New York Mets: Clayton Kershaw

Series preview: Mets vs. Dodgers

May, 18, 2014
May 18
8:04
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke at Citi Field.
METS (20-23, fourth place/NL East) vs. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (23-22, third place/NL West)

Tuesday: RHP Rafael Montero (0-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.38), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-1, 1.29) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-2, 3.00), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-3, 2.54) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (7-1, 2.03), 7:10 p.m. ET

Dodgers short hops

Josh Beckett on Tuesday earned his first win since Sept. 30, 2012. He had been 0-6 in 14 starts. Beckett did not pitch after mid-May last season and ultimately underwent surgery to remove a rib. That procedure attempted to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome -- a pinched nerve affecting his right arm. For the season, the 34-year-old Beckett leads the L.A. rotation in WHIP (1.056) and hits per nine innings (6.3). Beckett is throwing his fastball a career-low 35.5 percent of the time. He now throws a curveball a career-high 30.1 percent.

Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched a four-inning simulated game Friday and will reenter the rotation Wednesday, officially pushing originally listed starter Paul Maholm to the bullpen. That also could push reliever Chris Withrow to the minors despite a 2.77 ERA, because Withrow is not out of options. Ryu landed on the DL with left-shoulder inflammation.

Maholm (1-4, 5.40 ERA) enters the series off a start against the Miami Marlins in which he allowed 10 runs (five earned) on 11 hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. Reed Johnson homered against him on a 62 mph curveball, the slowest pitch resulting in a long ball in the majors since Jose Bautista sent a 61.7 mph offering also from Maholm over the outfield wall on May 28, 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Maholm made three relief appearances in March/April, including during the club’s season-opening trip to Australia.


Darron Cummings/Associated PressEx-Met Justin Turner will be at Citi Field with the Dodgers on Tuesday.


Justin Turner, a surprise non-tender by the Mets on Dec. 2, returns to Citi Field as a visitor. Turner (.230, 0 HR, 5 RBIs in 74 at-bats) started five times at third base in a six-game stretch through Wednesday with Juan Uribe dealing with a mild hamstring strain.

• Dodgers outfielders Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig have combined to hit .354 (79-for-223) with 15 doubles, 10 homers and 40 RBIs in May.

Puig lost a pair of lengthy streaks Sunday by going 0-for-3 and getting hit by a pitch on the back of the leg in his final plate appearance. He had produced an RBI in eight straight games, matching the franchise record previously accomplished four times, most recently by Adrian Beltre in 2004. He also lost a career-high 16-game hitting streak. Showing more strike-zone discipline than a year ago, Puig ranks seventh in the NL in batting average (.322) and tied for second in RBIs (35). The story about Puig’s defection from Cuba, which includes black-market smugglers, was chronicled in April in ESPN The Magazine.

Ethier largely has been the odd man out. With Kemp resting Sunday, Ethier started for only the third time in L.A.’s past 10 games.

Zack Greinke has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 21 straight starts. That matches Roger Clemens (1990-91) for the longest streak in the majors since earned runs became an official stat in 1913, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Greinke ranks first in the NL in wins (seven) and third in ERA (2.03), trailing only Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (1.25) and Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija (1.62). Greinke has thrown six different types of pitches this season.

• Second baseman Dee Gordon leads the majors with 25 steals. That’s 10 ahead of runner-up Eric Young Jr.

• Backup catcher Drew Butera, the son of former major-league catcher Sal Butera, originally was a Mets farmhand. Two years after he was drafted in the fifth round, Butera was sent to the Minnesota Twins with Dustin Martin on July 30, 2007 for Luis Castillo.

No. 1 catcher A.J. Ellis returned from the disabled list Wednesday after missing 34 games with a left-knee injury that resulted in April 8 arthroscopic surgery. Miguel Olivo was dispatched to Triple-A Albuquerque with Ellis’ activation.

Butera, incidentally, has pitched twice for the Dodgers since Wednesday in lopsided losses. He tossed a 1-2-3 inning, topped out at 94 mph and capped the initial appearance with a strikeout of Miami’s Marcell Ozuna. Three days later at Arizona, Butera surrendered a double and then two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth inning of an 18-7 loss. Butera subsequently recorded two outs, including an inning-ending strikeout of Martin Prado.

Adrian Gonzalez’s 10 homers are tied for third the NL, trailing only Troy Tulowitzki (13) and Giancarlo Stanton (12).

Kenley Jansen has 12 saves in 14 chances and has struck out 31 batters in 18 2/3 innings.

Brian Wilson, who looked so dominant in the season opener in Australia, has mightily struggled. Wilson, 32, has a 9.45 ERA and has allowed 18 hits and 13 walks (one intentional) in 13 1/3 innings. He already has allowed three homers -- a total he has not exceeded since serving up seven long balls in 62 1/3 innings in 2008 as San Francisco Giants closer.

Clayton Kershaw has made two starts since returning from the DL, a trip required because of a strained muscle in his upper back. He’d like to forget the latter outing. Kershaw surrendered seven runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Diamondbacks on Saturday. He allowed four extra-base hits in the second inning alone -- matching the combined total from his three previous starts this season. Kershaw came into the outing with a 25-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but issued two free passes in a seven-run second inning.

Morning Briefing: Thor's Day a relief

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
6:36
AM ET

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressNoah Syndergaard makes what may be his final 2014 Grapefruit League appearance on Thursday, after Daisuke Matsuzaka opens the game.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Thor's Day comes on Thursday this week, but it technically also is due to come in relief.

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start in the 1:05 p.m. game against the Washington Nationals in Viera, opposite left-hander Ross Detwiler. Terry Collins plans to have Dice-K and Syndergaard combine to log the entire nine innings. In essence, Syndergaard will be “piggybacking” Matsuzaka with the top prospect’s own start.

Given the Mets may be doing their weekly cuts on Mondays this spring training, and given innings are becoming scarcer, this might be Syndergaard’s final 2014 Grapefruit League appearance.

“I know it’s inevitable,” Syndergaard told Dan Martin in the Post about eventually ending up in minor-league camp. “With the finances and everything, I understand it’s a game, but it’s also a business.”

In starts against the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers, the 21-year-old Syndergaard has combined to allow two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out five in five innings. He could have escaped run-free had Eric Young Jr. -- in his first action this spring training at second base -- successfully handled a two-out grounder by Steve Lombardozzi.

Thursday’s news reports:

• Pitching coach Dan Warthen apologized Wednesday night after Wall Street Journal reporter Stu Woo heard him use a slur once commonly used to denigrate people of Asian descent. Read more in the Journal, Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and MLB.com.

