New York Mets: Bobby Parnell

Back end of bullpen looks much better

May, 28, 2014
May 28
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NEW YORK -- The back end of the bullpen has been a work in progress for the New York Mets, ever since the early April day they lost closer Bobby Parnell to an elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery.

They can't say they've solved it yet, but after watching Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia record six-out and five-out saves in a 24-hour span, manager Terry Collins has reason to feel better about the late innings than he maybe has all season.

[+] EnlargeJeurys Familia
Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsJeurys Familia became the sixth Met to record a save this season.
With Mejia unavailable after throwing 37 pitches in his two-inning save Tuesday night, and with Daisuke Matsuzaka and Vic Black also unavailable, Collins turned to Familia on Wednesday, calling on him to face Ike Davis representing the tying run with one out in the eighth inning and then leaving him in for the save in a 5-0 Mets win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The results were impressive, enough so that in his postgame comments, Collins suggested that he could use both Mejia and Familia to close games in the days to come.

"We've reached the point that [Familia] has got to be in the back end," Collins said. "He's got to be a late-inning guy."

The Mets bullpen has been transformed several times in the first two months of the season, first by Parnell's injury and then by ineffectiveness from Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth, two veterans who pitched poorly and were eventually released.

The difference now is that Mejia and Familia (both 24 years old) have earned their status by pitching well, and by displaying stuff worthy of pitching in the late innings of games.

"We've got some really good young power arms," David Wright said. "These guys have the ability to go out and dominate, shut the door on games."

Wright included Black in that mix, and Collins did the same. Black got four outs without allowing a run Tuesday, but also walked two batters.

Familia has had some command issues in the past, too, and has walked 12 in 24 2/3 innings this season. But his control has seemed to improve of late, and he threw 15 of his 19 pitches for strikes on Wednesday.

Collins had little choice but to count on him in this game, with so many of his other options unavailable. He said he was so committed to staying with Familia that he would have allowed him to bat for himself in the bottom of the eighth, even if he had come up with two out and the bases loaded.

As it was, Familia came to the plate only after Lucas Duda had padded the Mets' lead with a long two-run home run. And as it was, Familia added another hit himself.

Much more importantly, he became the sixth Met to record a save this season. No other team in the majors has more than four pitchers with saves.

The Mets haven't spread the saves around by choice, but rather because they keep searching for a combination that will work.

The way Mejia and Familia are pitching now, perhaps they're on the way to finding one.

Jose Valverde, closer until further notice

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
5:46
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NEW YORK -- Jose Valverde is the Mets' closer.

For now.

Don't bother asking for how long, and don't bother asking where anyone else fits into the Mets' suddenly uncertain bullpen in the wake of Bobby Parnell's elbow injury. And certainly don't ask how the bullpen will look a month from now, or whether it can support a team that is supposed to have bigger goals.

[+] EnlargeJose Valverde
William Perlman/The Star-Ledger/USA TODAY SportsJose Valverde notched 286 saves with Arizona, Houston and Detroit.
A day after announcing that Parnell has a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right elbow, the Mets spent Wednesday afternoon leaving the door open for almost anything -- including a possible Parnell return.

General manager Sandy Alderson said doctors believe Parnell has some chance at avoiding Tommy John surgery, in part because the tear is in a thicker part of the ligament (a different spot from where Matt Harvey's ligament was torn, for example). Parnell will miss considerable time, regardless, but the Mets may not know for six weeks whether he'll be lost for the entire season.

"There's always the risk that it will completely tear," Alderson said. "But because of the location, the doctors were comfortable with the conservative approach."

Alderson seems to be taking a similar approach in rebuilding the bullpen while Parnell is out.

Manager Terry Collins confirmed Wednesday that Valverde will get the first chance to close games. Collins said he'll likely mix and match with the eighth-inning role that was to be Valverde's but wasn't able to say who is likely to get the first shot at it.

Kyle Farnsworth, added to the roster when Parnell went on the disabled list, is one possibility, but so are Jeurys Familia and Scott Rice, among others.

Several veteran pitchers remain on the free-agent market, some still working to come back from injuries themselves. But Alderson suggested that the Parnell injury hasn't encouraged the Mets to move toward signing any of them.

"We want to see how things shake out over the next several weeks," he said.

The Mets will also consider promoting one or two of their young pitching prospects to fill a bullpen role (not top prospect Noah Syndergaard, but perhaps Rafael Montero or Jacob deGrom). But that's unlikely to happen soon either. Alderson said the plan is for the young pitchers to continue as starters at Triple-A Las Vegas for most of April before beginning to get some minor league work out of the bullpen.

