New York Mets: Jack Wilson

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

September, 6, 2012

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The Mets face (l to r) Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Tommy Hanson this weekend.
METS (65-72, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (78-60, second place/NL East)

Friday: LHP Jon Niese (10-8, 3.55) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (11-9, 3.79), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 4.52) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (7-1, 1.56), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Chris Young (4-7, 4.48) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (12-7, 4.45), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Chipper Jones makes his final appearance in Queens as a player this weekend. He famously named his son Shea (now 8 years old) after the Mets’ former homer because of his success there.

Jones hit his second walk-off homer of the season Sunday, when he slugged a three-run shot against Philadelphia. He now has nine career game-ending homers, breaking a tie with Hank Aaron for the franchise record. Aaron had two with the Milwaukee Braves and another six after the move to Atlanta. Jones’ two walk-off homers in a season match the major league record for a player who has turned 40. Andres Galarraga also performed the feat twice, in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants.

Jones has 2,714 career hits, one shy of matching Bill Buckner for 60th on the all-time list.

Kris Medlen is the reigning NL Pitcher of the Month. He went 4-0 with an 0.50 ERA (2 ER in 35 2/3 innings) while striking out 35 and walking four in August. Medlen is 6-0 with a 0.54 ERA in seven starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation on July 31.

Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Dan Uggla's .207 average is the lowest in the National League among qualifiers.

He produced a 34 2/3-inning scoreless streak that began with a start against the Mets on Aug. 11. It marked the longest scoreless streak by a Brave since Greg Maddux went 39 1/3 run-free innings in 2000.

Medlen is now 12-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 25 career major league starts. The Braves have won his last 18 starts, a franchise record. The record previously was held by John Smoltz (15 in 1996). The last major league team to win that many consecutive starts by a pitcher was the Yankees in 2000 with Roger Clemens on the mound (20 straight).

• After three games out of the starting lineup, slumping Dan Uggla has now made consecutive starts at second base. Uggla’s .207 average is last among National League qualifiers, a full 13 points worse than runner-up Drew Stubbs of Cincinnati. Uggla’s 150 strikeouts are six shy of matching the franchise record he set last season. Andruw Jones previously held the record, with 147 strikeouts in 2004. Martin Prado started the three games with Uggla on the bench. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he would pick spots for Uggla to start.

• Catcher Brian McCann went hitless in four at-bats Thursday and is hitting .155 (13-for-84) with no extra-base hits in 24 games since Aug. 1. McCann received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder after Saturday’s game and did not return to the lineup until Wednesday. McCann also received a cortisone shot Aug. 7. He has a frayed labrum and a cyst and may require offseason surgery. David Ross handled the catching duty with McCann unavailable.

• Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has been sidelined since July 8 with a fractured right pinkie, will complete his rehab assignment with Class A Lynchburg and should be activated during the weekend series against the Mets. Ex-Red Paul Janish primarily has handled shortstop in Simmons’ absence. Jack Wilson, who fractured a finger against the Mets in July, was released last week before being activated.

Miguel Batista, who signed a minor league contract with Atlanta on July 27 after declining to go to Triple-A with the Mets, returns to Citi Field in a Braves uniform. He was called up on Aug. 25 and has allowed one run in five innings spanning four relief appearances.

Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran received September call-ups. Teheran received the promotion despite a 7-9 record and 5.08 ERA in 26 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett. Jair Jurrjens was bypassed for a call-up. He had a 6.89 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) earlier in the season in the majors. Backup first baseman Lyle Overbay also was among the September call-ups. He had been signed Aug. 20 after being released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn is one homer shy of becoming the fourth player in Atlanta history to reached double digits in homers, triples and steals in the same season. The others: Ralph Garr (1974), Marquis Grissom (1996) and Rafael Furcal (2003 and 2005).

• Atlanta acquired infielder Jeff Baker from the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named or cash last Friday, at the non-waiver trade deadline.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel notched his 34th save Thursday. He has struck out 94 in 51 1/3 innings.

