New York Mets: Jonathan Papelbon

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
11:45
PM ET

Associated PressThe Mets face David Buchanan, Jerome Williams and A.J. Burnett at Citi Field this weekend.
METS (62-72, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (61-72, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jacob deGrom (6-6, 3.13) vs. RHP David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Bartolo Colon (12-10, 3.82) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (2-5, 6.71), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (5-6, 3.77) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (7-14, 4.30), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• Manager Ryne Sandberg reportedly has been having difficulty with veteran players treating him disrespectfully. The latest incident occurred Monday, when Cole Hamels began walking off and did a “handoff” of the baseball to Sandberg before the manager reached the mound to remove the southpaw, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Kyle Kendrick reportedly pulled the same antics a couple of weeks earlier and subsequently apologized.

• The Phillies arrive at Citi Field coming off a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals that capped a 7-2 homestand.

• Right-hander Jerome Williams was claimed off waivers by the Phillies from the Texas Rangers on Aug. 10. Williams, 32, is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts since the change of scenery. He began the season with the Houston Astros and was released on July 8.

A.J. Burnett was 0-6 with a 7.41 ERA in his first seven starts after the All-Star break. He then limited the Nats to one run on three hits while striking out 12 in seven innings Monday.

Ben Revere's .310 batting average ranks second in the National League. With his next steal, Revere will become the 12th different player in Phillies history with a 40-steal season. The last was Jimmy Rollins in 2008.

• Ex-Met Marlon Byrd's 24 homers rank fifth in the league.

Ryan Howard's 81 RBIs rank fourth.

• Closer Jonathan Papelbon has 33 saves in 36 chances. Papelbon notched his 100th save as a Phillie on Tuesday. He had 219 with the Boston Red Sox. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first closer in major league history to produce 200 saves with one team and 100 saves with a team in the other league.

• Phillies president David Montgomery, 68, has taken a leave of absence from the ballclub as he attempts to recover from jaw cancer surgery. Former GM Pat Gillick will fill in during Montgomery’s absence.

• The Phillies and Dodgers completed the trade on Thursday that sent Roberto Hernandez to L.A. Philadelphia obtained right-hander Victor Arano, who was pitching for Class A Great Lakes.

• Infielder Freddy Galvis was recalled Saturday from Triple-A, where he had been optioned on May 9. He is hitting .085 (4-for-47) at the major league level this season … and that’s with a two-hit game Tuesday.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
11:38
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets will face A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick in the opening three games of the series, as they did July 28-30 in New York.
METS (54-61, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (52-63, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Bartolo Colon (10-9, 4.12) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (6-11, 4.16), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.73) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.42), 7:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (7-8, 3.48) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.74), 1:35 p.m. ET

Monday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-8, 3.41) vs. RHP David Buchanan (6-5, 4.39), 1:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• After no activity at the non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies scratched 33-year-old Roberto Hernandez from his scheduled start on Thursday. Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) instead was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players to be named from the low minors. Hernandez, owed $1.5 million the remainder of this season, was 6-8 with a 3.87 ERA in 23 appearances (20 starts) for the Phillies.


Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY SportsRoberto Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers on Thursday.


Sean O'Sullivan was promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which was playing at Toledo, and made it in time to take the start. The journeyman right-hander surrendered three homers in six innings and departed trailing 5-1, but Ryan Howard's grand slam capped a fifth-run eighth as the Phillies rallied to complete a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros.

• The Phillies announced Thursday that a Grade 2 strain of the left elbow will prevent Cliff Lee from pitching again this season. Lee does not intend to undergo surgery. He received an opinion from Mets doctor David Altchek and has been treated with platelet-rich plasma therapy. Lee essentially is owed $37.5 million next season -- $25 million in salary, plus a $12.5 million buyout of a $27.5 million team option for 2016. David Buchanan took Lee's rotation spot.

Chase Utley's homer Wednesday, his 10th of the season, made him the fifth second basemen in major league history to produce double-digit long balls in 11 straight seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Jeff Kent (1997-2008) and Bobby Doerr (1939-51, minus 1945 while serving in World War II) had 12-season streaks. Lou Whitaker (1982-92) and Joe Gordon (1938-50, minus two years of military service) had 11-season streaks.

• Center fielder Ben Revere produced his fourth four-hit game of the season Wednesday, matching the major league high. The only Phillie with more four-hit games in a season in the past three decades was Shane Victorino, who had five in 2009. After a two-hit game Thursday, Revere is now hitting .385 since June 26.

A.J. Burnett lasted only 1 2/3 innings in his last start. He was ejected for the first time in his major league career after allowing five runs (one earned) against Washington and arguing with plate umpire Chris Guccione about the strike zone.

• With his 94th save as a Phillie on Thursday, closer Jonathan Papelbon tied Tug McGraw for fifth on the club’s all-time list. Papelbon’s 87.0 save-conversion percentage is tops in Phillies history among relievers with at least 100 chances. Jose Mesa ranks second at 86.8 percent. Papelbon reportedly has cleared waivers, which allows the Phillies to trade him to any team this month.

Antonio Bastardo on Tuesday became the only major league pitcher since 1900 to have two separate games notching at least six outs, with all of the outs recorded via strikeout. His other such appearance came April 8, 2011 at Atlanta.

• Left fielder Domonic Brown pinch hit Thursday, but has not started in the past nine games because of a tonsil infection.

Grady Sizemore has hit safely in 15 of 19 starts since joining the Phillies. After going 1-for-3 Thursday, he is hitting .333 (27-for-81) with the club. Sizemore started in center field on Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox. He hit .216 with two homers in 185 at-bats before being designated for assignment on June 17. He was released the following day.

• The Chicago Cubs reportedly claimed Cole Hamels but have no intention of trading for him. Ex-Met Marlon Byrd reportedly also was claimed, with the 48-hour period to negotiate a deal expiring Friday.

• The Phillies signed Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor-league contract a week after releasing him from the big-league squad.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
8:45
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick as they return home to play the Phillies.
METS (50-55, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (46-59, fifth place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Bartolo Colon (9-8, 4.03) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (6-9, 3.86), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-3, 3.49) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.72), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.64) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87), 12:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Ryan Howard was benched for three straight games last week, with Darin Ruf -- who was promoted from Triple-A on Tuesday -- instead starting at first base. In the 21 games before the Wednesday-Friday sit-down, Howard was hitting .141 with one homer in 78 at-bats.

Howard is owed a combined $60 million in 2015 and 2016, including the buyout of the following season. He could get dealt before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline. The Phillies reportedly have contemplated releasing him during the offseason and eating the remaining contract if the 34-year-old Howard is not dealt by then, although GM Ruben Amaro has denied that is a consideration.


Gene J. Puskar/Associated PressRyan Howard has been at the center of recent drama in Philly.


Howard did produce a two-out, two-run first-inning homer against left-hander Vidal Nuno on Sunday as the Phillies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-2. Despite struggles, Howard’s 62 RBIs rank fifth in the National League.