Valverde's 286 career saves are more than all but two active closers (Joe Nathan and Francisco Rodriguez), but he's 36 years old and failed in the closer role last year with the Tigers. Valverde did pitch well for the Mets on Opening Day against the Nationals.

"I feel bad for Bobby," Valverde said. "What I want is for Bobby to be OK. I saw in spring training that he's a great guy and a good teammate. I want this guy to come back soon. I want him closing games for the Mets."

Maybe that could still happen this season. But like everything else with the Mets' bullpen, don't count on it.

Parnell still deciding on neck surgery

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
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NEW YORK -- Mets closer Bobby Parnell (neck) saw the doctor on Monday and is progressing, but he's yet to decide whether he wants to undergo surgery to repair the herniated disc in his neck, he told ESPNNewYork.com.

Parnell said he has scattered doctor appointments within the next two weeks, and hopes to decide in that time span about undergoing surgery.

The closer said the worry with not having surgery is the disc popping out again, but he also acknowledged that he'd like to avoid an operation.

"If I do have surgery, what's the rehab length? Am I ready for spring training? My goal is to be ready for spring training. Am I 100 percent? Do I lose range of motion that will affect me pitching?
"It's an invasive surgery, it goes through a lot of nerves and stuff like that. You don't want to have surgery if you can."

The closer has been on the disabled list since Aug. 6, and last pitched on July 30. He said last Wednesday that he was doing strengthening exercises while making sure that he kept pressure off his neck. He hasn't started baseball activities.

Parnell previously said he's pushing to get back this season, but he wants to make sure he doesn't compromise his future by rushing back. He believes his rehab process would be approximately four-to-five months if he underwent surgery, and that's one of the questions he wants to clear up.

Parnell: Surgery still an option

August, 21, 2013
8/21/13
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NEW YORK -- Injured Mets closer Bobby Parnell (herniated disc) said surgery is still a possibility after he had a follow-up exam on his neck on Tuesday. Parnell has still not been cleared to resume baseball activities.

"It's a possibility. I don't think it ever came off the table," Parnell said of surgery. "I don't know how big of a possibility it is right now."

He added: "I think there's a timeline where if I don't get to a certain point at a certain time, they'll push for it. Just a waiting game. Do therapy every day and get stronger."

Parnell said he if he were to have surgery, he should be ready for spring training next season. He said it would be about a four-to-five month process.

"Love to come back, pushing to come back. We'll see," Parnell said. "But my ultimate goal is to be ready for spring training so I can be here for the team next year."

The closer was placed the disabled list on Aug. 6, and said his strengthening exercises involve light band work, as well as working out his legs with squats, bike work and other exercises. The focus is to keep stress off his neck.

Parnell last pitched on July 30.

"Getting better every day. It's a slow process. Doctors are being hesitant with me. They don't know how I respond to baseball activities, so they're being cautious. Slow process but getting better."

Parnell said the next week should be telling, and he still wants to return this season. He has a doctor's appointment next week, although he's not sure of the date.

"I'm pushing to get back this season," Parnell said. "The doctors are hesitant, and rightfully so, it's a part of the body where they feel like if I push it too much or come back too quick there will be some serious damage. There is that fine balancing act. I'm pushing as hard as I can. But they have the reins."

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 1

July, 23, 2013
7/23/13
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NEW YORK -- The New York Mets bounced back from a bitterly disappointing defeat the previous night, beating the Atlanta Braves 4-1 in the second game of this four-game series at Citi Field.

What it means: The Mets improve to 44-52 -- fourth place in the National League East and 10 games behind the first-place Braves (56-44). But they are only two games behind the third-place Nationals and 3½ behind the second-place Phillies. The Mets are 3-2 since the All-Star break, 11-7 in July and have won seven of their past 11.

Carlos in charge: Carlos Torres made his second start of the season and was just as good as the first time around, when he gave up one run in five innings against the Pirates on July 13.


This time, Torres gave up one run in six innings of work. Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons drove the second pitch of the game into the left-field seats to give the Braves an early 1-0 lead. But that was all the damage Torres allowed.

The Braves had a runner in scoring position in five of the first six innings, but Torres worked his way out of trouble. He threw 96 pitches, scattering seven hits, with six strikeouts and two walks. He also had an RBI single in the third inning, driving home Juan Lagares (who had doubled) to tie the game at one.

It was just the eighth major league start for the 30-year-old Torres, who was called up from Triple-A in mid-June. He was very good in 10 relief appearances, prior to these two starts. In 28⅔ innings overall, Torres has given up just three earned runs for an ERA of 0.94.

The breakthrough: Torres was rewarded for getting through that sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets broke open the game, allowing Torres to collect a win.

