New York Mets: Carlos Beltran

Upon review, Johan no-hitter would stand

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
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Johan Santana's no-hitter -- the only one in Mets history -- arguably has an asterisk.

But it would have stood as a no-hitter, even if the new instant-replay rules had been in effect on June 1, 2012, according to Major League Baseball.

To backtrack, Carlos Beltran hit a sixth-inning line drive down the third-base line, which was ruled foul by third-base ump Adrian Johnson. In actuality, the ball struck the chalk line and should have been ruled a fair ball.

Under the new replay rules, only outfield fair/foul calls are able to be reviewed -- not those in the infield. And by infield, MLB means those in front of the umpire, according to a league official.

So even though Beltran's liner first touched the ground beyond the third-base bag, it was not a play that would have been reviewed.

MLB may adjust the rule in future seasons to make that type of play reviewable. But, for now, the league doesn't want to be involved with having to place runners on the correct bases if it can help it.

Here is the full list of plays that will be reviewable, printed verbatim from MLB:

• Home run
• Ground-rule double
• Fan interference
• Stadium boundary calls (e.g., fielder into stands, ball into stands triggering dead ball)
• Force play (except the fielder’s touching of second base on a double play)
• Tag play (including steals and pickoffs)
• Fair/foul in outfield only
• Trap play in outfield only
• Batter hit by pitch
• Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)
• Touching a base (requires appeal)
• Passing runners
• Record keeping (Ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score and substitutions)

Bitter Beltran: 'I felt hurt' by Mets

December, 20, 2013
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NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltran was once a Met, but he has always wanted to be a Yankee.

On Friday, Beltran put on his pinstriped No. 36 uniform for the first time. The Yankees and Beltran agreed upon a three-year, $45 million two weeks ago, but made it official on Friday.

"Having the opportunity to come back again as a Yankee means a lot to me," Beltran said. "I grew up being a Yankee fan. I grew up being a Bernie Williams fan. At one point [in 2005], I almost got a chance to sign with the Yankees, but it didn't work out."

Beltran ended up going to the Mets for seven years and $119 million in 2005. While he said he enjoyed his time in Flushing, he sounded bitter about how upper management treated him.

Click here for the rest of the story.

10 to buy: Potential free agents for Mets

November, 5, 2013
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Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesShin-Soo Choo would give the Mets the offensive punch they lacked in 2012.
With free agency upon us, here's a ranking of the 10 players whose combination of skills and cost best fit what the Mets are looking for.

1. Shin-Soo Choo, OF A few weeks ago, Matt Meyers laid out an articulate case for why not to sign Choo. Here's the argument for signing him: The Mets had a .236/.306/.366 slashline (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) against right-handed pitching. Those ranked 28th, 24th and 28th in the majors respectively. But for one exception (2011), Choo has been a ferocious hitter against right-handers. His slashline against them over the last five seasons is .311/.416/.521 with a large chunk of that coming in Cleveland (as opposed to hitter-favorable Cincinnati).

A typical team will get about 70 percent of its plate appearances against righties (as the Mets did in 2013). The Mets need to improve their performance against that 70 percent. Choo would do that in a big way.

2. Stephen Drew, SS Drew is the best shortstop in this free-agent market, one that does not contain a lot of offensive-minded players at the position. Drew is a two-to-three Wins Above Replacement player (when healthy) at a position in which the Mets are just trying to get back to neutral. He too plays a role in solving the struggles against right-handers, brings an adequate glove, and has shown a willingness to work a walk that would fit well within this team's plan.

3. Carlos Beltran, RF We're not saying this is likely, because it isn't, but of all the players in free agency, Beltran would fit the Mets idea of following the "Red Sox model" best -- a well-experienced player with a history of quality production who would be gettable on a short-term deal. Granted this is not the Beltran of 2006 to 2008, but it's a player who looks like he still has 130 to 140 games left in the tank for the next couple of seasons.

