New York Mets: Ian Desmond

Report: Mets balked at Ian Desmond deal

January, 11, 2015
Jan 11
8:04
PM ET
The Mets were the stumbling block in a potential three-team trade that would have landed Ben Zobrist in Washington and Ian Desmond with the Mets, Foxsports.com reported.

The Amazin's reportedly were unwilling to trade Noah Syndergaard and another top prospect to the Rays, scuttling the deal.

The Oakland Athletics subsequently acquired Zobrist.

Desmond, 29, is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season.

Series preview: Mets at Nationals

September, 22, 2014
9/22/14
8:34
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Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister in the final road series of the season.
METS (76-80, third place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (91-64, first place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.02) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (14-10, 2.85), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (7-8, 3.88) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-10, 3.74), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Zack Wheeler (11-10, 3.49) vs. RHP Doug Fister (15-6, 2.55), 7:05 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

Ryan Zimmerman returned to the lineup Saturday after missing 55 games with a Grade 3 hamstring strain. He started in left field -- a position at which he debuted June 3. Zimmerman, under contract for five more seasons, could shift to first base in 2015 with Adam LaRoche potentially headed to free agency, despite LaRoche’s production. The Nats and LaRoche have a mutual option for next season at $15 million.

Denard Span has 179 hits -- four shy of matching Cristian Guzman's 2008 total for the most in a season in Nationals history. The Nats intend to pick up a $9 million option on Span for next season.

Gio Gonzalez is 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his last six starts. He has struck out 29 and walked seven in 38 2/3 innings during that span.

Doug Fister's 15 wins are a career high, surpassing last year’s total with the Detroit Tigers. His 2.55 ERA ranks fifth in the National League.

• The Nats are the lone NL team with four players with at least 80 RBIs: Ian Desmond, LaRoche, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon.

• At 4-0 in his career, Tanner Roark has more wins against the Mets than versus any other club.

• The Nats, fresh off a four-game sweep at Miami, own an NL-best 91-64 record and are holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers for home-field advantage.

• The Yankees claimed outfielder Eury Perez off waivers from the Nats on Monday. The Nats claimed shortstop Pedro Florimon off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.

Rapid Reaction: Nats 10, Mets 3

September, 13, 2014
9/13/14
10:43
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia's next save celebration will have to wait.

Zack Wheeler had his shortest outing in two and a half months and the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 10-3, at soggy Citi Field on Saturday night.

The Nats, who had a 12-game Citi Field winning streak snapped Friday, are 27-5 in Queens since Sept. 12, 2011. They lead the season series, 12-3.

The Mets (72-77), who committed four errors, slipped five games under .500. They will need to go 9-4 the rest of the way to avoid their sixth straight losing season, which would match the Houston Astros for the longest active streak in the majors.

Wheeler (10-10) departed with two runners in scoring position and none out in the fifth and with his pitch count at 100. Gonzalez Germen entered and things further devolved. Germen surrendered a one-out single to Ian Desmond as both baserunners inherited from Wheeler scored and Washington took a 6-0 lead. Germen also walked two in the inning before stranding the bases loaded.

Wheeler’s final line: 4+ IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. It was his shortest start since lasting only two innings against the Oakland Athletics at Citi Field on June 25. The six earned runs allowed by Wheeler on Saturday matched that start against the A’s for his career high.

The Mets received a two-run homer from Wilmer Flores against Doug Fister in the fifth to close within 6-2. Flores snapped an 0-for-21 drought.

Hit parade: Each team hit a batter. Fister plunked Curtis Granderson in the right thigh in the second. Vic Black drilled Anthony Rendon in the left shoulder blade in the eighth. Black last had appeared Monday, when Terry Collins expressed concern about the state of his herniated disk.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (8-10, 3.59 ERA) opposes right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (11-5, 2.93) at 1:10 p.m. Sunday in the series finale. With a win, the Mets will be unbeaten in five straight series. A Nats win officially would eliminate the Mets from division contention.

Collins asks Mejia to tone down celebration

September, 13, 2014
9/13/14
5:07
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NEW YORK -- Jenrry Mejia's postgame “fisherman” celebration was a one-time-only event.

On Saturday, manager Terry Collins watched the video of Mejia’s Friday save celebration. Collins then met with Mejia to ask the closer to “tone it down a little bit.”

Mejia said he understood the point that it could jeopardize teammates when they step in the batter’s box.

After striking out Ian Desmond to save Friday’s 4-3 win, Mejia pantomimed being a fisherman reeling in a catch at the plate.

“He said I can do like I did before, but not like last night,” Mejia said Saturday afternoon. “I never tried to do it. I just do what comes natural. ... I say sorry if some guy takes this wrong. ... I just do it because it comes naturally.”


Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsJenrry Mejia celebrates Friday's save. His routine also included mimicking a fisherman reeling in a catch.