• The Braves enter the weekend off consecutive 1-0 victories against the Colorado Rockies. Both Braves runs were unearned. The last time a team won consecutive games by that score using unearned runs came in July 1984, with the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Cincinnati Reds, according to STATS LLC. Mike Minor took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in the Wednesday victory. Atlanta went 3-for-35 with runners in scoring position during the four-game series against Colorado.

• Call-up Jose Constanza, who injured Daniel Murphy on a slide in 2010, won the International League batting title. Constanza hit .314.

Last series results

Atlanta won, 2-1, at Citi Field, Aug. 10-12 (AP game recaps)

Braves 4, Mets 0: Paul Maholm pitched a three-hitter in his second start for Atlanta and the Braves got two-run homers from Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla. Heyward connected in the first inning to help spoil Matt Harvey's home debut with the Mets. Uggla went deep in the eighth off reliever Josh Edgin for his first homer in more than a month. More

Braves 9, Mets 3: Freddie Freeman had five RBIs in the first two innings and the Braves battered Johan Santana in his return from the disabled list. Michael Bourn had three hits, Chipper Jones chased Santana with an RBI single in a seven-run second inning and Atlanta roughed up the two-time Cy Young Award winner in the worst start of his career. Kris Medlen (3-1) pitched effectively into the seventh inning, striking out seven while improving to 2-0 since joining the rotation. More

Mets 6, Braves 5: Jon Niese handed a five-run lead to the bullpen, then watched from the bench as it started to unravel. Frank Francisco walked a pair of batters with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, then gave up a two-run double to Martin Prado that put the potential tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second. When Jason Heyward then swung and missed at strike three, the slider was in the dirt and rolled under catcher Rob Johnson. Johnson took his time, however, and his throw just beat Heyward for the final out. More

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

August, 10, 2012

Getty Images
The Braves send (l to r) Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Ben Sheets to the mound this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (54-58, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (64-47, second place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Matt Harvey (1-2, 3.86) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (9-7, 3.75), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Johan Santana (6-7, 3.98) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (2-1, 2.37), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jon Niese (8-6, 3.82) vs. RHP Ben Sheets (4-1, 1.41), 8:05 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• After a deal to acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs unraveled (he ultimately landed in Texas) the Braves instead obtained left-hander Paul Maholm from Chicago on July 30 with outfielder Reed Johnson and cash for right-handers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.

Before the trading deadline, the Braves also acquired infielder Paul Janish from Cincinnati. That acquisition, which came during the second-half-opening series against the Mets, resulted from rookie Andrelton Simmons suffering a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his right hand. Atlanta also lost Jack Wilson during that Mets series, with a dislocated middle joint in his right pinkie.

Maholm lost his Braves debut Saturday despite limiting Houston to three runs in seven innings. In his final seven games (six starts) with the Cubs, the 30-year-old southpaw went 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA. The Braves have a $6.5 million team option on Maholm for 2013. Janish is hitting .198, but has only one error in 24 starts at shortstop since the deal.

Dale Zanine/US Presswire
Despite a solid season, Chipper Jones reiterated he will retire after 2012.

Chipper Jones (.316, 10 HR, 48 RBIs) recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he still intends to retire after the season, despite his success. Jones, 40, will be honored at Turner Field during Atlanta’s final regular-season home series, which fittingly is against the Mets. Atlanta makes one more visit to Flushing this season -- Sept. 7-9. Jones ranks sixth on the all-time list among switch-hitters with 2,694 hits. He trails only Pete Rose (4,256), Eddie Murray (3,255), Frankie Frisch (2,880), Omar Vizquel (2,863) and Roberto Alomar (2,724).

• A strong Cy Young candidate, closer Craig Kimbrel has 31 saves (in 33 chances), trailing only Pittsburgh’s Joel Hanrahan (33 saves). The last closer to win the award was the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne in 2003. Kimbrel, 24, has struck out 75 and allowed only 17 hits and 11 walks in 43 innings. If he finishes at this rate, his 15.70 strikeouts per nine innings would be the second-best of any closer in a single season while producing 30-plus saves. The only better: Carlos Marmol had a 15.99 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate while amassing 38 saves with the Cubs in 2010.