Daniel Murphy and David Wright hit back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. Ike Davis drove home Murphy with a double off the wall in right field, John Buck drove home Wright with a single (sending Atlanta starter Kris Medlen to the showers), and then Davis scored on a Lagares sacrifice fly.

Davis had been booed after his first two at-bats -- he attempted to bunt in the second inning and was thrown out by the pitcher and struck out with a runner on first in the fourth. But he ended up delivering the biggest hit of the ballgame. (He also hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the eighth.) Davis is now batting .178 on the season.

Lagares went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored and also threw out Jason Heyward at the plate in the first inning. He is batting .395 with 10 RBIs in 13 games in July.

The finishing touches: David Aardsma, Scott Rice, LaTroy Hawkins and Bobby Parnell pitched three scoreless innings of relief to seal the victory. The Braves didn't have a single hit in innings seven through nine. For Parnell, it was his 19th save of the season after he blew the save Monday night.

What's next: The third game of the series. Jeremy Hefner (4-7, 3.93 ERA) will start for the Mets and will be opposed by Tim Hudson (7-7, 4.08). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

Market watch: Three Mets trade scenarios

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
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Bobby Parnell, Alex Rios and Marlon ByrdGetty Images, USA TODAY SportsThe Mets have finally found an affordable closer in Bobby Parnell, so don't look for him to get moved. Alex Rios is a potential acquisition, but they'd have to get overwhelmed to trade Marlon Byrd.
Sandy Alderson wants the Mets to remain competitive for the remainder of the reason. So the GM will not be trading off pieces to clear room for prospects to play unless the organization receives a noteworthy return.

"What we've been trying to do for the last several years is stockpile talent, clear payroll with significant complications, and then be as competitive as we can possibly be without sacrificing Nos. 1 and 2,” Alderson said. “In order for us to sacrifice No. 3 [competitiveness], it has to be a material advantage in talent for us to do that. Is that going to happen? I don't know."

Here’s the case for the three July 31 trade-deadline scenarios:

1. Sell. Marlon Byrd would figure to be an attractive piece for a contender because of his production (.271, 15 HR, 51 RBIs) and because he is making only $700,000 this season. Of course, the low salary -- less than $280,000 remains owed -- means the Mets will not feel compelled to trade him unless they get a hefty return. Remember, the Mets did not trade Scott Hairston last July, then let him walk.

In a dream scenario, Frank Francisco returns before the end of the month and the Mets can find a taker. Francisco has started a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League and is owed $2.6 million for the remainder of the season on his original two-year, $12 million deal.

Francisco should be able to get traded in August, too, because no one would dare put in a claim on his contract. If someone were to put in a claim to block an August trade, the Mets could just dump the remaining contract on that team.

With Travis d’Arnaud no better than a September call-up, the Mets figure to hold onto John Buck. His production has dipped so drastically anyway it is unclear there would actually be a market.

One relatively productive Met in the final year of a contract: 40-year-old LaTroy Hawkins.

The Dodgers were scouting the Mets in Pittsburgh, for whatever that’s worth.

2. Buy. The Mets would not be buyers in the traditional sense, in that a team rents a player for a run at the postseason. After all, despite better play of late, the Mets are double digits off the division and wild-card leads.

The Mets would look for an outfielder with power who remains under control beyond this season. While the names Carlos Gonzalez, Giancarlo Stanton and Andre Ethier often get mentioned, the odds are none of those players gets dealt this month.

Alderson has acknowledged speaking with one team about a player under control for 2014, although he did not specify which team.

One potential target: Chicago White Sox right fielder Alex Rios, who is owed $12.5 million in 2014 and also has a club option for 2015.

3. Stand pat. This is not exactly glamorous, but it would be consistent with the Mets' recent history -- with the exception of shipping off Carlos Beltran two years ago to the San Francisco Giants in the final year of his deal for Zack Wheeler.

Fans seem to be captivated by the potential of trading Bobby Parnell or Daniel Murphy, but unless the Mets are approached and overwhelmed, neither getting dealt seems likely.

In Parnell’s case, he has been solid in the closer’s role and is making only $1.7 million this season. Parnell is under the Mets’ control through the 2015 season, although his salary should start to dramatically rise because he is eligible for arbitration both years.

As for Murphy, is he the long-term answer at second base? Who knows? But the Mets need non-marquee pieces to build around, too. And Murphy’s bat, despite lulls, contributes enough to warrant holding onto unless there is some dramatic offer.

The series in Metrics (Mets at Nationals)

June, 7, 2013
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Dillon Gee made his second straight effective start in Wednesday’s win, scattering nine hits over seven innings, with seven more strikeouts.

This marked only the second time in Gee’s career that he's put together consecutive starts of at least seven innings with one run or fewer allowed. This time, he struck out a combined 19 hitters. In the other instance in 2011 he totaled seven strikeouts.

