New York Mets: Brad Hand

Series preview: Mets vs. Marlins

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
7:30
AM ET

Getty ImagesBefore heading into the All-Star break, the Mets are due to face the Marlins' Henderson Alvarez, Tom Koehler and Brad Hand.
METS (42-50, fourth place/NL East) vs. MIAMI MARLINS (44-47, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Zack Wheeler (4-8, 4.07) vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez (6-3, 2.27), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.32) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (6-7, 3.98), 4:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jacob deGrom (2-5, 3.38) vs. LHP Brad Hand (0-1, 5.09), 1:10 p.m. ET

Marlins short hops

• Outfielder Marcell Ozuna has hit safely in 15 straight games, during which he has produced a .368 average (21-for-57) with three homers and eight RBIs. The hitting streak is one shy of matching his career high, produced last season. Ozuna’s two-run homer against Addison Reed in the ninth inning on Tuesday gave Miami a 2-1 win at Arizona.

Of course, Ozuna had two outfield assists in the final two innings on June 20, during the last series against the Mets, in order to preserve a Miami win. He became the third player in Marlins history with two outfield assists at the plate in the same game, joining Joe Orsulak and Emilio Bonifacio. Like Orsulak, both of Ozuna’s throws did not require a relay.

The 23-year-old Ozuna has 15 homers and 51 RBIs in 326 at-bats this season.

• Closer Steve Cishek blew only his third save in 23 chances Wednesday at Arizona. The Diamondbacks scored three runs in the bottom of the 10th, capped by Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run double, in a 4-3 walk-off win. It marked the first time in Cishek’s career that he failed to record at least one out in a save situation.


Associated Press, Getty ImagesChristian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton form a standout young triumvirate for the Marlins in the outfield.


Giancarlo Stanton went hitless in 11 at-bats in the D-backs series and is 3-for-24 on the Marlins’ current road trip. Stanton is the lone Marlins All-Star selection, despite strong candidacies from right-hander Henderson Alvarez and third baseman Casey McGehee. Stanton finished fourth in fan balloting in the outfield at 3,753,961 votes. He missed a chance to start by finishing 305,785 votes behind No. 3 Yasiel Puig.

Despite his recent slump, Stanton still leads the National League with 21 homers and 63 RBIs. His 4.9 WAR is second in the NL, trailing only Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki (5.7).

• Alvarez produced three hits Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He is a career .269 hitter, with one homer and seven RBIs in 67 at-bats. On the mound, Alvarez is 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA since May 22. He has allowed only one home run during that nine-start span -- a solo shot by Kolten Wong on Sunday.

The Marlins have won Alvarez’s last 10 starts, a franchise record. The previous record? The Marlins won nine straight starts by Chris Hammond back in 1993, their inaugural season, when they finished 64-98 overall.

Alvarez’s 2.27 ERA ranks fourth in the league, trailing only St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright (1.79), Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (2.03) and L.A.’s Josh Beckett (2.26).

• McGehee’s 112 hits are tied for the NL lead with the Mets’ Daniel Murphy and Giants’ Hunter Pence. The lone player in Marlins history to lead the league in hits at the All-Star break was Luis Castillo in 2002. McGehee and Stanton are the first Marlins teammates with 100 hits apiece before the All-Star break since Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu in 2008.

After spending last year in Japan, the 31-year-old McGehee is hitting .320 with one homer and 53 RBIs in 350 at-bats this season. His 52 RBIs as a third baseman already are the most by a Marlin at that position since Cantu finished ’08 with 70.

• Left-hander Brad Hand has made two starts since getting activated from the disabled list and entering the rotation July 3. He is winless in his past 14 appearances as a starter, the third-longest active streak in the majors, despite allowing only one unearned run in 6 1/3 innings on Tuesday at Arizona. His last win as a starter came July 7, 2011 against the Houston Astros.

Hand, who mostly has been ineffective while serving in long relief this season, had landed on the DL with a right ankle sprain.