Said Collins: “Years ago, none of that stuff was acceptable. The home runs and the pointing to the sky and all the things that go with it today, that stuff years ago nobody did. You just crossed home plate. Your job was to try to hit a homer. And when you hit it you ran around the bases. And when you were on the mound and you struck somebody out in a big situation, you were expected to. That was your job. You walked off the mound.

“Today, people watch home runs and people react differently. Everybody has got their own handshake and their own high-five. Times have changed. You’ve just got to turn your head to some of it. It’s certainly not directed at anybody or to derogatory toward the other team at all. It’s the way the game is today and the excitement of players.

“To be honest, a lot of people like it,” Collins continued. “A lot of fans like to see those things at the end of the game. But we need to tone it down, because that’s a good a team over there. We don’t need to wake them up.”

Asked if demonstrative celebrations like Mejia’s make the game more appealing to young fans, Collins said: “People love it. Fans love it. They love to see it on TV. They love to see the reactions of the players. You know, they have emotions. I’ve told you guys many times these guys are not robots. They have feelings, and they get caught up in the moment. They get caught up in the excitement. The walk-off homers have gotten out of control. The pies in the face at the end of the game are out of control. That’s the way it is. So you let it go.

“Last night was not directed at anybody in particular. It’s just that they’ve been beating us up and we finally won a game and he got excited about it. I’m writing it off as an error of enthusiasm by a young player.”

Morning Briefing: TC seems secure for 2015

September, 13, 2014
9/13/14
5:25
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: More than three months after they last had been three games under .500, the Mets (72-76) can ascend to that point again Saturday.

Zack Wheeler (10-9, 3.38 ERA) opposes right-hander Doug Fister (13-8, 2.53) at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

The Mets last were within three games of breakeven on June 4 (28-31).

Saturday’s news reports:

• Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com suggests Terry Collins is “all but certain” to return as manager in 2015. Collins is under contract for next season. And he has the Mets playing well down the stretch, including winning eight of their past 10 games. So there appears little momentum toward making a change. Writes Heyman:

While there hasn't been a great deal of outward enthusiasm for the job Collins has done this year, that may not mean much; one front-office member went so far as to say he'd be "shocked" if a change was made in the manager's office.

Though no one within the team has alluded to any possible changes on the coaching staff, a couple rival executives said they wouldn't rule out some alterations there if the front office isn't completely satisfied.

• The Mets ended Washington’s 12-game Citi Field winning streak with a 4-3 victory against the Nats on Friday. Travis d'Arnaud plated three runs with a first-inning double against Gio Gonzalez. Juan Lagares broke a 3-all tie with a fifth-inning RBI double.

Jenrry Mejia allowed the potential tying run to reach second base in the ninth inning. He then intentionally walked Adam LaRoche to get to Ian Desmond, who struck out to end the game.

“You never like to walk the go-ahead run, but Adam has just killed us,” Collins said. “Desmond hits us pretty good too, but you’ve just got to pick your poison at that point.”

After recording the final out, Mejia unveiled a new postgame celebration that involved pointing in Desmond’s direction and reeling him in, mimicking a fisherman. That rubbed some of the Nats the wrong way.

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

• Newsday’s Marc Carig objected to me tweeting my disapproval about Mejia’s celebration and then not being one of the reporters to ask the closer a question in Mejia’s postgame session with reporters at his locker, which I attended. Carig tweeted: “I just think you’re a damned coward if you take a shot at a player and then don’t have the guts to face that player.”

• Double-A Binghamton won its first Eastern League championship since 1994 on Friday. The B-Mets completed a three-game sweep of Richmond with a 2-1 walk-off win on pinch hitter Jayce Boyd’s RBI double. Long Island native Steven Matz took a no-hit bid one out into the eighth inning in a no-decision. Xorge Carrillo was named postseason MVP. Matz, named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year by team brass, will be among the Mets prospects at Citi Field on Monday to be recognized as Sterling Award winners. Read the final minor-league recap of the season here. Read more in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. Watch video highlights of the B-Mets' clincher from WBNG and News Channel 34.

• Triple-A manager Wally Backman is due to join the Mets on Friday in Atlanta. He will serve as an extra coach for the final nine games of the season.

• A day after getting struck with a pitch, Daniel Murphy sat out Friday’s game with continued swelling in his left wrist. Murphy may be able to return Saturday.

• Collins told reporters pregame that he was happy Chris Young has found early success with the Yankees. The manager added that he believed Citi Field’s dimensions adversely affected Young as a Met.

"You've got to hit them here," Collins said. "And sometimes there's nights when you hit them, they don't go anywhere due to the wind, due to the humidity -- whatever it is, sometimes balls just don't carry here. We see it every single day that it's a tough place to hit. It affected Jason Bay immensely. It's affected David [Wright] some. It's affected [Curtis] Granderson some. It's affected Chris Young."

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

• Columnist Larry Brooks in the Post suggests Lucas Duda is “not quite a finished product.”

• Joe Lemire in the Journal notes that Anthony Recker has homered in three straight appearances despite limited playing time making it challenging to stay sharp.

