New York Mets: Chipper Jones

W2W4: Mets in the All-Star Game

July, 16, 2013
7/16/13
12:21
PM ET


A look at some of the statistical storylines for the two Mets All-Stars -- Matt Harvey and David Wright -- tonight.

The History
This will mark the 30th time a Mets pitcher has pitched in the All-Star Game. The 17 other pitchers have thrown a combined 38 2/3 innings and allowed 11 earned runs (a 2.56 ERA).

Harvey will be the youngest to start an All-Star Game since Dwight Gooden, who allowed a combined three runs in six innings in his two previous All-Star starts (1986 and 1988). Tom Seaver threw three scoreless innings in 1970. Those are the only previous All-Star starts for Mets pitchers.

Harvey will be trying to continue a run of Mets pitchers who made successful All-Star debuts. He’ll be the 11th (the first as a starter). The previous 10 allowed no earned runs in 10 2/3 innings, with five hits allowed, 17 strikeouts and four walks.

Harvey is the first pitcher to start the All-Star Game in his home ballpark since Roger Clemens in 2004. That start didn’t go smoothly -- with Mike Piazza catching, Clemens allowed six runs in the first inning.

First-Inning Challenge
The top of the AL order will pose a tough challenge, with Harvey having to get through Mike Trout, Robinson Cano and Miguel Cabrera.

Harvey will want to attack Trout at the top of the strike zone, because Trout has been among the sport’s best low-ball hitters the last two seasons. Trout is 9-for-43 (.209 batting average) this season against pitches from right-handers in the upper third of the strike zone, though he did homer against a 98 mph fastball in that area against Kelvin Herrera of the Royals.

Cano went 1-for-4 against Harvey earlier this season, getting a hit on a curve that Harvey hung, popping up and striking out against sliders, and pulling an outside changeup on the ground to first base.

It should be noted that Cano is mashing off-speed pitches from righties this season. He’s one of three hitters with 10 or more home runs against curves, sliders and changeups from righties, along with the next two hitters Harvey would face -- Cabrera and Chris Davis.

Cabrera, bidding for his second straight Triple Crown season, is hitting .350 against right-handed pitching. His statistical “weaknesses” are fastballs at the top of the strike zone or above, and perfectly placed breaking balls on the outside corner. But throwing those pitches is easier said than done.

Wright Stuff
This will be Wright's record-setting seventh All-Star Game as a Met. Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza all played in six.

Wright holds the Mets' All-Star record for hits with six, but has only one RBI (a home run against Kenny Rogers). The only player to have multiple career RBIs as a Met in All-Star play was Lee Mazzilli, who had the tying and go-ahead RBIs in the 1979 All-Star Game.

Wright will be trying to be the first player to homer in his home ballpark in the All-Star Game since Chipper Jones did so in 2000.

Wright has three prior plate appearances against Max Scherzer -- a fly out, a strikeout and a walk, with the most recent coming in 2009.

Wright will be the third Mets hitter to start as the cleanup hitter in an All-Star Game, an honor shared with Gary Carter (0-for-3 in 1986) and Strawberry (1-for-4 in 1988).

Elias notes that The 2013 Mets are the third All-Star Game host team to have the game's starting pitcher-- Matt Harvey -- and starting cleanup hitter-- David Wright.

The other 2 are the 1939 Yankees (pitcher Red Ruffing, cleanup hitter Bill Dickey) and 1960 Yankees (pitcher Whitey Ford, cleanup hitter Mickey Mantle)

Morning Briefing: 0-9. Ouch.

June, 20, 2013
6/20/13
8:27
AM ET
ATLANTA

FIRST PITCH: The day after the Matt Harvey-Zack Wheeler doubleheader, it was back to reality for the Mets.

Only three more days until Harvey pitches again, Sunday in Philly.

Now, on to the rubber game of the five-game series against the Atlanta Braves tonight.

Jonathon Niese (3-6, 4.15 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (8-2, 2.68) at 7:10 p.m.

Thursday’s news reports:

Shaun Marcum surrendered five runs in 4 2/3 innings and dropped to 0-9 as the Mets lost to the Braves, 5-3, Wednesday night at Turner Field. Terry Collins said the Mets will go from a six- to five-man rotation at some point in the near future, and no later than when play resumes after the All-Star break. Marcum offered no concern about whether his rotation spot is in jeopardy.

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


Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesEric Young Jr. went 1-for-4 in his Mets debut last night.


Eric Young Jr. started in center field and batted leadoff in his Mets debut Wednesday. He went 1-for-4. Collins said Young will start “quite often.”

Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal:

Not coincidentally, teams that struggle in that [leadoff] spot often struggle to win: Since 1921, the 112 squads that auditioned at least 10 different starting leadoff hitters combined to compile a .459 winning percentage. The Mets, who joined that club when they tried Young in the leadoff hole, will probably make things worse.

Read more on Young in the Daily News, Record, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

• Harvey reportedly threatened to beat up then-teammate Jon Rauch last season after the then-rookie was the victim of a hazing incident. Read more at Yahoo!, the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Daily News.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News advocates Collins returning to manage the Mets next season, asserting he deserves a chance with a better roster. “It’ll never, ever be about me,’’ Collins told Harper. “This game is about the players. Do I want to be here next year? Sure I do. But it’s not something I worry about, because you preach and you preach and you preach [to players] to only worry about what you can control, and that’s what I do.”

• Allan Dykstra homered twice and Cesar Puello returned from a weeklong absence caused by a finger injury as Binghamton split a doubleheader at Richmond. Robbie Shields homered in a five-run fourth as St. Lucie beat Charlotte, 5-4. Seventh-round pick Matt Oberste had his first professional homer, but Brooklyn lost to Staten Island, 5-2. Read the full minor league recap here.

• First-round pick Dominic Smith began working out Wednesday in Port St. Lucie in advance of the Gulf Coast League season, which begins today. The Mets confirmed they had signed their top 14 picks.

Scott Atchison (groin) landed on the DL before Wednesday’s game to cap a flurry of moves in a 24-hour period. That included acquiring Young for Collin McHugh, promoting Andrew Brown, designating for assignment Collin Cowgill, placing Justin Turner (side) on the DL and temporarily demoting Wheeler to Las Vegas until Tuesday’s scheduled start at the Chicago White Sox. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Brian McCann told ESPNNewYork.com that Wheeler is a future ace, while Chipper Jones tweeted he prefers retirement to having to face Harvey and Wheeler.