• Atlanta’s bullpen tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday at Philly in relief of Tim Hudson. The relief corps has allowed 18 earned runs and struck out 110 in 102 innings over 32 games since July 3. That’s a 1.59 ERA during that span. The Braves are 64-1 when holding a lead in the seventh inning or beyond, the best winning percentage in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Ben Sheets is 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA since joining the Braves following a two-year absence from the majors while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward turned 23 Thursday. He is one of six major leaguers to have produced at least 15 homers and 15 steals this season, joining Ryan Braun, Ian Desmond, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rios and Mike Trout.

• The Braves have won 12 of their past 15, and 23 of 32 since July 3.

Brian McCann and David Ross have combined for 24 homers, the most in the NL from the catching position. McCann has nine homers and 22 RBIs in his past 23 games.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn is eligible for free agency after the season.

• Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, who led the majors in relief appearances last season with 85, returned from the DL on July 21 after missing two weeks with an elbow impingement. He recently had elbow soreness surface and was given a week off, but returned to action Sunday. Lefty batters are hitting .281 against Venters this season, after hitting only .127 in 2011.

• Right-handers Tommy Hanson (lower-back strain) and Jair Jurrjens (groin strain) are on the DL. Jurrjens (6.89 ERA) had been reassigned to the bullpen before the injury.

Last series results

Altanta won, 3-0, at Turner Field, July 13-15 (AP game recaps)

Braves 7, Mets 5: It was a big day for Atlanta catcher Brian McCann, who celebrated the birth of his first child. It was also a big day for his backup, David Ross, who helped power the Braves' offense in McCann's absence. Ross homered and drove in four runs, Chipper Jones also connected and the Braves survived a crisis at shortstop to beat the Mets. The Braves had chosen to wait to replace rookie Andrelton Simmons, who broke his right little finger and will be out at least a month. Atlanta then lost shortstop Jack Wilson with another pinkie injury in the game. The Mets-killer Jones hit the 49th homer of his career against the Amazin’s, in the sixth off Josh Edgin, who was making his major league debut. More

Braves 8, Mets 7: Jason Heyward singled to cap a three-run eighth-inning rally and the Braves took advantage after the umpires reversed a call. The Braves' comeback prevented a shaky R.A. Dickey from getting his 11th win in a row. Bobby Parnell (2-2) gave up RBI singles with two outs in the eighth to Michael Bourn, Marin Prado and Heyward. Terry Collins was ejected while disputing a call in Atlanta's two-run fifth. With the score 3-all and Prado on first base with one out, Heyward hit a sinking liner that left fielder Jordany Valdespin charged. Dale Scott initially ruled Valdespin made a diving catch and Prado, who had reached second, was trapped while retreating for an apparent inning-ending double play. After the umpires conferred, they ruled Heyward's ball bounced. The umpires placed Prado on second. More

Braves 6, Mets 1: Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer in a six-run fifth inning and Ben Sheets (1-0) allowed two hits and one walk with five strikeouts in six scoreless innings in his first start since July 19, 2010. Johan Santana (6-6) gave up eight hits, six runs, two walks and struck out three in five innings. Dan Warthen was ejected during a mound visit. When plate umpire C.B. Bucknor reached the mound, Warthen began arguing with him over the strike zone afforded Santana. More

Mets morning briefing 7.14.12

July, 14, 2012
ATLANTA -- Chris Young surrendered five runs in three innings and the Mets lost their second-half opener, 7-5 to the Braves on Friday night. The game -- played on the 35th anniversary of the New York City blackout, which halted a game at Shea Stadium -- included the lights going out at Turner Field, forcing a 16-minute delay in the second inning.

After posting a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game, R.A. Dickey bids for his 13th win Saturday when he opposes right-hander Tommy Hanson at 4:05 p.m. ET. The Braves handed Dickey his lone 2012 loss, albeit in the rain, which made the knuckleball difficult to grip.

Saturday's news reports:

Dillon Gee underwent surgery Friday in St. Louis to replace a portion of a damaged artery in his right shoulder. He is due to be discharged from Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Tuesday or Wednesday. The likelihood is Gee is done for the season, although there is an outside chance he could return in late September, or in October if the Mets are still playing. Read more in the Record and Post.