From the bloggers …John Delcos at NY Mets Report envisions Dillon Gee pitching elsewhere in 2015.

BIRTHDAYS: Daisuke Matsuzaka turns 34. ... Tenth-round pick Kelly Secrest out of UNC Wilmington, who made 20 relief appearances with Brooklyn after the draft, is 23.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you support Terry Collins returning in 2015?

Rapid Reaction: Nats 6, Mets 2

September, 11, 2014
9/11/14
10:21
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The wild-card dreaming probably can stop now.

Bartolo Colon had an early shower and the Washington Nationals continued their dominance at Citi Field with a 6-2 win against the Mets in Thursday’s series opener. The Amazin’s dropped 6 games behind the victorious Pittsburgh Pirates for the second wild-card spot with 15 games remaining.

The Nats have won 12 straight at Citi Field -- the longest winning streak ever by a visiting team in Queens. The Atlanta Braves won 10 straight at Shea Stadium in 1990 and ’91.

Washington is 26-4 at Citi Field since September 2011.

The teams participated in a pregame remembrance ceremony marking the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jefferson Crowther threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Crowther’s son Welles saved countless lives in the World Trade Center’s South Tower, including by carrying one woman down 17 flights. He died attempting more rescues.

Uh-oh: The Mets potentially lost two players to injuries during Thursday's game.

Daniel Murphy was hit in the left wrist by a pitch from Matt Thornton in the eighth inning and departed with extreme swelling. X-rays were negative.

Travis d'Arnaud departed the game for the start of the fifth inning and was replaced behind the plate by Anthony Recker. There was no immediate word on the cause.

Recker produced a solo homer in the bottom of that frame to pull the Mets within 6-1, but struck out to leave the bases loaded in the eighth.

Yer out! Colon was ejected in the fourth inning by plate umpire John Tumpane after drilling Jayson Werth in the left side with the first pitch after Anthony Rendon had homered to give the Nats a 6-0 lead. In the first inning, Colon had surrendered a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche, then also hit the ensuing batter, Ian Desmond.

Colon entered the game with three hit batters in 27 starts this season.

Terry Collins also was ejected after confronting Tumpane.

Colon became the first Mets pitcher ejected for what was deemed intentionally hitting a batter since D.J. Carrasco on May 15, 2012 against Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun. It was in that game that Collins pulled David Wright for fear of retribution. Carrasco made an appearance the following day, served up a homer to Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier and was released. He never pitched in the majors again.

Colon’s final line: 3+ IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. His ERA swelled to 4.14.

Hello again: Daisuke Matsuzaka, who received a cortisone injection in his right elbow nine days ago, entered after Colon’s ejection and contributed three scoreless innings. It marked Matsuzaka’s first appearance since Aug. 30. He allowed one hit and three walks in a 44-pitch effort.

Not him again: Maybe the Mets should pitch around LaRoche. In addition to the two-run homer in the first, LaRoche also had an RBI single in the third. He finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored.

LaRoche is hitting .361 (13-for-36) with five homers and 14 RBIs in 10 games against the Mets this season. He is fourth among active players in homers against the Mets with 28, trailing only a trio of Phillies -- Ryan Howard (41), Chase Utley (33) and Jimmy Rollins (30).

Brain locks: The Mets had at least three gaffes during the ugly game.

With the lead just 2-0 in the bottom of the second, the Mets placed runners on the corners with none out against Tanner Roark. They came up empty, thanks in part to a mental lapse by d’Arnaud.

First, Curtis Granderson popped out in foul territory to Rendon at third base. Then, Dilson Herrera popped out to second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera. Apparently having lost track of the outs, d’Arnaud broke for second on the pop fly. He was doubled off first base.

A half-inning later, Colon fielded a comebacker off the bat of Desmond and threw to second base to try to get the lead runner. Wilmer Flores and Herrera had some confusion, no one was stationed at the bag and Colon was charged with an errant throw. That led to an unearned run.

Eric Young Jr. was thrown out attempting to go first to third on an errant pickoff throw by Roark in the sixth with the Mets trailing by five runs.

Snapped! Bobby Abreu, in his first at-bat since rejoining the Mets, pinch hit in the eighth and singled up the middle. That snapped an 0-for-22 drought as a pinch hitter in the majors.

What’s next: Dillon Gee (6-7, 3.74 ERA) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (8-9, 3.78) at 7:10 p.m. Friday.

Series preview: Mets vs. Nats

September, 11, 2014
9/11/14
12:56
AM ET
METS (71-75, fourth place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (82-62, first place/NL East)

Thursday: RHP Bartolo Colon (13-11, 3.96) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (12-10, 2.97), 7:10 p.m. ET

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (6-7, 3.74) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-9, 3.78), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (10-9, 3.38) vs. RHP Doug Fister (13-8, 2.53), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jonathon Niese (8-10, 3.59) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (11-5, 2.93), 1:10 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

• Third baseman Anthony Rendon (flu-like symptoms) and shortstop Ian Desmond (lower back) both missed Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Braves. Desmond had departed Tuesday’s game after five innings experiencing tightness. Regular third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been out since July 22 with a right hamstring injury. He is expected to be with the Nats this weekend to take batting practice, but is not due to return to games this soon.

