New York Mets: Fernando Salas

Series preview: Mets vs. Cards

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
8:45
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Jeff Roberson/Associated PressTyler Lyons will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis to face the Mets on Monday at Citi Field.
METS (9-9, third place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (11-8, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (2-0, 2.81) vs. LHP Tyler Lyons (2-0, 3.32 at Triple-A), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-2, 2.84) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 1.73), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-3, 5.40) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 3.42), 1:10 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• Left-hander Tyler Lyons will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis to start Monday’s game against the Mets. Lyons, 26, replaces Joe Kelly, who landed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, which he injured running to first base after hitting a groundball.

Kelly’s absence likely will be short term. Otherwise, the Cards would have considered using 22-year-old flamethrower Carlos Martinez, who currently is excelling in late-inning relief -- including contributing multi-inning performances.

Lyons went 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA in 12 appearances (eight starts) for St. Louis last season as a rookie. Right-hander Jorge Rondon will be demoted to clear the roster spot for Lyons.


David Goldman/Associated PressJhonny Peralta is off to a slow start at the plate after signing a $53 million deal with St. Louis.


• St. Louis struck quickly in free agency, signing shortstop Jhonny Peralta for four years, $53 million on Nov. 24 despite Peralta returning from a Biogenesis-related suspension. After going 0-for-4 Sunday to extend his hitless streak to 12 at-bats, Peralta’s average has sagged to .172. He has displayed some power, having produced four homers.

• The Cards have an entirely new look to their infield. Last year, it primarily was Allen Craig at first base, Matt Carpenter at second, Pete Kozma at shortstop and David Freese at third. Now, Matt Adams handles first base (with Craig in right field), Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis share second, Peralta is at shortstop and Carpenter is locked into third.

Carpenter, a 2013 All-Star, shifted with the trade of Freese to the Los Angeles Angels. Freese was sent to Anaheim with Fernando Salas for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.

Adams lifted his average to .357 Sunday with a 2-for-4 game against the Washington Nationals.

The lefty-hitting Wong and righty-hitting Ellis are not in a strict platoon. For instance, Ellis started against the right-handed Stephen Strasburg on Sunday. Ellis had opened the season on the DL with left knee tendinitis. Ellis, who made his Cards debut last Tuesday, was signed to a one-year, $5.25 million deal in December after playing the previous two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lance Lynn has the best March/April record in MLB history among pitchers with at least 10 starts. He is 11-0 in 12 starts, topping Babe Ruth’s previous-best .929 winning percentage (13-1 in 16 starts). The last unbeaten March/April pitcher was Ray Fisher, who was 9-0 from 1910 through 1920.

• Catcher Yadier Molina has an 11-game hitting streak. He has won six straight Gold Gloves behind the plate.

• The lefty-hitting Jon Jay and righty-hitting Bourjos share time in center field.

Adam Wainwright, who logged 241 2/3 innings in 2013, retired 18 in a row at one point while tossing a two-hit shutout against the Nats in his last outing. It was Wainwright’s 17th career complete game, which is seventh-most in the majors since 2007.

• Although his arsenal appeared just fine in 2013, right-hander Michael Wacha is trying to incorporate a cutter this season and become a three-pitch pitcher. He also is more frequently flipping a curveball.

• Ex-Yankee Randy Choate has been solid in lefty relief while producing a 1.59 ERA. He has not surrendered a homer since Aug. 1, 2012.

• The Cardinals planned to take a three-car Amtrak train from Washington to New York on Sunday night.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Angels 6 (13)

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
1:37
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Anthony Recker had been poised to be a hero until a ninth-inning meltdown from Jose Valverde.

Recker, in only his second start of the season, ultimately highlighted the win anyway.

The backup catcher took Matt Shoemaker deep in the top of the 13th and John Lannan contributed his second scoreless inning in the bottom half of that frame as the Mets survived for a 7-6 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Papa not-so-grande: Oops, Raul Ibanez did it to Valverde again!

With the Mets one out from victory, Valverde allowed a pair of baserunners, then surrendered a game-tying three-run homer to Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth.

Fans of the crosstown Yankees might remember that Ibanez-Valverde pairing combining for dramatics in the ALCS two years ago.