Courtesy of Wheeler familyZack Wheeler pitched at East Paulding (Ga.) High. His high school coach attended his major league debut.


Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post visited Dallas, Ga., the day after Wheeler’s start and talks to the phenom’s high school coach, Tony Boyd. Writes Vaccaro;

Yesterday, the town was buzzing about its favorite son. A mother pointed to the scoreboard beyond left field, which Wheeler donated, and a couple of older men in VFW hats and folding chairs talked about listening to the game on the radio Tuesday night.

And Tony Boyd basked in the memory of the one who takes his breath away, still, four years after he last threw a fastball for him. He hadn’t bothered Wheeler after the game, didn’t want to add to the crush of people around him, so he texted him a simple message: “I was there last night. You were great.”

“Coach,” Wheeler responded, “thanks for coming.”

If only the kid knew: that’s exactly what the old coach has been thinking for the last seven years. Savoring every second.

Neil Best in Newsday reports SNY had a season-high 3.23 percent of New York area homes tune in for Wheeler’s debut. The network had been averaging less than 2.0 percent this season. Harvey last year had a 3.46 percent rating for his debut.

Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post about Super Tuesday:

It is amazin’ what a little bit of hope can do. The Mets, even with a doubleheader win [Tuesday], are tied for the fourth-worst record in the majors. Yet, just having the combo of Harvey/Wheeler pitch, and pitch well, makes the whole atmosphere around the club at least a little brighter.

If you are a Met fan, you can dream that June 18, 2013 was a beachhead, a day when the organization began going in a better direction. It was a day when both Harvey and Wheeler earned victories, and a fan base felt like winners again -- at least for 24 hours.

Look, the Mets are still not good enough. There are just too many holes in the lineup and bullpen, too much negative karma still to reverse. But there always has to be a start to something good, and in baseball that start usually begins with talent. And we already knew about Harvey’s talent and now we have glimpsed the skill of Wheeler and it no longer is some far-off blueprint about them uniting.

Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger breaks down Wheeler’s pitch selection in his debut.

Ruben Tejada, on the DL with a right quadriceps strain, is not progressing well.

• Prospect Luis Mateo underwent Tommy John surgery last week.

• WTOC in Savannah catches up with 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo here.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear examines the "ordeal" of yet another Marcum defeat.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to play for the Mets was born on this date, but Nicole Kidman and Lionel Richie celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets pull the trigger now and make it a five-man rotation?

Is Chipper a closet Mets fan?

June, 19, 2013
6/19/13
12:02
PM ET

Morning briefing: 3 days 'til Grapefruit play

February, 20, 2013
2/20/13
6:39
AM ET
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Only a few more days of tedious activity, then games get under way.

The Mets have an intrasquad game Friday. They then open Grapefruit League play Saturday, with Shaun Marcum and Zack Wheeler on the mound against Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• Outfield prospect Cesar Puello, who is in major league camp, as well as ex-Met Fernando Martinez have been linked to the South Florida lab that allegedly supplied performance enhancing drugs to professional ballplayers, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reports. Read more in the Daily News, Post and Newsday.


Adam Rubin
Daniel Murphy received a cortisone injection Tuesday, a major league source tells ESPNNewYork.com.


Daniel Murphy received a cortisone shot Tuesday in New York for his ailing side muscle, a major league source told ESPNNewYork.com. Read more in the Record.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post notes Ruben Tejada has gravitated to Johan Santana during spring training because there’s a comfort level in their shared Hispanic heritage. Davidoff notes that the Mets, often the most diverse team in MLB under Omar Minaya, now may open the season with few Hispanic players. The candidates in descending order of likelihood: Santana, Tejada, Frank Francisco, Pedro Feliciano, Jeurys Familia, Jordany Valdespin and Jenrry Mejia.

“I’ve wanted to put the best players on the field,” Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi told Davidoff. “Not only in life, but if you put a team together, if you start to look at those things, you’re really limiting yourself. I’ve been color-blind when it comes to a team. Sometimes, it’s cyclical. Sometimes, you look up and you have more Latin players than you had in the past. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you have more African-Americans.”

• The Mets are eyeing the weekend for Francisco (elbow inflammation) to resume throwing a baseball, ESPNNewYork.com has learned. Read more on Francisco in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

• Feliciano threw batting practice Tuesday as he gears up to try to prove he’s worthy of joining Josh Edgin as the left-handers in the Mets’ bullpen. Read more at MLB.com.

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger profiles Greg Burke, whose decision to convert to a submarine delivery at the end of last year’s spring training under the tutelage of Rick Peterson salvaged Burke’s career.

• Marc Carig in Newsday notes Marcum was a college shortstop at Missouri State who dabbled as a closer. "He's smart enough to know that he doesn't throw 92, 93," said Ricciardi, who drafted Marcum while Blue Jays GM. "But he knows how to set up hitters and he's just got a pretty good idea of who he is and what he is on the mound. When you understand that as a player, it helps you get results faster than trying to be something that you're not."

• Catcher John Buck talks about his entrepreneurial side with Jared Diamond in the Journal. Buck discusses the case he developed with relatives and is selling online to protect wear and tear on catchers’ gloves.

• Pitching coach Dan Warthen praised Buck to Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. “He got my attention right way,” Warthen told Ackert. “He wanted to talk about pitching. He called me this winter and we met in Hawaii. He is on board 100 percent. He brings great ideas, things maybe I didn’t think about that he has used in the past. We’re sharing ideas nicely.”

David Wright tells Harvey Araton in the Times why he remained a Met, aside from the $138 million.

• Andy Martino in the Daily News writes about Terry Collins being in the last year of a contract:

Sandy Alderson’s front office does not, as a rule, believe in dealing with a manager’s contract in-season. I am told that it will take an extraordinarily bad situation, far worse than a losing record, for Collins to be fired during the year -- but it is also nearly impossible to imagine an extension before October.

So why didn’t they protect him this past offseason by adding a year to his deal? That’s where the PR element came in; it simply would have looked odd, the Mets believe, to have extended a manager after two losing seasons, even if he was well-liked.

• Outfield coach Tom Goodwin tells Mike Puma in the Post he won’t have Lucas Duda play as shallow this year when Duda mans left field, since Duda was not comfortable doing so in right field in 2012.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record notes reliever LaTroy Hawkins is still going strong at 40 years old.

