New York Mets: Dan Straily

Series preview: Mets at A's

August, 19, 2014

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets draw a pair of aces when they face Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija in Oakland.
METS (59-67, fourth place/NL East) vs. OAKLAND ATHLETICS (73-51, second place/AL West)

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-5, 3.69) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (13-5, 2.78), 10:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (8-8, 3.49) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (5-9, 2.96), 3:35 p.m. ET

A’s short hops

• Oakland enters the series on a season-high five-game skid and losers of seven of eight. The A’s were swept by the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field last weekend. Oakland, still comfortably in a playoff position, dropped a half-game behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West as a result. On Saturday, the A’s lost sole possession of first place in the division for the first time since April 28. They had been alone atop the standings for 106 consecutive days.

Jon Lester, acquired from the Boston Red Sox on July 31 along with outfielder Jonny Gomes, had been 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA since the trade until allowing four runs (three earned) in six-plus innings on Sunday to suffer his first loss since June 7.

Ed Zurga/Associated PressThe A's have lost a season-high five straight games.

• Since the trade of Yoenis Cespedes in the Lester deal, Brandon Moss has started 10 games, Gomes has started four games and Sam Fuld has started three games in left field. Fuld was acquired at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Twins for left-hander Tommy Milone.

Coco Crisp is batting .118 (9-for-76) with no homers in his past 21 games (20 starts). Fellow center fielder Craig Gentry, who remains on the disabled list with a broken right hand, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Monday, serving as the designated hitter.

• Oakland acquired Jeff Samardzija along with Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs on July 5 for highly regarded shortstop prospect Addison Russell as well as Dan Straily (who hit David Wright with the pitch Saturday in his Cubs debut), Billy McKinney and a player to be named. Samardzija is 3-2 with a 3.21 ERA in eight starts since the deal. He is under A’s control through the 2015 season.

Scott Kazmir's 13 wins match his career high, also produced in 2007 with Tampa Bay. Kazmir’s 2.78 ERA ranks eighth in the AL. He allowed a season-high seven runs in three innings against the Mets at Citi Field on June 24, including three homers.

Stephen Vogt is hitting .355 (11-for-31) with three homers and eight RBIs in his past nine games (eight starts), while manning first base. He previously had been mired in an 0-for-21 drought. Vogt is one of three catchers on the A’s, but has not appeared behind the plate since July 7 because of a bone bruise in his right foot. He is unlikely to catch again this season.

• Shortstop Jed Lowrie landed on the disabled list Thursday with a hairline fracture to his right index finger. Call-up Andy Parrino and Eric Sogard have shared duty at the position in Lowrie’s absence.

• Oakland has outscored opponents by 161 runs. That’s the most in the majors by a wide margin. The Washington Nationals are second at plus-93. The A’s franchise record is plus-239, in 2001.

• Left-hander Fernando Abad has stranded all 23 inherited runners this season. That’s the most in the majors among relievers who have not allowed an inherited runner to score in 2014.

Morning Briefing: Montero's last chance?

August, 17, 2014

Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsDavid Wright's already balky shoulder was bruised by a fastball from Dan Straily on Saturday.

FIRST PITCH: Things certainly have improved for the Mets since the Nationals left town.

The Amazin’s look to keep beating up on the Cubbies on Sunday. Rafael Montero makes what is expected to be his final start for now, filling in for Jacob deGrom. Montero (0-3, 6.12 ERA) opposes right-hander Jake Arrieta (6-4, 2.77).

DeGrom threw on flat ground Saturday for the first time since going on the DL with rotator-cuff tendinitis and indicated he felt good. He is expected to throw a bullpen session before Sunday’s game.

Meanwhile, Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of Travis d'Arnaud's major league debut. He went 0-for-2 with two walks on Aug. 17, 2013 in San Diego.

Sunday’s news reports:

David Wright was struck directly in the troublesome spot in his left shoulder by a fastball from Dan Straily and departed Saturday’s game after six innings. Wright is expected to miss Sunday’s game, if not longer. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Star-Ledger.

