New York Mets: David Buchanan

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Phillies 1

May, 29, 2014
May 29
10:02
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Now that’s the Zack Wheeler that Mets fans have been waiting to see!

Wheeler retired 14 straight batters and took a scoreless effort into the seventh before surrendering a solo homer and departing as the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in the opener to a five-game series at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday night.

After a leadoff single in the first by Ben Revere, Wheeler struck out the next five Phillies. He finished with nine K's (three shy of matching his career high, set on Aug. 15, 2013, against the San Diego Padres).


Matt Slocum/Associated PressZack Wheeler took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning on Thursday at Citizens Bank Park.


The Mets (25-28) left the Phillies (23-28) with sole possession of last place in the NL East.

The Mets have won their last six games in Philly.

Mets pitchers had tossed 18 straight scoreless innings until Marlon Byrd’s one-out solo homer in the seventh against Wheeler pulled Philadelphia within 4-1. Bartolo Colon and Jeurys Familia combined on a shutout Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field.

On Thursday, Scott Rice, Vic Black and Jenrry Mejia combined for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Mejia stuck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save.

Coincidence or not, the Mets are 3-0 since Lamar Johnson took over as hitting coach.

Wheeler allowed only four hits and did not walk a batter. It marked only the third time in 28 career starts he did not walk a batter.

He was struck on the right hip/backside with a line drive off the bat of Cesar Hernandez in the second inning, but clearly showed no ill effects the rest of his outing.

Wheeler also went 1-for-3 at the plate as Mets pitchers rebound from a dreadful start to the season. Since an 0-for-64 stretch to begin the year, Mets pitchers are hitting .286 (8-for-28).

About the only blemish for Wheeler? His propensity for high pitch counts continued. He required 108 pitches to navigate 6 1/3 innings.

Wheeler’s final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K.

Loaded question: The Mets continued to waste bases-loaded chances, which made the game closer than it ought to have been down the stretch.

Ignited by a bunt single from Lucas Duda with the Phillies playing an overshift, the Mets loaded the bases against rookie David Buchanan with none out in the second. They came away with only one run. Travis d’Arnaud, in his first at-bat since returning from the concussion DL, grounded into a run-scoring double play. Wheeler then grounded out.

Chris Young contributed a two-run homer in the fourth for a 3-0 lead.

The Mets again loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Buchanan then walked Curtis Granderson to force in a run, although Duda struck out and Young flied out.

So the Mets are now hitless in their last 12 chances with the bases loaded. Still, with d’Arnaud’s GIDP and Granderson’s walk, they have plated two baserunners in their last 13 chances with the bases loaded.

D’Arnaud finished 0-for-4, dropping his season average to .189.

What’s next: Rafael Montero (0-2, 4.96 ERA) opposes right-hander A.J. Burnett (3-4, 3.51) at 7:05 p.m. Friday.

TC: Catchers need to pick up production

May, 29, 2014
May 29
5:10
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Travis d'Arnaud is back in the lineup for the first time in 16 days on Thursday night, and Terry Collins noted it's not just him who needs to pick up his production.

"We've got to start getting some offense out of our catching position, for sure," Collins said.

Overall, Mets catchers rank 27th in the majors in average (.217), 24th in on-base percentage (.282) and 26th in slugging percentage (.339). They have driven in 16 runs, better than only the Phillies (14), Royals (13) and Dodgers (11).

D'Arnaud was hitting .196 with three homers and eight RBIs in 102 at-bats before landing on the concussion DL two weeks ago.

D'Arnaud indicated the most difficult thing during his week of concussion symptoms was dealing with noise. He was on the bench with the Mets on Wednesday ahead of Thursday's official activation. D'Arnaud went 1-for-8 with a two-run homer and caught seven innings during his rehab assignment with Double-A Binghamton. His final game for the B-Mets was cut short by rain. The game was suspended in the second inning.

D'Arnaud will switch to a conventional catcher's mask (with separate skull cap) now that he's back. While the mask sits slightly farther away from his face than the hockey-goaltender mask he formerly wore, slightly reducing his peripheral vision, d'Arnaud feels the conventional style is less restrictive. He received his last two concussions while wearing the hockey mask and wants to switch things up anyway.

D'Arnaud's return incidentally gives the Mets a statistical quirk. He joins Jacob deGrom and Matt den Dekker on the active roster, making the Mets the first team in MLB history with three active players with surnames beginning with a lower-case "D."

According to research by ESPN’s Doug Kern, the Kansas City Royals had two -- first baseman Luis de los Santos and pitcher Jose de Jesus -- for two Septembers (1988 and '89).

Taking the fifth: Keith Hernandez steered clear of discussing with reporters on Thursday afternoon fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens' critical comments about the SNY analysts. It was Mex's first time assigned to a game since Hudgens did the media circuit.