Rafael Soriano has been deposed from the closer’s role with the Nats after suffering consecutive blown saves. Drew Storen -- who had a high-profile loss in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals -- has converted three saves in a three-day span since Soriano lost the job. Still, officially the Nats are using a closer by committee that also includes Tyler Clippard and Matt Thornton. Soriano has blown five saves in 14 chances and has a 6.64 ERA since the All-Star break.

Jordan Zimmermann is 5-0 and the Nats are unbeaten in his last eight starts.

• First baseman Adam LaRoche went hitless in four at-bats Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves. He had been 9-for-19 with four homers and 12 RBIs in his previous six games.

• Washington leads the Braves by eight games in the division. The Nats’ magic number to clinch the NL East title is 10.

Rapid Reaction: Nats 4, Mets 1

August, 14, 2014
8/14/14
10:03
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The Mets made history Thursday, and not good history.

With a 4-1 victory in the series finale, the division-leading Washington Nationals won their 11th straight game in Queens. That's the longest-ever winning streak by a visiting team against the Mets. The Atlanta Braves won 10 straight games at Shea Stadium in 1991 and '92.

The Nats are 25-4 at Citi Field since September 2011. They now lead the Mets (57-65) by 10½ games in the NL East.

Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper produced two-run homers against Dillon Gee as Washington grabbed a 4-0 lead.

LaRoche, who went deep on an 0-2 offering, now has 27 career homers against the Mets. Among active players, that trails only a trio of Phillies -- Ryan Howard (40), Chase Utley (33) and Jimmy Rollins (30).

Three of Harper's six homers this season have come against the Mets.

The Nats have 29 homers during their 11-game Citi Field winning streak.

Gee’s line: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K's, 2 HR. He is 0-4 with a 5.60 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break.

The Mets' lone run against Stephen Strasburg, which was unearned, came in the fourth when Daniel Murphy reached on an infield single, advanced to second on an error, ill-advisedly stole third and scored on Lucas Duda's sacrifice fly.

The Amazin's went 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the series. After placing runners at first and second base with none out in the sixth, Murphy grounded into a double play and David Wright struck out.

Streaking: Wright produced a hit for the 13th straight game with a first-inning single against Strasburg. It matches the longest hitting streak by a Met this season. Juan Lagares had an identical streak April 5 through May 4.

However, during Wright's 13-game hitting streak, he has only one extra-base hit: a double last Thursday against Washington’s Craig Stammen in D.C.

Back to work: In his first action since suffering the loss Sunday and revealing he had a hernia, Jenrry Mejia tossed a perfect ninth. … Carlos Torres, who surrendered a homer in each of his past four appearances, recorded four outs without issue. Torres inherited the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh from Josh Edgin and struck out Ian Desmond.

What’s next: The Chicago Cubs make their lone 2014 visit to Citi Field for a four-game wraparound series. Zack Wheeler (7-8, 3.53 ERA) opposes left-hander Travis Wood (7-9, 4.86) in Friday's 7:10 p.m. opener. Wheeler is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his past eight starts.

Rapid Reaction: Nationals 3, Mets 2

August, 13, 2014
8/13/14
10:02
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have never won 10 straight games at Citi Field.

The Washington Nationals have.

The Mets have never homered in 10 straight games at Citi Field.

The Nationals have.

Whose home ballpark is this, anyway? Lately, it sure seems to belong to the Nationals, who beat the Mets again (and homered again) in a 3-2 win Wednesday night.

"We've got to be able to keep the ball in the park," Mets manager Terry Collins said Wednesday afternoon. "We can't match them home run for home run."

The Mets actually did match the Nationals homer for homer on Wednesday, but it wasn't that tough. The only Washington home run was Asdrubal Cabrera's eighth-inning shot off Jeurys Familia, after Bartolo Colon pitched seven homerless innings.

Travis d'Arnaud homered off Nationals closer Rafael Soriano in the ninth inning. The Mets then had runners at second and third with one out, but Soriano got ground balls from Eric Campbell and Curtis Granderson to end it.

No team has a longer Citi Field winning streak than the Nationals. The only other team to beat the Mets 10 straight times in New York was the Atlanta Braves, who did it in 1991-92 at Shea Stadium.

Lagares gives, and takes away: The Nationals knew better than to challenge Juan Lagares' arm in the seventh inning. But they didn't need to.

After Adam LaRoche doubled to start the inning, Ian Desmond singled to center field. Nationals third-base coach Bob Henley wisely held LaRoche at third, but Lagares unwisely fired the ball far over the head of cutoff man Lucas Duda. That allowed Desmond to take second base, and it eventually cost the Mets a crucial run, when Desmond scored the go-ahead run on a Kevin Frandsen sacrifice fly.