Howard is one of multiple Phillies who could be traded this week. Others include ex-Met Marlon Byrd, right-hander A.J. Burnett, left-hander Cliff Lee and closer Jonathan Papelbon.

However, two of Byrd’s potential suitors, the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals, reportedly are on his no-trade list.

Byrd jumped on a two-year, $16 million contract with the Phillies early in the offseason. The deal includes an $8 million club and vesting option for 2016. Byrd’s 20 homers are tied for fourth in the NL, trailing only Anthony Rizzo (25), Giancarlo Stanton (23) and Troy Tulowitzki (21).

Papelbon has converted 25 saves in 28 chances, but did have a blown save and a loss in consecutive appearances against the San Francisco Giants last week.

Burnett tossed eight scoreless innings against San Francisco in his last outing.

Jimmy Rollins essentially triggered an $11 million vesting option for 2015 when he logged his 1,100th plate appearance of the 2013 and ’14 seasons over the weekend. Rollins still must avoid finishing the season on the disabled list for the option to formally kick in.

Grady Sizemore started in center field on Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox. He hit .216 with two homers in 185 at-bats with the club before being designated for assignment on June 17. He was released the following day.

Sizemore, who turns 32 on Friday, is hitting .319 (15-for-47) since joining the Phillies on July 11 after 11 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He has started six games in center field and five games in left field with Philadelphia. A three-time All-Star, Sizemore missed the 2012 and ’13 seasons because of multiple surgeries on both knees.

Sizemore’s role could further increase if Byrd is traded and if Domonic Brown (.231, 7 HR, 49 RBIs, 341 ABs) continues to not produce. Sizemore notched his 1,000th career hit on Friday.

• Catcher Carlos Ruiz was activated from the concussion DL on Wednesday. He originally was hit in the head with a pitch from Miami’s A.J. Ramos on June 26.

• Rookie right-handed reliever Ken Giles tossed another scoreless inning Sunday. Giles, 23, has allowed two earned runs in 18 1/3 major league innings. He has struck out 26 during that span.

Morning Briefing: Dive at five

May, 11, 2014
May 11
5:45
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets have lost a season-high five straight as well as eight of nine. They also now occupy sole possession of last place in the National League East.

Can Jonathon Niese stop the slide?

Niese (2-2, 1.82 ERA) opposes left-hander Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.02) in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. series finale as the Mets look to avoid getting swept for a second straight series, as they did in Miami.

Hamels has a 7-14 record and 4.65 ERA in 27 career starts against the Mets. The Mets roughed him up for six runs in 4 2/3 innings two weeks ago in Philly. Hamels then allowed five runs on 10 hits and a walk against the Toronto Blue Jays, including surrendering homers to Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus. Overall, Hamels needs one win for 100 in his career.

Sunday’s news reports:

• Terry Collins would not commit Saturday to Jenrry Mejia making his next start, and appears to prefer 23-year-old Rafael Montero getting promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas for Wednesday’s outing opposite Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees at Citi Field. Of course, Sandy Alderson -- who picked Mejia over Daisuke Matsuzaka out of spring training, which was not Collins’ preference -- would need to sign off on bouncing Mejia from the rotation. Would the GM allow a prospect to debut in the Subway Series (and before the Super 2 deadline)? That seems out of character. In fact, a source tells columnist John Harper in the Daily News about Alderson's thinking on Montero: "not yet."


Brad Barr/USA TODAY SportsTerry Collins apparently advocates Rafael Montero as Wednesday's starter against the Yankees.


Mejia reiterated he is leery of bullpen work because he believes it contributed to his Tommy John surgery. “I worry about my arm,” Mejia told reporters. “I want to have a long career. … I don’t want to get hurt again.”

After tossing 5 1/3 no-hit innings Friday (with three walks) at Salt Lake, Montero is 4-1 with a 3.67 ERA and .203 opponent batting average in eight Pacific Coast League starts.

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

Eric Campbell joined the Mets on Saturday and received No. 29, formerly donned by Ike Davis. He delivered a tiebreaking sac fly while pinch hitting with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth against left-hander Jake Diekman. Campbell became the first player in franchise history with a sac fly in his first big-league plate appearance. Ken Boswell in 1967 had a sac fly in his MLB debut, but it came later in the game.

Campbell had an eventful second plate appearance. With the score tied at 4, one out and two in scoring position in the eighth, Mike Adams threw the first pitch of an intentional walk. Chase Utley then came to the mound with Carlos Ruiz and the Phillies -- realizing Bobby Abreu had grabbed a helmet and planned to subsequently pinch hit -- reversed course and pitched to Campbell, who proceeded to strike out.


Courtesy of New York Mets
Eric Campbell made his major league debut Saturday with a sacrifice fly and strikeout off the bench.


Campbell initially was in Saturday’s starting lineup as the first baseman, but Lucas Duda said he had recovered enough from a suspected case of food poisoning and was a late addition to the lineup in Campbell’s place.

Josh Satin, who had been 3-for-28 this season in sporadic use, was optioned to Las Vegas. Campbell figures to start Sunday against Hamels.

Read more in Newsday.

• A half-inning after the Mets stranded the bases loaded, Ryan Howard delivered a two-out RBI single in the ninth against Kyle Farnsworth and Philadelphia beat the Mets, 5-4, Saturday night at Citi Field. At three games under .500, the Mets (16-19) have matched their 0-3 start for their season low-water mark.

After consecutive singles to open the bottom of the eighth, Chris Young -- hitless in 14 at-bats -- had a successful sac bunt. Campbell then struck out, Wilmer Flores walked and Abreu, pinch-hitting for Travis d’Arnaud, grounded back to Adams as the score remained tied at 4.

Scott Rice had inherited a one-run lead for the seventh from Dillon Gee and surrendered a game-tying RBI double to Utley.

Gee’s scoreless streak ended at 16 innings with two runs by the Phillies in the first. He allowed three runs in six innings and tossed only 81 pitches before departing with a 4-3 lead in what became a no-decision. Collins preferred having Rice face the Utley/Howard portion of the Phillies lineup in their fourth plate appearances.

David Wright snapped a career-high 136 at-bat homerless drought with a two-run homer in the first inning against Kyle Kendrick. Wright finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs, but popped out in foul territory against Jonathan Papelbon with Daniel Murphy at second base to end the game.

Mets pitchers remained hitless and are now 0-for-61 to open the season.

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

• Noah Syndergaard surrendered five runs (four earned) in six innings for Las Vegas, including a first-inning three-run homer to Nick Franklin. He struck out 10. Matt Koch, Randy Fontanez and Beck Wheeler combined on the shutout as St. Lucie beat Palm Beach, 2-0. John Gant, Dawrin Frias and Robert Coles combined on the shutout as Savannah beat Charleston, 1-0. 2012 first-round pick For the Gnats, Gavin Cecchini returned to the lineup two days after departing with a knee injury. Savannah snapped Yankees prospect Caleb Smith’s scoreless streak at 23 1/3 innings. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Jon Hamm, who plays advertising executive Don Draper on “Mad Men,” is a St. Louis Cardinals fan in real life. Hamm was in New York on Friday promoting his role as a sports agent in the new Disney movie, “Million Dollar Arm.” Writes Anthony McCarron in the Daily News:


ESPNActor Jon Hamm is a big St. Louis Cardinals fan.