David Wright effusively praised the Atlanta Braves for swiftly addressing the injury to Kris Medlen by signing Ervin Santana for one year, $14.1 million. Still, Wright would not condemn his own organization’s thriftiness.


Enrique Rojas/ESPNBraves owners took one hour to approve the $14.1 million expenditure that landed Ervin Santana, GM Frank Wren told SiriusXM.


Sandy Alderson also did not care to link the Santana signing and the Mets’ situation with free-agent Stephen Drew.

“No. 1, it was a one-year deal,” Alderson told reporters about the Braves and Santana. “And, No. 2, Atlanta has more than one loss from their starting rotation. I don’t think it has any significant bearing on us.”

The most Alderson said regarding Ruben Tejada and shortstop is: “We’ll continue to look at our other options.” Tejada is 1-for-12 with two errors in Grapefruit League play.

Read more in the Post, Newsday, Record and MLB.com.

• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles Wright, writing:

A couple of years ago, in the offseason, [Mets fan Greg] Fedak’s wife, Cheryl, was in Norfolk, Va., on business. She went to dinner and could not find a seat. Wright was there with some friends and had an open seat at his table. She sat with the group, and Wright bought her a beer.

“He’s really down to earth,” Fedak said, “a guy you can relate to.”

John Lannan limited the Washington Nationals to two unearned runs in four innings and retired the final eight batters he faced as the Mets lost, 6-4, Wednesday at Tradition Field. Bobby Parnell’s velocity topped out at 88-89 mph in his second Grapefruit League appearance, but the closer indicated he is healthy and maintained his velocity will rise. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.

Carlos Torres, who had been projected to comfortably make the Opening Day roster anyway, is making the team as a reliever, Collins firmly stated.

• On Thursday, Ike Davis (calf) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) will repeat Wednesday’s outdoor activities that included batting and taking grounders -- again without running, though. Now Collins hopes both will be able to DH on the minor-league side sometime this weekend. Davis and Duda have been sidelined from games since the beginning of last week. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

• Mookie Wilson arrived at the Mets’ complex this week and has been working as an instructor with outfielders on the minor-league side.

• Oddsmaker Bovada lists Wright as an 18-to-1 shot to win the National League MVP. That is tied with Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki for 12th-likeliest. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen is the favorite, at 6-to-1.

Bartolo Colon is a 25-to-1 shot as NL Cy Young winner. Zack Wheeler (40-to-1) and Jonathon Niese (66-to-1) also appear on that list. L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw is the favorite, at 13-to-2.

• Anthony Rieber in Newsday writes a feature about the large volume of mail players get requesting autographs.

• Michael J. Fensom discusses Tejada in the Star-Ledger.

• Former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez injured himself stepping barefoot on a cactus, Tom Haudricourt writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

From the bloggers … MetsMinors.net speaks with Cesar Puello about moving past last season’s Biogenesis-related suspension. … Rising Apple suggests that Santana signing with the Braves should not be a license to bash the Mets. … John Delcos at Mets Report argues the importance of carrying Lannan as a second lefty in the bullpen.

BIRTHDAYS: Johan Santana, who tossed the only no-hitter in Mets history, turns 35. He recently signed a minor-league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, as he tries to return from a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who will win the NL MVP and Cy Young?

Harvey not among NL Cy Young top trio

November, 5, 2013
11/05/13
6:31
PM ET
Matt Harvey did not finish in the top three in National League Cy Young voting.

The three top vote-getters were heavy favorite Clayton Kershaw as well as Jose Fernandez and Adam Wainwright.

Harvey's season ended after an Aug. 24 appearance because of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that ultimately required Tommy John surgery. He started the All-Star Game for the NL.

The Cy Young awards will be announced Nov. 13.

Morning Briefing: Harvey talks limit, L.A.

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
5:37
AM ET

Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesMatt Harvey has a stern challenge against the Dodgers tonight.
LOS ANGELES

FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey is not opposing Clayton Kershaw. But Harvey is facing Kershaw’s Dodgers at 10:10 p.m. ET today. And Kershaw is the primary competition for the NL Cy Young Award. And the Dodgers have won 38 of their past 46 games.

So isn’t tonight a statement game for the Mets ace?

“No, no,” insisted Harvey, who is coming off a four-hit shutout against the Colorado Rockies. “I look at it more as the way we’re playing as a team now. We’re playing really good baseball. I take pride in going out there every fifth day and trying to win. It’s an important game. It’s an important series for us. Obviously the intensity has picked up a little bit as a whole, for all of us. We want to make a good run here. Having a good August is something at the break that we wanted to do. Every start from now on is real important.”

Harvey said he briefly chatted with Kershaw during the All-Star Game and “he seemed like a great guy.”

As for Kershaw being the competition for the Cy Young, Harvey added: “That’s something I haven’t even thought about. We’ve got a lot of games left.”

Meanwhile, Harvey is happy the Mets are back to a five-man rotation. Even though his ERA is a sterling 0.91 this season when pitching on extra rest, Harvey strongly prefers the routine of pitching every fifth day.

Of course, the Mets reverting to the five-man rotation means Harvey might need to be shut down with a week or so left in the season because he has reached his team-imposed innings cap.

Harvey currently is at 159 2/3 innings. He tossed 169 1/3 last year before the organization shut him down following a Sept. 19 start. So he probably has no more than 50 innings remaining. And that may be generous, considering it would mean a 40-inning jump from 2012.

“I try to go nine [innings] every start,” Harvey said. “If they start adding up, and they decide it’s time to shut it down, then that’s their call. I’m never going to want to give up the ball or not go out there. I like the five-day rotation. It’s been like that forever for a reason. If they decide I’ve had enough, then I’ve had enough.”

Harvey begrudgingly sounded like shaving one start off the end of his season would not send him into a rage.

“Maybe one start or a week, I think at that point I’ll feel like I finished a full season,” Harvey said. “But if it was two weeks or three weeks, kind of like it was last year, that’s a different story. Obviously I’m not going to be happy to miss any starts.”

Harvey (9-3, 2.09 ERA) opposes left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-3, 2.99) tonight.

"He'll be pitching in front of 40,000, against a team that's red hot," Terry Collins said. "We know Matt Harvey gets fired up for challenges like that."