Mets get a gift: The Mets' fourth-inning run off Jordan Zimmermann was unearned -- very unearned. Duda was on first base with a two-out single when Travis d'Arnaud hit a routine fly ball to left field. Frandsen, playing because Jayson Werth is hurt and Denard Span got the night off, dropped it. Duda scored all the way from first base, and the Mets had a 1-0 lead.

And then almost another: The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but only with the help of a pair of Nationals errors and also a hit batter. Even that wasn't enough, because Wilmer Flores grounded weakly to third base (for a force at the plate), and pinch hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis struck out.

The good Bart: Who knows at this point if there will be any more trade interest in Colon this month than there was in July? But the Mets will no doubt hope teams were paying attention as he allowed just one earned run in seven innings against the a good Nationals team, allowing just six hits and striking out eight.

What's next: The Mets and Nationals complete this three-game series with a 7:10 p.m. ET game Thursday at Citi Field. Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.54) starts for the Mets, with right-hander Stephen Strasburg (8-10, 3.68) going for the Nationals.

Rapid Reaction: Nationals 7, Mets 1

August, 12, 2014
8/12/14
10:22
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Rafael Montero didn't look even a bit different.

His pitch count quickly got out of control. Baseballs quickly flew out of the park. He started a game, and the New York Mets lost.

So much for the idea that Montero was now pitching like "the guy we'd heard about," as manager Terry Collins said Tuesday afternoon. On the first day of his second stay with the Mets, Montero instead pitched like the same erratic 23-year-old they saw the last time, when he made four unsuccessful starts in May.

Pitching against the first-place Washington Nationals, Montero allowed five runs on seven hits, including home runs by Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond. He threw 101 pitches and got only 15 outs, and the Mets lost, 7-1.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Montero was promoted on "merit" when New York needed a starter to take Jacob deGrom's spot while deGrom is on the disabled list. The Mets also no doubt hoped that Montero would look impressive enough to either make a case for a rotation spot next season or add to his value as a trade chip.

Perhaps he still will, but it didn't happen Tuesday night.

It's a National Citi: Is there any team more comfortable at Citi Field than the Nationals? Washington has won nine consecutive games against the Mets in New York, and is 23-4 at Citi Field since Sept. 11, 2011.

The Nationals have scored at least seven runs in three of their four games at Citi Field this year. The Mets have scored seven runs just eight times in 56 home games.

It's a Fister Citi, too: Nationals starter Doug Fister was pitching at Citi Field for just the second time, but both games were outstanding. Fister shut out the Mets on seven hits in seven innings Tuesday, which means he has now pitched 13⅓ innings here while allowing just one run.

Is that Wright? David Wright extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth-inning single that tipped off the glove of Rendon at third base. Wright, who also singled in the eighth inning, has 14 hits during the streak -- 13 singles and one double.

"He's getting hits," Collins said Tuesday afternoon. "That's all I care about right now."

Raining on Bryce: Arizona's Aaron Hill lost a home run to rain earlier this season at Citi Field, when a May 23 game in which he went deep off Bartolo Colon had to be stopped after 3½ innings and couldn't be resumed. The same thing could have happened to Harper on Tuesday. He homered off Montero in the second inning, and rain came in the top of the third.

In this case, though, the rainstorm was heavy but brief, and the game resumed after just a 25-minute delay. It rained again later in the game, but the umpires decided it wasn't too heavy and allowed the game to go on.

Span stopped: The Mets did keep Nationals leadoff man Denard Span off base, ending a streak that had seen him reach via hit or walk in 36 straight games dating back to June 28. Span went 0-for-5 on Tuesday.

What's next: Colon (11-9, 3.97), who earned his 200th career win over the weekend in Philadelphia, goes for No. 201 on Wednesday night at Citi Field. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.06) starts for the Nationals.

Series preview: Mets vs. Nationals

August, 11, 2014
8/11/14
6:30
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg at Citi Field.
METS (57-62, fourth place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (63-53, first place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Rafael Montero (0-2, 5.40) vs. RHP Doug Fister (11-3, 2.49), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (11-9, 3.97) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.06), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.54) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (8-10, 3.68), 7:10 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

• Center fielder Denard Span has reached base safely via hit or walk in 36 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors, and the second-longest streak in Nationals history. Ryan Zimmerman holds the franchise record, with 43 straight games reaching base in 2008. The longest streak in the majors this season belongs to Toronto’s Jose Bautista, with 37 straight games reaching base, through May 10.

Span also has a 14-game hitting streak. He has 23 steals. That is approaching the career-high 26 steals he produced in 2010.

Stephen Strasburg is 1-8 with a 5.25 ERA in 12 road starts this season. Overall, he already has surrendered 18 homers in 2014, two more than his previous career high. Strasburg nonetheless has a National League-best 186 strikeouts.


Jonathan Ernst/Getty ImagesDenard Span has reached base in 36 straight games.