• Read more on deGrom’s progress toward a potential return Saturday at Dodger Stadium in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Newsday and at

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News reaches the same conclusion as Javier Baez or Addison Russell is more likely to be acquired from the Cubs than Starlin Castro. Writes Harper:

For that matter, it’s questionable as to whether the Cubs would give up the highly touted Russell.

“But for a young pitcher they see as a potential ace, they might,’’ says an NL executive. “They’ve set themselves up with enough position-player talent to make that type of trade."

Is [Noah] Syndergaard that guy? And would the Mets give him up?

According to the source, it is all still being discussed internally, and the Mets are very tempted to hold onto the best of their young pitchers and try to add offense via the free-agent market, but in any case, they almost certainly will have a new shortstop next season.

Mike Puma in the Post also addresses the Mets at shortstop in 2015.

Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday tackles whether Flores can be a capable major league shortstop.

Laura Albanese in Newsday profiles Baez, who currently is playing second base.

Courtesy of the New York MetsBoyz II Men performed postgame Saturday at Citi Field.

Vic Black inherited the bases loaded with none out from Jonathon Niese in the seventh inning and worked out of the jam unscathed as the Mets held on for a 7-3 win against the Cubs at Citi Field on Saturday. The Mets have now won consecutive games while producing four hits or fewer in each for only the fourth time in franchise history. It also occurred in 1989 and twice in 1976.

Black, initially penciled in as the eighth-inning reliever out of spring training, instead opened the season at Triple-A Las Vegas became of erratic Grapefruit League control. Now, he has stranded 19 straight inherited baserunners.

“For the most part, once the season starts, there’s just something that clicks, competing on this level and on this stage -- especially in New York and with this team and this group,” Black said. “It’s something that always heightens you to the point where you need to be.”

Said Terry Collins: “The bullpen is night and day from the beginning of the year.”

Niese became the seventh left-hander in franchise history to win 50 games with the club. He pitched with a 7-1 lead entering the seventh. He then allowed the first five batters to reach and departed.

“I had an unfortunate seventh inning there,” Niese said. “I just wanted to pound the zone. We had a big lead. And they got five straight hits. It kind of happened quick. I was fortunate Vic got out of it. And our offense did a great job putting up seven.”

Wilmer Flores had a two-run single in a three-run second inning as the Mets (59-65) grabbed an early lead. Flores, who looked sharp defensively Saturday, is due for a day off after 10 straight starts. Ruben Tejada is due to get Sunday’s start at shortstop.

“I told him he was having tomorrow off, so I guess he said I’m going to leave it on the field tonight,” Collins said postgame Saturday about Flores. “He absolutely played very, very well tonight defensively. He made some big plays. … I asked him today how comfortable he was getting at shortstop. He said, ‘Look, I feel good anyplace you put me.’ I thought it was a pretty good statement.”

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and at

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post has this line among his whacks:

Even the most patient Mets fan probably has already reached this conclusion about Matt Harvey at this point: He had better be worth it.

Along similar lines, columnist Mike Lupica in the Daily News writes:

One of these days, Matt Harvey needs to remember -- and that probably means before he hurts his arm again -- that his job is to be a star young baseball pitcher, not some sort of needy celebrity who acts as if he gets the bends when he is out of the spotlight for very long.

• Columnist Filip Bondy in the Daily News tackles the Mets’ futility. Writes Bondy:

The Mets are finishing out their sixth straight losing season, without any visible sense of urgency from Sandy Alderson. This is a difficult accomplishment for a big-market team in the era of free agency. Only the Astros are currently matching that total, season for season, after the Pirates and Royals broke their own skids in 2013.

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed one run in six innings in a rehab start with Double-A Binghamton in Reading, Pa. Collins expects Matsuzaka will get one more minor-league start before being activated from the disabled list.

Wilfredo Tovar had a go-ahead three-run homer in the nightcap as Binghamton swept a doubleheader. Vicente Lupo had a game-ending steal of home as Kingsport beat Greeneville, 4-3. Read the full minor-league report here.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger chronicles Curtis Granderson's ties to the Chicago team in the Little League World Series.

• SNY Kidcaster Contest winner Lucas Simms, 12, talks with the Post.