The common thread of these two most recent starts for Gee is that he’s throwing strikes, regardless of whether the hitter swings.

These two games have produced Gee’s highest rate of called strikes on taken pitches this season -- 43 percent against the Yankees, 42 percent against the Nationals.

Gee averaged 90 miles per hour with his fastball, his fastest average velocity with the pitch this season. He’s hit 91 mph or faster on the radar gun 43 times in his past two starts. He’d only thrown 29 pitches of that velocity in his first 10 starts.

Wright Stuff
Wright’s home run Wednesday came on a pitch that our pitch-classification system labeled “upper-half-inner-half” of the strike zone. It was his first homer on a pitch to that area since he hit one against Gio Gonzalez in Washington last July 19.

Wright is struggling against pitches to that area this season, hitting .204, with 10 hits and a .563 OPS. Historically, Wright has gone through ups and downs in that area. Last season was a good one -- he hit .338 with 47 hits and a .901 OPS on pitches to that area.

Hefner’s Hard Luck
Tuesday’s game marked the fifth time this season that Jeremy Hefner has pitched at least six innings and allowed two runs or fewer.

Sixty-eight pitchers have at least five such starts this season. Hefner actually has the same number as Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish and Matt Cain.

Hefner is the only one of those 68 without a win in those games.

Parnell’s Kryptonite
Bobby Parnell's struggles against the Nationals continued with his loss on Tuesday.

Parnell has now made 18 appearances against the Nats over the past three seasons. In them, he’s 2-for-6 in save chances, with a 6.46 ERA, 2.41 WHIP, .357 opponents' batting average and .481 BABIP.

Against every other team in that span, he has a combined 2.56 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and .230 opponents' batting average.

Parnell, not Rivera, finishes the game

May, 28, 2013
5/28/13
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Mariano Rivera was the star of the show at the start of the day, meeting with a group of Mets fans and employees as part of his farewell tour.

But in the end it was Bobby Parnell on the mound, not Rivera, closing out a 2-1 Mets victory.

[+] EnlargeJohn Buck and Bobby Parnell
AP Photo/Kathy WillensJohn Buck and Bobby Parnell celebrate the win.
Parnell gave up a one-out walk to Ichiro Suzuki, but struck out David Adams and Lyle Overbay, and got Travis Hafner to pop up to shortstop to end the game.

"If you're gonna pitch in this city, and you're gonna be a closer in this city, you've gotta pitch in big-time situations," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "This isn't a playoff game, but this is the Subway Series, and it means a lot to a lot of people. And you go out there and pitch like Bobby did in the ninth inning against some tough left-hand hitters, I think he's coming of age, for sure."

Parnell earned his eighth save of the season and saw his ERA drop to 1.93.

"Ever since I got called up in '08, I've enjoyed pitching in this series," Parnell said. "To be able to close a game now is kind of a dream come true."

The Mets' bullpen as a whole has struggled thus far this season, pitching to an NL-worst 4.77 ERA. But Parnell has thrived for the most part in his limited opportunities, after being anointed as the full-time closer at the start of the year.

"Knowing I was the closer from Day 1, I had time to mentally prepare myself to know that I was gonna be in these situations and I was gonna fail at times," Parnell said. "I think that helps me pitch better."

His manager is thrilled with his progress.

"He's handled himself so well, you kind of say you expect it tonight. But he hasn't pitched in a game like tonight," Collins said. "I think this is another big step for him to move forward in this role, which I think he's obviously taken, I think he's gonna keep it, and I think he's gonna be a good one for a long time."

Rapid Reaction: Braves 7, Mets 5 (10)

May, 25, 2013
5/25/13
6:59
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Even Mother Nature couldn't galvanize the New York Mets to a win.

In a continuation of Friday's suspended game, the Mets fell to the Atlanta Braves 7-5 in 10 innings on Saturday at Citi Field. The game was postponed entering the ninth due to rain. While the teams had to wait nearly 24 hours to continue, it was officially a one hour, 15 minute stoppage.

First baseman Ike Davis, however, had a personal victory, as he recorded a base hit in the 10th, just his 2nd in his past 43 at-bats.

The Mets have now lost four straight and seven in a row at home. They are 17-28 heading into Saturday night's game.

That's the game: Mets reliever Brandon Lyon gave up three straight hits to start the 10th as the Braves went on to score two in that frame to take a 7-5 lead. One inning before, closer Bobby Parnell needed an inning-ending double-play ball off the bat of Justin Upton to escape a bases-loaded, one-out jam with the score tied at five.

End the game: After putting two on to start the 10th, Ruben Tejada couldn't lay down a bunt, popping out, and pinch hitter Justin Turner grounded into a game-ending double play.