• Outfielder Steven Souza landed on the disabled list with a bruised left shoulder, which he suffered in a collision with the right-field wall Friday at Atlanta while trying to catch Freddie Freeman's homer. Outfielder Michael Taylor has been promoted. He hit a combined .315 with 22 homers and 63 RBIs with Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse this season.

Souza was filling in Friday because Jayson Werth was sidelined with right shoulder and ankle soreness for two weekend games. Werth returned to the starting lineup Sunday night.

Werth earned the NL Player of the Month award for July. He hit .337 with six homers and an NL-leading 24 RBIs during the month.

Bryce Harper created a stir Saturday in Atlanta when he partially wiped out the “A” in the dirt behind the batter’s box at Turner Field. Fans lustily booed him the remainder of the series. Harper denied intent.

Meanwhile, manager Matt Williams vehemently said last week there is no intention of demoting Harper, who recently had struggled. Williams has asked Harper to bunt less frequently.

• The Braves snapped an eight-game losing streak and won two of three weekend games against Washington to pull within 3 games of the first-place Nats. The middle game ended at 2:29 a.m. Sunday. It was delayed by rain at the beginning for three hours, 41 minutes.

• The Nats acquired free-agent-to-be Asdrubal Cabrera and cash from the Cleveland Indians at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline for 24-year-old infielder Zach Walters. The intent is for Cabrera, 28, to primarily play second base, displacing switch-hitting Danny Espinosa in the lead role at that position. Cabrera, an All-Star with the Indians in 2011 and ’12, last had started at second base in 2009 (28 games). He could be a Mets candidate to sign for shortstop during the upcoming offseason.

Doug Fister is 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA when pitching on extra rest this season, which he will do again Tuesday.

• Zimmerman is expected to miss most if not all of the remainder of the regular season with a Grade 3 right hamstring strain -- the most severe of the levels. Zimmerman originally suffered the injury on July 22 at Colorado. Anthony Rendon has shifted from second to third base minus Zimmerman, which helped fuel Cabrera’s acquisition.

• The Nationals claimed left-handed reliever Matt Thornton from the Yankees last week. Thornton made his D.C. debut against the Mets last Wednesday. Thornton is under contract for next season at $3.5 million.

• Catcher Wilson Ramos did not appear in last week’s series against the Mets in D.C. He was on paternity leave for the opening two games, then went unused in the series finale.

• First baseman Adam LaRoche had a rough July, hitting .159 (14-for-88) with one homer. He then got on track against the Mets last week. LaRoche went 6-for-11 with two homers, three RBIs and three walks during the three-game series. LaRoche’s father Dave continues to fill in as pitching coach with the Brooklyn Cyclones. He is subbing for Tom Signore, who is dealing with a head-related injury, which Signore suffered getting struck with a baseball while filling in for Frank Viola with Las Vegas.

• Washington has the top run differential in the National League at plus-79.

• Closer Rafael Soriano became the 46th pitcher to notch 200 saves on July 27.

• Shortstop Ian Desmond's 70 RBIs rank fourth in the NL. Desmond launched his 19th homer of the season on Sunday.

• Struggling backup outfielder Nate McLouth landed on the disabled list last Monday with right shoulder inflammation. He has hit only .173 this season.

Rapid Reaction: Nats 5, Mets 3 (13)

August, 7, 2014
8/07/14
5:11
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WASHINGTON -- At least Jacob deGrom wasn’t tagged with the loss.

Carlos Torres, the last remaining reliever, surrendered a two-run homer to Bryce Harper in bottom of the 13th as the Mets suffered a 5-3 walk-off defeat against the Nationals in the rubber game on Thursday afternoon. Torres has surrendered at least one run in four of his past five appearances. He did not record an out.

The Mets (54-61) dropped nine games behind first-place Washington.

Off the hook: A quality start was not enough to prolong deGrom’s winning streak, but a seventh-inning rally saved the rookie right-hander from getting tagged with a loss.

With the Mets trailing 3-1, deGrom departed for pinch hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the seventh. The Mets evened the score that inning against Jordan Zimmermann and Drew Storen.

DeGrom’s winning streak nonetheless was snapped at five straight starts, two shy of matching the franchise rookie record shared by Jason Isringhausen (1995), Ron Darling (1984) and Dwight Gooden (1984).

DeGrom’s franchise rookie record streak of 67 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing a homer also ended. Ian Desmond produced a two-run shot in the second inning to open the game’s scoring. DeGrom had not surrendered a homer since June 5, to Travis Wood at Wrigley Field.

Desmond plated Adam LaRoche for the second time in the game on an RBI single in the fourth to stake Washington to a 3-1 lead.

DeGrom’s final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR. He now is 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA for the season.

Rally time: Nieuwenhuis improved to 7-for-17 as a pinch hitter this season when he delivered a one-out single in the seventh that advanced Wilmer Flores to second and chased Zimmermann. Storen entered and uncorked a wild pitch with Eric Young Jr. batting that advanced both runners.