He’s from St. Louis and grew up loving the Cardinals and Ozzie Smith and is still close to Ted Simmons’ son, a childhood friend. The ‘82 World Series is his favorite baseball memory.

“Oh, I hated the Mets with a passion that kills and still do,” Hamm said last week while promoting his new movie, “Million Dollar Arm,” which opens Friday, May 16.

But, Hamm acknowledges, the Mets -- at least the late ’60s version -- are the “perfect team for Don Draper to root for. They’re brand new. They represent nothing but possibility.

“Don would never be a Yankee fan. That’s a frontrunner. He’s an underdog guy, if he’s anything.”

Speaking of Don Draper and the ’69 Mets, columnist Mike Vaccaro addresses that topic in the Post.

Read more in the Times and Newsday.

• Kevin Burkhardt (Class of 1997) will give William Patterson University’s commencement address Wednesday at the Izod Center, writes Phil Mushnick in the Post.

• The Yankees will honor Joe Torre, Goose Gossage, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill with plaques in Monument Park this season. So what about the Mets honoring their past heroes? Writes David Lennon in Newsday:

The franchise has retired only three numbers in addition to Jackie Robinson's No. 42 -- Casey Stengel's 37, Gil Hodges' 14 and Tom Seaver's 41 -- but [Mike] Piazza seems to be next in line.

Piazza's No. 31 has not been issued by the Mets since he left after the 2005 season, and he was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame last year. But the Mets appear to be waiting on Piazza's campaign for Cooperstown, and he fell 74 votes shy of the 75 percent needed (429) for induction in his second year.

Carter's No. 8, Keith Hernandez's No. 17 and Willie Mays' No. 24 also have been mostly kept out of circulation, so they remain possibilities.

In the meantime, the Mets rely on a seven-person committee to decide on their own Hall of Fame, which has 27 inductees. Who will follow Piazza? David Wright? That would be a bit of a wait.

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post suggests the Mets' season appears snowballing out of control.

Omar Quintanilla cleared waivers and accepted a demotion to Vegas. Quintanilla, who was replaced by Wilmer Flores on Friday, had the right to decline the assignment and declare free agency.

• There have been 122 players to play for both the Mets and Yankees, writes Anthony Rieber in Newsday. There are five slated to participate in this week’s Subway Series: Abreu, Bartolo Colon, Farnsworth, Curtis Granderson and Carlos Beltran.

• The Chicago White Sox promoted former Mets closer Frank Francisco from Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday.

• The Los Angeles Angels released ex-Mets left-handed reliever Robert Carson from Triple-A Salt Lake, where he had a 10.34 ERA and had allowed 23 hits and 13 walks in 15 2/3 innings.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear encounters a Mets fan existential crisis.

BIRTHDAYS: Walt Terrell, who was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Howard Johnson on Dec. 7, 1984, turns 56.

TWEETS OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should start Wednesday against the Yankees -- Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Carlos Torres, Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard?

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

May, 8, 2014
May 8
10:36
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Roberto Hernandez, Kyle Kendrick and Cole Hamels this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (16-17, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (15-18, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (3-0, 5.23) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (2-1, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (3-1, 2.51) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 3.58), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-2, 1.82) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.02), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Jimmy Rollins tweaked his right groin muscle Sunday against the Washington Nationals. He has yet to return to shortstop. In a home-and-home four-game series against Toronto, Rollins pinch-hit Monday and Tuesday in Philly. He then served as the designated hitter on Wednesday and Thursday in the American League ballpark.


Kathy Willens/Associated PressJimmy Rollins has been dealing with a groin issue.


Freddy Galvis has started three of the past four games at shortstop, with Jayson Nix starting the other game. After going hitless in three at-bats Thursday, Galvis is hitting .048 (2-for-42) this season.

Rollins is 28 hits shy of matching the Phillies’ all-time record, held by Mike Schmidt with 2,234. Richie Ashburn ranks second with 2,217 hits as a Phillie, from 1948-59.

Roberto Hernandez formerly was known as Fausto Carmona. He signed with the Phillies as a free agent for one year at $4.5 million on Dec. 12. After spending seven seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Hernandez went 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 32 appearances (24 starts) with the Tampa Bay Rays last season.

• Ex-Met Marlon Byrd faces the Mets at Citi Field for the first time since signing with the Phillies for two years, $16 million on Nov. 12. Byrd homered last Tuesday against Jonathon Niese in the first meeting between the clubs since his defection. He went 2-for-4 Thursday in Toronto to up his season totals to .317/.348/.516.

• The Phillies have been held to one run or fewer in four of their past eight games, beginning with the Mets’ 6-1 win at Citizens Bank Park last week.

Except for Byrd, they are getting woeful offensive production from their outfield. Center fielder Ben Revere (.283/.295/.317) did not start Thursday, with Tony Gwynn Jr. instead getting the nod. Soon, Byrd could shift to center field, displacing Revere from the starting lineup. That likely would coincide with Darin Ruf returning from a season-opening DL stint. Ruf (strained left oblique) has started a rehab assignment. Ruf had 14 homers in 251 at-bats last season.

Left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .226 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 115 at-bats.

Cole Hamels needs one win for 100 in his career. He followed up the outing in which he allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Mets by surrendering five runs on 10 hits and a walk in six innings against the Jays on Tuesday. Hamels surrendered homers to Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus in that outing as his ERA swelled to 7.02. Hamels has made three starts overall since returning from a season-opening trip to the disabled list for biceps tendinitis.

• Closer Jonathan Papelbon has tossed 12 straight scoreless innings.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
12:30
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Kyle Kendrick in Game 2 of the series, after Cole Hamels in the opener.
METS (14-11, second place/NL East) at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (13-12, fourth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (1-2, 2.45) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (0-1, 3.00), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-3, 4.50) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.52), 7:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cole Hamels made his season debut Wednesday. He allowed two runs on six hits in six innings while tossing 86 pitches at Dodger Stadium. He had opened the season on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Hamels averaged 91.4 mph with his fastball, consistent with last year’s velocity. He is 7-13 with a 4.44 ERA in 26 career starts against the Mets.

• Ex-Met Marlon Byrd signed a two-year, $16 million deal on Nov. 12 to play right field. He is hitting .269 with two homers and 16 RBIs through 93 at-bats.

Chase Utley ranks second in the NL in batting average at .360, trailing only Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon (.402). Utley became the first Phillie since Von Hayes in 1989 to produce 20 hits in his first 40 at-bats of a season.


Charlie Neibergall/Associated PressThe Phillies are no longer the team to beat, but Jimmy Rollins remains the shortstop.


Jimmy Rollins and Utley have started 1,090 games together as a double-play combination, the most among active shortstop/second-base pairings. Similarly, Utley and Ryan Howard are the active leaders in games started alongside each other at second and first base, at 965.