Frank Francisco's return is on hold after the closer was shut down with continued oblique discomfort. Jason Bay, meanwhile, went 0-for-3 with a walk for the second straight day with Class A St. Lucie, this time as the DH. Terry Collins indicated Bay quickly would move to Triple-A Buffalo, paving the way for him to potentially be activated for next week's series in Washington. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

Josh Edgin described his major league debut as mixed. He inherited the bases loaded from Miguel Batista and recorded a pair of strikeouts to strand three in his first frame. Then, after recording a pair of outs in the sixth, Edgin surrendered a homer to Chipper Jones on a hanging slider and a double to Freddie Freeman on a fastball over the plate before being removed. Collins had pledged that Edgin would be tested. Read more in the Post, Times, Record, Journal and Newsday.

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

• Writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:

In the first half of the season, the Mets’ rotation was akin to a good offensive line camouflaging a bad quarterback. Just in their case the bad quarterback was the majors’ worst bullpen. The Mets were the only team that had four starters top 100 innings while pitching to an ERA of 4.10 or lower. The relief damage was overt. But imagine how much worse it would have been without consistent length and excellence from the rotation. Right now, though, the first half feels like the good old days. Day 1 of the second half had that Waterloo-ish feel for the Mets.

• Young threw only 71 pitches, which means he should be able to return without issue on standard rest Wednesday in D.C. That would delay the need for a fifth starter in Gee's slot until next Saturday against the Dodgers at Citi Field. Batista had the inside track, but he did himself no favors by walking four and surrendering a hit while recording four outs. Matt Harvey next pitches Monday for Buffalo, at least putting him on the proper rest for consideration to face the Dodgers, even if Collins has called the chance he gets that start "remote."

• Dickey could be seeing regular action on short rest if the Mets remain in the race after Aug. 1, Collins indicated. Read more in Newsday.

Johan Santana, whose cranky right ankle prompted the Mets to delay his start, is fine to face the Braves on Sunday, he indicated. Santana threw a bullpen session Friday afternoon at Turner Field.

• The Mets will sign 39-year-old left-hander C.J. Nitkowski to a minor league deal and assign him to Double-A Binghamton. Read more in Newsday.

• The draft deadline passed at 5 p.m. Friday and the Mets did not sign one top pick. Second-round selection Teddy Stankiewicz (75th overall) apparently is headed to the University of Arkansas. The Mets will pick up an extra pick at 76th overall in 2013.

• The Brooklyn Cyclones' bus had a misadventure en route from Connecticut to State College on Friday night.

Jeurys Familia tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings and Josh Satin and Matt Tuiasosopo had two-run homers in Buffalo's 6-2 win against Pawtucket. Read Friday's full minor league recap here.

Dave Cameron in the Journal examines how many wins it may take to reach the postseason now that there is an extra wild-card team in each league. Writes Cameron:

The two wild-card system lowers the barrier to entry to around 89 wins on average, giving additional hope to teams sitting on the bubble. Under the new postseason system, the 1997 Angels would have earned the second wild card with an 84-78 record. Three other teams in other years would have gotten the wild card with just 85 wins.

Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty Friday in Los Angeles to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering. He faces up 20 years in prison at a Dec. 3 sentencing.

• Braves catcher Brian McCann should be back Saturday. He missed Friday's game for the birth of his first child. Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves may imminently be acquiring a shortstop, according to the newspaper. That was the case even before Jack Wilson dislocated the middle joint of his right pinkie during Friday's game.

Cody Derespina in Newsday looks at more players who may be available at the trade deadline who could help the Mets.

Brian Costa in the Journal examines the issues facing the Mets in the second half.

TRIVIA: Name the six players who finished ahead of Ike Davis in NL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2010.

Friday's answer: Entering the weekend, only Willie Stargell (60) and Mike Schmidt (49) had more homers against the Mets than Jones. But Jones then went deep in the series opener against Edgin, pulling even with Schmidt for second all time on that list.