Tuesday’s news reports:

Daniel Murphy had a couple of near-misses fielding in what became a three-run sixth for the Dodgers and Juan Lagares struck out on a controversial call a half-inning later with the bases loaded as L.A. beat the Mets, 4-2, Monday night. Wilmer Flores twisted his right ankle during the second inning and is questionable for tonight. Jenrry Mejia took a scoreless effort into the sixth in what became a hard-luck loss.

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

Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada spoke with Jared Diamond in the Journal about getting demoted to Las Vegas at this stage of their careers. “Guys sometimes get hurt, and they never get their spot back,” Wally Backman told Diamond.

• Collins said he has no intention of using Flores in the outfield, but does plan to get him a limited look at second base.

A team evaluator told Mike Puma in the Post about using Flores at second: “He has got pretty good hands and he turns the double play fine, but his range is not good at all. Murphy has definitely got more range, and that’s not saying a whole lot. I really don’t think on a championship team [Flores] can play second. He’s an RBI guy. He can drive in runs. But can he drive in enough to overshadow it?

“There are going to be so many times over the course of a season at second base you’re going to go, ‘Oh, my God.’ Is it going to get any better? I don’t think so.”

Read more on Flores in the Times and Star-Ledger.

• Read more on Harvey’s matchup against the Dodgers in the Daily News.

• Eight Mets visited the set of “Modern Family” on Monday, Justin Turner’s girlfriend tweeted. Kershaw and Jerry Hariston Jr. from the Dodgers also attended.

Ike Davis should get a start against a lefty today or tomorrow. Davis has been an on-base machine, writes Benjamin Hoffman in the Times. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

David Wright remains in New York getting treatment on his strained right hamstring.

• Whether Jeremy Hefner is demoted to Las Vegas or lands on the major league disabled list will not be resolved until after another exam of his right elbow on Wednesday with team doctors, a Mets spokesman said.

• T.J. Rivera had a three-run homer and finished with four RBIs as St. Lucie beat Palm Beach, 8-4. Read the full minor league recap here.

From the bloggers ... Mark Berman at Blogging Mets says there is only room for Eric Young Jr. or Lagares in the Mets outfield in 2014 -- not both.

BIRTHDAYS: Vinegar Bend Mizell, who pitched for the ’62 Mets, was born on this date in 1930. Mizell’s actual name: Wilmer David Mizell.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who deserves to win the NL Cy Young?

Morning Briefing: Harvey Day, Stars edition

July, 16, 2013
7/16/13
1:02
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey Day! In the All-Star Game at Citi Field!

After officially being named the All-Star starter on Monday afternoon by NL manager Bruce Bochy, Harvey is expected to handle the first two innings opposite Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer.

David Wright will bat cleanup for the NL squad.

The All-Stars will parade across 42nd St. at 1 p.m.

Tuesday’s news reports:


Elsa/Getty ImagesDavid Wright stalled in the first round of the Home Run Derby.


• Wright produced only five homers and had a first-round exit in Monday’s Home Run Derby, but the NL captain beamed about the Citi Field atmosphere, likening it to the playoffs in 2006 at Shea Stadium. Pedro Alvarez, who also was eliminated in the first round, said he felt badly about the treatment Wright received in Pittsburgh last weekend. Domonic Brown, snubbed, offered no complaint about being omitted from the event. Read more about the Derby in Newsday.

• Earlier Monday, Wright downplayed playing on an injured foot as the first half closed.

• Jeff Wilpon, while appearing on WFAN, pledged the Mets would spend money next offseason.

"We haven't set a payroll for next year, but I can tell you we're ready to invest with those big contracts coming off the books," Wilpon said, according to Newsday. "We have the money to invest. We're going to invest it prudently. Sandy [Alderson] is going to set a path. There's no predetermined, set way we're going to spend the money, but we do have the money to spend."

• Speaking with the Times during a charity event with MLB, Fred Wilpon addressed a handful of topics:

On Terry Collins: “We all love Terry, who has done a very good job with what we have.”

On Alderson: “We haven’t turned him down on anything.”

On whether the payroll will return to $140 million, like it had been in the past: “I asked Sandy about that. He said he couldn’t invest that much money.”

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw did not appear thrilled Bruce Bochy said Harvey would have been his choice to start no matter where the game was held. At one point Kershaw told reporters about the starting snub: “It hurts.”

• In a very funny skit on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Harvey -- without disclosing his identity -- asked New Yorkers what they thought of him. Watch here.

• Collins acknowledged Harvey will have second-half starts skipped.

• Writes columnist Bob Klapsich in the Record on Harvey:

For one, maybe two innings tonight, Harvey has a chance to pull Mets fans into the organization’s time tunnel -- back to 1984 when Doc Gooden introduced himself to the world with a blow-away fifth inning in that year’s All-Star Game.

Gooden struck out Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon and Alvin Davis with a fastball that might as well have been shot out of a rifle -- that’s how overmatched the American League’s sluggers were. Gooden, only 19, was the advertisement of the gathering storm in Flushing, which is why the parallel to Harvey is so striking, even though he’s five years older.

Harvey is the Mets’ vehicle for legitimacy, smart and articulate and much hungrier for attention than David Wright. It’s no sin for the Mets to milk this opportunity for good PR, even if it looks like they sacrificed a chance to take a series from the red-hot Bucs this weekend. Truth is, the choice isn’t quite so stark.

Writes columnist David Lennon in Newsday:

Harvey may have blindsided the Mets with the nude layout, and surprised even more people by telling another publication of his post-baseball aspirations to be a movie star -- a full 29 starts into his major-league career.

But there's no need to hang up his spikes first. Look at R.A. Dickey. The knuckleballer released a book, starred in a documentary and won a Cy Young Award in the same season. Don't think Harvey wasn't paying attention.

When asked Monday about his inspiration, guess who Harvey brought up? Dickey, a multi-media darling who prepped for his career year by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

"I came up and obviously wanted to do everything I could to fill in for R.A. Dickey," Harvey said. "We knew him not being with us, it was going to take a lot and someone needed to step in. It was a role I wanted to take."

Writes columnist John Harper in the Daily News:

As for Boras, he joked on Monday that Harvey sure is in good company posing naked along with Gary Player, among others, noting that the 77-year-old golfer is renowned for being one of the most disciplined athletes in the world.

Still, a person close to the situation said Boras wasn’t thrilled with Harvey’s appearance in the magazine. On Monday he said he doesn’t make such decisions for his athletes, and chose his words carefully on the subject.

“Each individual athlete has to determine what they want to do when they’re approached about that,” he said. “All I care about is, you can do what you want off the field but it cannot affect your commitment, your focus, your ability to be ready for the next game.”