On Oct. 13, 2012, Ibanez delivered a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth against Valverde in the Bronx, although the Tigers eventually won that Game 1 anyway in 12 innings en route to a series sweep.

On Friday, Mets relievers had run their scoreless streak to 20 1/3 innings before Jeurys Familia uncorked a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to force in the game-ending run.

Backup power: Recker and Omar Quintanilla, who had no hits and one start between them entering Saturday, lifted the Mets to victory with a combined five RBIs.

Recker dropped a two-run single in front of lunging center fielder Mike Trout in the seventh, after Fernando Salas inherited a pair of runners from Jered Weaver. That capped a three-run inning and provided the Mets with a 4-3 lead.

Quintanilla supplied a two-run single in the ninth as the Mets’ lead swelled to 6-3 before Valverde entered.

Less Cowgill: Until the Mets’ three-run seventh, it had been the Collin Cowgill show.

Cowgill, the Mets’ Opening Day starter in center field last season, threw out Eric Young Jr. at the plate attempting to tag on a shallow fly ball to end the top of the first inning, homered against Jonathon Niese and scored twice as the Angels carried a 3-1 lead into the seventh.

Entering that frame, Weaver had limited the Mets to one hit -- a solo homer by Lucas Duda with two outs in the second that had evened the score at 1.

Then, in the seventh, Curtis Granderson walked and Duda advanced him to third base with a single. With runners on the corners, Juan Lagares singled to plate Granderson, pulling the Mets within a run and ending Weaver’s night. Recker followed with the go-ahead two-run single.

Cowgill, who had a .180 average in 61 at-bats when he was traded to the Angels last June 25 for minor-league outfielder Kyle Johnson, had staked the Angels to a 3-1 lead in the sixth with a solo homer against Niese.

Niesely done: Niese surrendered a pair of homers in his second outing since returning from the disabled list, but ultimately departed with a 4-3 lead with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Former Rockie Chris Iannetta took the southpaw deep in the fifth to break a 1-all tie.

Niese’s line: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 HR. He threw 96 pitches (64 strikes).

Deep thoughts: Duda, who started at designated hitter, with Ike Davis at first base, now has a team-leading three homers. No other Met has more than one.

What’s next: The Mets conclude their three-game series against the Angels at 3:35 p.m. ET Sunday. Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.08 ERA) opposes left-hander C.J. Wilson (1-1, 4.61).

Series preview: Mets at Angels

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
9:45
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USA TODAY SportsThe Mets are due to face Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson this weekend in Anaheim.
METS (4-5, fourth place/NL East) at LOS ANGELES ANGELS (4-5, third place/AL West)

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50) vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00), 10:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.18) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (0-2, 6.00), 9:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.08) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (1-1, 4.61), 3:35 p.m. ET

Angels short hops

• Left fielder Josh Hamilton, the reigning American League co-Player of the Week, fully tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on a headfirst slide into first base Tuesday and may miss as much as two months. Ex-Met Collin Cowgill should see increased playing time in Hamilton’s absence, potentially platooning with J.B. Shuck. Cowgill, the Mets’ Opening Day starter in center field a season ago, was traded last June 25 to the Angels for minor-league outfielder Kyle Johnson, who currently is playing for Double-A Binghamton. Hamilton had been hitting .444 with two homers and six RBIs in 27 at-bats.


Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesWith Josh Hamilton injured, that means more Collin Cowgill in the starting lineup for the Angels.


• Ex-Mets reliever Joe Smith signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Angels as a free agent on Nov. 27. One reason for choosing L.A., aside from the money: His fiancée, Allie LaForce, is a CBS Sports host based at an Orange County studio. She is a former Cleveland sports anchor. While with the Cleveland Indians last season, the sidearmer jawed with now-ex-Met Justin Turner after a heated plate appearance.

• Center fielder Mike Trout, a 22-year-old Millville, N.J., native, signed a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Angels on March 28. Based on average annual value, the contract became the largest ever for a player who had not yet reached three years of MLB service, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The deal is worth $24.08 million per year, which tops Buster Posey’s $18.56 million average annual salary that runs through 2021. By total value, Posey’s $167 million guarantee ranks No. 1 for a player with less than three years of MLB service, although that contract covers nine years. Trout would not have been eligible for arbitration for the first time until after this season. He was not eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season.