• The Braves will retire Chipper Jones’ No. 10 on June 28, before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Other retired Braves numbers: Hank Aaron (No. 44), Dale Murphy (No. 3) and Greg Maddux (No. 31). Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

From the bloggers ... A Star Trek homage as Mets Police imagines A-Rod signing with the Mets back in 2001. … Mets Merized focuses on Long Islanders/Mets prospects Steven Matz and Cam Maron and their New York roots.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Met Livan Hernandez celebrates a birthday. It’s officially listed as No. 38. … Shane Spencer, who they still remember at Big Apple Pizza in Port St. Lucie (along with Karim Garcia), turns 41.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: If Daniel Murphy needed to miss regular-season games, whom would you prefer log the bulk of the action in his absence: Justin Turner, Jordany Valdespin, Brandon Hicks, Wilmer Flores or Reese Havens?

Please use the comments section to weigh in

Chipper, in NYC, confesses unretire 'itch'

January, 20, 2013
1/20/13
1:25
PM ET

Kevin Liles/US Presswire
Chipper Jones is staying retired.


During a weekend visit to New York, retired Chipper Jones said Saturday that he momentarily considered a comeback this offseason.

"I love being on this stage," Jones said at the New York BBWAA dinner, where he was recognized for his stellar career. "I've said my whole career: I think if you can be successful in this stage, in New York, be able to tune out all the distractions and have to play some pretty darn good baseball teams up here in the meantime, you can be successful anywhere.

"I actually have a confession to make. I started to get the itch to kind of go back to spring training last week. I was on the Braves' web site, just kind of messing around on my computer. I was thinking to myself, 'You know what? I think I'm going to go down and get me a workout in, see how everything feels.' I was down there for about five minutes and I figured I'd go to Hawaii instead.

"Things don't work at 40 the way they used to."

Salute to Chipper Jones

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
9:16
PM ET

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Chipper Jones is embraced by Hank Aaron during Sept. 28 pregame ceremony at Turner Field.
Chipper Jones' career ended with the Braves' wild-card-game elimination Friday night. Here's a summary of the Mets killer's Hall of Fame career, prepared by ESPN Stats & Information:

* Selected with 1st overall pick of 1990 MLB draft by Braves
* 1999 National League MVP
* 1995 World Series champion
* Eight-time All-Star (1996-98, 2000-01, 2008, 2011, 2012)
* Two-time Silver Slugger (1999-2000)

Among active players, only Derek Jeter and Jones have played at least 2,300 games while only playing for one team.

Most Career Games Played
One Team, Active Players

Jeter 2,585
Jones 2,499
Todd Helton 2,123

Chipper Jones
Career Ranks Among Switch-Hitters, MLB History

BA .303 2nd
HR 468 3rd
RBI 1,623 2nd
Runs 1,619 4th
Games played 2,499 6th
Total bases 4,755 3rd
>> Min. 1,000 games played

Most Career Home Runs
Switch Hitters, MLB History

Mickey Mantle 536
Eddie Murray 504
Chipper Jones 468
Lance Berkman 360
Chili Davis 350

Chipper Jones Career Ranks
Braves Franchise History

OBP .401 1st<<
Slug pct .529 3rd<<
OPS .930 2nd
Games played 2,499 2nd
Runs 1,619 2nd
Hits 2,726 2nd
Total bases 4,755 2nd
HR 468 3rd
RBI 1,623 2nd
>> Min. 1,000 games played

2nd to One
Chipper Jones Braves All-Time Ranks

Games 2,499 2nd
PA 10,614 2nd
At-bats 8,982 2nd
Hits 2,726 2nd
OBP .401 2nd
OPS .930 2nd
Runs 1,619 2nd
RBI 1,623 2nd
Singles 1,671 2nd
Doubles 549 2nd
Total bases 4,755 2nd
Runs created 1,965 2nd
>> 2nd in all categories to Hank Aaron

Chipper Jones Notable Career Moments:
* June, 1990: Selected as first overall pick in 1990 MLB Draft

* May 9, 1995: Hit first career HR, off Mets pitcher Josias Manzanillo, in top of the ninth to give Braves 3-2 lead.

* Oct. 1, 1998: Hit a walk-off single to left field off the Cubs’ Terry Mulholland, giving Braves 2-1 win in Game 2 of NLDS.

* Sept. 21-23, 1999: The Braves led the National League East by only one game as they entered a three-game September series against the Mets, the team that was right on their heels. Atlanta swept the series at Turner Field, though, largely thanks to Jones, who hit four homers and drove in seven of the 13 runs the Braves scored. For the season, he hit .400 with a .510 on-base percentage, a 1.000 slugging percentage and seven home runs against the Mets. Jones would win the 1999 NL MVP.

* Oct. 9, 2001: Hit three-run HR off Billy Wagner in bottom of the eighth in the 2001 NLDS, breaking a 3-3 tie in a game the Braves would go on to win 7-4 and a series they’d sweep 3-0.

* Oct. 4, 2003: Hit two two-run homers in Game 4 of 2003 NLDS vs Cubs.

* Sept. 2, 2012: Jones hit the final regular-season home run of his career, a three-run walk-off shot against Jonathan Papelbon to cap an 8-7 win over the Phillies. Jones finishes with 468 regular-season homers.

* Oct. 5, 2012: Plays in final game -- a 6-3 loss to the Cardinals in NL Wild Card Game. Jones singled with two outs in the ninth inning to keep the game alive.

** Jones made a living off of dominating his divisional opponents. Jones posted some of his best career marks against the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. And while he’s more well-known for his exploits against the Mets -- going so far as to name his child after the Mets’ stadium (Shea) -- he actually had more success against the Phillies.

Chipper Jones
Career vs Mets and Phillies

NYM PHI
PA 1,019 1,026
BA .309 .331
OBP .406 .441
Slug pct .543 .596
HR 49 49
RBI 159 152

Chipper Jones Career Ranks
Among 1st Overall Picks, MLB History

BA .303 2nd
OPS .930 2nd
HR 468 3rd
>> Minimum 3,000 AB

Most Career Home Runs
Among 1st Overall Picks, MLB History

Year Drafted
Alex Rodriguez 647 1993
Ken Griffey, Jr 630 1987
Chipper Jones 468 1990
Harold Baines 384 1977
Darryl Strawberry 335 1980

NEXT LEVEL DISCUSSION

** Where does Chipper Jones rank among the best players whose careers were spent mostly at third base?

Wins Above Replacement ranks him among the top five all time.