E.Y. Jr. then smoked a liner to right-center. Jayson Werth ran it down in the gap, but Flores tagged up and scored to move the Mets within 3-2. Curtis Granderson, in the midst of a 1-for-23 rut, then singled past Desmond at shortstop and into center field to plate Nieuwenhuis and even the score at 3.

Hit man: Daniel Murphy continued to torment Zimmermann. Murphy went 3-for-3 against the ace, including an RBI double in the third that pulled the Mets within 2-1. Murphy has 16 hits against Zimmermann, the most of any major leaguer.

Get out of the way: In only his second start since July 26, E.Y. Jr. arguably cost the Mets a run. Young stepped in front of Juan Lagares in left-center and fielded Desmond’s fourth-inning single. E.Y. Jr. casually returned the ball to the infield, allowing LaRoche to score from second base.

All aboard! The Mets take Amtrak to Philly for a four-game wraparound series. Bartolo Colon (10-9, 4.12 ERA) opposes Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett (6-11, 4.16) in Friday’s 7:05 p.m. opener at Citizens Bank Park.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Nats 1

August, 5, 2014
8/05/14
10:18
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WASHINGTON -- To say Zack Wheeler walked a tightrope would be an understatement. Regardless, he ended up barely scathed on the scoreboard … and a winner.

Wheeler faced a pair of baserunners aboard and none out in four of the seven innings he worked and had high early pitch counts (46 through two innings, 65 through three innings). Yet he somehow managed to limit Washington to one run in 6 2/3 innings as the Mets produced a 6-1 win against the first-place Nationals on Tuesday night.

The Amazin's won for only the second time in their last dozen games against the Nats. With 49 games remaining, the Mets (54-59) now trail Washington by seven games.

Wheeler issued three walks and a wild pitch in a rocky second inning, but limited the damage to one run in that frame.


Joy R. Absalon/USA TODAY SportsZack Wheeler allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings Tuesday against Washington.


He has now made seven straight starts in which he has limited his opponent to two runs or fewer while logging at least six innings in each appearance. That’s the longest single-season streak by a Mets pitcher since Masato Yoshii went eight straight outings in 1999 allowing two or fewer runs while completing at least six innings in each.

Wheeler's final line in a 109-pitch outing: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.

Thanks! A pair of Nats plays on the bases helped Wheeler improve to 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his past seven starts.

A half-inning after the Mets took a 2-0 lead on Wheeler’s two-out bloop single in front of sliding right fielder Jayson Werth, Wheeler loaded the bases with three walks in the second. With No. 8 hitter Jose Lobaton batting, Wheeler then uncorked a wild pitch that got the Nats on the scoreboard and advanced Ian Desmond to third base and Asdrubal Cabrera to second base.

Lobaton then hit what should have been a run-scoring groundout to shortstop. However, the grounder struck Cabrera as he was running to third base. He was ruled out. And Desmond, who was racing home, was forced to return to third base on the dead ball. Wheeler ultimately stranded Desmond there. He ended the 33-pitch inning by coaxing a flyout from opposing pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

Still clinging to that 2-1 lead in the sixth, Wheeler surrendered a leadoff double to Werth. Adam LaRoche then singled to left field, and Nats third-base coach Bob Henley waved home Werth. Making only his second major league start in left field, natural infielder Eric Campbell threw out Werth for his second career outfield assist. A replay review initiated by the crew confirmed Travis d'Arnaud had not improperly blocked the plate.

Campbell also had an outfield assist May 22 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That happened to be Campbell’s only other major league start in left field. That time, Yasiel Puig was doubled off second base on Hanley Ramirez's lineout.

Adding on: The Mets finally got some breathing room in the seventh.

After Gonzalez departed with a pair of Mets on base and none out, Wheeler laid down a sacrifice bunt against Drew Storen. Juan Lagares was drilled with a pitch in the left arm to load the bases. And Daniel Murphy followed with a two-run single passed Cabrera’s backhand at second base as the Mets took a 4-1 lead. Lucas Duda added an RBI single later in the frame.

Had the recently acquired Cabrera been able to field Murphy’s grounder on the arguably makeable play, the Nats may have escaped with an inning-ending double play, still only trailing by a run.

Ouch: Lagares received an escort off the field from trainer Ray Ramirez and Terry Collins after appearing to twist his left ankle -- and possibly landing on an arm -- on an inning-ending catch in the seventh that stranded a runner at third base. Lagares remained in the game.

Audition flop: Getting a rare start against a left-hander, Duda went 0-for-3 against Gonzalez with two groundouts.

Welcome back: In his return to the majors, Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth against Blake Treinen that staked the Mets to a 6-1 lead.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (5-7, 3.24 ERA) opposes right-hander Doug Fister (10-3, 2.68) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.