• Two days after Hand returned from the DL, rookie Andrew Heaney was demoted to Triple-A New Orleans. Heaney had limited the Mets to one run in six innings in his major league debut on June 19, but had allowed 14 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings over his next three starts.

• Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (right triceps strain) returned from the disabled list on Sunday.

• Left fielder Christian Yelich is batting .356 (16-for-45) with one homer and five RBIs in 10 games since returning from the disabled list, where he had landed with a lower-back strain.

• After getting reinjured during the last Mets series, Rafael Furcal landed on the DL on June 22 with a left hamstring strain. Derek Dietrich initially took over at second base, but he landed on the DL on July 4 with a right wrist strain. Donovan Solano and Ed Lucas since have started at the position.

Series preview: Mets vs. Marlins

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
9:15
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Henderson Alvarez, Kevin Slowey and Tom Koehler this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (12-10, second place/NL East) vs. MIAMI MARLINS (10-12, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.63) vs. RHP Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 2.66), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (3-0, 1.99) vs. RHP Kevin Slowey (0-0, 4.15), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Dillon Gee (1-1, 3.58) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (2-1, 2.13), 1:10 p.m. ET

Marlins short hops

Giancarlo Stanton leads the National League with 27 RBIs. Among his six long balls, he has the longest homer in the majors this season: 484 feet, on April 4 against San Diego’s Eric Stults (watch video here). Last Friday against Seattle’s Yoervis Medina, Stanton belted his second career walk-off grand slam. The other came May 13, 2012 against the Mets’ Manny Acosta.


Jeff Roberson/Associated PressChristian Yelich arrives at Citi Field with a 17-game hitting streak.


Christian Yelich enters the series with a career-high 17-game hitting streak -- the longest active streak in the majors. Yelich, 22, also is 14-for-14 in steals attempts to begin his big-league career. That is a Marlins record, displacing Edgar Renteria, who began his career with 13 straight successful steals in 1996.

• The Marlins used free agency to bring in nearly an entirely new infield during the offseason: catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, first baseman Garrett Jones, shortstop Rafael Furcal and third baseman Casey McGehee.

Furcal (hamstring) has opened the season on the disabled list, although he has started a rehab assignment. He signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract on Dec. 5 after missing all of last season. Furcal underwent Tommy John surgery on March 15, 2013. Adeiny Hechavarria has started all 22 games at shortstop in Furcal’s absence.

McGehee, who signed for one year, $1.1 million on Dec. 18, spent last season with Rakuten in Japan. He tied for second in that country’s Pacific League in homers with 28. With that pennant-winning Japanese club, McGehee played alongside ex-Met Kazuo Matsui as well as current Yankee Masahiro Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA.

The Marlins signed Saltalamacchia away from the champion Boston Red Sox with a three-year, $21 million contract on Dec. 4.

Jones signed for two years, $7.75 million on Dec. 9 after spending the previous five seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

• Closer Steve Cishek has converted a franchise-record 33 consecutive save attempts dating to June 8, 2013. It is the longest active streak in the majors. The previous Marlins record belonged to Todd Jones, who converted 27 straight saves in 2005. Last year’s 94.4 save percentage tied Toronto’s Casey Janssen for best in the majors.

• After opening the season working in long relief, Kevin Slowey replaced ineffective Brad Hand in the rotation last turn. Slowey had gone 1-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 14 first-half starts for Miami last season before being dispatched to the bullpen. He then suffered a season-ending forearm strain.

Hand had an 11.37 ERA while tossing a combined 6 1/3 innings in two starts against the Washington Nationals before getting bounced from the rotation last week.

• Stony Brook University product Tom Koehler has limited opponents to two runs or fewer and completed at least six innings in each of his four starts.

• Center fielder Marcell Ozuna's 2013 season ended July 22 when he suffered a torn thumb ligament on a diving play in the outfield. Ozuna is hitting .309 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 81 at-bats.

• Miami is tied for second in the NL with 98 runs scored.

