New York Mets: Jason Motte

Series preview: Mets at Cardinals

May, 13, 2013

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The Mets face Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright consecutively to close this week's series.
METS (14-20, fourth place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (23-13, first place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.63) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (5-1, 2.72), 7:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (2-4, 5.55) vs. LHP John Gast (0-0, -.--), 8:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Shaun Marcum (0-3, 8.59) vs. RHP Shelby Miller (5-2, 1.58), 8:15 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-4, 5.93) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.30), 1:45 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright combined to retire 40 straight Colorado Rockies from the second batter of Friday’s game through the 13th batter Saturday. That matched the major league record for most consecutive batters retired in a series, initially set by the Texas Rangers against the Detroit Tigers on May 3-4, 1996.

The 22-year-old Miller, the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft, allowed a game-opening single to Eric Young Jr., then retired 27 straight. The following day, Wainwright had a no-hit bid end after 7 1/3 innings on a Nolan Arenado single.

Despite missing an entire season, Wainwright is tied for the second-most shutouts in the majors since 2010 (six), trailing only Cliff Lee (seven). Miller, 22, made his major league debut last Sept. 5 against the Mets with two scoreless innings.

Mike Janes/Four Seam Images/AP Images
John Gast makes his major league debut Tuesday in place of Jake Westbrook.

St. Louis starting pitchers had a 21-7 record and MLB-leading 2.11 ERA until Jaime Garcia modestly tarnished that by allowing five runs in six innings in a loss Sunday.

Jake Westbrook (2-1, 1.62 ERA), who had been scheduled to face the Mets, instead landed on the disabled list with right-elbow inflammation. Left-hander John Gast has been promoted from Triple-A Memphis and will start Tuesday in his major league debut in Westbrook’s place. Although not a top prospect like Michael Wacha (who is 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in seven starts with Memphis), Gast is 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in six starts for that Pacific Coast League club this season.

Lance Lynn had a personal 10-game winning streak dating to last Sept. 9 snapped with a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. It had been the longest active winning streak in the majors. Lynn (24-9 in his career) has never lost consecutive games.

Yadier Molina, who ranks fourth in the NL in batting at .343, lost an 11-game hitting streak Sunday. He has started all but one game this season. However, backup Tony Cruz is expected to get one start against the Mets. Cruz’s only start so far came April 19 at Philadelphia.

Pete Kozma showed enough during spring training to beat out ex-Met Ronny Cedeno for the shortstop job in place of the injured Rafael Furcal. Kozma, a 2012 postseason hero, provides steady defense (one error so far), albeit with unexceptional range or flair.

Furcal strained an elbow ligament near the end of the 2012 regular season and missed the postseason. After visiting James Andrews during spring training, Furcal concluded he would need Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season.

Kozma had the tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the Cards’ division series, which knocked the Washington Nationals out last October.

• Second baseman Matt Carpenter never played that position in the minors. He is a natural third baseman who also played first base and the outfield with St. Louis in 2012. Fellow lefty hitter Daniel Descalso, who competed for the job in spring training, also sees some action at the position when Carpenter slides over to third base in place of David Freese.

• Left fielder Matt Holliday left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury after tripping at first base, but returned to action Sunday.

Carlos Beltran went 0-for-4 Sunday as his average dipped to .298. Despite reduced mobility in right field at this stage of his career, Beltran entered the series finale against Colorado hitting .345 since April 15.

Jason Motte, who had an NL-leading 42 saves last season, underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday after initially hoping to rehab and avoid the procedure. Edward Mujica is 9-for-9 in save chances.

The Cards’ bullpen still has the worst ERA in the NL, but it has dramatically improved with a shakeup that involved demoting left-hander Marc Rzepczynski on April 27 and right-hander Mitchell Boggs on May 3. Entering Sunday, when rookie Carlos Martinez surrendered three runs in relief, the Cards' bullpen had a 0.73 ERA in 12 1/3 innings since May 3.

Martinez’s fastball has averaged 96.4 mph since a promotion from Double-A Springfield 10 days ago. He is the No. 3-rated prospect in the St. Louis organization, according to Baseball America. He nearly exclusively started in the minors but is getting introduced to the majors as a reliever, which is tradition with the Cards. Pitching prospect Seth Maness, like Martinez, was promoted for bullpen use after primarily starting in the minors.

Chris Carpenter, whose career appeared in jeopardy because of nerve damage in his arm, may return this season. He threw a 75-pitch bullpen session Friday.

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 5, Mets 4

June, 4, 2012
WHAT IT MEANS: No-hitter to their credit? Yes. But the Mets ain’t perfect.

A half-inning after Scott Hairston’s pinch-hitting dramatics, Jon Rauch served up a tiebreaking two-run homer to Allen Craig in the eighth.

The Mets rallied back within a run on Andres Torres’ sacrifice fly a half-inning later. But David Wright then lined out to right field against Jason Motte to leave the tying run at third base and the Mets ultimately fell shy of a four-game sweep of St. Louis with a 5-4 loss in Monday’s matinee finale at Citi Field.

With Washington and Miami idle, the Mets missed a chance to take a half-game lead in the National League East. Instead, the Mets (31-24) head to D.C. for a midweek series trailing the Nats (30-22) and Marlins (31-23) by a half-game.

It nonetheless was a solid weekend for the Mets, who took three of four from St. Louis while enjoying Johan Santana’s historic no-hitter, R.A. Dickey’s follow-up shutout and John Franco’s induction into the team's Hall of Fame.

JOSE WHO? Wright has matched Jose Reyes for the franchise record for runs scored. The moment belonged to Hairston, though.

Pinch-hitting for Ike Davis against left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, Hairston delivered a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh that evened the score at 3. The shot plated Wright.

Wright now has 735 runs scored as a Met, matching Reyes for most in a career with the team. Darryl Strawberry (662), Howard Johnson (627) and Edgardo Alfonzo (614) round out the top five.

OH, GEE: Dillon Gee limited the Cardinals to one run entering the seventh inning, when his arm let him down.

With the score tied at 1, Gee walked Craig and surrendered a single to David Freese to place runners on corners to open the inning. Daniel Descalso then hit a soft comebacker to Gee, and Craig held at third base while Gee began to initiate a double play.

However, Gee skipped the throw and sent it into center field, allowing Craig to score.

After shortstop Omar Quintanilla could not handle a grounder that was ruled an infield hit, Freese later scored on Rafael Furcal’s fielder’s choice grounder as the Cards took a 3-1 lead.

DUDE ABIDES: Lucas Duda got the Mets on the scoreboard in the fourth with his team-leading ninth homer, a solo shot off Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse.

BEL-BOTTOM: Carlos Beltran had a quiet but eventful return to Citi Field. He left two in scoring position with seventh-inning strikeout and went 2-for-18 during the four-game series. It marked his first time opposing the Mets since last July’s trade to San Francisco that netted Zack Wheeler. Beltran's grounder Friday down the third-base line, actually fair, was ruled foul by ump Adrian Johnson and preserved Santana's no-hit bid.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets have a showdown with the Nats in D.C. Chris Young will make his first major league start since May 1, 2011 in Tuesday's series opener, opposite Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.80 ERA). The reconfigured rotation now has Jeremy Hefner opposing Edwin Jackson on Wednesday and Dickey opposing Chien-Ming Wang on Thursday.



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