How we got to Saturday: The Mets led 3-2 after six before Atlanta rallied to take a 5-3 lead in the eighth on Evan Gattis' two-run single. In the bottom of the frame, the Mets tied the game. The game was then suspended with the ninth inning on tap.

Ike gets a hit: After Davis recorded a golden sombrero on Friday, he singled against Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel in the 10th inning. He snapped a 1-for-42 slide with that base knock. Davis is still zero for his last 25 with runners in scoring position, but the base hit could allow him to relax. The fans gave him a mini standing ovation for the hit.

Hefner line: The Mets are now 0-10 when Jeremy Hefner appears in a game. Hefner started Friday's game and left in line to win before LaTroy Hawkins gave up a game-tying homer to Dan Uggla. Hefner, who could be booted from the Mets' rotation when prospect Zack Wheeler arrives, is 0-5.

Up next: The Mets will get right back at it as Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.04 ERA) faces Mike Minor (5-2, 2.78 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Harvey believed perfection was possible

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
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Seth Wenig/Associated PressMatt Harvey flirted with a perfect game against the White Sox on Tuesday night at Citi Field.
Mike Baxter, who caught the ball at the wall that preserved Johan Santana’s no-hit bid 11 months ago, had a feeling history might be repeating itself Tuesday night at Citi Field. So did Terry Collins, who openly said in the dugout as early as the fifth inning that Matt Harvey just might toss a perfect game.

“You kind of had that vibe that we were going down that road again,” Baxter said.

Alex Rios’ two-out infield single in the seventh ended Harvey’s perfection, but it proved to be the only baserunner for the Chicago White Sox as the Mets won, 1-0, in 10 innings on Baxter’s walk-off single.

Harvey and Bobby Parnell combined to retire 30 of 31 White Sox batters. It marked only the second time since 1916 that an MLB team allowed only one baserunner in 10 innings. The other instance came on June 3, 1995, when Pedro Martinez and Mel Rojas led the Montreal Expos to a 1-0 win at San Diego.

“Everything was obviously working,” said Harvey, who departed after nine innings, having allowed Chicago's only hit. “When I can throw my slider for a strike and also bounce it when I need to, that’s when it starts getting fun. That was definitely the best I felt all year.”

Harvey said he did not feel cheated by the only hit being an infield single. Rios hit a slider away -- a “good pitch,” Harvey said, which he could not second-guess. The baseball went deep into the hole and Ruben Tejada gave a superb effort, but could not put enough mustard on the baseball to get it to first base in time.

“When the game is finishing, I saw it’s a one-hit game, so you think about that,” Tejada said. “I tried to do my best in that situation, but he [umpire Mark Carlson] called him safe, so he’s safe.”

Said Harvey: “In that hole it’s tough. Obviously anything going away and then making that long throw, I knew it was going to have to be absolutely perfect. He made an awesome attempt.”

The game was delayed four minutes at the outset, with Harvey the cause. He wiped his nose while in the bullpen warming up and noticed blood. Bloody noses, which were prevalent in his childhood, started recurring when the Mets were in high-altitude Colorado last month.

(Read full post)

Notes: Buck goes deep, pen comes through

April, 21, 2013
4/21/13
8:51
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John BuckMike Stobe/Getty ImagesJohn Buck "felt pretty good" about his home run blast in the Mets' 2-0 win Sunday at Citi Field.
The Mets only had four hits on Sunday -- but that's all they needed in a 2-0 victory over the Nationals.

The biggest of them all came from John Buck -- who else? -- who crushed a 3-1 fastball from Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann into the second-deck in left-center field in the second inning, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Not many balls land in that section of Citi Field. Buck couldn't help but smile about it after the game. "That felt pretty good," Buck said.

Buck now leads the major leagues in RBIs with 22. And he is tied for second in home runs with seven. Only three other Mets have had 22 or more RBIs in the month of April: Jeff Kent (26, 1994), Carlos Beltran (23, 2007), and Bernard Gilkey (23, 1996). And the team still has eight games left this month, plus had three games postponed.

"I don’t know where we’d be without John Buck," manager Terry Collins said. "He’s been outstanding offensively. Defensively, I think he’s brought some leadership behind the plate. ... On both sides of the ball he’s been outstanding."

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: The Mets' bullpen had the worst ERA in the big leagues, 5.47, coming into this game. But they came through in a big way on Sunday.

First, LaTroy Hawkins came on with runners on first and second and two outs in the sixth. He fanned Ian Desmond to end the threat.

Brandon Lyon pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Then 31-year-old rookie Scott Rice came on to pitch the eighth and put himself in a precarious position, giving up a leadoff single to Steve Lombardozzi followed by a walk to Denard Span.