4. Curtis Granderson, OF What you're buying in Granderson is a seven-year track record from 2006 to 2012 rather than the one hindered by injuries and limited to 61 games last season. It would be foolish to think that Granderson could replicate the 40-homer seasons (2011 and 2012) from Yankee Stadium's bandbox ballpark in Citi Field, but 25 homers over 500 at-bats seems realistic given his pre-Yankee history.

5. Marlon Byrd, OF This might be the most tepid endorsement of Byrd that you'll read. There are two reasons for a lack of enthusiasm. 1) His success rate when hitting a ground ball was extraordinarily high, particularly given his history, and a return to his usual rate could mean about a 20-point dip in batting average. 2) Byrd is one of a number of Mets with ugly Citi Field numbers -- a .249/.297/.415 slashline last season and only seven home runs in Flushing. His monster home runs may have made it look like he relished hitting in Citi Field. He didn't.

That said, Byrd is a good defender and he's well liked by Mets management. And he can hit, though to what degree 2012 is repeatable, we don't know.

The key to understand with Byrd is this: In an ideal world, he's the second-best bat the team adds this winter. If he's the best, that would be a reason to be nervous about the Mets 2014 hopes.

6. Nelson Cruz, RF Cruz strikes us as Byrd like with comparable strikeout/walk numbers and little more power, though how much of that power was enhanced by PEDS is a good subject for discussion.

The risk with Cruz is that the expectation in getting him would be that he'd be a 30-homer guy. But given the difficulties of right-handers hitting for power in Citi Field (see our Marlon Byrd note), we'd take the under. We put Byrd ahead of Cruz because Byrd is more of a known player at this point and a better defender.

7. Jhonny Peralta, SS We stacked the two Biogenesis players together, as the concerns with Peralta would be similar to those of Cruz: Can he replicate his past performance without PEDs? That said, there is a big drop-off after Peralta on the shortstop market (the next-best option might be Nick Punto).

If you're wondering why we rated Drew ahead of Peralta, there are a few reasons:

a) Drew's left-handed bat is needed more than Peralta's right-handed bat.

b) Drew rates better defensively.

c) Though Peralta hits more homers, Drew offsets that with an advantage by hitting doubles and triples.

d) Drew rates slightly better as a baserunner.

8. Bronson Arroyo, RHP Despite an astronomical home-run rate, Arroyo is a survivor and a winner, mainly because he doesn't walk anyone (1.5 per 9 innings over the last two seasons). And his high-3s ERA should come down a bit given 15 to 18 starts at Citi Field instead of Great American Ball Park. He's pitched 199 innings or more nine years running, so any health concerns are minimized, and he pitched in Boston, so New York wouldn't scare him. The worry spot would be his age (36), which would likely limit how many years the Mets would offer him.

9. David Murphy, OF Murphy looms as a potential free-agent bargain. He hit only .220 with 13 home runs in 142 games with the Rangers last season, but that belies his .283/.346/.449, track record of the previous five seasons. If Murphy can fix what troubled him, he'd provide value as an outfielder in either left or right. He's one with a good glove and decent speed who can play either corner outfield spot, either as an everyday guy or in a platoon.

10. J.P. Howell, LHP The Mets left-handed specialists are currently Josh Edgin and Scott Rice and this free-agent class provides room for an upgrade. Howell is the best of a lot that includes Javier Lopez, Boone Logan and Scott Downs because he can get right-handed hitters out with a reasonable amount of success as well.

A Mets free-agent shoppers guide

October, 1, 2013
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Getty ImagesPlayers who could be of value to the Mets: Shin-Soo Choo, Stephen Drew, Bronson Arroyo.
When putting together a list of the priorities for the Mets in this offseason's free-agent market, you must be realistic.

To think that the team is going to land anyone with a nine-figure salary is a longshot (no matter what Sandy Alderson says), so cross Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury off any wish-lists.