Series preview: Mets at Braves

July, 13, 2012

Getty Images/Associated Press
The Mets face (l to r) Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson and Ben Sheets during a weekend series at Turner Field.
METS (46-40, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (46-39, second place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Chris Young (2-2, 3.41) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (7-4, 3.56), 7:35 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.40) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (10-5, 3.71), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Johan Santana (6-5, 3.24) vs. RHP Ben Sheets (0-1, 5.06 at Double-A Mississippi), 1:35 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• Retiring Chipper Jones’ farewell tour took him to the All-Star Game as a selection for the eighth and final time. Jones addressed the National Leaguers pregame. “I was honored that Tony [La Russa] asked me to say something, and I just wanted the guys to know that nothing’s a given, you don’t know when your last one’s going to be,” Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Soak up this opportunity. I quoted the late, great Lou Brown in ‘Major League,’ saying ‘Two’s nice, but three’s a winning streak.’ [In the All-Star Game] we got on a little bit of a roll and we’ve won three in a row. Somebody in this clubhouse is going to be real happy to have home-field advantage come October.”

The Braves will have a Sept. 28 ceremony to honor Jones before facing -- you guessed it -- the Mets. (The Amazin’s happen to be the final home series for the Braves during the regular season.)

• Second baseman Dan Uggla, center fielder Michael Bourn and closer Craig Kimbrel also represented the Braves in Kansas City. Bourn replaced Nats shortstop Ian Desmond.

David Eulit/Getty Images
Chipper Jones had his final All-Star appearance Tuesday.

• On Sunday, ex-Brewer Ben Sheets will make his first major league start since July 19, 2010, when he was with Oakland. Sheets has undergone a pair of elbow surgeries. Sheets, who turns 34 on Wednesday, signed a minor league deal with Atlanta on July 1. In two starts with Double-A Mississippi, he allowed seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out 10 in 10 2/3 innings. Sheets will bump either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado from the rotation.

Tim Hudson has received two cortisone shots in the past month to try to alleviate left ankle discomfort. The second injection came last Friday, after Hudson nonetheless blanked the Phillies for seven innings in what eventually became a weekend sweep. Hudson reportedly has bone spurs in the ankle, but will wait until the offseason for surgery.

• Defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons suffered a broken right pinkie on a headfirst slide into second base Sunday and was placed on the DL. The Braves will make a corresponding roster move to replace the rookie before Friday’s game. Original starting shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, who is playing for Triple-A Gwinnett, is a candidate for promotion. Jack Wilson is expected to start in the series opener.

Simmons had won the NL Rookie of the Month award for June, after hitting .333 for the month. An NL scout said about Simmons’ defense: "For someone as young as he is, and who has played the position as little as he has -- he was a pitcher -- it’s extremely impressive to be as good as he is. In my mind, he’s only going to get better." Said an AL scout: “Future star if he hits. And, defensively, already All-Star type.”

• Catcher Brian McCann homered in his final four games of the first half.

• Left fielder Martin Prado’s .321 average ranks seventh in the National League. Since May 8, Prado is hitting .349 and has a .399 on-base percentage and 21 RBIs. He has nine steals without being caught during that 55-game span.

• Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters landed on the disabled list July 5 with elbow inflammation. Luis Avilan was promoted to fill a lefty relief role.

Jair Jurrjens, who will not face the Mets, is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts since returning from a two-month stint in the minors.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward has 14 homers, matching his 2011 total.

Last series results

Atlanta won, 2-1, at Turner Field, April 16-18 (AP game recaps)

Mets 6, Braves 1: Ike Davis hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and Dillon Gee pitched four-hit ball over seven innings. With the game tied at 1 in the sixth, Atlanta intentionally walked hot-hitting David Wright with two outs to get to Davis -- a move that certainly made sense, given the first baseman was batting just .118. The strategy backfired when Davis drove a 2-2 curve from Tommy Hanson (1-2) it into the right-field seats. More

Braves 9, Mets 3: The Braves handed Johan Santana the shortest start of his career. Two costly errors -- Jason Bay dropped a fly ball, Ike Davis made a wild throw -- led to a pair of unearned runs against Santana (0-2), who had allowed just one run in his first two games. He was lifted after 1 1/3 innings, finished off by Jason Heyward’s run-scoring single that made it 6-0. Santana had never gone less than three innings in his previous 265 starts. Santana remembered that his last appearance in 2010 before undergoing major elbow surgery also came at Turner Field. More