• The Marlins are 1-8 on the road.

• Reliever Carlos Marmol was forced to depart Wednesday’s game with a strained right hamstring.

Mets 10, Marlins 2: Travis, Flo, Ike homer

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
3:45
PM ET
JUPITER, Fla. -- Travis d’Arnaud snapped an 0-for-21 drought with a two-run homer, Wilmer Flores went deep while producing four RBIs and Bartolo Colon even comically got into the act with his bat as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 10-2, Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium.

Colon surrendered a two-run homer in the fourth to Garrett Jones but no other damage. His final line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. He threw 83 pitches (65 strikes).

D’Arnaud’s second-inning long ball against left-hander Brad Hand snapped his prolonged drought and opened the scoring.


David Goldman/Associated PressWilmer Flores receives congratulations at the plate after belting a three-run homer. He finished with four RBIs.


Flores, who started his fourth spring-training game at shortstop, had a three-run shot against Hand two innings later for a 5-0 lead. Flores later had a run-scoring single to finish with four RBIs.

Ike Davis added a two-run homer against Steve Cishek in the seventh as the Mets’ posted their ninth and 10th runs. Davis, who missed more than two weeks of Grapefruit League games with ailing calves, is now 5-for-15 with two homers, four extra-base hits and two walks.

Hand had tossed five sharp innings in his last outing, in what became a combined no-hitter against the Yankees in Panama. Stony Brook University product Tom Koehler is expected to claim the fifth spot in Miami’s rotation over Hand, who would head to the bullpen if he is not traded because he is out of options.

Colon officially batted for the first time as a Met, which generated plenty of fan interest. The portly pitcher struck out looking in his first at-bat, then sent a tapper back to the pitcher his next turn. Colon’s contact with that pitch sent the Roger Dean Stadium crowd into a frenzy of mock cheers.

That was nothing compared to the reaction to Colon’s next at-bat.

Colon produced a sixth-inning RBI single to left field on Henry Rodriguez’s 93 mph fastball to give the Mets a 7-2 lead. Fortunately for Colon he did not have to exert himself. Eric Young Jr. followed with a ground-rule double, so Colon had no pressure reaching third base.

In his final at-bat, Colon hit a trickler down the third-base line that would have been an infield hit for nearly any runner. But Colon jogged to first base, almost determined not to get there, and narrowly was thrown out.

Colon, who reportedly worked so much on hitting in January with his impending move back to the NL that he developed blisters, is 1-for-29 at the plate since 2003.

“Really the ball found the bat. I really didn’t do anything," Colon said through a team official. “Honestly, I was a little scared. I haven’t done that in a while. Thankfully nothing happened.”

The Mets stole four bases on the afternoon, with EY Jr. and Chris Young (3-for-3, walk) swiping two apiece.

What’s next: The Mets play their final split-squad games of the exhibition season Sunday. Jenrry Mejia opposes Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark at 1:10 p.m. in Port St. Lucie (PIX11/WOR 710 AM). John Lannan opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Freddy Garcia at 1:05 p.m. at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney (no Mets TV/radio).

d'Arnaud snaps 0-for-21 drought with homer

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
1:21
PM ET
JUPITER, Fla. -- Travis d'Arnaud had been hitless in 21 straight at-bats and batting .125 (4-for-32) in Grapefruit League play. So hitting coach Dave Hudgens spent Friday working with the catcher.

After that day regrouping, d'Arnaud snapped that skid with a two-run homer in his first at-bat Saturday, against Miami Marlins left-hander Brad Hand.

"I'm seeing the ball well," d'Arnaud said. "I'm just over-swinging. Yesterday me and 'Hudgy' just worked on keeping my eye on the ball. If you keep your eye on the ball, you have a higher chance of succeeding than when you don't see the ball hit the bat."

Last year, d'Arnaud also was guilty of over-swinging, although that involved "wrapping" his bat at the start of his swing.

"This year I'm just pulling my head," d'Arnaud said. "That's all it is right now."