The next batter, Jayson Werth, took three straight balls, and it appeared Rice had completely lost the strike zone. But then Werth stunningly swung at Rice's 3-0 offering, grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Then Rice struck out Bryce Harper to complete the escape act. (Bobby Parnell pitched a spotless ninth to earn the save.)

"I was having a little trouble getting the ball over the plate today, but I was able to make the pitch when it mattered, and got out of it," Rice said.

It wasn't quite that simple. Werth certainly did the Mets a favor.

"Jayson Werth's a great player. He's a big-time player," Collins said. "To be honest, I was a little surprised he swung in that particular situation, but I've seen those big hitters do that. Sometimes they hit it over the fence, but sometimes they hit ground-ball double plays."

Perhaps David Wright summed it up best: "We got lucky on that one."

STATE OF THE SQUAD: The Mets (9-8) are back over .500, after taking two of three from the Nationals (10-8) this weekend.

Washington is widely regarded as the favorite in the National League East, and arguably the most talented team in all of Major League Baseball. And the Nationals pitched their top three starters -- Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.

"These guys are obviously one of the best teams in the National League," Wright said. "And when you get Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann, you know you’re gonna have your work cut out for you. So to take two out of three was good for us, especially early in the year, for confidence."

The Mets had lost seven straight series against Washington. The Nationals had won nine of their past 10 games at Citi Field, and 13 of their past 15.

"You’ve got to take care of business at home, you’ve got to take care of business in your division," Wright said, "and we accomplished both those in this first series."

The series in Metrics (Mets vs Rockies)

April, 18, 2013
4/18/13
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It was a cold and bitter last few days for the Mets in more ways than one. We sum up the series with a look at some of the ugly numbers.

The doubleheader debacle
The Game 2 loss on Tuesday was the Mets sixth straight to the Rockies, their longest losing streak to the Rockies in team history. They had previously lost five straight on four separate occasions.

It was the first time the Mets blew a lead of at least six runs in a loss since August 26, 2008, when they were up 7-0 against the Phillies and lost 8-7 in 13 innings.

Bobby Parnell was the victim of the odd kind of bad luck that befell him early in 2012. Parnell got the ground ball he wanted to get out of the eighth inning, but Ruben Tejada threw the ball away, allowing two runs, including the tying run to score.

Thus continued a very odd streak. The last five times that Parnell has been on the mound and a batter has reached via error, the Mets have gone on to lose by one run.

Unlucky 7
The difference in the series was pretty simple and was evident in all three games. The Mets could do little from the seventh inning on and the Rockies did plenty.

The Rockies outscored the Mets 13-1 from inning seven onward in the three games. The Mets had outscored opponents 20-18 after the seventh prior to this series.

Cargo doing his best Chipper Jones
Carlos Gonzalez was 8-for-13 in the series with a homer, three RBIs and two walks.

From 2009 to 2011, Gonzalez was 10-for-54 against Mets pitching, but since then, he's had their number big-time.

Gonzalez is 14-for-31 with three home runs and 10 RBI against the Mets in the last two seasons.

His .452 batting average is the best of anyone with at least 30 at-bats in that span.

What went Wright
David Wright got right in the first game of the series, with a pair of home runs in the 8-4 loss. It was Wright’s 19th career multi-homer game and Wright became the first Met to have a pair of multi-homer games against the Rockies. He also had one on September 29, 2005.

The Mets were a combined 4-for-30 in the sixth inning or later of the two games. They were 16-for-43 in the first five innings.

All good things must come to an end
The Mets streak of consecutive games with a home run to start the season ended at 12 games. That was only two games shy of the longest season-starting streak, 14 straight games by the 2002 Cleveland Indians.

The Mets run was the longest season-starter by any team since the 2007 Rays opened the season with a 12-gamer, and the longest by a National League team since the 2001 Diamondbacks homered in their first dozen games.

For those curious, the deepest the Mets ever went into a season without hitting a home run came in 1970 when they went homerless in their first seven games.

Every other Mets team has homered at least once within the first three games of the season.

The Mets overall homer-hitting streak, dating back to last season, was 13 games (including the final game of 2012). That’s the fourth-longest streak in Mets history, eight games shy of the club mark set in 1996.

Morning briefing: Mets to lose $10M+?

February, 25, 2013
2/25/13
7:16
AM ET
Mr. Met (Money Issue) Illustration by Remie Geoffroi
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: The Mets can sleep in Monday before continuing Grapefruit League play with a 6:10 p.m. game at Tradition Field against the Washington Nationals.