Logic would also dictate that pitchers for whom the market might provide a four-year commitment comparable to the one Edwin Jackson got last winter (four years, $52 million) are not what this front office is looking for, so scratch off Matt Garza and Ricky Nolasco (and probably Ubaldo Jimenez, Tim Lincecum and Ervin Santana). We also left out a few pitchers with strong preferences for specific teams or markets-- A.J. Burnett (Pirates), Dan Haren (West Coast), Tim Hudson (Braves) and Hiroki Kuroda (Yankees/Japan).

But there are players who would be good fits for this team, which most likely will be shopping for multiple outfielders, a shortstop, both starting pitchers and relievers, and maybe a backup catcher.

What is below is a list arranged alphabetically, rather than by rank, of 20 targets that we deemed realistic based on educated guesses and available information. When the World Series concludes, these players will be on the market for the Mets to pursue.

(Read full post)

Who should Wright pick for HR Derby?

July, 8, 2013
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Who should David Wright select to participate in the 2013 Home Run Derby when selections are announced at 6 p.m. ET on Sportscenter tonight? Members of ESPN’s Home Run Tracker team weighed in.

Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves

Upton has only one home run since May 17, but his shortest home run is 404 feet. Remarkably, his 427.9 average home run distance is highest among all players with more than one home run. Upton has two 460-foot home runs and six others of at least 425 feet. Of his 15 home runs, 13 would have been out of Citi Field.

Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds

Bruce has eight home runs that have gone at least 425 feet, tied with Upton for the most in the NL.

June solidified Bruce’s nomination, as he hit his five longest home runs of the season- all at least 430 feet. His headline home run was a 472-foot blast off Patrick Corbin, the third-longest home run this season.

Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Alvarez edges out Paul Goldschmidt by the narrowest of margins, getting the nod because he has hit two home runs over 450 feet this season and has three others over 430 feet.

Fourteen of his 22 home runs have been at least 400 feet, and all but four of his home runs would have been out of Citi Field.

Alvarez has nine home runs classified by www.hittrackeronline.com as “No Doubt” home runs, the most in the majors. (No Doubt home run means the ball cleared the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and landed at least 50 feet past the fence).

Other NL options:

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt falls just short of nomination despite having hit three home runs over 440 feet this season and another 437 feet.

Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: Gonzalez leads the NL with 24 home runs, aided by his league-leading 11 home runs classified by www.hittrackeronline.com as “Just Enoughs,” meaning home runs that cleared the fence by less than 10 feet.

Gonzalez does have five home runs that went at least 430 feet, but his average home run distance is only 406.5 feet.

Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: Brown is second in the NL with 22 home runs, but only four of those went over 400 feet. Brown has not hit a single home run to left or left center field.

Brown’s average home run distance is 381.7 feet, the lowest in baseball among players with over 10 home runs.

Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals: Beltran has 19 home runs, but not one has gone over 425 feet.

Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals: Holliday is third in the majors with an average home run distance of 419.2 feet (min. 10 home runs), and he has seven home runs of at least 425 feet. However, with only 11 home runs on the season, Holliday does not make the cut.

W2W4: Matt Harvey vs Cardinals

September, 4, 2012
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Carlos Beltran has struggled versus right-handed pitching since the All-Star Break.

Harvey and the record books
Matt Harvey has five starts in which he’s allowed two runs or fewer in five innings or more. He’s one of four Mets to have that sort of stretch within the first seven appearances of his career, along with Jim McAndrew, Ron Darling, Jason Jacome, and Masato Yoshii.

Yoshii, McAndrew, and Jacome all managed to do six out of eight.

Harvey has 49 strikeouts through seven appearances. He’s got a ways to go to break the mark for most through the first eight games of a career by a Met. Nolan Ryan’s 64 lead that list, followed by Dwight Gooden’s 59.

Harvey and good fortune
Harvey was fortunate to survive his last outing allowing only two runs. He gave up a career-high seven line drives and had a career-low miss rate (Phillies hitters missed on 14 percent of their swings).