Bobby O: Collins plans to start Bobby Abreu on Friday against right-hander A.J. Burnett. The manager might have used Abreu in the outfield on Thursday, too -- with Chris Young on the bench -- had Phillies starter David Buchanan's numbers made it sensible. Although Buchanan is a right-hander, righty batters hit .305 against him in nine Triple-A starts this season (versus .297 for lefty batters).

Collins noted it certainly is easier to play right field at Citizens Bank Park than at Citi Field, which makes prioritizing offense easier. The manager added that he just needs to be careful about overdoing it with Abreu.

"You've just got to be careful about wearing him down," Collins said.

Con'grad'ulations: Guy Conti, who served as the Mets' bullpen coach during the Pedro Martinez era, is back with the big-league club for the three-city road trip. Conti, 72, officially will step in when bench coach Bob Geren takes a brief leave for his son's graduation from Princeton and again when Dan Warthen takes a brief leave for his daughter's high school graduation in Oregon.

Record-setting: Barring a postponement, this series in Philly will mark the first time in franchise history the Mets play five straight days in one road city.

That prompted Collins to recall his days managing in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and Hawaii had a team, which spanned from 1961-87. Because of the extensive travel involved, visiting teams would go there for 10 games. Collins laughed that the visiting team would typically win the first two games and then lose the next eight because of the island's distractions.

The same danger presumably does not exist in Philly, although perhaps the Mets will have to avoid overdosing on cheesesteaks.

More seriously, Collins noted that hostilities can start to rage toward the end of a five-game series, especially if one side -- or batter -- is dominating the other side. So stay tuned to see if emotions stay in check come Monday's finale.

The Mets play 25 of their next 33 games on the road.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

May, 29, 2014
May 29
9:59
AM ET

Bill Streicher/USA TODAY SportsDavid Buchanan makes his second major league start Friday against the Mets.
METS (24-28, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (23-27, fourth place/NL East)

Thursday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-5, 4.63) vs. RHP David Buchanan (1-0, 3.60), 7:05 p.m. ET

Friday: RHP Rafael Montero (0-2, 4.96) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (3-4, 3.51), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-2, 1.83) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.04), 3:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.74) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (1-3, 4.43), 1:35 p.m. ET

Monday: RHP Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.73) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (2-2, 3.76), 7:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cliff Lee landed on the disabled list on May 20 with a flexor-tendon strain in his left elbow. David Buchanan replaced Lee in the rotation. Buchanan, 25, allowed two runs in five innings and earned the win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his major-league debut on Saturday, despite getting pulled at 66 pitches. Buchanan, a former seventh-round pick out of Georgia State, averaged 91.5 mph with his fastball in his debut. He was one of the limited options available. Jonathan Pettibone, who made two mid-April starts for the Phillies, is out with a labrum tear in his right shoulder. Pettibone has opted for a cortisone injection and rehab over surgery.

• Second baseman Chase Utley’s .335 average ranks third in the National League, trailing Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki (.369) and L.A.’s Yasiel Puig (.344). Utley leads NL second basemen in the initial All-Star voting tally. He has 509,390 votes, already considerably ahead of runner-up Dee Gordon of the Dodgers (304,258).


Kathy Willens/Associated PressJimmy Rollins is 13 hits shy of matching the Phillies franchise record.


Darin Ruf made his season debut May 21 after opening the year on the disabled list with a left oblique strain. The righty-hitting first baseman/outfielder started Tuesday over Ryan Howard against Colorado Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg suggested Ruf could continue to cut into Howard’s playing time at first base against southpaws, despite Howard earning $25 million a season through 2016.

Howard nonetheless had success against a southpaw on Wednesday. After a four-RBI performance that included a walk-off three-run homer against Rockies left-handed reliever Boone Logan, Howard is now three RBIs shy of 1,000 for his career. He should need the fewest games of any active major leaguer to reach that plateau. Albert Pujols is the current fastest among active players to 1,000 RBIs, at 1,257 games. Howard has played in 1,227 games.

• Catcher Carlos Ruiz’s .387 on-base percentage ranks second in the majors among catchers, trailing only Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy (.397).

Kyle Kendrick on Monday notched his first win since Aug. 6, snapping a streak of 16 straight winless starts. Kendrick tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 9-0 win against the Rockies.

• Third baseman Cody Asche landed on the DL on Sunday with a left hamstring strain. Cesar Hernandez (.132, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 38 at-bats) has started six straight games at third base.

• Center fielder Ben Revere produced his first major-league homer on Tuesday. It came in his 1,466th at-bat. That was the longest drought to begin a major-league career since Frank Taveras went homerless in his first 1,594 at-bats from 1972-77.

Jimmy Rollins became the 12th active player to appear in 2,000 games on Wednesday. The leader is Derek Jeter at 2,646 games. Rollins ranks second in Phillies history, trailing only Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt (2,404). Rollins had been 0-for-15 before a seventh-inning single Wednesday. That single gave him 2,221 career hits. The franchise record is 2,234, by Schmidt. Rollins already owns the franchise record for doubles (464).