Rollins, historically a leadoff man, has been a fixture in the No. 2 hole this season, with center fielder Ben Revere leading off. Howard largely remains the cleanup hitter, although he was placed No. 5 a couple of times during the opening week against left-handed pitching.

Rollins briefly clashed with manager Ryne Sandberg during spring training, when Rollins was held out of games for three days over apparent manager concerns about his “dedication,” to use the Philadelphia Inquirer’s term.

• After batting .204 with no RBIs in his first 14 games, catcher Carlos Ruiz has been on a tear. Ruiz enters the Mets series hitting .500 (11-for-22) with six extra-base hits, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in six games. Ruiz signed a three-year, $26 million deal on Nov. 18 to remain a Phillie after receiving strong interest from the Boston Red Sox.

• Closer Jonathan Papelbon has made 10 straight scoreless relief appearances and is 8-for-8 in saves during that span.

Overall, though, the Phillies have an NL-worst 5.14 bullpen ERA. Already, three members of the Opening Day bullpen have been demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley: Justin De Fratus (7.20 ERA), Brad Lincoln (11.57) and B.J. Rosenberg (7.11).

Now active with the big-league club: Mike Adams, Shawn Camp and Jeff Manship. Adams opened the season on the disabled list still recovering from shoulder surgery last July to repair his right labrum and rotator cuff. Camp and Manship (who has a career 6.44 ERA) were signed as minor-league free agents during the offseason.

• Left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with a homer, five RBIs and two walks against left-handed pitching this season.

• Lefty hitters are 3-for-their-last-30 against left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo since last June 27.

A.J. Burnett, who will not pitch in the Mets series, has a 0.83 ERA in three starts since learning he has a hernia, which he will wait until after the season to have surgically repaired.

• Third baseman Cody Asche, 23, went 3-for-4 with a homer on Opening Day. He since is hitting .173 (9-for-52) with no homers and four RBIs in 20 games (14 starts). Now, Asche has only started two of the Phillies’ past six games. Freddy Galvis has started three games and Jayson Nix once at third base during that span.

• Galvis dealt with a MRSA infection late in spring training. He required hospitalization to treat the staph infection in his leg.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
4:29
PM ET

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Cole Hamels (Saturday), Kyle Kendrick (Friday) and Cliff Lee (Sunday) in the second-half-opening series.
METS (41-50, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (48-48, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.33) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.68), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.54) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (4-11, 4.05), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (10-3, 2.86), 1:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies are 6-3 but averaging only 3.6 runs a game since losing Ryan Howard to left knee surgery. The debridement surgery is expected to cost Howard six to eight weeks. Rookie Darin Ruf has handled first base in Howard’s absence. Ruf slugged 38 homers last season with Double-A Reading. He has reached base safely in 18 straight games at the major league level.


Michael Perez/Associated PressBen Revere suffered a broken right ankle on foul ball while batting.


• Center fielder Ben Revere underwent surgery Tuesday for a broken right ankle and also is expected to miss six to eight weeks. It is a big blow to the offense. Revere, the team’s leadoff hitter, had been hitting .305 with 22 steals. Revere suffered the injury fouling a ball off the foot. He had two screws inserted.

GM Ruben Amaro has said the Phillies will shop for a fill-in center fielder. John Mayberry Jr. has handled the position the past two games. Prospect Cesar Hernandez has moved from second base to center field in the minors to provide another option.

• First-time All-Star Domonic Brown is third in the National League with 23 homers, trailing Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez (25) and Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez (24). Brown’s 67 RBIs rank fourth.

Cole Hamels has a 1.57 ERA with 19 strikeouts and one walk in his last three starts.

Cliff Lee is the only active left-hander to pitch in four All-Star Games.

• The Phillies could be buyers or sellers depending upon the direction their season takes before July 31. They reached .500 on Sunday for the first time since June 7, when they were 31-31. Before the first-half-closing win, they had spent only five days at or above .500 this season. They have won five of their past six series.

Potentially on the block if things go south: centerpiece players Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz and Lee as well as Delmon Young and Michael Young. Utley and Ruiz are eligible for free agency after the season. Lee is owed a combined $50 million in 2014 and ’15, and also has a $12.5 million buyout owed if a $27.5 million club option for 2016 is not exercised. Papelbon is signed at $13 million a season through 2015. He also has a vesting option at that amount for 2016.

Kyle Kendrick limited the Washington Nationals to one run in seven innings in a win in his last start, despite four errors committed by his fielders, including three by Utley.

• Since June 17, Papelbon has five blown saves in 12 chances. Manager Charlie Manuel told SiriusXM that Papelbon was dealing with occasional hip soreness. Papelbon nonetheless has reached 20 saves for the eighth straight season. That is the longest active streak in the majors and the eighth-longest in major league history. Mariano Rivera holds the record with 15 straight 20-plus save seasons, from 1997-2011.

Jimmy Rollins has gone 156 at-bats without a homer.

• Infielder John McDonald was acquired from the Cleveland Indians on June 27 for a player to be named or cash.

• Backup catcher Erik Kratz was activated from the disabled list Sunday after missing 4 weeks with a left knee injury.

• Manuel has 995 career wins. He is due to become the 59th manager in major league history to reach the 1,000-win plateau. There are seven active managers at that level: Dusty Baker, Bruce Bochy, Terry Francona, Davey Johnson, Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia and Buck Showalter.

Morning Briefing: Harvey Day in Philly

June, 23, 2013
6/23/13
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Eric Hartline/USA TODAY SportsKevin Frandsen is greeted by teammates after his walk-off homer Saturday.
PHILADELPHIA

FIRST PITCH: Five days after his dominance in Atlanta in an uplifting doubleheader display with Zack Wheeler, it once again is Matt Harvey Day.

Harvey (6-1, 2.16 ERA) opposes Philadelphia Phillies left-hander John Lannan (0-1, 5.49) in the 1:35 p.m. series finale today at Citizens Bank Park.

Josh Satin is due to get the start at first base, according to Terry Collins.

Writes Kristie Ackert in the Daily News on Harvey:

Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen talked to Harvey this past week about being more open with them about how he is feeling during starts.

Harvey admitted after the Atlanta game -- in which he racked up 13 strikeouts -- that he was gassed when he went back out for the eighth and that he did not tell Collins or Warthen. That much was obvious when he started out the inning by walking Gerald Laird and then giving up back-to-back singles to Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons. At that point, Collins had no choice but to go get his ace.

Sunday’s news reports:


Rich Schultz/Getty ImagesLucas Duda is on the DL after complaining of left side discomfort after Friday's game, which included this play at the plate.


• An MRI on Saturday in New York revealed Lucas Duda had an intercostal muscle strain on his left side. The Mets placed Duda on the disabled list and promoted corner infielder Zach Lutz from Triple-A Las Vegas. A team official told ESPNNewYork.com Ike Davis was not an immediate consideration for a promotion in Duda’s absence because more time working on his refinements is required.

Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and MLB.com.