Read more on Harvey’s start tonight in the Post, Times, USA Today, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Journal and Newsday.

• The Mets actually owe Bobby Bonilla more than the originally reported $1.19 million a year. Read more in the Post.

• An ill-timed subway line fire left the No. 7 train without service as the Home Run Derby was letting out. Read more in Newsday.

• Collins spoke openly about Jordany Valdespin acting immaturely in the clubhouse Saturday in Pittsburgh. The manager said Valdespin’s biggest mistake may have been having the histrionics with Sandy Alderson as a witness. Valdespin wanted to land on the DL rather than be dispatched to Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.

• Wright says Carlos Beltran was underappreciated as a Met. Read more on Beltran in the Star-Ledger.

Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, a first-time All-Star, said Mookie Wilson was a major influence as he was a young player in the Mets system.

• Logan Verrett tossed eight innings and rehabbing Justin Turner went 2-for-3 with an RBI as Binghamton beat Richmond, 7-3. Chris Flexen tossed a shutout as Kingsport swept Burlington. Matt Oberste’s RBI double in the 12th lifted Brooklyn past Connecticut, 5-4. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Turner told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin about the left intercostal strain that landed him on the DL: “I haven’t had any setbacks so far. The process, obviously, took a long time. I was down there for a month. It went a lot slower than I was hoping. You get that cortisone shot and I was hoping to respond to it pretty quickly. It’s one of those things that it takes time. It’s a real small muscle.”

• Forbes ranks the Mets as the 45th-most valuable sports franchise in the world. Read more in Newsday.

• The Mets’ income at Citi Field continues to nosedive, Newsday reports.

• Charles V. Bagli writes in the Times that Citi Field’s neighbors plan a protest today over getting evicted for the development of a mall and other projects to complement the stadium.

• Read a feature on Wright at CBSSports.com.

From the bloggers … Mets Police caught up with some of the visiting mascots at Citi Field.

BIRTHDAYS: Catcher Norm Sherry was born on this date in 1931.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Does Clayton Kershaw have a legitimate beef not starting the All-Star Game?

Kershaw miffed with Bochy's Harvey logic

July, 15, 2013
7/15/13
3:30
PM ET

USA TODAY Sports, Getty ImagesMatt Harvey's selection by Bruce Bochy did not thrill Clayton Kershaw.
NEW YORK -- A week after saying he was fine with Matt Harvey starting the All-Star Game for the National League, especially if it is being played in New York, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw did not sound as pleased on the day of the official announcement.

Kershaw did not seem to care for NL manager Bruce Bochy saying Monday afternoon that Harvey would have been the starting pitcher and "it really wouldn’t have mattered what city we were playing in" because of Harvey's first-half production.

Said Kershaw, tersely: "That's his opinion."

Would Kershaw have been more understanding if the tipping factor was the game being at Citi Field?

"I get it," Kershaw said.

Kershaw added that he would enjoy starting an All-Star Game.

"It's not a goal. I don't really set goals. I don't have any goals," Kershaw said. "It would be cool. I would like to do it. It would be fun."

Morning Briefing: Mets on a roll

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
5:17
AM ET

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesZack Wheeler drove in the first run of his career with a double Wednesday.
SAN FRANCISCO

FIRST PITCH: Their hole is deep, but the New York Mets have been playing good baseball.

After sweeping the San Francisco Giants, the Mets have won 16 of their past 25 games. They have risen to eight games under .500 for the first time since May.

“I thought the energy level has been raised when we got E.Y. [Eric Young Jr.] and called some guys up from the minor leagues,” Terry Collins said. “I think sending Ike [Davis] down got some people’s attention. I certainly think there has been a different atmosphere in the clubhouse. A lot of it starts with David [Wright], his leadership and stuff.

“We’ve played a lot better, and we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got to go into Pittsburgh. They’ve got a real, real good team. They’re playing great.”

The Mets spend an off-day in Pittsburgh today, then open a weekend series Friday with Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.39 ERA) opposing right-hander Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.38). Since June 4, Hefner is 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA and .229 opponent batting average in seven starts.

Thursday’s news reports:

Matt Harvey’s final first-half start will be skipped. Carlos Torres instead will face the Pirates on Saturday at PNC Park. Collins portrayed the motivation as primarily to curtail Harvey’s innings without having to shut him down at the end of the season. Of course, that also further makes Harvey the best candidate for an All-Star start. Wink, wink.

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

Zack Wheeler took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning and earned the win against the organization that drafted him and Marlon Byrd homered for the second straight day as the Mets completed their first sweep in San Francisco since 1994 with a 7-2 win Wednesday afternoon at A&T Park.

“I thought today he was in control of himself, so I don’t think he was out there to show them, ‘Hey, look, I’ve got this great arm,’” Collins said about Wheeler. “I think he just pitched. And so I thought he kept his emotions in check.”

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

• Read more on Byrd in the Post and Daily News.

Scott Atchison is expected to be activated from the disabled list when the Mets open the second half next Friday at Citi Field. Atchison likely would displace Gonzalez Germen in the bullpen. Read updates on Atchison, Justin Turner, Lucas Duda, Frank Francisco, Travis d’Arnaud, Tim Byrdak and Pedro Feliciano here. Read more in the Star-Ledger.


Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News Archive/Getty ImagesHappier Times: Anna Benson as Mrs. Claus at Shea Stadium in 2005.


• In a jailhouse interview in the Post, Anna Benson says after her arrest: “I’m a good girl, a nice girl.” Write Holly Aguirre and Kate Sheehy in the tabloid:

Anna demanded $30,000 while repeatedly screaming, “P---y!’’ at Kris, cops said. She beat her chest with the baton like an ape, smashed her husband’s computer terminal and pulled the gun out of her purse, said Kris Benson, 38, who was traded by the Mets in 2005 and has since retired.

“It scared me,’’ he told cops.

Asked if he thought she’d shoot him, he said, “Maybe.’’

The one-time ace told his out-of-control wife that he had to get his wallet -- and quickly fled to the basement, where he called 911, police said. He then ran out and into the woods until cops arrived.

• Michael Salfino in the Journal looks at recent history to analyze Harvey versus Clayton Kershaw for the starting-pitching nod for the National League. Writes Salfino:

Harvey entered Wednesday fourth in ERA (2.35) and second with just 0.92 batters reaching base per inning via a hit or walk. Kershaw's league-best averages in those two categories are 1.89 and .090, respectively, and he has 129 strikeouts.