• Lloyd Carroll weighs in on the Mets in the Queens Chronicle.

BIRTHDAYS: St. Lucie reliever Julian Hilario turns 24. ... Left-hander Mike O'Connor is 34.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who will be the Mets' shortstop on Opening Day in 2015?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Cubs 3

August, 16, 2014
NEW YORK -- Now that the undercard is over, it's on to the Boyz II Men postgame concert!

Vic Black bailed the Mets out of a precarious predicament in the seventh, and the Amazin’s held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 7-3 on Saturday at Citi Field.

Jonathon Niese had cruised into the seventh with a six-run lead, having only allowed a Welington Castillo solo homer, when things quickly cratered.

Justin Ruggiano led off with a homer, and the next four batters singled. By the time Niese departed, the Cubs had pulled within four runs, and the bases remained loaded, still with none out.

Black rescued the Mets.

He coaxed a fly out to left field from Chris Coghlan, and the runners decided to hold. Black then got Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo to pop out in the infield to preserve the 7-3 lead.

Black has now stranded 19 straight inherited baserunners.

Oh captain: Eric Campbell replaced David Wright at third base for the seventh inning, a half-inning after the captain was drilled by a pitch from Cubs starter Dan Straily in the left shoulder blade. The Mets labeled the injury shoulder soreness.

Early lead: After Wilmer Flores drove in two runs with a single to stake the Mets to a 3-0 lead in the second, Straily retired 12 straight batters in his Cubs debut. Things then unraveled for the former Oakland Athletics right-hander in what became a four-run sixth, despite the Mets' producing only one hit in the frame.

With one out, Straily drilled Wright, walked Lucas Duda, surrendered a single to Travis d'Arnaud and walked Matt den Dekker to force in a run and give the Mets a 4-1 lead.

Cubs manager Rick Renteria pulled Straily at that point.

Kyuji Fujikawa inherited loaded bases and immediately experienced a letdown behind him. Center fielder Arismendy Alcantara had Juan Lagares' line drive glance off his glove for a sacrifice fly and E-8, as two runs scored. After an intentional walk to Flores with first base open, Niese followed with a run-scoring groundout, and the Mets grabbed a 7-1 lead.

Buddy! Buddy Carlyle tossed a scoreless ninth to extend his scoreless-innings streak to 11 1/3 innings.

What’s next: Rafael Montero makes his second and potentially final start as a sub for Jacob deGrom at 1:10 p.m. Sunday. Montero (0-3, 6.12 ERA) opposes right-hander Jake Arrieta (6-4, 2.77).

DeGrom is due to throw off a mound Sunday and, if all goes according to plan, should return Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Montero allowed homers to Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond and was charged with five runs in five innings Tuesday against the Washington Nationals in the rookie’s return to the majors. He also made four major league starts in May.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Cubs 2

August, 15, 2014
NEW YORK -- Zack Wheeler continues to look like a budding ace.

Wheeler remained unbeaten in nine starts since June 25 as the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, in Friday’s series opener at Citi Field.

After a pair of walks to open the bottom of the fourth, Eric Campbell bashed a three-run homer against left-hander Travis Wood as the Mets (58-65) overcame an early 2-0 deficit.

Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia shut down the Cubs over the final two innings. The Mets won despite producing only four hits.

Elsa/Getty ImagesEric Campbell's three-run homer made Zack Wheeler a winner.

Wheeler improved to 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA in his past nine starts. He limited the Cubs to two runs on four hits and four walks in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out 10 in a career-high 120-pitch effort. It marked his third career double-digit strikeout game.

His lone issue is an inability to go deep into games because of high pitch counts, in part fueled by the walks. Wheeler has not completed seven innings in any outing during his nine-game unbeaten streak. He has issued 11 walks in 19 1/3 innings in his past three starts.

The damage Friday came in the third on a run-scoring groundout by Anthony Rizzo and RBI single by Starlin Castro. Wood, albeit a solid-hitting pitcher, walked to lead off that inning.

Snapped: David Wright's 13-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-3 night that included one walk. Wright had one extra-base hit during that stretch.