• The Mets rallied from a six-run deficit to tie the score in the ninth when David Wright scored from first base on Daniel Murphy’s single against Jonathan Papelbon. But Carlos Torres surrendered a walk-off homer to Kevin Frandsen to open the bottom half and the Phillies beat the Mets, 8-7. Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of homers to Ryan Howard, who now has six long balls in 15 career at-bats against Gee.

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

Read columnist Kevin Kernan’s take in the Post.

• Do Wheeler and Harvey need to be best buds? Not exactly Columnist David Lennon in Newsday asks Tom Glavine and Ron Darling, and writes:

Ron Darling, now an SNY analyst, was on two of the better starting rotations in baseball history with the Mets. In 1986, Darling went 15-6 with a 2.81 ERA on a group that included Dwight Gooden (17-6, 2.84), Bobby Ojeda (18-5, 2.57) and Sid Fernandez (16-6, 3.52). Two years later, the Mets featured Darling (17-9, 3.25), Gooden (18-9, 3.19), Fernandez (12-10, 3.03), Ojeda (10-13, 2.88) and David Cone (20-3, 2.22).

Were they all best buddies? No. But did they recognize the importance of competitive bonding as a rotation? Absolutely.

"If you have that fraternity, if you get that feeling that you're all brothers in this thing, it's as good as it gets as far as being in a team sport," Darling said. "Hitters look at pitchers like a necessary evil. You're like a separate element on the team, so it makes you become close.

"There's nothing worse than being on a team -- a bad team -- and you've got some guys in the rotation that they're all for them. And on the day you're pitching, they don't [care]. We'd be on the bench cheering a guy on when it was his day, and making sure that, hey, I'm here for you."

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News suggests that while the Mets have pitching prospects, the hitting prospects do not exist in the minors. Writes Madden:

A veteran National League scout, who has spent much of the last two months evaluating other teams’ minor-league talent, told me last week: “The Mets are loaded with pitching prospects but have zero bona fide position prospects, and while the Yankees have a couple of position prospects, especially catchers, down low, I didn’t see any potential impact players in their system either. They’re both in big trouble as far as filling their needs from within.”

• Binghamton rallied from a four-run ninth-inning deficit to beat Erie, 6-5 in 10 innings, on Josh Rodriguez’s walk-off double. Steven Matz tossed six scoreless innings in a no-decision for Savannah. First-round pick Dominic Smith went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Highly regarded right-handed prospect Noah Syndergaard, who was acquired with Travis d’Arnaud in the R.A. Dickey trade in December, has been promoted to Double-A Binghamton.

Tim Byrdak, recovering from shoulder surgery, made his first Gulf Coast League appearance. Including back-field games, Byrdak has now pitched on consecutive days twice.

• Dan Duggan in Newsday speaks with 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini about his relationship with his brother Garin, a Red Sox prospect.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record tackles Mets fandom.

From the bloggers … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests the Mets should not be seduced by Davis’ early Pacific Coast League stats.

BIRTHDAYS: Juan Castillo, whose only two major league games came as a starting pitcher with the Mets in 1994, turns 43.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets have promoted Ike Davis with Lucas Duda landing on the DL? Or is more minor league time the wise decision?

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 8, Mets 7

June, 22, 2013
6/22/13
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PHILADELPHIA -- Jordany Valdespin did it again. This time it went for naught.

A half-inning after the Mets completed a rally from a six-run deficit, Carlos Torres served up a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to Kevin Frandsen as the Philadelphia Phillies survived for an 8-7 win against the Mets on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.

A year after Valdespin burst onto the major league stage with a tiebreaking pinch-hit homer against Jonathan Papelbon for his first major league homer, JV1 again homered in the ninth inning against the closer. This time, the one-out solo shot pulled the Mets within 7-6. The Mets then benefited from some Phillies sloppiness to even the score.


H. Rumph Jr./Associated PressRyan Howard homered twice against Dillon Gee.


David Wright reached on third baseman Michael Young's error. Stealing second with two outs and Daniel Murphy at the plate, Wright scored on the play when Murphy punched a single through the vacated hole at shortstop and center fielder Ben Revere flubbed picking up the baseball.

Papelbon suffered his third blown save this season -- and this week.

Oh, Gee: Next time, Dillon Gee might want to pitch around Ryan Howard.

Howard continued to torment the right-hander, homering twice and driving in four runs against Gee.

Howard is now a career 7-for-15 with six homers and 14 RBIs against Gee. He has gone deep in five of the six games in which they have met.

Fellow nemesis Michael Young also had a solo homer against Gee, whose streak of stellar starts was snapped at four.

The all-time homer list versus Gee: Howard 6, Young 3, John Mayberry Jr. 2, Alex Gonzalez 2, Ian Desmond 2, Travis Ishikawa 2.

Gee ultimately was charged with six runs (five earned) on eight hits in a 67-pitch effort over five innings. He had produced a 1.53 ERA over his previous four starts.

Gee’s career numbers in Philly: 1-2 with a 10.38 ERA in six appearances (five starts).

Comeback: The Mets began their rally from a six-run deficit in the seventh -- the inning after Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone was forced to depart with lower-back tightness.

After Omar Quintanilla’s RBI single pulled the Mets within 7-2, Josh Satin walked to load the bases and chase Michael Stutes. Eric Young Jr. followed with a two-run double against Justin De Fratus. Valdespin then had an RBI groundout as the Mets pulled within two, 7-5.

The four-run frame ended when left-hander Jacob Diekman entered and struck out a perturbed Murphy looking, stranding two runners.

Satin, who is due to start at first base Sunday, has reached base in six straight plate appearances (three hits, three walks).

Buck-E: John Buck had a passed ball in the first inning that contributed to an unearned run charged to Gee.

With Greg Burke pitching in the sixth, Ben Revere stole second and third against the tandem and scored on Buck’s errant throw to third base as the Phillies took a 7-1 lead.

Welcome back: Burke, who surrendered the unearned run in one inning of work, was making his first appearance since returning to the majors this weekend. His promotion coincided with Jonathan Niese landing on the disabled list.

Burke may not be around long. The Mets will need to clear a roster spot Tuesday when Zack Wheeler is re-promoted to face the Chicago White Sox.

What’s next: Matt Harvey Day! Harvey (6-1, 2.16 ERA), who took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in Atlanta in his last start, opposes left-hander John Lannan (0-1, 5.49) in the rubber game at 1:35 p.m. Sunday.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

June, 21, 2013
6/21/13
12:50
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Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Cole Hamels, Jonathan Pettibone and John Lannan this weekend.
METS (28-41, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (35-38, third place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-6, 3.96) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (2-10, 4.40), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.56) vs. RHP Jonathan Pettibone">Jonathan Pettibone (3-3, 4.40), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Matt Harvey (6-1, 2.16) vs. LHP John Lannan (0-1, 5.49), 1:35 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cole Hamels’ 10 losses are tied with the Angels’ Joe Blanton for the major league lead. Hamels is the first Phillie with 10 losses before the All-Star break since Kyle Abbott in 1992.