Series preview: Mets at Nats

August, 4, 2014
8/04/14
11:43
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Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann in D.C.
METS (53-59, fourth place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (60-50, first place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (6-8, 3.60) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-7, 3.88), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-7, 3.24) vs. RHP Doug Fister (10-3, 2.68), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.77) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (7-5, 3.00), 12:35 p.m. ET

Nationals short hops

• The Nats acquired free-agent-to-be Asdrubal Cabrera and cash from the Cleveland Indians at Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline for 24-year-old infielder Zach Walters. The intent is for Cabrera, 28, to primarily play second base, displacing switch-hitting Danny Espinosa in the lead role at that position. Cabrera, an All-Star with the Indians in 2011 and ’12, last had started at second base in 2009 (28 games).

Ryan Zimmerman is expected to miss a substantial amount of time with a right hamstring strain. Anthony Rendon has shifted from second to third base minus Zimmerman, which helped fuel Cabrera’s acquisition.


Alex Brandon/Associated PressDenard Span has reached base safely in 30 straight games.


• Catcher Wilson Ramos will be placed on paternity leave before Tuesday’s series opener and is due to miss the entire three-game series. Jose Lobaton and, potentially, Sandy Leon as a call-up will fill in behind the plate.

• Struggling backup outfielder Nate McLouth landed on the disabled list on Monday with right shoulder inflammation. He has hit only .173 this season. Outfielder Steven Souza, 25, has been promoted from Triple-A Syracuse to take the roster spot.

Souza holds several International League-leading totals: a.354 average, .435 on-base percentage, .601 slugging percentage and 70 RBIs. He also has 18 Triple-A homers. He went 1-for-8 with a walk in a major league cameo in April with Scott Hairston on the DL.

Souza should have a backup role considering the Nats have Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth as regulars. He reportedly took grounders at first base Monday, but is not expected to work there in-game anytime soon.

• Span has reached base safely via hit or walk in 30 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors, and matching the second-longest streak in Nationals history. Zimmerman holds the record, with 43 straight games reaching base in 2008. Alfonso Soriano in 2006 also reached base safely in 30 straight.

Span, a center fielder, also has 23 steals. That is approaching the career-high 26 steals he produced in 2010.

• Werth earned the NL Player of the Month award for July. He hit .337 with six homers and an NL-leading 24 RBIs during the month.

Jordan Zimmermann tossed seven scoreless innings in his last start, in an 11-0 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. He has not allowed a homer at Nationals Park in his last nine starts. The last batter to take him deep in D.C.: Miami’s Derek Dietrich, on April 9. Zimmermann has allowed one run or fewer eight times this season. He is the winningest pitcher in Nats history, with a 50-40 record.

Gio Gonzalez has been knocked out in the fourth inning in two of his past three starts. He spent part of May on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Gonzalez has 38 career wins apiece with the Nats and with the Oakland Athletics.

• Rendon homered Saturday, snapping the Nats’ homerless drought at nine games. It was their longest homerless drought since the team moved to D.C. from Montreal in 2005.

• Washington has the top run differential in the National League at plus-76.

Rafael Soriano became the 46th pitcher to notch 200 saves on July 27.

• Shortstop Ian Desmond’s 66 RBIs rank fifth in the NL.

• Washington lost a rainout makeup against Baltimore on Monday night.

• First baseman Adam LaRoche had a rough July, hitting .159 (14-for-88) with one homer. LaRoche’s father Dave has filled in as pitching coach with the Brooklyn Cyclones of late while Tom Signore has dealt with a head-related injury.

• Manager Matt Williams has asked Harper to bunt less frequently.

• Washington's bullpen has surrendered 18 runs in its past 20 2/3 innings.
WASHINGTON -- Zack Wheeler knows he needs to pick up his pitching. And quickly.

"It's been a bunch of bad starts in a row here," Wheeler said after allowing five runs (three earned) in six innings as the Mets lost to the Washington Nationals, 6-3, Sunday. "I need to hurry up and turn it around and get back on the right track."

Wheeler has allowed 17 runs (12 earned) in 20 1/3 innings over his past four starts. And that's including tossing six scoreless innings at Miami on May 7.

"Obviously, guys are starting to figure me out a little bit and see what I have and stuff," Wheeler said. "I was thinking after I came out I might be a little bit predictable right now -- fastball in fastball counts and stuff like that. Maybe I'll start thinking a little bit more, but not too much obviously -- not trying to trick guys, but keeping them off-balance a little bit more."

Wheeler said the pitch he lamented was the second-inning offering Ian Desmond turned around for a game-tying solo homer. Wheeler said you can pitch Desmond up and in, but if you miss, you can get burned because Desmond's wheelhouse is low-and-in pitches. Wheeler added that he thought he did a good job on location with Wilson Ramos, who delivered a two-run double and a two-run single.

"I felt great. Probably the best I felt all year," Wheeler said. "The balls were inside [to Ramos], but I guess not inside enough. The one to Desmond I left over the plate a little bit. Ramos, he just did a good job. I came back here and looked at the video and they were in, on the corner. He just did a nice job of hitting. He got me today. ... With Desmond, we talked about it before the game. His swing is down and in. And that's where I threw it. I wanted it up a little bit more, because you can get him in, up. I just made that mistake of keeping it down with him."

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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