Pitch to Watch: Slider
The pitch to watch would be Harvey’s slider, which has been a putaway pitch for him. He had been getting misses on 39 percent of his swings, but got only one on 11 Phillies swings.

Harvey also gave up multiple hits on his curveball for the first time, yielding two on the 10 he threw.

How do you get Carlos Beltran out?
Beltran had the day off yesterday, but played a key role in the Cardinals win by spotting that Andres Torres missed first base on his ninth-inning double.

Beltran has been in a slump of late. He’s hitting .195 against right-handed pitching since the All-Star Break with one prime trouble spot-= down and away.

Beltran’s heat map atop this article shows that vulnerability.

That’s not an area Harvey attacks as often as most. He throws 46 percent of his pitches to lefties on the outer-third of the plate or further away, a bit below the major league average of 55 percent. He throws only 27 percent of his pitches to lefties to the lower-third of the plate or below, well below major-league average of 41 percent.

It will be interesting to see how Harvey approaches this matchup- whether he plays to his strengths or attacks his weaknesses.

How do you get Yadier Molina out?



Even a nasty collision at home plate couldn’t stop Yadier Molina, who has been the Cardinals top hitter since the All-Star Break with a .354 batting average and 18 RBI in 147 at-bats.

Short of relying on Mike Baxter to make no-hitter saving catches in left field what can Harvey do to stop him?

Mets right-handed pitchers have had success with Molina the last four seasons, when they’ve attacked him in the upper-third of the strike zone and above.

Molina is 3-for-17 over the last four seasons against Mets righties when the at-bat has ended with an upper-third-or-above pitch and 12-for-40 against everything else.

Logic would dictate that means that Harvey will try to use his high fastball. He’ll have to be precise in his location. Molina has crushed fastballs up-and-away and middle-in this season.

Did you know?
Harvey, who has an opponents’ batting average of .197, likely has two starts left. Only two Mets have made at least nine starts in a season and finished with an opponents’ batting average below .200- Sid Fernandez four times and Nolan Ryan twice.

A closer look at Harvey's success
The heat map below shows Harvey vs left-handed hitters (.214 opp BA) and right-handed hitters (.176) in 2012.


Carlos Beltran pregame highlights

June, 1, 2012
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Here are some highlights from Carlos Beltran's talk with the media before Friday night's game at Citi Field.

On how he will be received by the fans in his return to Flushing: "That is their choice," Beltran said. "I'm just going to go out there and play the game. I'm just happy to be here. If they want to welcome me with cheers, that's fine. If they want to boo me, that's fine, too. I know I'm playing for the opposite side so I'm used to that."

What did he think of his seven years here? "We had good teams here," Beltran said. "We just couldn't win. That part really made me sad. At the same time, my experience was good. I really enjoyed it, honestly."

If he could have one do-over from his nearly seven years with the Mets, what would it be? "I wish I could have been healthy all seven years."

Beltran was asked how playing in New York is different than other places: "The expectations, the fans, they really expect you to go out there and perform every day," Beltran said. "In this game, that is a hard thing to do. This is different [gesturing to the two-row deep crew of reporters surrounding him]. The media. You have to be accountable every day, day in and day out. So that is something that when I played in Kansas City, when I played in Houston, being able to play here it is more than that, more than baseball."

Does he miss the big stage? "Of course, being able to play here is a good thing," Beltran said. "It was a good thing for me. Sometimes I miss it. Sometimes I don't -- being honest."

On replacing Albert Pujols: "I told myself the only shoes I need to fill were my own shoes," Beltran said. "I know Albert is a special player. It is hard to replace a guy like that."

W2W4: Mets at Reds (Tuesday)

July, 26, 2011
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Jonathon Niese Stat To Watch
The Niese-Joey Votto matchup could be an interesting one. Niese has had an odd month in terms of his performance against left-handed hitters. Lefties are 11-for-29 in July against Niese (.379 BA) after hitting .206 against him in the first three months of the season.