Last year, manager Tony LaRussa selected Matt Cain, whose highest ranking was second in hits and walks per inning (eighth in ERA and fourth in strikeouts). And [Bruce] Bochy selected Roy Halladay as his 2011 All-Star starter despite Halladay also failing to lead the league in any of these categories. Cain and Halladay had longer track records than Harvey, though.

That said, Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010 was given the honor of starting his first All-Star Game by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Jimenez's rankings suggest he was rewarded primarily for what baseball sabermetricians consider the most unfair measure: wins. He was 15-1, yet failed to win 20 games.

• Binghamton’s Josh Rodriguez, Cesar Puello and Allan Dykstra combined to go 0-for-7 in the Eastern League All-Star Game as their East squad lost, 5-0, on Wednesday night in New Britain, Conn. Logan Verrett allowed two runs in an inning, while Jeff Walters pitched a scoreless ninth in the loss.

Read the minor league recap here.

• Queens Borough President Helen Marshall is on board with putting a massive shopping mall in Citi Field’s parking lot, the Daily News reports.

• The MTA will have extra trains running to Citi Field during All-Star festivities, the Daily News reports.

• As Anthony Recker chips away at his playing time, John Buck is 6-for-18 in his past four games, notes Richard J. Marcus in the Post.

From the bloggers … Marlon Byrd tells Metsmerized the Mets are going to be good very soon and he would love to stay. … After battling injuries and being bounced back and forth between the bullpen and rotation, MetsMinors.net ponders the future of Jenrry Mejia. … John Delcos at Mets Report opines about skipping Harvey’s start yet letting him pitch in the All-Star Game.

BIRTHDAYS: Short-lived Mets reliever Blaine Boyer turns 32.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets see .500?

Morning Briefing: Working overtime

July, 9, 2013
7/09/13
6:00
AM ET

Jeff Chiu/Associated PressGiants mascot Lou Seal takes a nap during the 15th inning Monday night.
SAN FRANCISCO

FIRST PITCH: In all his years, Terry Collins has not seen anything like this season, between the snow in April in Minneapolis and Denver, the rainouts, and the extra-inning games that have gone 15, 20, 15 and now 16 innings.

“I’ve never even heard of anything like this,” Collins said after the Mets beat the Giants, 4-3, in 16 innings in a game that ended at 3:42 a.m. ET Tuesday. “The games we’ve played, the innings we’ve played, the conditions we’ve played, the travel schedule, it’s unbelievable.”

The Mets’ four games of 15-plus innings match the franchise record, also done in 1968, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And there’s still nearly half a season remaining.

Had the Mets not won Monday night’s/Tuesday morning’s game in the 16th with Bobby Parnell on the mound, Collins said he “probably” would have inserted Jordany Valdespin next to pitch.

The series continues at 10:15 p.m. ET today as Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.45 ERA) opposes left-hander Barry Zito (4-6, 4.44).

Tuesday’s news reports:

Matt Harvey and Tim Lincecum each received no-decisions in the latest marathon game for the Mets. The Mets finally scored in the 16th when Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford had a two-out fielding error.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Times, San Francisco Chronicle and MLB.com.

• After the extra-inning win, Collins and Harvey acknowledged the ace has been dealing with a blister on his right index finger, which prevented him from throwing a between-starts bullpen session.

NL manager Bruce Bochy had all but said Harvey’s outing Monday night was not material to the decision for All-Star starting pitcher, which is widely expected to go to Harvey. Even Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said Harvey merits the start in next Tuesday’s game at Citi Field. Collins said either Harvey will have a shorter-than-normal outing Saturday in Pittsburgh or will be skipped entirely (with Carlos Torres presumably stepping in) so that Harvey can be ready to pitch in the All-Star Game.

Read more on the blister in the Post.

Read more on Harvey expected to start the All-Star Game in the Post and Newsday.

Zack Wheeler is looking forward to facing his former employer Wednesday. Meanwhile the Giants say they do not regret sending Wheeler to the Mets at the 2011 trading deadline for Carlos Beltran. “I played with Crawford and [Brandon] Belt,” Wheeler said. “I got to know [Pablo] Sandoval and [Barry] Zito just from rehab starts and stuff like that. So I know a few of them.”

Jonathon Niese had a favorable medical examination with team doctor David Altchek on Monday in New York and has been cleared to head to Port St. Lucie, Fla., and begin throwing. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Times.

• The Mets were flying Gonzalez Germen in from Triple-A to join the major league club, signaling Shaun Marcum likely will land on the DL on Tuesday. Marcum was examined in St. Louis on Monday for hand numbness and coldness by the same specialist that performed surgery on Gee last July. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

David Wright picked Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper and Michael Cuddyer as his NL teammates for next Monday’s Home Run Derby at Citi Field. Wright’s primary rationale for picking Cuddyer: They’re good friends since growing up together in Virginia.

• The Mets got an up-close view of the plane wreckage at San Francisco International Airport when they landed Sunday night from Milwaukee.

“I took pictures of it. It was pretty devastating,” LaTroy Hawkins told Richard J. Marcus in the Post. “A lot more people could have lost their lives. Just seeing that seawall that the landing gear clipped, man. I am a scared flyer. I don’t fly easily. It is one of my worst fears, flying. It is the first plane crash I’ve seen. I think with my case it is more of not being in control.”

• Kyle Johnson, acquired in the trade with the Angels for Collin Cowgill, went 3-for-4 and scored three times in his St. Lucie debut after a promotion from Savannah. Jared King had two doubles and drove in the tiebreaking run as Brooklyn beat Lowell, 4-3. Rehabbing reliever Scott Atchison made his second Gulf Coast League appearance since landing on the disabled list with a groin injury. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Harvey almost missed the cutoff date for being included in ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue,” which will be available online today and on newsstands Friday. “This came very close to when we were about to go to press,” ESPN senior deputy editor Neely Lohmann told Neil Best in Newsday. “I said, ‘I think this is something we need to make an exception for.’ … Definitely a good decision.”

• Jared Diamond in the Journal asks whether how the Giants build an organization should be a model for the Mets.

• Read a snippet about Mrs. Mets in Newsday.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report notes success can be fleeting for a pitcher, as Lincecum’s travails should demonstrate to Harvey.

BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander George Stone was born on this date in 1946.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: How late did you stay up last night watching the Mets game before deciding to bail?