• Left-hander John Lannan faced his former club, the Washington Nationals, on Monday in his first major league start in two months. Lannan allowed two runs in five innings. He had been on the DL since an April 17 appearance at Cincinnati with a strained tendon in his right knee. The Long Beach, L.I., native signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with Philadelphia on Dec. 18.


Matt Slocum/Associated PressJonathan Papelbon blew his first two saves this season against Washington this week.


Chase Utley, who has missed a month with a right oblique strain, began a rehab assignment Wednesday with Double-A Reading. He is expected to return at some point this weekend. Kevin Frandsen has started the past four games at second base. He is hitting .350 with two RBIs and a .435 on-base percentage over his last eight games (five starts).

Carlos Ruiz was activated from the DL on Tuesday after missing four weeks with a strained right hamstring.

Jonathan Papelbon blew his first two saves of the season in a three-day span against the Nationals this week.

• Rookie Jonathan Pettibone’s rotation spot may be in jeopardy. Carlos Zambrano tossed seven scoreless innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. He will make another minor league start Sunday, but can opt out if he is not promoted by July 1. Zambrano is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in five minor league starts over three different levels. He signed with Philadelphia on May 15. Pettibone is coming off an outing at Colorado in which he surrendered seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits and a walk in three innings.

• Left fielder Domonic Brown is hitting .135 with no extra-base hits in 37 at-bats over his past 10 starts.

• Third baseman Michael Young notched his 1,000th RBI on Wednesday, on a two-run homer against Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. He is the 18th active player to reach that threshold.

Ben Revere has a 10-game hitting streak during which he is hitting .391. Revere has spent the past seven games in the leadoff spot.

Cliff Lee, who potentially could be traded, has a 1.97 ERA in his last nine starts and has won seven straight decisions. He is owed $25 million a season in 2014 and ’15, and has a $27.5 million club option for 2016 with a $12.5 million buyout.

Toxicology report -- bad MLB contracts

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
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US Presswire
Vernon Wells, Juan Uribe and Chone Figgins (l to r) are among the bloated contracts around Major League Baseball.
The Mets’ first task this offseason regarding Jason Bay, and for that matter Johan Santana, likely should be to see if any team has trade interest. A swap appears unlikely, though, even discounting the no-trade clause each possesses.

After all, Bay is hitting .155 with eight homers in 187 at-bats. And he is owed $19 million next season including a 2014 buyout, making it a toxic contract.

Similarly, Santana -- despite the June 1 no-hitter -- finishes the season on the DL after allowing six-plus runs in each of his final five starts. Santana is owed $31 million next season including a ’14 buyout.

Still, if the Mets were to find another team with toxic contracts to swap, who is logical? With the help of reporters around baseball, here’s a look …

THEY’VE GOT POTENTIAL

Angels: “Oh, you've come to the right place,” our friend who covers the Angels says. “The Angels have the deadest of dead weight -- Vernon Wells. The Angels are paying Wells $21 million this year to be their fourth outfielder. They owe him $21 million more in 2013 and again in 2014.”

Blue Jays: Left fielder/first baseman Adam Lind (.240, 10 HR, 40 RBIs) is owed $5 million in 2013. With buyouts of option years, the minimum owed is $7 million. “He cleared waivers at one point this season and the Blue Jays would love to get rid of his contract -- even though it's unlikely that can happen,” a team observer said.

Braves: Second baseman Dan Uggla (.215, 19 HR, 73 RBIs) is owed $39 million over the next three seasons.

Cubs: Alfonso Soriano ($18 million apiece in 2013 and ’14) and Carlos Marmol ($9.8 million next season) are the remaining sizable contracts.

Dodgers: The Dodgers inherited Carl Crawford ($102.5 million through 2017) and Josh Beckett ($31.5 million through 2014) while acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, but both should contribute. The least-productive contract: Juan Uribe, who finally pinch hit Sunday after going unused for nearly a month. Uribe, with one year remaining, is still owed $8 million.

Mariners: Left fielder Chone Figgins (.183, 2 HR, 11 RBIs) is owed $8 million next season. Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez (.258, 4 HR, 14 RBIs) is owed $7.5 million in 2013 with a buyout of the following season. Says one observer: “Gutierrez has been hurt or sick for most of his deal and might produce if ever healthy. Figgins is literally dead weight.” Bay does live in the offseason in Seattle. And the combined $15.5 million owed to those two are close to Bay's $19 million.

Marlins: Heath Bell has two years, $18 million guaranteed remaining. He also has a $9 million option for 2015 based on games finished -- 55 the previous season or 100 combined in 2013 and '14. (The Mets have been down that route before.)

Pirates: Clint Barmes is signed for 2013 at $5.5 million. He's hitting .228/.266/.325 with eight homers.

Red Sox: John Lackey (12-12, 6.41 ERA) has two years left for a combined $30.5 million, with a 2015 club option at the major league minimum because of a preexisting elbow injury.

Twins: Nick Blackburn (4-9, 7.39 ERA) and middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka -- both relegated to the minors -- are under contract for 2013 and “practically sunken cost.” Blackburn is owed $5.5 million. Nishioka is owed $3.25 million including a 2014 buyout. The Twins likely would never trade Joe Mauer, despite him being owed $23 million annually through 2018.

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez to Flushing? Don't hold your breath. Still, A-Rod is owed $114 million over the next five seasons. Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia could emerge as bad contracts, with $90 million over four seasons and $119 million over five seasons owed, respectively.

(Read full post)

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
10:30
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US Presswire
The Phillies conceded 2012 with the trades of (l to r) Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Jim Thome.
METS (59-69, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (61-67, third place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Chris Young (3-7, 4.33) vs. RHP Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (2-3, 2.75) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jon Niese (10-7, 3.51) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12), 1:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies’ five-year run as division champs will come to an end. Philadelphia’s dismantling included trading:

Aug. 3: Right-hander Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ryan O’Sullivan.

July 31: Center fielder Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for Ethan Martin, Josh Lindblom and a player to be named or cash.

July 31: Right fielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for Nate Schierholtz, Seth Rosin and Tommy Joseph.


Benny Sieu/US Presswire
Cole Hamels committed to the Phillies long term, signing a six-year, $144 million extension.


July 1: Right-hander Chad Qualls to the New York Yankees for a player to be named or cash.

June 30: First baseman Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon.

• Left-hander Cole Hamels agreed to a six-year, $144 million extension on July 25, after the Phillies explored trades.

• Philadelphia swept the Nationals in a three-game weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Cliff Lee had been winless in his past 12 home starts (0-6) before limiting Washington to one run in seven innings. The ex-Dodger Lindblom notched his first career save with closer Jonathan Papelbon having worked the previous three days.

• Left fielder Juan Pierre stole his 586th base Sunday, tying Maury Wills for 19th on MLB’s all-time list. Pierre is the majors’ active leader in steals.

• Outfielder Domonic Brown has missed two straight games with a sore left knee. Brown had started 22 straight games since a promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which coincided with the trades of Victorino and Pence. Brown initially started in left field, then in right field once the ex-Giant Schierholtz suffered a broken right big toe. Schierholtz began a rehab assignment Sunday. He is not expected to rejoin the Phillies until after the series against the Mets. John Mayberry Jr. has taken over for Victorino in center field.