Braves 14, Mets 6: Dan Uggla, Juan Francisco and Freddie Freeman hit two-run homers off R.A. Dickey. Uggla had been 0-for-24 against the knuckleballer before his long ball capped a four-run third and gave Atlanta a 6-3 lead. Francisco homered in the second and Freeman hit an opposite-field drive to left in the fifth, his first of the season. That chased Dickey (2-1), who allowed eight runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in his worst outing in four years. There was light rain through the early innings, making it more difficult for Dickey to grip his knuckleball. More

Mets morning briefing 4.17.12

April, 17, 2012
Jason Bay robbed Jack Wilson of a would-be homer in the bottom of the fifth and Ike Davis delivered a tiebreaking three-run homer against Tommy Hanson after an intentional walk to David Wright a half-inning later as the Mets beat the Braves, 6-1, Monday at Turner Field. The Mets are now 7-3 overall and unbeaten in four games against Atlanta this season.

Tuesday's news reports:

Chipper Jones reflected on his place in the Mets-Braves rivalry, and also heaped praise on the current Mets, in a pregame interview Monday. Watch video here. Read more in the Times, Newsday and Post.

• Meanwhile, when Jose Reyes returns to Citi Field with the Miami Marlins next Tuesday, the Mets will have a video montage to recognize his nine seasons in Flushing, according to Andy Martino in the Daily News.

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

• Bay said the right ring finger that kept him out of Sunday's lineup is mostly all right, although he does feel a twinge when he does not hit a ball squarely. In addition to his homer-depriving catch, Bay also homered Monday, in the ninth inning against Livan Hernandez. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Former clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels was sentenced to five years' probation as part of a plea deal. Read more in the Daily News and Newsday.

Brian Costa in the Journal offers three reasons why the Mets may be for real: parity in the division, Johan Santana reestablishing himself as a frontline starter and the maturing of young players such as Dillon Gee. Writes Costa:

Ten games into the 2011 season, the Baltimore Orioles were a first-place team, A.J. Burnett was 3-0 and Albert Pujols was a .150 hitter. So yes, it is very, very early -- way too early to read much into the Mets' record. But putting aside the obvious disclaimer about sample sizes, the Mets have shown enough potential in their first 10 games that it's reasonable to wonder if this is more than just a fluke.

Dustin Lawley's homer in the 12th lifted Savannah to a 6-5 win Monday at Rome. Read the full minor league recap here.

Howard Megdal at Capital New York asserts Mets owners are still tapped out even after their court settlement and an infusion of $240 million in minority investments. Writes Medgal:

The sale of $240 million in minority stakes in the Mets, many of which were purchased by either Wilpon-owned SNY or some of the partners themselves, provided enough of a life preserver to get them through the year. With more than $100 million of that $240 million simply used to pay down a portion of the team's $430 million debt in 2014, that left no more than $140 million -- and according to a source with the Mets, significantly less than $140 million -- to pay back the $25 million debt past due to M.L.B., and $40 million bridge loan due back to Bank of America. The Met owners, having paid back those loans, thus have no more than $75 million to pay off the interest on what remains of the 2014-due loan against the team.

TRIVIA: The Braves announced on Monday their intention to retire John Smoltz's number. Which player's number last was retired by that organization?

Monday's answer: Chipper Jones is tied for third on the all-time home run list against the Mets with 48. He trails Willie Stargell, who has 60, as well as Mike Schmidt (49). Willie McCovey also slugged 48 homers against the Mets during his career.

Ike throws curve to Braves, Bay's deja vu

April, 16, 2012

David Goldman/Associated Press
Ike Davis delivers a tiebreaking three-run homer against Tommy Hanson in the sixth inning.
Ike Davis had been 2-for-12 with six strikeouts against Tommy Hanson in their brief careers entering Monday night. And, Davis estimated, he had seen a curveball on all but a handful of pitches during those encounters,

So after an intentional walk to David Wright in a tie ballgame in the sixth inning, Hanson threw five straight curveballs to Davis. And Davis delivered a homer on the fifth curveball, for a three-run homer that gave the Mets a 4-1 lead en route to a 6-1 victory.