The primary damage has been done against both his cutter (five hits) and his curveball (five hits). Niese entered the month having only given up three hits on his curveball to lefties all season. But he yielded two apiece to the Giants and most recently the Cardinals (Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay) in the last two-and-a-half weeks.

Johnny Cueto Stat To Watch
Cueto has allowed three runs in six of his 14 starts this season, but has not allowed more than that in any contest.

Cueto hasn’t fared well against the Mets, allowing 19 runs in 21 career innings against them, but has done alright against Jose Reyes. He’s retired Reyes eight straight times, three by strikeout, since allowing a hit to him in his last meeting.

Cueto Timing May be Just Wright
After getting opposite-field hits on a pair of fastballs in his season debut against the Marlins, five of David Wright’s next six hits have come against changeups (three) or sliders (two).

Cueto throws both, with the slider being his primary strikeout pitch for much of the season. However, after striking out nine hitters with it in his final two starts of June, Cueto has only fanned two via the slider in July.

His putaway rate with the pitch this month is just six percent, meaning only six percent of his two-strike sliders have resulted in a strikeout. It was 23 percent in May and June.

Wright has seen five two-strike sliders since returning but has not yet struck out against one.

Carlos Beltran may be due
Beltran hit five home runs in his first 61 career at-bats at Great American Ball Park. He’s homerless in his last 36 at-bats there, his last coming on Sept. 4, 2007 against Matt Belisle.

Potential test for Isringhausen
Should the Mets need Jason Isringhausen to close, it would be only the second time in the last six weeks that he’ll have pitched on back-to-back days. Isringhausen seems to have found a second wind. He’s struck out at least one batter in each of his last five appearances, totaling nine in six innings, after going five straight appearances without recording a strikeout.

Mets morning briefing 7.20.11

July, 20, 2011
7/20/11
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The Mets have a chance to jump a game over .500 on Wednesday when they take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the second game of a three-game series. R.A. Dickey will face Kyle McClellan on Wednesday night. But, just like Tuesday, the most important names for the Mets will likely be Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. Both returned to the lineup on Tuesday, lifting the Mets to a 4-2 win over St. Louis.

Here are Wednesday's news reports:

• Reyes played for the first time since July 2 when he exited a game against the Yankees early due to a strained left hamstring. He had two hits on Tuesday, to boost his league-leading multihit game total to 44. He also made two exceptional plays in the field in the eight, the second being a 6-6-3 double play that ended the inning with the bases loaded.

Read more on Reyes in the Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Daily News.

• Beltran came back following a three-day absence due to a viral illness that caused "104 to 105"” degree fevers, according to the All-Star right-fielder. Beltran didn't miss a beat in his return, finishing 3 for 3 with two doubles and two walks to raise his personal average against Cards starter Kyle Lohse to an astounding .564 in 39 at-bats. He's now reached base safely in 25 games, his longest streak since a 30-game stretch spanning the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

Read more on Beltran in Newsday, the Post and the Daily News.

• On July 6, 1999, Jason Isringhausen notched his first career save with the Mets. On Tuesday night, he got his second. Isringhausen, one member of the Mets' post K-Rod closer-by-committee, pitched a perfect ninth to record his first big-league save since Aug. 1, 2008. The 12-year gap between Mets saves is the largest in franchise history.

Read more on Isringhausen in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

David Wright went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, an RBI and a strikeout in his fifth minor-league rehab game with St. Lucie. He played nine innings at third base for the second straight night. Overall, Wright is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with eight runs scored. He’s been on the disabled list since May 18 with a lower back stress fracture.

• First baseman Ike Davis expressed skepticism he would be able to return to the New York Mets this season. Speaking to children at Coleman Country Day Camp in Merrick, N.Y., on Long Island, on Tuesday, Davis candidly described his left ankle as "not good." "But next year I will be back and healthy," Davis told the campers. "I promise."