Collin McHugh, Gonzalez Germen, Scott Rice, Elvin Ramirez and Greg Burke are due to pitch for the Mets. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nats, who already have listed this batting order:

Eury Perez, cf
Steve Lombardozzi, 2b
Corey Brown, rf
Tyler Moore, dh
Chris Marrero, 1b
Carlos Rivero, lf
Matt Skole, 3b
Chris Snyder, c
Zach Walters, ss

(See Nats’ full travel roster here.)

Monday’s news reports:

• Josh Kosman in the Post reports the Mets again will lose money this season. Writes Kosman:

The team is expecting to lose more than $10 million this year, after bleeding red the past two seasons, while attendance is projected to fall for a fifth straight year, The Post has learned.

The owners can expect to take about $65 million from separately owned SportsNet New York cable network, which airs Mets games. However, Citi Field saps $43 million in debt payments, leaving a net gain of $22 million from those two assets. That means there won’t be much left to sink into the ballclub. …

The team should have more financial freedom next year, when some $50 million in payroll comes off the books, thanks to expiring contracts with Johan Santana, Jason Bay and Frank Francisco, although Bay will continue to receive deferred payments.

However, the Mets have paid only some of the $320 million in principal due lenders in 2014, making next year’s talks potentially tense if the Mets do not hit their own not-so-rosy projections, the source said.


Associated Press
The Mets miscalcuated in their bid to acquire Justin Upton or Michael Bourn.


• John Harper in the Daily News says the Mets pitched trading Daniel Murphy or Ruben Tejada to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Justin Upton late in the offseason. As for the draft-pick issue with Michael Bourn, Harper reported the Mets received a favorable initial reaction from MLB about getting the No. 11 draft pick protected, but other teams began to complain when the Mets’ desire became public. MLB then changed its stance.

Pedro Feliciano will be held out from baseball activity for two weeks while he wears a monitor that will allow team doctors to gauge the severity of his heart issue.

Feliciano is in camp on a minor league contract. While of secondary importance to Feliciano’s health, the inactivity could make it difficult for the southpaw to make the Opening Day roster.

If he fails to do so, the Mets may just carry one left-hander in the bullpen, Josh Edgin. That’s because the Mets should have a serious 40-man roster crunch at the end of spring training, so it would be easier to carry an extra righty reliever already on the 40 from a group that includes Burke, Jeurys Familia and Jeremy Hefner.

“When I come back I hope I pitch good, surprise everybody and make the team,” Feliciano told reporters Sunday.

Read more on Feliciano’s health situation in the Post, Times, Daily News, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

Matt Harvey and Travis d’Arnaud served as a battery for the first time as the Mets and Astros tied, 7-7, in a nine-inning Grapefruit League game Sunday in Kissimmee, Fla. Jamie Hoffmann and Jordany Valdespin homered for the Mets. Edgin suffered a blown save in the ninth, but rallied to strand the bases loaded and preserve a tie.

Read more on d’Arnaud and Harvey in the Post, Newsday, Record, Daily News, Times and Star-Ledger.

lastname
Duda
Lucas Duda, who is adjusting his routine at the plate, struck out in all four plate appearances against the Astros and is now 0-for-7 with six strikeouts in Grapefruit League play. Terry Collins said Duda is getting caught with his front foot still in the air as the ball reaches the plate. Read more in the Record and Star-Ledger.

• In the other split-squad game, the Mets beat the University of Michigan, 5-2. Wilmer Flores homered. Dillon Gee pitched for the first time since emergency surgery at last year’s All-Star break to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder that was causing numbness in his arm. Jonathon Niese and prospect Rafael Montero also tossed two innings apiece.

• Noah Syndergaard, the right-handed pitching prospect acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays along with d’Arnaud in the R.A. Dickey trade, has reported to the complex for the Mets’ camp for top prospects. Syndergaard threw his first bullpen session as a member of the organization and admitted to being nervous with team personnel, his parents and plenty of media watching.

“Just being traded for a Cy Young Award winner has put a little nerves on me,” Syndergaard told reporters. “I’m sure after the first week I’ll be fine.’’

Read more on Syndergaard and the organization’s younger arms in Newsday, the Post and MLB.com.

• Andrew Keh in the Times goes fishing with the Mets, which plenty of players do to kill time during spring training. “It’s Port St. Lucie. It’s about the only thing there is to do,” Bobby Parnell tells Keh, who also writes:

Once, while playing for the St. Lucie Mets, [Ike] Davis and [Reese] Havens were climbing out of their two-man boat when they were confronted on the bank by a water moccasin, a venomous snake. “He wasn’t backing off, and he started coming at us,” Davis said. “We had an oar with us. He tried to get on the boat, and we hit him off. That was pretty freaky.”