Highest Wins Above Replacement
Among Primary 3B, MLB History

Mike Schmidt 103.0
Eddie Mathews 91.9
Wade Boggs 88.3
George Brett 84.0
Chipper Jones 81.2
>> Source: Baseball-Reference.com

The series in Metrics (Mets vs. Braves)

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
9:23
AM ET
Getty Images/Al BelloJonathon Niese made nice improvements in 2012.

Jonathon Niese completed his finest major-league season by allowing one run in seven innings in Friday’s win.

Niese closed with a 2.57 ERA over 66 2/3 innings in his last 10 starts, with his biggest improvement being his drop in home runs allowed.

Niese allowed only five home runs in those 66 2/3 innings after allowing 17 in his first 123 2/3 innings.

Niese finished the season with a dozen starts in which he allowed one run or fewer in six innings or more. Entering Sunday, that rated tied for fifth-best in the NL, and was two more than the pitcher he beat on Friday, Tim Hudson.

Niese struck out and walked hitters at roughly the same rate that he did last season and actually allowed more home runs than he did in 2011.

The big improvement was that his opponents’ batting average on balls in play dropped from .333 to .272.

You may remember that we wrote about how Niese fared poorly last season on fly balls and popups that our hit-classification system categorized as “soft or medium hit.”

The chart on the right shows the difference for Niese from last season to this season. Though the Mets defense left a lot to be desired this season, it aided Niese significantly better in this area than it did in 2011.,

One last note on Niese: He finished with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 3-to-1 for the second time in his career. He’s the ninth pitcher in Mets history with multiple seasons of at least 100 innings and a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk rate.

The others are: Tom Seaver (6), Rick Reed (4), Dwight Gooden (4), Bret Saberhagen (3), Johan Santana (2), Pedro Martinez (2), Glendon Rusch (2) and David Cone (2).

Another mark for Wright
Wright recorded his 175th hit of the season on Saturday, the fifth time in his career that he’s reached that total. He’s tied for the most such seasons in Mets history with Jose Reyes, who had five from 2005 to 2011.

40 for Murphy
Daniel Murphy hit his 40th double of the season. He’s the third Met whose primary position was second base to hit 40 doubles in a season, joining Gregg Jefferies (1990) and Edgardo Alfonzo (1999 and 2000).

The final tally on Chipper
Jones went 0-for-4 in consecutive games to start the series.
It marked the second time in Jones’ career that he had back to back 0-for-4 or worse games in the same regular-season series against the Mets. The other instance was in 2005.

Jones went 1-for-10 in the series. He went homerless in the series and finished without a home run in his final 10 games against the Mets, leaving him with 49. That's tied with Mike Schmidt for second-most. Willie Stargell is the all-time leader with 60.

It marked the first time since the end of 2004/start of 2005 that the Mets held Jones homerless for a stretch of at least 10 games.

Mets morning briefing 10.1.12

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
5:02
AM ET
ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones had a quiet weekend before capacity crowds at Turner Field, but the Atlanta Braves nonetheless beat Jenrry Mejia and the Mets, 6-2, Sunday to win the rubber game. Playoff-bound Atlanta, which staved off division-title elimination for another day, won its major league-record 23rd straight game started by Kris Medlen.

The Mets, who had their rookies dress up as referees with skimpy black skirts for the trip to Miami, now open their final series of the season tonight in Miami. Jeurys Familia makes his first major league start tonight in Miami. Familia (0-0, 8.64 ERA) opposes Josh Johnson (8-14, 3.81) at 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park.

Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon is due to meet the Mets in Miami, according to Star-Ledger beat writer Andy McCullough.

Monday's news reports:


Marc Serota/Getty Images
David Wright wants insight into the Mets' plans for the future before signing an extension.


• In an exclusive interview with ESPNNewYork.com, David Wright expressed uncertainty about his future with the ballclub. He indicated he wants his next contract to take him to retirement. He also noted he would not be inclined to discuss an extension during next season -- so it's an agreement this offseason or he's headed to free agency. Read the news story and additional comments.

Tim Marchman in the Journal makes the case for trading Wright this offseason. Writes Marchman:

A going-nowhere team like the Mets has every reason to move a valuable player like Wright for young talent. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, it no longer will be possible for one team to seriously outbid others for amateur draft picks or international prospects. Recent successes like Matt Harvey aside, the Mets don't have a great record of scouting or developing players, so if they want good, cheap young ones around whom to build a winner, some of them are probably going to have to come from outside the organization.

There are really only two reasons not to trade Wright. One is that it would damage the team's hopes of contending during what's left of his prime, but they don't have any. The other is that it would outrage fans and leave Citi Field quieter than a toaster, but as the Journal has reported, it already is. The only way to win back the public will be to win, and even if the Wilpon family announces tomorrow that the team has been sold to a mad Russian oil tycoon, that's going to take a couple of years, by which time Wright likely won't be what he was.

Josh Thole was struck in the head with a fourth-inning foul ball off Medlen's bat. Despite initial concerns, Thole appears relatively unscathed. He may have escaped with no more than a cut on the back of his right ear. Read more in the Record.

Sandy Alderson joined the Mets on Sunday for the final four games of the season. He planned to meet with Terry Collins today or tomorrow in part to discuss the fate of the coaching staff. A team source told Post beat writer Mike Puma it would be surprising for pitching coach Dan Warthen to be dismissed.


Kevin Liles/US Presswire
Chipper Jones again was treated royally Sunday by Braves fans.


• Mejia allowed a three-run homer to David Ross and was charged with four runs in five innings. Still, the performance was reviewed positively by Collins. Mejia began the year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He is due to pitch in winter ball as a starter in his native Dominican Republic for Licey, but will be capped at 20 to 25 innings, Collins indicated. Read more in Newsday, the Star-Ledger, Post, Record and Daily News.

• Chipper finished the weekend 1-for-10 with two walks. His final plate appearance against the Mets -- and, for that matter, his final regular-season plate appearance at Turner Field, since the Braves close the season on the road -- ended with Justin Hampson walking him.