Bochy: Harvey Day in SF not ASG audition

July, 8, 2013
7/08/13
8:29
PM ET
USA TODAY SportsBruce Bochy did not tip his hand completely, but he is expected to select Matt Harvey as the NL starting pitcher in next week's All-Star Game.
SAN FRANCISCO -- NL manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Matt Harvey's start against the San Francisco Giants on Monday night is not very important in determining who should start the All-Star Game for the league. In fact, Bochy sounded like that decision had already been made.

Harvey is widely expected to get the assignment when it is announced next Monday, the day before the Citi Field event.

"I know which way I'm leaning," Bochy said Monday afternoon. I'll leave it at that. But this kid is having a special year and, I know, he's from New York. All that's been discussed. I'll just leave it at that right now."

Even NL ERA leader Clayton Kershaw said Harvey should get the honor.

"There's no reason, especially if it's in New York, that he shouldn't start. That's what the fans will want. I've got no problem with that," Kershaw told FoxSports.com.

Harvey's second major league start came last July 31 in San Francisco. He allowed three runs in six innings in his first major league loss. Bochy recognizes Harvey has raised his game to another level now.

"We all know about his great fastball, but he has other pitches he throws, too. And he's commanding them," Bochy said. "And I think sometimes it's a matter of a young player getting settled in -- whether it's a position player or pitcher. This guy has got tremendous stuff. Sometimes, it takes a while to get that confidence and that sense of belonging. He certainly has it now."

Harvey has been compared to stars such as Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, but Bochy said he did not want to offer a comp.

"You could mention quite a few power pitchers in there. That's what he is," Bochy said. "He's a power arm and has a great changeup, but he's his own guy. You get special arms like this every so often. He's emerged as one of the best pitchers in the game. They've got a good one there."

Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 7, Mets 2

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
10:46
PM ET
Jonathon Niese and the New York Mets may have dodged a bullet.

Niese departed in the third inning after being struck on the inside of his right ankle with a comebacker off the bat of Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis. X-rays were negative, and Niese is listed as day-to-day with a bruise.

Meanwhile, after knocking out Niese, Ellis finished off the Mets, too. He delivered a game-tying solo homer against Robert Carson in the fifth, then a tie-breaking three-run shot against Brandon Lyon two innings later as the Dodgers beat the Mets, 7-2, Tuesday night at Citi Field.


Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Jon Niese was forced from Tuesday's game in the third inning after being struck in the lower right leg with a comebacker.


If Niese were to miss a start, Collin McHugh would be the most logical option. He is on the 40-man roster, and is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Las Vegas. Zack Wheeler, hoopla aside, walked six in 4 1/3 innings in his last 51s start. Meanwhile, neither Double-A prospect Rafael Montero (3-0, 1.59 ERA) nor newly signed ex-Yankee D.J. Mitchell is on the 40-man roster. Montero doesn’t need to be added to the roster next offseason, either.

CLAYTON’S PLACE: Clayton Kershaw, who typically dominates the Mets, required 111 pitches to navigate five innings. He departed with the score 2-2 and received a no-decision. It marked Kershaw’s shortest outing since Opening Day 2012, when he lasted only three innings against the San Diego Padres.

Kershaw retired the first eight Mets before stumbling against an unlikely batter. Carson -- in his first major league plate appearance, and only the 16th plate appearance of his seven-year pro career -- drew a two-out walk in the third. Kershaw then also walked Ruben Tejada. Daniel Murphy and David Wright followed with consecutive RBI singles as the Mets took a 2-1 lead.

Kershaw is now 5-0 in seven career starts against the Mets. His career ERA against the Amazin’s rose to 1.62.

Kershaw entered the game with the third-best ERA in major league history of any pitcher who had made five-plus starts against the Mets (1.37). That trailed only Doc Medich (0.85) and Mark Prior (1.03).

SUPER SUB: Carson took over for Niese in the third and offered a credible appearance in his longest outing since he was a starter with Double-A Binghamton in 2011.

Carson logged 2 1/3 innings and departed after the solo homer by Ellis.


Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Mark Ellis homered twice against the Mets on Tuesday night.


Carson joined the Mets on Sunday when Aaron Laffey was designated for assignment. When Shaun Marcum is activated for Saturday’s start against the Philadelphia Phillies, it is conceivable Carson sticks around and another reliever -- Josh Edgin (who surrendered a two-run double in the eighth to A.J. Ellis) or seemingly less likely Jeurys Familia -- is demoted.

DEBUTANT: Juan Lagares made his major league debut in center field. He entered in the top of the fifth inning on a double-switch when Carson departed. Lagares led off in the bottom half of that frame and flied out to the track in left field against Kershaw. He finished 1-for-2, singling against left-hander Paco Rodriguez in his seventh for his first major league hit.

WEB GEMS: Tejada, whose six errors have received considerable hype, appears to have turned a corner.

He turned in a pair of highlight-reel plays Tuesday night. Tejada leaped to catch a liner from Andre Ethier to strand two in the top of the third. An inning later, Tejada slid to his left and came up firing to retire Justin Sellers at first base for the second out of the fourth.

WHAT’S NEXT: Matt Harvey bids to become the first Met to earn the win in his first five starts of a season since Pedro Martinez in 2006. The franchise record belongs to Frank Viola, who won his first seven starts in 1990.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, only two Mets have gone 5-0 in April: Pedro in ’06 and Dwight Gooden in 1988.

Harvey opposes left-hander Ted Lilly, who is making his first major league appearance since May 23, 2012. Lilly is returning from labrum surgery on his left shoulder.

Series preview: Mets vs. Dodgers

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
9:15
AM ET

USA TODAY Sports
The Mets face (l to r) southpaws Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lilly and Hyun-Jin Ryu this week at Citi Field.
METS (9-8, third place/NL East) vs. LOS ANEGELES DODGERS (8-10, fourth place/NL West)

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-1, 3.80) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-2, 1.88), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (4-0, 0.93) vs. LHP Ted Lilly (0-0, -.--), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 7.07) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 4.01), 1:10 p.m. ET

Dodgers short hops

• Los Angeles had eight starting pitchers in spring training, but the surplus is depleted. Aaron Harang was traded to the Colorado Rockies, then flipped to the Seattle Mariners, when L.A. seemed like it had a ton of depth. Zack Greinke suffered a broken left collarbone in the altercation with San Diego’s Carlos Quentin (which devolved into Padres president Tom Garfinkel having to apologize for an insensitive comment.) Fill-in Chris Capuano suffered a strained left calf. And now Chad Billingsley landed on the DL Sunday with elbow pain.