• Despite being activated from the disabled list last Monday, Placido Polanco has started only two games in the past week because of continued lower-back inflammation. Kevin Frandsen has subbed for Polanco at third base.

• Journeyman Erik Kratz, 32, is the Phillies’ primary catch, with rookie Steven Lerud -- who has yet to make his major league debut -- the backup. Lerud has played in only nine career games above the Double-A level. Ex-Met Brian Schneider landed on the disabled list Friday with a strained left hamstring. He joined Carlos Ruiz (foot) on the DL.

• Right-handed reliever Phillippe Aumont, who had been the centerpiece of the deal that sent Lee to Seattle in December 2009, made his major league debut Thursday.

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Citi Field, July 3-5 (AP game recaps)

Mets 11, Phillies 1: Jon Niese had a two-run single to back his fine performance on the mound and David Wright hit a three-run homer. Niese (7-3) pitched a season-high eight innings and gave up three hits, one a homer to Carlos Ruiz. His hit in the second inning put New York up for good in front of 42,516, the highest attendance in the four-year history of Citi Field. Ruben Tejada had an RBI single among his three hits. He put on a show at shortstop, too. Daniel Murphy finished a homer short of the cycle, doubled twice, drove in four runs and made a leaping catch and diving stop at second base. Tejada led off the game with an 11-pitch out and it rarely got much easier for Vance Worley (4-5) and Philadelphia's bullpen. More

Phillies 9, Mets 2: Cliff Lee finally posted his first victory of the season and Philadelphia hit three late homers. Lee (1-5) had gone a puzzling 13 starts this year without a victory. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz hit consecutive home runs in the seventh inning against Chris Young as the Phillies rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Ty Wigginton's two-run homer in the ninth against Jeremy Hefner capped the surge. More

Mets 6, Phillies 5: David Wright singled off Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Mets to a comeback that preserved R.A. Dickey's 11-game winning streak. Josh Thole prevented a run in the eighth when he held on to the ball despite being barreled over at home plate. Daniel Murphy lined a shot off Papelbon's leg for the tying run with two outs in the ninth, setting the stage for Wright. Cole Hamels outlasted Dickey in a matchup of All-Stars that fizzled from the start. More

These Mets magic moments ...

July, 11, 2012
7/11/12
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US Presswire/Tim FarrellJohan Santana's June 1 no-hitter certainly was cause for celebration.
Here's a ranking of 10 memorable moments from the first half of 2012, with write-ups largely as they appeared on those days.

Obviously, Johan Santana's historic no-hitter -- the first in franchise history -- ranks No. 1. So what's your next favorite?

10. FRACTURED HOPE, April 14: Broken pinkie? Idle for four days? No problem. David Wright pounced on the first pitch he saw in his return to the lineup, sending a first-inning offering from Vance Worley over the center-field wall for a 428-foot homer in his return as the Mets beat the Phillies, 5-0. Wright avoided the DL and played through the fracture while unexpectedly missing minimal time.

9. BELL RUNG, April 26: Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Mets swept the Marlins. Ex-Met Heath Bell walked four of the first five batters he faced and forced in the tying run with a 13-pitch free pass to Justin Turner. Bell threw 46 pitches in the ninth.

8. OPENING ACT, April 5: Santana successfully returned after missing the 2011 season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. And the Mets again were winners on Opening Day, improving their MLB-best mark to 33-18 in season openers, thanks to an RBI single from Wright and clutch relief from Tim Byrdak only 23 days after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Mets beat the Braves, 1-0.

7. CHICKEN DELIGHT, June 22: Frank Francisco labeled the Yankees "chickens" before the Subway Series opener at Citi Field. He ended up getting a save in the opener, in a 6-4 win. Things got weird, though, when Byrdak had a clubhouse attendant purchase a chicken in Chinatown for $8. Byrdak had the bird running around the Mets clubhouse. The good-luck chicken, dubbed "Little Jerry Seinfeld," eventually found a home at an upstate sanctuary.

6. RAY OF HOPE, June 12-14: The Mets answered getting swept in the Subway Series in the Bronx in resounding fashion. The Amazin’s scored 29 runs in a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, who had led the American League with a 3.40 ERA entering the series. The Mets -- who scored 11, nine and nine runs -- last posted at least nine runs in three straight games in 2006. They last did it consecutively in the same series back in 1990, when they scored 43 runs in the final three games of a four-game set against the Chicago Cubs.


Howard Smith/US Presswire
Jordany Valdespin's first major league hit was a game-deciding homer against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon on May 7.


5. PAPEL-BUMMERS, May 7 & July 5: Omir Santos … again? Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had not allowed a hit in the last 18 at-bats against him entering the series, surrendered a one-out walk to Ike Davis, two-out double to Mike Nickeas, then a three-run homer to pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Mets to a 5-2 win on May 7 at Citizens Bank Park. Then, July 5, also against Papelbon, Wright blooped in the game-winning single with two outs. It was Wright’s seventh-career game-ending hit and first since Aug. 7, 2008 (a home run). The third baseman finished with three hits -- including a homer -- and four RBIs.

4. CATCH 23, June 1: He struggled to put on his shirt in front of his locker, the pain of a crash into the left-field wall still reverberating through his left shoulder. The crash, which followed a catch that proved to be the biggest defensive play in preserving Santana's no-hitter, knocked him from the game, forcing him to watch the final innings in the training room and bringing on a litany of tests. The crash resulted in the best sore shoulder Mike Baxter has ever suffered in his 27 years. "Absolutely," Baxter said. "I'll take it any day of the week."

3. GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT, March 19: The owners of the Mets settled with trustee Irving Picard for $162 million, their alleged profit from certain Ponzi scheme funds in the six years before Bernard Madoff's arrest. In reality, Fred Wilpon and family will be on the hook for only a fraction of that amount -- and will not be required to make any payments until 2016 and 2017. That's because, as part of the settlement, the Wilpons will be able to apply to the trustee to be reimbursed for $178 million in losses from certain funds.

2. ZEROES, June 13: R.A. Dickey ran his scoreless streak to a franchise-record 32 2/3 innings before Wright's ninth-inning error, a pair of passed balls from Nickeas and an RBI groundout ended the run. Dickey nonetheless passed previous record-holder Jerry Koosman (31 2/3 innings in 1973) as the Mets beat the Rays, 9-1, at the Trop. Dickey retired 22 straight batters at one point in claiming his 10th win.