Davis injured the ankle in a collision with third Wright by the pitcher's mound at Coors Field in Denver on May 10 and has not returned to the lineup because of lingering discomfort when he attempts to run.

Read more on Davis in the Times, the Post and Newsday.

Dillon Gee no-hit the Cards for 4 1/3 innings on Tuesday. He finished the night allowing three hits in seven innings to earn his ninth win, the highest total among major-league rookies.

Josh Thole is expected to return to the Mets on Wednesday after missing Tuesday's game due to paternity leave. Thole and his wife, Kathryn, welcomed their first child (see bottom), a son named Camden, at 8:41 p.m. Tuesday.

BIRTHDAYS: No one who appeared for the Mets was born today but Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg turns 23.

Mets morning briefing 7.19.11

July, 19, 2011
7/19/11
10:02
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Terry Collins says he is getting Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran back for Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Reyes had a successful rehab game in Brooklyn; Beltran feels well enough to return to the lineup after dealing with a flu virus that sidelined him for the last three days. Both Beltran and Reyes should provide a boost to a Met offense that produced just three hits in a 4-1 loss to the Marlins on Monday.

Here are Tuesday’s news reports:

• Reyes went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored in six innings for Single-A Brooklyn in his one and only minor league rehab game. He also had one assist in his only fielding chance and afterward pronounced himself healthy enough to return to the Mets lineup. Reyes had been out since July 3 with a strained left hamstring.

Read more in the Daily News, Post and the Star-Ledger.

• Beltran missed three games due to a viral illness but, after visiting the doctor on Monday, Beltran felt well enough to pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the Mets’ 4-1 loss to the Marlins. Beltran and Collins both said Beltran was well enough to return to the lineup on Tuesday. Beltran reported that he’d been dealing with a severe ailment that caused aches in his joints and resulted in a fever of 104-105 degrees. ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin reports that the Mets are willing to pick up all of the right fielder's remaining 2011 salary in a trade.

Read more in the Record and Star-Ledger.

• In his fourth rehab start, David Wright went 3-for-6 with three singles and three runs scored for St. Lucie on Monday. Wright played a full nine innings at third for the first time during his rehab stint. He is hitting .400 (6-for-15) with six runs scored. Wright was originally placed on the disabled list on May 18 with a lower-back stress fracture.

Scott Hairston, who had five RBI on Saturday in place of Carlos Beltran, was removed from Monday’s game in the third inning after he fouled a ball off of his left foot in the first. Collins said afterward that Hairston had a significant bruise on his foot and that he wasn’t able to run. X-Rays came back negative. The Mets are calling the injury a left shin contusion and say Hairston is day-to-day.

Gary Carter’s daughter reports in an online journal that Carter, suffering from brain cancer, took a two-mile walk on Monday and will have his last radiation session on Tuesday. He is scheduled to undergo an Aug. 1 MRI to determine how tumors have responded to treatment.

• On Monday, the Mets signed outfielder Fernando Perez and pitcher Gustavo Chacin and assigned them to Triple-A Buffalo.

BIRTHDAYS: Preston Wilson, stepson of Mookie Wilson, turns 37. He last appeared in the majors in 2007 with the St. Louis Cardinals. ... Former outfielder/pinch hitter Mark Carreon turns 48. .... Outfielder/first baseman David Segui turns 45.

Mets morning briefing 7.18.11

July, 18, 2011
7/18/11
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The Mets take on the Florida Marlins in a makeup game on Monday evening in Queens, but many in the organization will be focused on a game in Brooklyn earlier Monday. There, Jose Reyes will play a rehab game with the Brooklyn Cyclones. If all goes well, Reyes should be able to return from the strained left hamstring that has sidelined him since early July.

Here are Monday's news reports:

• Reyes reported no pain after running the bases before the Mets' 8-5 loss to the Phillies on Sunday. He is eligible to come off of the disabled list on Monday, but the Mets chose to have him play a rehab game with Class A Brooklyn before bringing him back.