Ted Lilly makes his season debut Wednesday, after three minor league starts during which he allowed 24 hits and 15 runs (13 earned) in 17 innings. Lilly is returning from labrum surgery on his left shoulder. He missed the final 118 games of last season. Lilly was ready out of spring training and was upset when he did not make the Opening Day roster.


Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports
Zack Greinke suffered a broken left collarbone courtesy of Carlos Quentin.


Stephen Fife made his season debut Sunday in Baltimore, plugging another rotation spot.

Clayton Kershaw publicly said he did not want to negotiate a contract extension in-season, but the sides are believed to have continued talking hush-hush beyond Opening Day.

Kershaw became the second-youngest Dodger to reach 1,000 career strikeouts on Wednesday, at 25 years, 29 days. Fernando Valenzuela accomplished that feat at age 24 years, 303 days.

Kershaw enters the Citi Field outing off a loss to San Diego in which he matched a career high by surrendering three homers. Still, Kershaw has been exceptional this season. He is not getting run support. L.A. has scored a combined seven runs in his four starts.

Kershaw is 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.

• The Dodgers acquired catcher Ramon Hernandez from the Rockies on April 6 for Harang. The trade brought in a backup for A.J. Ellis that will allow 25-year-old catcher Tim Federowicz to get regular playing time in Triple-A. All three were on the active roster this weekend in Baltimore, but that is expected to change.

Hyun-Jin Ryu was named to seven straight South Korean All-Star teams before joining the majors this season. He is viewed as a No. 3 of 4 starter. The Dodgers paid a $25.7 million posting fee to Ryu’s South Korean club, plus owe him $36 million in salary over six years.

Hanley Ramirez, who is on the disabled list after undergoing right thumb surgery, may return quickly -- by the end of the month -- after initial projections of mid-May. Ramirez suffered the injury in the final game of the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic championship run, while diving awkwardly for a groundball.

L.A. has not announced whether Ramirez will play shortstop or third base when he returns, although the educated guess is shortstop. Both spots having gaping voids. Shortstop Justin Sellers is hitting .174. Third baseman Luis Cruz is hitting .087.

• The Dodgers took on $250 million in payroll in the Aug. 25, 2012 mega-trade with the Boston Red Sox that brought in Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto.

• Cuban defector Yasiel Puig -- who signed for $42 million -- is hitting .333 with three homers and nine RBIs through 48 at-bats with Double-A Chattanooga. The 22-year-old right fielder may eventually make Andre Ethier expendable -- or, perhaps, Matt Kemp … if Kemp continues to struggle. Puig is briefly sidetracked in the Southern League because of a sprained left thumb.

• The struggling Kemp -- who finished second in MVP balloting just two years ago, behind Ryan Braun -- injured his shoulder last August in Colorado and had left surgery for a partially torn labrum in October. He had only one Cactus League homer and has not gone deep this season. Kemp is signed through 2019.

• The Dodgers’ most common batting order:

Crawford, lf
Mark Ellis, 2b
Kemp, cf
Gonzalez, 1b
Ethier, rf
Ellis, c
Cruz, 3b
Sellers, ss

• The Dodgers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 7-4 win Sunday at Baltimore. Kemp, who started the season slowly, went 3-for-5 to lift his average to .235. He produced his sixth RBI.

• Manager Don Mattingly appears on the hot seat. His 2014 option has not been picked up.

Morning briefing: Harvey misses Kershaw

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
5:07
AM ET

USA TODAY Sports
Clayton Kershaw pitches at Citi Field on Tuesday, while Matt Harvey's outing against L.A. waits until the following day.
FIRST PITCH: Citi Field narrowly will miss another marquee matchup involving Matt Harvey this week.

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for Tuesday’s series opener against the Mets opposite Jonathon Niese. Harvey’s next trip to the mound after out-dueling Stephen Strasburg waits until Wednesday, opposite ex-Yankee Ted Lilly.

Jeremy Hefner is expected to oppose 26-year-old South Korean Hyun-Jin Ryu in the series finale.

The upcoming meeting with the Dodgers marks the first series of three-plus games in which the Mets face exclusively southpaw starters since June 9-11, 2009 against the Philadelphia Phillies (J.A. Happ, Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer).

The Mets and L.A. are off today before beginning the midweek series.

Monday’s news reports:

Shaun Marcum is due to throw 70 pitches today in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Assuming Marcum (neck/shoulder) clears that hurdle, he is due to be activated from the disabled list Saturday to face the Phillies at Citi Field.


USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Laffey (left) has been designated for assignment, with Robert Carson (center) promoted and Shaun Marcum (right) looming Saturday.


With Marcum nearing a return, the Mets designated fill-in Aaron Laffey for assignment and promoted left-handed reliever Robert Carson from Triple-A Las Vegas. Laffey had surrendered a three-run homer to Adam LaRoche on Saturday in relief of Hefner. That upped Laffey’s ERA to 7.20 in four appearances (two starts).

Carson had been 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in eight relief appearances with Las Vegas. Lefty batters hit .077 (1-for-13) with five strikeouts and one walk against him in the Pacific Coast League.

Read more in the Times, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

Dillon Gee tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings to earn his first win since July 13, 2012 -- before undergoing surgery to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder -- and the Mets won Sunday’s rubber game against Washington, 2-0.

Scott Rice allowed a pair of baserunners to reach to open the eighth inning and then fell behind Jayson Werth 3-0. But Rice coaxed a double-play groundout from Werth, who was ill-advisedly swinging on the next pitch. Rice then struck out Bryce Harper to preserve the two-run lead.

“I was caught up in the moment,” Werth said about swinging on the 3-0 pitch, according to Adam Kilgore in The Washington Post. “Looking back, I was trying to do too much. I was trying to win the game right there. That’s it, really. We can sit here and talk about the situation. I was just trying to do too much. The situation got the best of me. That’s probably one of the dumber things I’ve done on the field in a while. Look no further than right here. We had a chance to win the game. I feel like I pretty much blew it.”

Bobby Parnell tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save. John Buck produced his seventh homer and 22nd RBI, on a solo shot in the second inning against Jordan Zimmermann that opened the scoring.

Buck is now four RBIs shy of matching Jeff Kent’s franchise record for the opening month of a season. Kent had 26 RBIs for the Mets in April 1994.

Buck’s homer measured 448 feet, according to hittrackeronline.com. That is the longest by a righty-hitting Met and third-longest by a righty hitter overall at Citi Field since the ballpark opened in 2009, according to ESPN Stats & Info’s Mark Simon. The only two longer were produced by Giancarlo Stanton (465 feet) and Mark Reynolds (462 feet).