Late-game replacement: Ruben Tejada handled the final two innings at shortstop over Wilmer Flores after walking as a pinch hitter.

Ouch: Travis d'Arnaud was clocked with Javier Baez's backswing on the Cubs rookie’s foul pop-out in the fifth. D’Arnaud remained in the game after a visit from Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (6-8, 3.46 ERA) opposes Dan Straily in the right-hander’s Cubs debut at 7:10 p.m. Saturday. Straily went 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA earlier this season with the Oakland Athletics.

Series preview: Mets vs. Cubs

August, 15, 2014

David Banks/USA TODAY SportsJavier Baez has a ton of homers and strikeouts during his brief major league career.
METS (57-65, fourth place/NL East) vs. CHICAGO CUBS (52-68, fifth place/NL Central)

Friday: RHP Zack Wheeler (7-8, 3.53) vs. LHP Travis Wood (7-9, 4.86), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (6-8, 3.46) vs. RHP Dan Straily (1-2, 4.93), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Rafael Montero (0-3, 6.12) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (6-4, 2.77), 1:10 p.m. ET

Monday: RHP Bartolo Colon (11-10, 3.85) vs. RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-1, 1.79), 12:10 p.m. ET

Cubs short hops

• Right-hander Dan Straily, who was acquired in the July 5 trade that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics, will be promoted from Triple-A Iowa for a spot start Saturday against the Mets. That gives the other Cubs starters an extra day of rest and pushes Tsuyoshi Wada out of the Mets series. The crown jewel of that Cubs-A’s trade is shortstop prospect Addison Russell, who is assigned to Double-A Tennessee. Straily, 25, made seven starts for Oakland this season, going 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA.

• Rookie Javier Baez produced three homers in his first three major league games. However, after a four-strikeout performance Thursday, the hard-swinging Baez has K’d in 17 of his 45 major league at-bats. He has yet to walk. Baez became the third player in major league history to have a pair of four-strikeout games in his first 10 games in the majors, joining infielder Esteban German (2002) and pitcher Norm Bass (1961), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The 21-year-old shortstop prospect was promoted from Iowa on Aug. 5 and has manned second base. Baez’s only professional experience at second base before his promotion came in 16 games this season in Triple-A.

David Zalubowski/Associated PressRookie Kyle Hendricks has a 1.01 ERA in his last five starts.

Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to 13 games Thursday. It is the longest streak by a Cub this season. Castro’s career high is a 14-game streak, done twice. Castro tweaked his left knee this week, but remained in the lineup.

• Rookie Kyle Hendricks has completed seven innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his first six major league starts. He is the first Cub to accomplish that since Frank Castillo in 1991. Hendricks, 24, was acquired from the Texas Rangers at the non-waiver trade deadline two years ago for Ryan Dempster. He has drawn comparisons to Greg Maddux because of his quick pace and a fastball that only has averaged 88 mph. Since allowing four runs in his July 10 major league debut, Hendricks has produced a 1.01 ERA in five starts.

• Left fielder/leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan, a former NL Rookie of the Year with the Miami Marlins, is hitting .345 (48-for-139) with 16 doubles, four homers and 19 RBIs in his last 39 games. Coghlan’s average sat at .139 on June 1 and .206 on July 1.

• First baseman Anthony Rizzo ranks second in the National League with 27 homers, trailing only Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton (31). Eleven of Rizzo’s homers have come on first pitches, a major league high.

• The Cubs acquired right-hander Jacob Turner in a waiver-claim trade from the Marlins on Aug. 8 for right-handers Jose Arias and Tyler Bremer. Turner, 23, tossed 2 1/3 perfect innings Thursday in relief. He could get starts in September in place of Edwin Jackson.

• Outfielder Justin Ruggiano returned to the lineup Thursday. He had departed Tuesday’s game after seven innings and missed Wednesday’s game with a groin injury.

• The Cubs traded Darwin Barney to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 28. L.A’s motivation partly may have been to prevent Barney from being acquired by the rival San Francisco Giants to play second base. Barney had been designated for assignment by Chicago five days before the deal.

• The Cubs traded outfielder Brett Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor-league right-hander Blake Cooper on Thursday.



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187