"The word that I’ve been using all week is overwhelming," Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his treatment from Braves fans. "I don’t know if I’m worthy of all this. I have my faults and whatnot, but when you’ve got that much love in the building, you feel like you’re 10 feet tall. And when 50,000 people are chanting your name at the same time, that’s pretty cool. It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. I got chill bumps more than a few times today. And, as much as I tried to shrug it off and downplay it, there were a couple times where it was a little too much to handle.” Read more in the Times.

• Familia and Elvin Ramirez are expected to pitch in relief in winter ball for Gigantes in the Dominican Republic.

TRIVIA: Who leads the Marlins in steals this season?

Sunday's answer: Wright drove in the lone run on Opening Day, in a 1-0 win against the Braves on April 5. The RBI single came against Tommy Hanson in the sixth inning and plated Andres Torres.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 6, Mets 2

September, 30, 2012
9/30/12
4:28
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: Chipper Jones’ torment of the Mets is over.

The longtime nemesis played his 245th and final regular-season game against the Mets on Sunday afternoon as the Atlanta Braves won, 6-2, at Turner Field. He went 1-for-2 with two walks in the series finale after going hitless in eight at-bats during the opening two games.

Chipper's final plate appearance -- also his final in the regular season at Turner Field overall -- came in the seventh against Justin Hampson. After acknowledging a a standing ovation from partisan Braves crowd by raising his helmet, Hampson walked him.

For his career, Jones hit .309 (265-for-858) with 49 homers and 159 RBIs against the Mets. Fans chanted "Chip-per, Chip-per" as the game concluded.

Sunday also belonged to Kris Medlen, who limited the Mets to an unearned run in six innings. The Braves won a game started by Medlen for the 23rd straight time, the longest streak in modern-era major league history, passing 22-game win streaks in games started by Whitey Ford with the Yankees (1950, ’53) and Carl Hubbell with the New York Giants (1936-37).

Mets starter Jenrry Mejia surrendered a three-run homer to David Ross in the second inning and ultimately was charged with four runs in five innings as his ERA swelled to 5.63. The righty-hitting catcher Ross is due to be a free agent after the season.

Collin McHugh, pitching in his native Atlanta, allowed two runs in an inning of relief.

BAD BREAK: Josh Thole, sitting in the dugout on a day off, appeared to be struck with a foul ball off the bat of Medlen in the fourth inning. Cameras showed Thole rubbing the right side of his head after the shot found its way over protective netting and into the dugout. Thole has endured at least four concussions in his professional career, including one this season after receiving a jolt from Ty Wigginton in a plate collision in Philadelphia.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets, donning football jerseys of their favorite NFL teams (or alma mater Georgia Tech in the case of Mike Nickeas), head to Miami for their final series of the season.

Jeurys Familia, who is due to pitch as a reliever along with Elvin Ramirez for Gigantes in the Dominican Republic this winter, makes his first major league start in the series opener. Familia (0-0, 8.64 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Johnson (8-14, 3.81) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. game.

R.A. Dickey opposes right-hander Jacob Turner on Tuesday. Jeremy Hefner starts the finale against left-hander Mark Buehrle Wednesday.

Mets morning briefing 9.30.12

September, 30, 2012
9/30/12
8:52
AM ET

Adam Rubin
Chipper Jones faces the Mets for the final time today.


ATLANTA -- Chris Young surrendered two runs in six innings, but the Mets were blanked in a 2-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night at Turner Field.

The Mets now wrap up their second-to-last series of the season, with Jenrry Mejia (1-1, 4.91 ERA) opposing right-hander Kris Medlen (9-1, 1.64) at 1:35 p.m. Atlanta has won Medlen's last 22 starts, tied for the longest streak in modern-era major league history. The New York Giants won 22 straight starts by Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell in 1936-37 and the Yankees won that many straight from 1950-53 with Whitey Ford starting. Ford's streak was interrupted by two years by service in the U.S. Army.

Chipper Jones faces the Mets for the final time in his Hall of Fame career. His career numbers against the Mets: .308 (264-for-856) with 49 homers and 159 RBIs. The long ball total is tied with Mike Schmidt for the second most ever against the Mets, trailing only Willie Stargell (60). The RBI total ranks third, behind Stargell (182) and Schmidt (162).

Sunday's news reports:

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post says the Cy Young order of finish ought to be: 1. R.A. Dickey, 2. Clayton Kershaw, 3. Johnny Cueto, 4. Gio Gonzalez, 5. Cliff Lee.

Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News cannot fathom calls for a winner other than Dickey. Writes Madden:

Maybe I’m missing something here. Or maybe I just don’t have enough seams in my head. I’m very perplexed with a lot of my baseball writing brethren. Miguel Cabrera and R.A. Dickey have each respectively had phenomenal seasons, MVP and Cy Young-worthy seasons --- seasons we should be celebrating. But instead many scribes and bloggers across the country have taken to disparaging them, especially Cabrera who has fallen victim to that nebulous (I would say ludicrous) new-age sabermetric stat called WAR.

I’ll get to that in a minute, but when it comes to Dickey I have to wonder if the stigma of being an unconventional 37-year-old knuckleballer is going to deprive him of winning the National League Cy Young Award, when his winning should be a no-brainer. How else do you explain why so many people seem to be desperately looking for someone else to vote for?

Read more on the Cy Young race, including the case for Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, in the Times.

• Writing for the Daily News, Ron Darling salutes Mets media relations staffer Shannon Forde, who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. Writes Darling:

I don’t know how many times I’ve been at work at the ballpark and I’ve told someone, “Call Shannon, she’ll know the answer,” or “Ask Shannon, she’ll help you.”

Shannon Forde just makes going to the ballpark easy for people in my line of work. She does a very difficult job — 18 years in the Mets’ media relations department, from an intern out of St. John’s to now senior director — with long, crazy hours. But she always has a smile on her face and a friendliness you don’t always find in any job, anywhere. She’s always able to take care of something you couldn’t or didn’t do, whether you are a player or on television.

Now it’s time for us to be there for Shannon. On Aug. 2, Shannon, the mother of 4-year-old Nicholas and 2-year-old Kendall, wife of John, and someone dear to all Met hearts, was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She’s 41 years old. Through it, she has continued to work, but we know she’s got a battle ahead of her. I don’t think I know anyone who’s stronger and we are confident she is going to fight this disease.

A fundraiser will take place Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. at Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, N.J.