• Jared Diamond in the Journal suggests naming David Wright captain is unnecessary since he already is the de facto leader, without the formal title. Writes Diamond:

Making Wright captain would allow the Mets to hold a news conference, jam dozens of television cameras into Citi Field for a formal announcement, and generate some goodwill before what could deteriorate into another losing season. It would allow them to plaster a "C" on Wright's uniform so they could sell replica jerseys and T-shirts.

In the clubhouse, where it matters, naming Wright captain would change nothing. The designation alone wouldn't transform him into a better leader. Keith Hernandez, one of the three captains in Mets history, called it strictly an "honorary position."

From the bloggers Metsmerized Online is concerned the work-in-progress Duda is the Mets' longest-tenured outfielder and most experienced, too. … Faith and Fear unspools its annual "In Mets-moriam" reel to remember, Oscars-style, those players who have left the organization during the past year. … At Mets Police, Mike V's Countdown to Opening Day continues with 2008: Shea Stadium's last home opener, when $35 got you in the upper deck.

BIRTHDAYS: Ed Lynch, who went on to become general manager of the Chicago Cubs, turns 57.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe the Mets’ money woes are behind them?

Please use the comments section to weigh in

Warthen: Bobby Parnell ready to close

February, 12, 2013
2/12/13
2:44
PM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- If Frank Francisco is not ready for Opening Day, pitching coach Dan Warthen echoed Terry Collins' comments that Bobby Parnell is ready to assume the closer's role.

"His last 11 outings, he didn't give up anything," Warthen said, referring to Parnell in 2012. "I thought his maturity changed. I thought he and [Jon] Niese both had breakout years last year. And I think he's there. I think he's ready to close."

That does not mean the Mets are yet resigned to Francisco -- who has continued elbow inflammation -- landing on the disabled list to open the season.

"Correct," Warthen said.

Read Monday's full feature story on Parnell here.

Parnell aims for closer job ... sooner or later

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
5:32
PM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Bobby Parnell did not say he is gunning to unseat Frank Francisco this spring training, but Parnell made it clear Monday his ultimate goal is to be a closer.

“I’m going to go out there and do my thing,” Parnell said Monday, on the day pitchers and catchers officially reported to Port St. Lucie. “Where the chips fall, they fall.”

Parnell had a solid close to the season as Francisco finished the year idle because of elbow discomfort that ultimately led to surgery in December to remove a bone spur. Parnell, now 28, went 3-1 with a .196 opponent batting average and 0.51 ERA in his final 17 appearances, which spanned 17 2/3 innings.

“I was pleased with what happened in September,” Parnell said. “It definitely helps ending on a good note.”

If a turning point exists in Parnell’s career, it might be the knuckle-curveball Jason Isringhausen taught to Parnell in 2011. Parnell performed poorly during the final month of that season in the closer’s role after Izzy reached save No. 300, but Parnell used the weapon effectively last season.

“It’s true. It helped me a lot,” Parnell said. “It kept hitters off-balance. And I was able to throw fastballs in situations where other times they would have been hit because they were sitting on fastballs. I was able to throw that curveball early in the count and it kept hitters off-balance.”

The data show Parnell’s fastball velocity dipped last season. It averaged 95.7 mph in 2012, down from his 97.2 mph average in 2011. That was intentional.

“I definitely didn’t overthrow as many times,” Parnell said. “And that came with being able to throw that curveball. I didn’t feel like I had to ‘hump up’ and try to sneak it past them. I think that just came with being nice and easy and relaxed on the mound.”

That doesn’t mean Parnell doesn’t appreciate a good 100 mph offering every so often. Parnell topped out at 101.5 mph last season.

“I like that. Everybody likes that,” Parnell said. “But I’ve seen it in years past. You can go back and look. It’s not as effective for me as I’d have liked it to have been. So I think last year was a stepping stone in the right path. I’m going to continue to build on it. If I have 100 mph in the tank that day, then that’s good. But I’m not going to overthrow, because I feel like I can use my offspeed effectively now.”

As for building a closer’s résumé, Parnell said: “I feel like I am. That’s my ultimate goal. That’s where I want to be. I’ve had success there and I’ve had failures there. Every chance I have out there is a learning experience. I feel like every time I go out there in that situation it’s a stepping stone.”

At one point, Parnell aimed to be a starting pitcher.

“I guess I didn’t really have a goal of closing until I was in the bullpen,” said Parnell, an infielder until he was converted in college at Charleston Southern. “I was relatively wet behind the ears in pitching, because I didn’t pitch until college. I didn’t really know what my role was or where I fit in. But I felt comfortable on a mound and I felt comfortable pitching. I always felt like I was going to be a pitcher. I just didn’t know where. But I think being in the bullpen now, I see that end role as the highlight. And that’s where I want to be.”

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187