Davis is still hitting .139 this season, but he has now homered in consecutive games. He went deep against Cole Hamels on Sunday in Philadelphia.

“He’s thrown it every at-bat, every pitch, every time I’ve faced him,” Davis said, referring to curveballs from Hanson. “If you go back at the records, it’s probably maybe three or four fastballs in something like 30 at-bats. The Braves really throw me a lot of off-speed most of the time. So I think the first series I saw three fastballs to open the year off of them the whole series. So obviously they think I’m a fastball hitter. And I haven’t had great success against them, because they’ve thrown pitchers’ pitches with their off-speed pitches.”

Said Jason Bay: “I was screaming at it to get out. They’ve been flipping him curveballs nonstop. It’s one of those things, until you do that, you’re going to keep getting it. I told him, ‘Man, that had to feel pretty good.’ He said, ‘Yeah, it felt great.’”

Asked if he was onto something with the consecutive games with homers, Davis said: “I’m just trying to survive. I feel great. The last three games I’ve felt really relaxed in the box. I mean, I haven’t got a lot of hits. But I’ve hit a couple of balls hard.”

It meant something extra to hit a game-tying homer against Hanson.

“Especially against a guy I’ve never done anything against,” Davis said. “I struck out almost 80 to 90 percent of the time I’ve faced him. To hit a curveball off of him in a big situation like that, it feels good. For me, it’s hard to pick up. I can see other ones a lot easier than I can see Tommy’s. And obviously they know that. They keep throwing it. Eventually, hopefully, I can find something to key off of on it and hit it more consistently.”

As for the intentional walk to Wright preceding his at-bat, Davis noted he needs to perform better at the plate so the third baseman sees pitches to hit.

Daniel Shirey/US Presswire
Dillon Gee worked out of a seventh-inning jam and limited the Braves to one run in his outing.

“Obviously, David’s a great hitter. Especially the way I’ve swung the bat this season, it fires me up a little bit because I want them to stop,” Davis said. “I want David to have a chance to hit instead of being walked every time in front of me. Obviously I needed to step it up. It makes you concentrate a little more, because you don’t want this to happen to the guy in front of you. I want to hit behind David so I can hopefully allow him to get better chances. And this season I haven’t done that, so people have taken advantage of me not doing it and walked him more. Hopefully I can get them to stop doing that.”

Said Terry Collins: “If you’re around Ike Davis, the one thing he doesn’t lack is confidence. He believes in himself. He believes in his ability. He knows he’s off to a rough start. The same guy, though, last year got off a hot, torrid start. He understands that it’s there.”

• Bay had a déjà vu moment when he leaped over the wall to take away ex-Pirates teammate Jack Wilson’s would-be homer in a tie ballgame in the fifth. He had done the same thing at Turner Field to Alex Gonzalez last season.

“Robbing homers is not a huge part of my game,” Bay said. “So it was just weird that two years in a row -- same spot, same everything.”

Wilson remained homerless since Aug. 27, 2009 with Seattle.

Bay also homered in the ninth against Livan Hernandez after missing one game with the jammed right ring finger.

Given Wright homered in his first game back from a broken pinkie on Saturday, Collins was in a joking mood.

(Read full post)

Report: Mets show interest in Jack Wilson

November, 21, 2011
The Mets, along with the Braves and Dodgers, are among six teams to show interest in infielder Jack Wilson, reported.

Assuming Jose Reyes departs, the Mets will need to have a player on the bench capable of spelling Ruben Tejada at shortstop, and no one currently on the roster fits that profile.

The righty-hitting Wilson also played 45 games at second base last season with Seattle, perhaps allowing him to be a complement/defensive replacement for lefty-hitting Daniel Murphy.



Bartolo Colon
8 3.99 89 121
BAD. Murphy .297
HRC. Granderson 14
RBIL. Duda 46
RD. Murphy 55
OPSL. Duda .835
ERAJ. Niese 2.96
SOZ. Wheeler 99