Read more in the Daily News and the Post.

Carlos Beltran missed his second straight game due to a nasty illness. Terry Collins didn’t expect to have Beltran back for Monday’s game. On Saturday, Scott Hairston filled in for Bay and had a career-high five RBI. On Sunday, it was Willie Harris, who came up with two hits. Who will Collins turn to on Monday?

Read more in the Post, Newsday and The Star-Ledger.

David Wright went 2-for-4 with a double, walk, run scored and an RBI on Sunday for Class A St. Lucie. Wright served as the designated hitter against Clearwater. The Mets hope that Wright can rejoin the team on Friday in Miami when it begins a three-game series with the Florida Marlins. Wright was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 18, retroactive to May 16, with a stress fracture in his lower back.

Jason Bay heard the boo birds at Citi on Sunday after he went 0 for 4 with a walk and committed an error in the eighth inning of the Mets' 8-5 loss. Bay said afterward that he understands the fans' frustration but that he's 'more frustrated than anybody' with his struggles. Bay hasn't come close to living up to his four year, $66 million contract. He has just three hits in his last 30 at-bats.

Read more in the Daily News, The Record and Newsday.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Met manager and player Joe Torre - - best known as the manager who won four titles with the Yankees - - turns 70 today.

Beltran, Mets enjoying success

July, 7, 2011
7/07/11
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The Mets have adopted “The Claw” after producing hits, the hand motion the Texas Rangers made famous last year during a World Series run.

After his first of two doubles Wednesday, Carlos Beltran initially forgot to take part.

“I’m having fun. These guys are making me do things in the field that I have never done in my past -- like going like that,” Beltran said at his locker postgame while making another claw motion. “My first double I didn’t do it. Three pitches after, I did it after that -- ‘Oh, man, I forgot about it.’ They all got on me and said I’ve got to do it.”

Why not have fun? The Mets have won four straight games and have moved three games over .500 for the first time since their trip to Dodger Stadium last July.

They’re having the success in the clutch, too. All five of the Mets’ runs Wednesday in a 5-3 victory against the Dodgers came with two out. The Mets now have 167 two-out runs this season, one shy of the Philadelphia Phillies’ NL-leading total.

“Is that right?” hitting coach Dave Hudgens asked about the two-out stat, having been unaware. “These guys realize what type of hitters they are and try to stay in the middle of the field and get a ball over the middle of the plate. They’ve done a great job. And balls have fallen in. I think we’re one of the top teams in base on balls, too.

"When you put that combination together where guys are getting good balls to hit and they’re patient, then I think that’s when you come through with big two-out hits. A lot of times when guys aren’t patient, they don’t come through in clutch situations because they’re swinging at everything. But these guys have been taking pitches they should take and swinging at pitches they should swing at.”

Mets riding high into Los Angeles

July, 3, 2011
7/03/11
8:53
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It’s going to be a long flight to Los Angeles, but the Mets aren’t going to mind. Not after their comeback 3-2 win in 10 innings against the Yankees Sunday.

“Today is going to be a sweet flight. Instead of being able to get swept by the Yankees, it’s going to be a long flight but at the same time we’re going to have fun and we were able to pull this one out,” right fielder Carlos Beltran said. “We’re going into LA, who is playing good, and San Francisco also is a good team. It’s a big road trip for us ahead.”

The Mets are feeling good about themselves after battling back to beat the Yankees. Down to their last strike against closer Mariano Rivera, the Mets put together a walk and two singles to tie the game in the ninth and then Jason Bay won the game with a bases-loaded walk-off single in the 10th inning.

The Mets picked up their second walk-off win in the process and just their second win when they trailed after eight innings. In the process, they evened their record at .500 as they head west for a seven-game road trip that begins tomorrow against the Dodgers.