You can attend an autograph session for $250 that is scheduled to include Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, John Franco, Bobby Ojeda, Edgardo Alfonzo, Al Leiter, Ed Charles, Ed Kranepool and Sean Landeta. There is also a dinner emceed by Darling for $100 that includes open bar, cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. Attend both parts for $300.


Eric Hartline/US PresswireLucas Duda is likely to stick around because the Mets wouldn't receive enough in return in a trade anyway, according to the Post.


For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.hopeshinesforshannon.com or contact Debbie Durante at durantedebbie@hotmail.com or 201-906-9255 or Cindy Santos at tripletmomof3@hotmail.com. To make a monetary donation, mail check payable to "Hope Shines for Shannon" to P.O. Box 3145, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742.

Mike Puma in the Post said the Mets are unlikely to trade Lucas Duda this offseason because he is more valuable to them as a power threat than he would return at this point in a swap.

• Young, who underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder on May 16, 2011, expressed satisfaction about returning so soon after the procedure and making 20 starts this season. Read recaps in Newsday and Daily News.

Jeurys Familia will start Monday in Miami, followed by Dickey on Tuesday and Jeremy Hefner in the season finale.

Marc Carig in Newsday profiles Adam Greenberg, who will bat against the Mets on Tuesday -- seven years after his lone major league plate appearance resulted in him getting drilled in the head with a pitch.

TRIVIA: Who drove in the only run on Opening Day?

Saturday's answer: Matt Harvey and Hefner have earned wins as a starting pitcher this season as rookies.

Rapid Reaction: Braves 2, Mets 0

September, 29, 2012
9/29/12
9:44
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets are locked into a fourth-place finish in the NL East for the fourth straight season after losing to the Atlanta Braves, 2-0, Saturday night at Turner Field.

Chris Young, a free-agent-to-be, surrendered two runs in six innings to complete his 2012 season. He was outdueled by left-hander Mike Minor.


David Goldman/Associated Press
Chris Young finished 2012 having logged 115 innings, his highest total since 2007.


Young has attachments to front-office executives Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta from their days with the San Diego Padres, so you cannot completely discount a return next season.

Still, Terry Collins acknowledged pregame that Young is probably only suited for a starting role at this point in his career, having undergone May 16, 2011 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder. And Young really does not seem a fit for the 2013 Mets.

Barring a trade or health issue, the projected 2013 rotation is R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. While the Mets could use a veteran safety net to go along with Zack Wheeler, Collin McHugh and Jeremy Hefner, that pitcher optimally would be able to swing to a bullpen role -- long relief or otherwise -- if the projected rotation emerges on Opening Day intact.

Young’s final 2012 numbers: 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA. He allowed 119 hits and 36 walks while striking out 80 in 115 innings spanning 20 starts -- an accomplishment since he returned to the majors more quickly than Santana from the same shoulder procedure. The innings total was his highest since logging 173 innings with San Diego in 2007.

Saturday’s outing actually cost the Mets $350,000. Young received a $200,000 bonus for making his 20th start and $150,000 bonus for crossing 110 innings.

Young ultimately earned about $2.28 million in 2012.

He had a $1.1 million base salary, which likely was prorated based on his call-up date. So he would have earned $601,000 based on his June 5 addition from the minors. He qualified for an additional $1.675 million in bonus money based on innings logged and games started. (See full contract details here.)

The Mets placed two runners on base in the ninth against ace closer Craig Kimbrel, on an error by second baseman Dan Uggla and when David Wright was hit by a pitch. But Ike Davis struck out as a pinch hitter and Lucas Duda K'd looking to end it.

LARRRRR-RY, LARRRRR-RY: Renowned Mets-killer Chipper Jones is barely making a peep in his series against the Amazin’s -- aside from drawing raucous reactions from the crowd of 48,310 every time he appeared Saturday. Jones went hitless in four at-bats Saturday and is now 0-for-8 with seven groundouts through two games. Jones plays his final game ever against the Mets on Sunday afternoon.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jenrry Mejia (1-1, 4.91 ERA) makes his final 2012 appearance. He opposes right-hander Kris Medlen (9-1, 1.64) at 1:35 p.m. Sunday.

The Braves will be bidding for their 23rd straight win in a Medlen start. That would break a three-way tie with Carl Hubbell (1936-37) and Whitey Ford (1950, 1953 -- interrupted by military service) for the longest streak of wins behind one starting pitcher in major league history in the live-ball era.

Collins indicated Wright will be given the series finale off.

Mets morning briefing 9.29.12

September, 29, 2012
9/29/12
8:57
AM ET

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Chipper Jones is embraced by Hank Aaron during Friday night's pregame ceremony.
ATLANTA -- On a night honoring Chipper Jones at sold-out Turner Field, Lucas Duda, Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell contributed to spoiling the party. Duda produced a three-run homer in the seventh against Tim Hudson and Niese limited the Atlanta Braves to one run in seven innings in his final 2012 start as the Mets won, 3-1, Friday night before an announced crowd of 51,910.

With Frank Francisco essentially done for the season with what is being labeled elbow tendinitis, Parnell picked up a save for a second straight day. He first secured R.A. Dickey's 20th win in Queens, then capped being the spoilers on what the governor declared was "Chipper Jones Day" in Georgia. Friday's gathering included Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, whom Braves president John Schuerholz labeled during the pregame ceremony "the true Major League Baseball true home run champion."

The Mets' win also ensured the Miami Marlins would finish in last place in the division, even before a season-ending three-game series between the teams begins Monday at Marlins Park.

"The last two days have been pretty exciting, with the energy yesterday and then the big crowd today," Terry Collins said after Friday's win. "It was certainly a great tribute of Chipper and he's very deserving. But Jon pitched an outstanding game. He should be very proud of the season he's had."

On Saturday night, Chris Young (4-8, 4.21 ERA) now completes his season, opposing left-hander Mike Minor (10-10, 4.27).

Saturday's news reports:


Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Jon Niese notched his 13th win in his final 2012 appearance Friday night.


• Niese, who experienced a rapid heartbeat during a June 3 start, confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com that he plans to have a relatively minor heart procedure known as "ablation" after the season to guard against recurrence.

• Did Friday's ceremony honoring Chipper get David Wright further thinking about the value of spending his entire career with one team? Not particularly, according to the third basemen. "It's different decisions for different people," Wright told ESPNNewYork.com, while adding: "I respect guys like Chipper and Derek Jeter and, growing up, Cal Ripken Jr. A lot of it has to do with that reason -- because they're symbolic of their franchises."