Albert Pujols, 34, had career lows last season with a .258 average, 17 homers, 64 RBIs, 99 games played and 443 plate appearances. He has a 10-year, $240 million contract that includes full no-trade protection. The contract runs through 2021, escalating to $30 million the final year. After a slow start to 2014, Pujols has homered in two straight games, giving him 494 long balls for his career. He would become the 26th player to reach the 500-homer plateau. Pujols also crossed 1,500 career RBIs this week, making him the only active player at that level -- unless you count Alex Rodriguez as active.

• The Angels are an MLB-best 84-44 in interleague play since 2007.

• When manager Mike Scioscia took over as manager of the Angels for the 2000 season, he essentially succeeded Terry Collins in that role (although Joe Maddon had managed the final 29 games in 1999).

• The Angels acquired third baseman David Freese and right-handed reliever Fernando Salas from the St. Louis Cardinals on Nov. 22 for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.

• Left-hander Tyler Skaggs limited Houston to one unearned run in eight innings in his season debut. The 22-year-old southpaw had been traded by the Angels to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 7, 2010 in the Dan Haren deal. He was reacquired from the D-backs in a three-team deal this past offseason that included Mark Trumbo landing in Phoenix.

• Catcher Chris Iannetta is hitless in his past 15 at-bats.

• DH Raul Ibanez, who is 41 years old and off to a 5-for-26 start, is two hits shy of 2,000 for his career. He would become the 12th active player with 2,000 hits and 300 homers.

• The Angels desperately need lefty relief help in a division that now includes Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo and Robinson Cano. The two planned left-handers in the bullpen have experienced medical issues. Rule 5 pick Brian Moran will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. And Sean Burnett, limited to 13 appearances last season due to an elbow injury that required surgery, had renewed discomfort during spring training and is not active. The lone lefty in the bullpen right now is Nick Maronde, who made his first career Opening Day roster. But lefty batters are hitting .323 with a .450 on-base percentage against Maronde in his three-year big-league career. Among the lefty relievers in Triple-A for the Angels: ex-Met Robert Carson.

• Hitting coach Don Baylor broke his right thigh bone catching the ceremonial first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day. Baylor, 64, hopes to return to the Angels by late May, but the standard recovery time for a fractured femur can be four to six months.

Jered Weaver, plagued by shoulder tendinitis for the past three seasons, has allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 12 innings through two starts. He has surrendered four homers. Weaver’s fastball velocity is averaging 85.9 mph this season. It has steadily declined each season since 2010, from 89.9 to 89.1 to 87.8 to 86.5 and now to its current level.

Cards 2, Mets 1: 'Spin zone

March, 21, 2012
3/21/12
4:18
PM ET
Jordany Valdespin homered to lead off the ninth against St. Louis right-hander Fernando Salas, but the Mets lost in walk-off fashion to the Cardinals, 2-1, a half-inning later at Roger Dean Stadium. Lefty specialist candidate Garrett Olson allowed a runner inherited at third base from Miguel Batista to score on a single by lefty-hitting Jon Jay for the game-ending run.

Valdespin started at second base Wednesday, but Terry Collins said the middle-infield prospect likely will be assigned to center field for the first time Friday, when the Mets travel to Disney to face the Atlanta Braves. The manager plans to use Matt den Dekker at the position on Thursday against the Houston Astros in Port St. Lucie.

Collins is searching for alternatives in center field should Andres Torres (calf) and Scott Hairston (oblique) be unavailable for Opening Day. Valdespin planned to work with first base/outfield coach Tom Goodwin on Wednesday morning in Port St. Lucie before traveling with the team for the Grapefruit League game, but early rain will delay the crash course until Thursday.

A team spokesman said there was no further update on the severity of Torres' calf strain, which he suffered Tuesday night on a second-inning catch against the Washington Nationals. Collins said Torres was due to see a team doctor who was in Port St. Lucie.

Meanwhile, the Mets mustered only four hits against Cardinals pitching -- two by Vinny Rottino. Jake Westbrook tossed six scoreless innings to outduel Johan Santana.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187