Marlins 11, Mets 1: Colon logs 4 in debut

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
4:22
PM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Bartolo Colon surrendered three fourth-inning runs and the Mets whiffed at an early bases-loaded, no-out situation in an 11-1 loss to the Miami Marlins on Monday afternoon at Tradition Field.

Colon, making his Mets debut after being slowed by a calf injury early in camp, surrendered a two-run triple to Ed Lucas for the big blow after the teams had been scoreless through three innings.

“It was meaningful,” Colon said through an interpreter about his four-inning Mets debut. “I was happy I was able to locate my pitches today and was able to pitch well.”

Colon had plenty of extra work to do in the second inning. He twice had Jake Marisnick picked off first base, but ump Jerry Meals twice called Marisnick safe. (No video replay was in effect for this spring-training game.) Reed Johnson, at the plate at the time of those safe calls, then was mistakenly ruled safe by Meals after David Wright dove and fielded his grounder and fired to first base.

Colon, a master of adding and subtracting velocity from his fastball, said he pitched against the Marlins as he would during the regular season and was not guarded against the division opponent.

“I don’t shy away from throwing what I’m going to throw normally,” Colon said. “That’s my pitch. I’m a fastball pitcher. That’s what I’m going to use. I’m going to use my best pitch.”

Asked if it was realistic to expect he could duplicate last year’s 2.65 ERA with the Oakland Athletics, Colon said: “Whatever happened last year, it already happened. I’m focusing on this coming year.”

Shortcoming: Ruben Tejada, who had three misplays and was charged with one error Friday, again had difficulty in the field. Tejada lost the baseball exchanging it from his glove to hand on a routine second-inning grounder by Marisnick for his second Grapefruit League error.

A half-inning later, Tejada did snap an 0-for-7 drought to begin exhibition play with a double down the left-field line against Brad Hand.

It’s no secret the Mets would like to upgrade at shortstop. Probably not coincidentally, the Seattle Mariners again had two scouts at Monday’s game.

Terry Collins has indicated Wilmer Flores will start a game at shortstop early this week, although it would appear unlikely Flores would demonstrate the requisite range to return to a regular role at that position.

Strike force: The Mets set a franchise record with 1,384 strikeouts last season. They may break that record this season, and even threaten the MLB single-season record (1,535 by the Houston Astros, also in 2013).

That strikeout propensity was on display Monday. After loading the bases with none out in the first inning against Hand, Curtis Granderson, Josh Satin and Travis d’Arnaud consecutively struck out -- albeit Satin on a very borderline called third strike. Hand went on to strike out five straight batters before Tejada doubled in the second inning.

Monster shot: Giancarlo Stanton produced a monster two-run homer against left-handed prospect Jack Leathersich in the seventh inning, after belting a monster shot earlier in the at-bat that went foul.

Other deep thoughts: Ryan Reid surrendered a two-run homer to Derek Dietrich in a four-run, six-hit eighth against him.

What’s next: Expected Opening Day starter Jonathon Niese makes his 2014 Grapefruit League debut Tuesday against Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. in Jupiter, Fla. Niese had been dispatched to New York on Feb. 26 for an MRI of his pitching shoulder.

Giancarlo Stanton to DL for Marlins

April, 30, 2013
4/30/13
1:29
AM ET
MIAMI -- In a blow to the Miami Marlins, slugger Giancarlo Stanton has been placed on the disabled list. Stanton left Monday's game with a right hamstring strain after trying to beat out a ball in the infield in the 10th inning.

The Marlins also placed infielder Joe Mahoney (hamstring) on the DL after their 15-inning win.

Left-hander Brad Hand and outfielder Marcell Ozuna are due to join Miami on Tuesday.

After homering three times in the previous two games, Stanton was 0-for-5 Monday before departing.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.287 7 38 57
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 15
RBID. Wright 51
RD. Murphy 57
OPSL. Duda .840
WB. Colon 9
ERAJ. Niese 3.13
SOZ. Wheeler 112