• The last time the Mets met the Phillies, Sandberg alleged he lost six pounds after receiving food poisoning from a Shake Shack burger at Citi Field. Like Lucas Duda, Sandberg since has made amends with the popular restaurant chain. He posed in a Shake Shack T-shirt tweeted by the company.

Morning Briefing: Mets hit the road

May, 29, 2014
May 29
7:24
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Considering the Mets play better on the road than at home, they are in luck. Twenty-five of the Amazin’s next 33 games are away from Citi Field, beginning with a swing through Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.

The Mets play a five-game series in Philly because of an April 30 rainout at Citizens Bank Park.

Zack Wheeler (1-5, 4.63 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander David Buchanan (1-0, 3.60) in Thursday’s 7:05 p.m. series opener as the Mets attempt to go 3-0 in the Lamar Johnson era. Buchanan allowed two runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his major-league debut Saturday.

Sixteen days after being struck on the top of the head with a backswing at Yankee Stadium and receiving a concussion, Travis d’Arnaud will be active. Juan Centeno has been returned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Centeno hit .238 with two RBIs in six starts.

Thursday’s news reports:

Bartolo Colon and Jeurys Familia combined on the shutout as the Mets beat the Pirates, 5-0, Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field to complete a 4-5 homestand. Colon notched his 2,000th career strikeout by catching Ike Davis looking in the sixth. The 41-year-old Colon threw 121 pitches, his most since logging 128 with the Angels at Tampa Bay on Aug. 18, 2004.


Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY SportsJeurys Familia had a five-out save and a hit Wednesday.


Familia recorded his first major-league hit in addition to a five-out save. Jenrry Mejia and Familia produced multi-inning saves on consecutive days against the Pirates. It marked the first time a pair of Mets had produced back-to-back saves of at least five outs apiece since Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Heilman had consecutive two-inning saves Sept. 26-27, 2005 at Philadelphia, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Six different Mets have saves his season -- more than any other team.

David Wright and Lucas Duda homered. With Duda uncharacteristically having difficulty scooping balls at first base, Wright also had two errors.

Davis had a quiet return to Citi Field, going 0-7 with a walk and two strikeouts.

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

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

• Wright -- who may end up getting hurt by so many Mets road games during the voting period -- ranks third at third base in the initial NL All-Star voting tally released by MLB on Wednesday. Wright (278,840) trails Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (318,111) and Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez (282,843). Arenado, who is hitting .305 with six homers and 28 RBIs, broke his left middle finger on a headfirst slide into second base last Friday.

No other Mets position player appears in the top five at his position in voting (or top 15 in the outfield). Read more at MLB.com.

• The Mets labeled the report that Jeff Wilpon ordered the firing of Dave Hudgens “substantively inaccurate.” Substantively, of course, means a considerable amount. In reality, Sandy Alderson, as would be predicted, acknowledged some ownership input in that decision.

“What I try to do is evaluate what’s going on on the field and make the appropriate judgments, and that’s my responsibility,” Alderson told John DeMarzo in the Post. “I talk to ownership from time to time. I talk to Fred. I talk to Jeff, and I have a sense of what they’re thinking or what their frustrations may be. But, ultimately, I have to make a baseball decision, I guess, and that’s what this was.”

• Terry Collins says the back end of the bullpen is taking shape with Mejia, Familia and Vic Black. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

Chris Young, now hitting .195, has all but lost his starting job with the Mets. He started Thursday after three straight days out of the lineup. “It’s my responsibility to swing the bat better and play better,” Young told Anthony Rieber in Newsday. “I hold myself fully accountable for that. When I do get that opportunity, I do need to take more advantage of it to where I force myself into the lineup everyday like I want to be.”

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News sums up the Mets’ hitting-coach change this way:

Either you can hit or you can’t.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post writes:

Yes, the Mets stink, but so do a lot of teams.

The key is for the Mets to stink less.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis had two homers and Jeff Francoeur ended up pitching a scoreless inning with a walk and hit batter for El Paso as Las Vegas won, 13-7. Starting pitcher Rainy Lara was injured on a play at the plate and Binghamton split with New Hampshire. Brandon Nimmo reentered the lineup and stole a base a day after leaving a game with a sprained ankle as St. Lucie beat Brevard County, 3-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Read more about 50 Cent’s awful ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field in the Post.

Nick Evans is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2011, when he was a Met. The Arizona Diamondbacks promoted the 28-year-old Evans, a Phoenix native, on Thursday. The year after leaving the Mets, Evans missed most of the season with the Pirates in the minors because he shattered bones in his left hand diving to catch a foul ball. Read more in the Arizona Republic and at ArizonaSports.com.

• Denis Hamill in the Daily News writes about Wright’s monthly salute to the NYPD.

From the bloggers … Mets Police seeks your help in crowdsourcing 41 amazin’ ideas for the Mets.

BIRTHDAYS: Long Islander Steven Matz, who has a 1.95 ERA in nine starts for St. Lucie, turns 23. … Binghamton right-hander Tyler Pill is 24.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Is playing 25 of the next 33 on the road a good or bad thing for the Mets?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

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