Robert Weintraub in the Times wonders if the Braves may end up being players for Wright in the not-too-distant future. Writes Weintraub:

With Jones’s $13 million coming off the books, and with a strong group of prospects in the minors, the Braves could be in a position to make a large offer to David Wright. ... The Braves are owned by the publicly traded Liberty Media, controlled from Colorado by the billionaire cable magnate John Malone. With a coterie of young and inexpensive stars. including Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel, and Kris Medlen -- and with Jones’s and pitcher Derek Lowe’s salaries gone -- the Braves could be offseason players. But the team is eager to re-sign the center fielder and leadoff hitter Michael Bourn and have the versatile Martin Prado play at third base. Although a recent profit statement indicated that revenue is up, the team’s local TV contract lags well behind teams in the league, and Malone is no Ted Turner, eager to pay any price for a winner. The Braves are a small part of the Liberty Media empire.

• Dickey, despite logging 128 pitches in Thursday's win, said he fully intends to start Tuesday in Miami in the second-to-last game, which is his normal turn, rather than wait until the final day. The knuckleballer said he remained glowing a day after winning his 20th game. Jeurys Familia and Jeremy Hefner will get the other starts in the series, according to Collins.

Kim Klement/US PresswireThe Mets have performed surprisingly well supporting R.A. Dickey this season.
Carl Bialik in the Journal notes that despite the Mets' subpar record, they have performed extraordinarily well in games started by Dickey -- so the knuckleballer has not been at a disadvantage being on an inferior team. Writes Bialik:

The Mets bullpen also has summoned its best work for Dickey games. While relievers made Dickey’s last two wins extra-exciting by yielding ninth-inning home runs, he still won both games. In his 15 wins that weren’t complete games, Mets relievers gave up just 2.6 runs per nine innings, half their season rate. Eight times in Dickey wins they yielded no runs and just once, in win No. 20 on Thursday, did they give up more than a run. ...

Five times, by contrast, Dickey has left the game in line for a loss but was saved because of good hitting and strong relief work. (Overall, Mets relievers have yielded 3.77 runs per 27 outs in Dickey starts and 5.39 runs per 27 outs in all other games.) So Dickey’s one lost win is more than offset by five saved losses. On average in the majors, there have been about 1.4 saved losses for every blown win. Dickey, then, got better than usual help from his teammates after he threw his last pitch. Compare that to, say, Kyle Lohse, the St. Louis Cardinal who is competing with Dickey for the NL Cy Young Award. Lohse’s 16-3 record is impressive, but he also had seven would-be wins blown by his teammates, who saved three losses. His record with those would be 23-6, compared to Dickey’s would-be record of 21-11.

Read more on Dickey in the Record and Star-Ledger.

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

Dillon Gee headed home to Fort Worth after the Mets completed their final homestand, having thrown off a mound this week for the first time since July 13 surgery to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder.

TRIVIA: Which rookies have earned wins for the Mets this season as starting pitchers?

Friday's answer: The Phillies presented Chipper with a painting of one of his at-bats against the team.

Ceremony makes Wright yearn to be Met?

September, 28, 2012
9/28/12
11:29
PM ET
ATLANTA -- David Wright watched Friday night's ceremony honoring Chipper Jones from the top step of the visitors' dugout at Turner Field, alongside his Mets teammates.

The question: Will Wright one day be part of a similar ceremony at Citi Field, having been a lifelong Met?

One thing is for certain: Wright, who currently is under the Mets' control only through next season via a team option, said he wasn't pondering such a question or picturing himself in a ceremony like Chipper was receiving as the ceremony took place Friday night.

"No, no, no, no," Wright said. "For me, it was just enjoying the ceremony. I thought it was cool. It's not every day you get to see Hank Aaron. I was just enjoying it.

"It's obviously a cool feat. I respect obviously what Chipper has done. It's different decisions for different people. I respect guys like Chipper and Derek Jeter and, growing up, Cal Ripken Jr. A lot of it has to do with that reason -- because they're symbolic of their franchises."

As for Friday's event, Wright added: "I tried to watch him when I first came up, and I continue to watch him now and try to take some things away from his game. If anything, it was just appreciation (Friday night). Fans showed appreciation, we showed appreciation, because he's had a tremendous, Hall of Fame career. You don't see those types of celebrations too often."

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Braves 1

September, 28, 2012
9/28/12
10:16
PM ET


WHAT IT MEANS: The Braves honored Chipper Jones with a pregame ceremony as he opened his final regular-season home series before retiring. Lucas Duda spoiled the night.

With Tim Hudson breezing through a scoreless effort in the seventh inning, Duda fouled off three two-strike pitches while working the count full. He then launched a three-run homer that ultimately lifted the Mets to a 3-1 win on Friday night at Turner Field.


Kevin Liles/US Presswire
Chipper Jones recognizes the sellout crowd during a pregame ceremony honoring him.


Hudson had appeared poised to work around a leadoff double by Daniel Murphy that inning. Murphy tagged to third when right fielder Jason Heyward dove to rob David Wright of a hit on a sinking liner. After Hudson intentionally walked Ike Davis, Scott Hairston then struck out and Duda fell behind in the count, 1-2.

The ensuing long ball gave Jon Niese his career-high 13th win in his final 2012 start.

The victory also ensured the Mets (73-84) will not finish in last place in the NL East.

Niese surrendered a one-out solo homer to Freddie Freeman in the fourth but no other damage in seven innings. He closed his season with eight straight quality starts.

After signing a five-year, $25.5 million contract on the eve of the season, Niese made 30 starts, matching a career high. He finished 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA while logging a career-high 190 1/3 innings.

Manny Acosta, Justin Hampson and Bobby Parnell closed out the victory. Parnell earned his sixth save this season.

Chipper, by the way, had a quiet night with a spirited sellout crowd of 51,910 on hand. With Hank Aaron and family members including father Larry Sr. and son Shea on hand, he grounded out in each of his four at-bats. The attendance was the seventh-largest in the history of Turner Field, which opened for baseball in 1997, after hosting the Olympics.

Georgia governor Nathan Deal had declared it Chipper Jones Day in the state. The Braves presented Chipper with several gifts, including a promise to install his Turner Field locker at his home and a trip to Hawaii.