The Mets (9-8) moved back above .500 with Sunday’s rubber-game win. Last season the Mets went 4-14 against the Nats.

The Mets had lost the last seven series to Washington dating back to 2011.

The last time they had lost that many consecutive series to the same opponent? That spanned August 2002 through May 2006, when the Mets lost eight straight series to the St. Louis Cardinals, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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

• Terry Collins says he will not move Lucas Duda from the No. 6 slot to cleanup, displacing Ike Davis, even though Duda has a .475 on-base percentage and .659 slugging percentage to Davis’ .254/.317.

“This game is all about confidence,” Collins said. “Lucas Duda is feeling pretty good. I don't want to change that. One thing I don't want to do right now is put him in a situation where he thinks he's got to do more than he's doing at this particular moment.”

• Tim Marchman in the Journal dismisses Ruben Tejada’s six April errors as either irrelevant or unimportant. Writes Marchman:

Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, for instance, has made seven first-month errors each of the last three years. Over that time, he's averaged -4 defensive runs per season, which, given the imprecision of fielding statistics, rates as basically normal. The others who have made a half-dozen or more errors by May 1 are Elvis Andrus, Ian Desmond and Alcides Escobar; in all, they and Castro graded out as slightly above-average in the years where they had botch-prone Aprils.

Conversely, shortstops who consistently rated badly, like Yuniesky Betancourt and, yes, Derek Jeter, weren't especially error prone at the beginning of the year. This goes to show why judging a fielder by April errors is a bit like judging pitchers by April losses.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News noted Gee's performance offered a sigh of relief.

• Alonzo Harris went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and Logan Verrett improved to 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA as Binghamton clubbed New Hampshire, 15-2. Hansel Robles, Jim Fuller and Chasen Bradford combined on a six-hit shutout as St. Lucie beat Charlotte, 1-0. Collin McHugh allowed four runs on 13 hits in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision as Las Vegas lost at Colorado Springs, 8-7. Read the minor league recap here.

From the bloggers … Keith from Mets Police brought a friend from England to her first baseball game. She compared the atmosphere at Citi Field to that of a soccer game back home. … Faith and Fear in Flushing believes Harvey lit up a fan base and transformed a facility into a ballpark on Friday night.

BIRTHDAYS: No one to appear for the Mets was born on this date, but Jack Nicholson, Brazilian soccer play Kaka and Peter Frampton all celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Would you rather Matt Harvey and Clayton Kershaw square off? Or are the Mets better off with Harvey not lining up against another ace?

Dickey's Cy competition a near match

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
10:00
AM ET
The NL Cy Young race is intriguing, as the three finalists are very different in pitching style, but very similar in statistical accomplishments.

The case could be made for any of the three. The winner will be announced on Wednesday night.

Let’s look closely at the advantages for each.

The case for Clayton Kershaw

The Los Angeles Dodgers lefty’s win total wasn’t as gaudy as either of his competitors, but he fared better in other traditional and advanced statistical measures.

Kershaw led the NL in both ERA and WHIP. One neat thing about Kershaw’s WHIP is that his defense helped in thwarting those who did reach.

Of the baserunners he allowed, 14 were wiped out either by caught stealing or pickoff, well more than Dickey and Gonzalez.

Kershaw also led the NL in highest average Bill James Game Score. That stat rates a pitcher’s start (usually on a scale of 0 to 100), based on innings, runs, hits, strikeouts and walks.

How did Kershaw thrive? Largely on the strength of his breaking ball. His 156 strikeouts on breaking pitches were 17 more than any other pitcher.

Lastly, Kershaw led the NL in Baseball-Reference’s wins above replacement, a stat intended to show how tough it would be to replace that pitcher.

No one rated more irreplaceable than Kershaw.

The case for R.A. Dickey

The New York Mets' knuckleballer outdid his fellow finalists primarily in the area of accumulated totals.

Dickey led the NL in both complete games and shutouts, and led the majors in quality starts (those of at least six innings with three earned runs or fewer allowed).

He also won the NL strikeout crown by one whiff over Kershaw. That came about largely because of the improvement in his knuckleball location. Dickey got misses on 29 percent of his swings against pitches in the upper half of the strike zone, up from a 17 percent rate in 2011.

Dickey’s biggest advantages over his competitors come in his win-loss record (a .769 winning percentage) and that he demonstrated great control with a non-traditional pitch.

He averaged 4.3 strikeouts per walk, considerably better than Kershaw and Gonzalez.

The case for Gio Gonzalez

The Washington Nationals lefty made a great transition from the AL to the NL.

Gonzalez led the NL with 21 wins. Though some might say that doesn’t measure pitching performance well, he has other numbers to back up his efforts.

They include the highest strikeout rate in the NL and the lowest opponents’ OPS.

Gonzalez thrived largely because of his ability to get opposite-handed hitters out. Righties hit just .199 against him, the second-lowest opponents' batting average in the majors.

Gonzalez’s ability to strike out hitters at a high rate and keep opposing hitters from hitting the ball out of the ballpark led to him also leading the NL in fielding independent pitching.

That stat is an ERA estimator based partly on those two abilities that are key to any pitcher's success.

Dickey finalist for Cy Young

November, 7, 2012
11/07/12
6:40
PM ET
R.A. Dickey, along with Gio Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw, are the finalists for the National League Cy Young Award.

The winner will be announced next Wednesday.

Dickey told Newsday extension talks with the Mets had progressed, but a team insider said neither the knuckleballer nor David Wright was close to signing a long-term deal.

• The Mets reportedly have re-signed Mike Nickeas to a minor league contract with spring-training invite.

Dickey edged for ERA title

October, 3, 2012
10/03/12
9:47
PM ET

Getty Images/US Presswire
Clayton Kershaw won the NL ERA title, while R.A. Dickey led the league in strikeouts and Gio Gonzalez had a league-high 21 wins.
MIAMI -- Clayton Kershaw limited the San Francisco Giants to one run on three hits in eight innings on Wednesday night to finish the season with a 2.53 ERA, best in the National League. R.A. Dickey will finish second in that category, at 2.73.

Kershaw also posted eight strikeouts, giving him 229 for the season. That fell one shy of Dickey's league-leading 230.

Washington's Gio Gonzalez led the NL with 21 wins.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
8 3.99 89 121
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .294
HRL. Duda 14
RBIL. Duda 49
RD. Murphy 56
OPSL. Duda .832
ERAJ. Niese 2.96
SOZ. Wheeler 105