“I’m running out of things to say about these guys,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “They took a body blow today, yesterday with Jose (Reyes) and today with R.A. (Dickey)’s hip or whatever it might be that tightened up on him and they just play until the game is over and they take blows and they bounce back. They’re so fun to be around because they don’t let stuff get to them.”

The Mets trailed 2-1 against the Yankees when Bay walked with two outs. Lucas Duda followed with a single that put Bay on third and pinch hitter Ronny Paulino, selected by Collins to pinch hit to try and neutralize the cutter and because of how he had swung the bat lately, singled to right to drive in the tying run. The Mets even had a chance to win the game in the ninth when the Yankees made an error, but Duda was thrown out at the plate.

In the 10th, the Mets used a leadoff walk, a hit by pitch and an error to load the bases with two outs and Bay collected his first walk-off hit as Met and his first since 2008, giving the Mets players a little more excitement in their voices after the game.They had been on the verge of a four-game losing streak, but now things aren't so bleak.

“We didn’t go into it feeling like it was a must-win, but when we won the game afterward it sure felt like one that we needed to get," Dickey said. "I just was so elated because so many people played a part in it from Lucas Duda all the way to Jason Bay, Pedro Beato. A good community win. It leaves you feeling good into the series against LA.

"We need the .500 mark to be the floor. To get back to the floor is good. We don’t want to continually bounce below and above .500 for the rest of the season, we want this to be the floor of our season so in order to do that you have to get back to. 500. In that situation it is a big win.”

Mets take a lead. Repeat. Mets take a lead.

July, 3, 2011
7/03/11
2:58
PM ET
For the first time in this edition of the Subway Series, the Mets have a lead as they are up 1-0 on the Yankees going to the second.With two outs, Carlos Beltran doubled to right and then David Murphy sliced one down the line in left to plate Beltran.

TC on missing Jose, Pagan batting leadoff

July, 3, 2011
7/03/11
1:40
PM ET
The Mets don’t know the extent of shortstop Jose Reyes' injury, as they are still awaiting the MRI results after he left Saturday’s game with tightness in his left hamstring, but they know they have a tough road ahead of them if Reyes misses any time. He already will miss the Subway Series finale.

“It’ll be a challenge. I think we are going to be up for it,” Mets manager Terry Collins said before the game Sunday. “Certainly we’ve dealt with some adversity so far this season. We’re resilient, we’ll bounce back and when we find out what the situation is going to be with him today, we’ll make sure our guys are ready to play.”

With Reyes playing at a MVP level and potentially now missing several games, Collins said he has talked to the team and he’s confident it will respond in a positive manner. He said that he is counting on his veteran players like right fielder Carlos Beltran and reliever Jason Isringhausen to provide the leadership needed in a time when a star goes down.

“One of the things I’ve tried to do this year is let these guys know no matter what we face, we can overcome it if we do it together,” Collins said. “If everybody pulls on the same end of the rope and if we can do that, yeah, this is a big one, there is a big weight at the end of that rope if he’s not on that side. Our guys have to go out and do what they can do.

ANGEL IN THE LEADOFF SPOT: With Reyes out, Angel Pagan will hit leadoff against the Yankees Sunday. Collins said he had considered Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada, but liked Pagan’s speed in the leadoff spot.

Collins said he talked with Pagan Saturday about being ready to hit leadoff.

“What you have been doing at the plate, don’t try to create more, just be on base, use your foot speed, he’s got the green light anyway, even hitting fifth. Pick your spots, get in scoring positions and score runs,” Collins said about his message to Pagan. “You’re in a little different role than when we have you in the fifth spot driving in runs, now we need you to be a little more disciplined and take some pitches and work the count like Jose has been doing when he has the most success. Angel has played very well in the last two weeks so I thought he would be the ideal guy to step in and try to pick up that end.”

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
9 4.03 100 134
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .293
HRL. Duda 18
RBIL. Duda 56
RD. Murphy 59
OPSL. Duda .856
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 121