WHAT’S NEXT: Chris Young (4-8, 4.21 ERA) concludes his 2012 season Saturday at 7:10 p.m. He opposes Braves left-hander Mike Minor (10-10, 4.27).

Mets morning briefing 9.27.12

September, 28, 2012
9/28/12
6:12
AM ET
R.A. Dickey became the sixth pitcher in franchise history to produce a 20-win season as the Mets completed their home schedule with a 6-5 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon. David Wright hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and the Mets survived Jon Rauch surrendering a two-run homer to Alex Presley in the ninth.

Jon Niese now begins the final turn through the rotation. Niese (12-9, 3.49 ERA) makes his final 2012 start tonight at Turner Field, opposite Tim Hudson (16-6, 3.61) The Braves will honor Chipper Jones in a pregame ceremony, as the third baseman's final home regular-season series at Turner Field begins.

Friday's news reports:

• Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win 20 games since Joe Niekro with the Houston Astros in 1980, according to STATS LLC. He will make one more start this season, in Miami. "The road to where he is today, a lot of people dream it. Few achieve it," Terry Collins said. In the Cy Young race, Gio Gonzalez improved to 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA after allowing three runs in six innings in Washington's 7-3 win at Philly on Thursday night.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau:

Dickey became the third-oldest pitcher to record the first 20-win season of his major-league career when he beat the Pirates at Citi Field. Dickey (age 37 years, 334 days as of Thursday), trails only Mike Mussina (who was 39 years old when he won his 20th game for the 2008 Yankees) and Jamie Moyer (age 38 with the 2001 Mariners) on that list.

Dickey is 20-6 this year for a Mets team that has a 72-84 record. He will be the first pitcher to win 20 or more games in one season for a team that finished with a losing record since 1997, when Roger Clemens was 21-7 for the Blue Jays (76-86) and Brad Radke posted a 20-10 mark for a poor Twins team (68-94).


Writes columnist Ian O'Connor at ESPNNewYork.com:

[Wife] Anne got nervous as she listened to the radio and watched on her iPad in the ninth, just like all of New York got nervous. But soon enough her husband was at the end of a receiving line on the field, chewing on his bubble gum and basking in the moment. "It wasn't long ago when we were just hoping to get to the big leagues and keep the house," Anne said. "My hopes never got beyond job security, and now we have this incredible storybook ending." She was driving the kids to Atlanta as she spoke, driving to meet up with a journeyman who had arrived as an athlete and human being the only way he knew how: The hard way.

Writes columnist Filip Bondy in the Daily News:


Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire
David Wright delivered a tiebreaking three-run homer Thursday afternoon against Kevin Correia.


Aside from a costly no-hitter by Johan Santana, another relative geezer, the likable Dickey has been the warmest, most surprising story this whole season in Flushing. When the Wilpons fervently told fans last March, "Stick with us," they probably didn't visualize Dickey as their best Velcro argument. Then again, they didn't expect their team to be 23 games behind the Washington Nationals in September. The fans came anyway, 31,506 of them, not because they trust or support ownership but because this guy Dickey is a truly fun phenomenon. Dickey is somehow both the first of his kind and the last of a dying breed.

Frank Viola, the Mets' last 20-game winner, who served as pitching coach with low-A Savannah this season, told Brian Lewis in the Post about Dickey: “I texted him and told him I’m happy. It’s a real year of firsts, Johan gets the no-hitter, R.A. wins 20 games. So there’s real hope for the future of this organization. You know there’s something there, that bright silver lining at the end; R.A. is definitely one of them this year.’’ Viola's son, Frank Jr., is trying to revive a professional baseball career with the knuckleball and has received lessons from Dickey.

Read more on Dickey's performance in the Times, Newsday, Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Journal.

• The Mets finished their home schedule 36-45. Overall, they're now 158-166 in four seasons at Citi Field. The Mets' 287 runs at home this season were their fewest since 1994, when they scored 235 runs at Shea. The Mets did benefit from the new dimensions to produce 67 homers this season at Citi Field -- their highest total in four years at the ballpark -- although opponents had five more new homers than the Mets that only would have been out with the new configuration.

"I don't expect them to change again," Collins said about the dimensions. "I just think they made a difference. Certainly we've seen the effects. And I don't have all the documentation about who hit what home runs, and how many last year would have been doubles. But I think it's fair park now. It's still a pitchers' park for me. It's still a big park. There's a lot of room in that outfield. But I think the change of the dimensions certainly lifted the confidence of a lot of guys in our lineup."

Keith Hernandez's mustache is outta here. With a sizable gathering as witnesses just before noon on Thursday outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, Hernandez had his "iconic" mustache shaved. Schick Hydro donated $5,000 to the Brooklyn center where Hernandez's mother Jacquelyn was assisted while dealing with Alzheimer's. Read more in Newsday and the Times.

• Chipper, the all-time Mets killer, faces them one last time this weekend. The pregame ceremony tonight will include Hank Aaron, Dale Murphy and Bobby Cox. Writes Jayson Stark at ESPN.com about the Atlanta third baseman:

All of a sudden, it's here. The End. The finish line. Not just of an unforgettable season, but of a unique and historic baseball career. And now that he's arrived, at last, at the final week of his surreal journey -- at least the regular-season portion -- Chipper Jones finds himself looking backward, looking forward, looking everywhere at once. It's a crazy time. And a beautiful time. He has accepted all the lovely parting gifts.

He has gotten "a little misty" over the ovations he's received, not just in ballparks where they've spent 18 years booing him but from the opposing players who play in those parks. He has clicked on the aerial photos of the giant No. 10 that has been carved in a sprawling Georgia corn field. "My first-ever corn field," he said with a chuckle.


Read more at MLB.com.

Adam Greenberg, who was hit with a pitch in the head in his lone major league plate appearance back in 2005, will sign a one-day contract and get one at-bat for the Miami Marlins against the Mets on Tuesday. Read more in the Palm Beach Post and Times.

• Former Mets coach Manny Acta was fired as Indians manager. Bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., the Mets' former bullpen coach, will complete the season in Acta's role and is a "primary candidate" to succeed Acta in 2013.

TRIVIA: What did the Phillies present Chipper during his final visit to Citizens Bank Park?

Thursday's answer: Seaver became the Mets' first 20-game winner back in 1969.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Carlos Torres
WINS ERA SO IP
2 2.08 11 8
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Lagares .314
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 11
OPSL. Duda .841
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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