of Brian Cashman's claim the Mets abused Feliciano. Now, Davis (ankle) and Feliciano are missing the series because of injuries. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• The Star-Ledger's Jeff Bradley catches up with Dave Mlicki, who shut out Andy Pettitte and the Yankees on June 16, 1997, in the inaugural interleague game between the teams. Writes Bradley:

From his home in Dublin, Ohio, Mlicki seemed surprised that the Subway Series is no longer such a big deal, “Back in 1997, the atmosphere was World Series-like. For me, I’d never even been in Yankee Stadium. We took a bus from Shea to the game, which was odd, and when we pulled up there was a huge crowd of people screaming at us.” Mlicki remembered strolling out to Monument Park before batting practice, reading the plaques, taking it all in.

• Idled David Wright (stress fracture in back) hopes to be out the minimum 15 days. He had an imaging test Thursday, and believes doctors are now prepared to map out a plan for his return. "It's tough watching the game in general," Wright told reporters pregame Friday. "I think you grow accustomed to getting up and going through a routine, preparing to play. And when you wake up and you just kind of have that void, it's not the same. It's definitely not enjoyable and not fun. It's frustrating. It's disappointing. I really enjoy the Subway Series. I enjoy participating in that. It's just disappointing waking up knowing that I'm going to watch from the bench." Read more in the Record and Newsday.

• Record columnist Bob Klapisch's take on the Mets reaching .500:

Since April 21, the Mets have the fourth-best record in the majors, behind only the Braves, Red Sox and Cardinals. This run won’t change the Mets’ 2011 profile – they’re not playoff-bound – but it’s nevertheless erased some of the pre-existing notions about Terry Collins and life without some of their stars. Remember, this is a team that doesn’t have David Wright and Ike Davis. There’s no Johan Santana, and is too poor to even contemplate a monster trade in July. Yet, after a 5-13 start, the Mets are back to .500, which says something about their manager and his fiery, non-corny brand of intensity.

• While Willie Harris may be struggling, hitting .205 for the season, David Waldstein of the Times offers one alibi. Since Jason Bay returned from the disabled list, Harris' starts have come against Livan Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, Ubaldo Jimenez and Josh Johnson. He also was asked to pinch-hit against Roy Halladay. He went 1-for-14 in those five games. “It’s not an easy job, but I have to perform,” Harris tells Waldstein.

Vicent M. Mallozzi of the Times profiles the creator of the site nonohitters.com, which chronicles 50 years of the Mets' failing to produce a no-hitter. Writes Mallozzi:

[Dirk] Lammers, who grew up in Manalapan, N.J., “rooting for players like Bruce Boisclair,” now lives in Sioux Falls, S.D., working as a reporter for The Associated Press. He created nonohitters.com at the suggestion of a friend who remembered that Lammers, a die-hard Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, ran a site in 2006 called Pointofnoreturns.com that discussed and lamented the fact that the Buccaneers had not returned a kickoff for a touchdown since their inaugural season in 1976. Eleven days after Lammers created the site, Tampa Bay’s Micheal Spurlock returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. “I thought a site like this would bring the Mets some luck,” he said.

• The Times' Waldstein also looks at the success of Saturday starter Chris Capuano in preventing steals. Writes Waldstein:

Capuano is by far the active leader in rate of stolen bases against, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. In 821 career innings, Capuano has allowed only 15 stolen bases, one every 54.7 innings. The next closest is Mark Buehrle with 48 steals against in 2,331 innings, one every 48.6 innings.

• Newsday columnist Ken Davidoff contrasts Bobby Valentine and Terry Collins. Writes Davidoff:

They're really quite different. "I think they're totally different," said Jason Isringhausen , the only person at this Subway Series to play for both Bobby Valentine and Terry Collins. Bobby V. probably is the better strategist. Terry C., at least this incarnation of him, might be superior at communicating with his players. Valentine went to Japan with ambitions of elevating Pacific Rim baseball to new heights. "I just went there to manage," Collins said, smiling.

• Daily News columnist John Harper notes just how critical continued performances like Friday's from Dickey are for the Mets to succeed. Writes Harper:

On the big Yankee Stadium stage Friday night, Dickey found a way to make his signature pitch dance again, going six gutsy innings to pave the way for a 2-1 win in this first Subway Series game of 2011. For Dickey it was his first win since April 3 and he sounded perhaps more relieved than overjoyed in describing the return of an old friend. "Tonight," he said, "that's the [knuckler] I remember from last year."

• The Post's Fred Kerber reports Subway Series tickets can be had at a depressed price. Writes Kerber:

Using prices listed on StubHub, TicketNetwork, TicketsNow and eBay, the average price to see the Yankees and Mets at the Stadium this weekend is $112.22, down nearly 40 percent from last season’s Stadium cost of $186.04.

A.J. Burnett once was a Mets farmhand. Read more in the Post.

BIRTHDAY: Hank Webb, father of current Florida Marlins reliever Ryan Webb, turns 61. Webb went 7-9 in parts of seasons with the team from 1972 to 1976. Webb’s most prominent season was '75, when he went 7-6 and pitched his only career shutout. He averaged only 2.97 strikeouts per nine innings that season, second-fewest in franchise history in a season for a Mets starter who threw at least 100 innings (Ed Lynch, 2.27 in 1983). -Mark Simon

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 9 55 76
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .832
WB. Colon 14
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180