1. NO-HAN: After more than a half-century and 8,020 games, Santana pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets history. Aided by an umpire's missed call and an incredible catch by a left fielder who grew up in Queens as a Mets fan, Santana's start is also the first no-hitter of his career. Mets manager Terry Collins said before the game that he wanted to limit Santana to a maximum of 110-115 pitches. Santana finished with a career-high 134. Afterward, an emotional Collins expressed his wariness about going after history instead of preserving Santana's long-term health.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 2, 2012
7/02/12
9:30
AM ET

US Presswire
The Mets are expected to face (l to r) Vance Worley, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels during the midweek series.
METS (43-37, second place/NL East) vs. PHILADLEPHIA PHILLIES (36-45, fifth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jon Niese (6-3, 3.55) vs. RHP Vance Worley (4-4, 2.92), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Chris Young (2-1, 3.30) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (0-5, 4.13), 1:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.15) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.08), 7:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The underwhelming Phillies traded a pair of veterans to the American League during the weekend. They dealt Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league catcher Gabriel Lino and right-hander Kyle Simon. A day later, reliever Chad Qualls was sent to the Yankees for cash or a player to be named. Thome, 41, was hitting .242 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 62 at-bats, but back woes made it difficult for him to man first base. Qualls (4.60 ERA) had been designated for assignment Thursday.

Ex-Met Jason Pridie and left-hander Jeremy Horst took their roster spots. Horst had been acquired by the Phillies in January in the trade that sent infielder Wilson Valdez, another ex-Met, to Cincinnati. Pridie had signed with Oakland as a minor league free agent during the winter, was suspended 50 games by MLB for a second positive test for a drug of abuse in March, was released by the A’s last month and signed with Philadelphia on June 15.


Howard Smith/US Presswire
Chase Utley made his season debut last week after dealing with chronic knee woes.


• ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the dismantling may not be limited to peripheral players, with pending free agent Cole Hamels as well as Shane Victorino also potentially available.

• Hamels, catcher Carlos Ruiz and closer Jonathan Papelbon will represent the Phillies in the July 10 All-Star Game in Kansas City, although San Francisco’s Buster Posey will start over Ruiz behind the plate. Ruiz, a first-time All-Star, leads the majors in batting at .356, two points ahead of David Wright.

• Second baseman Chase Utley made his season debut last Wednesday with a three-hit game. He homered against the Pirates’ James McDonald in his first at-bat. Utley, who played in 10 rehab games, has started three of five games since being activated from the DL. The absence was caused by chronic left knee woes. Mike Fontenot has started the other two games at second base since Utley’s return.

• First baseman Ryan Howard may not be too far behind Utley. He began a rehab assignment Thursday with Class A Lakewood. Howard underwent surgery in October on his left Achilles and suffered a setback when the area got infected.

• Rookie infielder Freddy Galvis, who had started 45 games at second base in Utley’s absence, was suspended by MLB for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He already was sidelined with a back injury and will be allowed to serve the suspension while on the disabled list. In a statement, Galvis denied knowingly using the banned substance.

• The Phillies are nine games under .500 for the first time since July 25, 2006, when they were 44-53. A loss in the series opener against the Mets would drop Philadelphia 10 games under .500 for the first time since July 22, 2002. The Phillies had not had this bad a record at the midpoint of a season since they were 23-58 in 1997.

• After using Vance Worley in the series opener, the Phillies are expected to skip Kyle Kendrick and go with Cliff Lee and Hamels in the series.

• Lee remains winless through 13 starts. The last MLB pitchers to open a season with that many starts and not have one victory to show for it? They would be Kenshin Kawakami with Atlanta and Kevin Millwood with Baltimore, two seasons ago. They both failed to be credited with a win in their first 14 starts of 2010. Lee has allowed five or more earned runs in three straight starts, one shy of matching his career high, which came with Cleveland in 2007.

Roy Halladay threw a bullpen session Friday for the first time since landing on the DL with a back strain.

Last series results

Philadelphia won, 2-1, at Citi Field, May 28-30 (AP game recaps)

Phillies 8, Mets 4: Ty Wigginton drove in a career-high six runs with a homer and a pair of two-out hits and Cole Hamels won his eighth straight decision. Scott Hairston and Vinny Rottino each hit tying two-run homers for the Mets. Down 5-4, the Mets threatened in the eighth when pinch hitter Andres Torres doubled. With one out and Torres on third, Daniel Murphy grounded out and then David Wright also grounded out to end the inning. Wright has gone hitless in his last 14 at-bats, dropping his average to .373. More

Mets 6, Phillies 3: Jeremy Hefner earned his first victory in the majors and highlighted the occasion by homering for his first big league hit. The 26-year-old rookie became the first major league pitcher to hit his first homer in his first win since 2002, when Dennis Tankersley did it with San Diego, STATS LLC said. Pinch hitter Scott Hairston had a two-run homer, and newcomer Omar Quintanilla doubled twice and singled. More

Phillies 10, Mets 6: Carlos Ruiz came off the bench with a sore hamstring to hit a tying homer in the seventh inning, Jimmy Rollins added a three-run shot and the Phillies busted loose late. Shane Victorino drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth and Philadelphia bailed out winless Cliff Lee to take two of three in the series. Ty Wigginton also homered for the Phillies, who improved to 3-6 against the Mets this season. Lucas Duda went deep twice, including a two-run shot off Lee in the sixth that gave the Mets a 3-1 lead. Dillon Gee pitched 6 2/3 effective innings, but the New York bullpen was battered after he left -- beginning with the pinch-hit homer by Ruiz. More

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

May, 28, 2012
5/28/12
8:30
AM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and winless Cliff Lee this series.
METS (27-21, second place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (25-24, fifth place/NL East)

Monday: LHP Jon Niese (3-2, 4.29) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (7-1, 2.17), 1:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 6.17) vs. RHP Joe Blanton (2-2, 4.55), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-3, 4.92) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (0-2, 2.82), 7:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

Cliff Lee is winless on May 28 for the first time since 2003, when he did not make his season debut until June 30 and opened the season as a minor leaguer. During Lee’s most recent outing, center fielder Shane Victorino and the southpaw were caught on camera in a verbal altercation in St. Louis in the dugout. The spat came after Victorino and Hunter Pence each lost fourth-inning fly balls in the twilight at Busch Stadium.

• The Phillies remain without the duo of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Howard, who is trying to recover from an infection in his surgically repaired left Achilles’ tendon, has taken live batting practice at the team’s complex in Clearwater, Fla. Utley (knee) has started taking grounders, but has yet to run the bases.


Jeff Curry/US Presswire
Shane Victorino and Cliff Lee jawed in St. Louis after Victorino lost a fly ball.


In Utley’s absence, Freddy Galvis has heated up at second base. Galvis is hitting .314 (22-for-70) with 15 RBIs in his past 18 games.

Ty Wigginton, Hector Luna and John Mayberry Jr. all have seen time at first base of late. Luna was promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on May 11 when Laynce Nix landed on the disabled list with a strained left calf. He delivered a grand slam in his first at-bat as Phillie, while pinch-hitting five days later. Luna became the first player to produce a slam in his first at-bat as a Phillie since Gene Freese on April 18, 1959. Mayberry is 5-for-28 in his past 11 games (seven starts). Jim Thome (back) -- who also has logged time at first base this season -- has been on the disabled list for the past month, although he has resumed swinging a bat.

Cole Hamels’ seven wins are tied with R.A. Dickey, St. Louis’ Lance Lynn and ex-Met Chris Capuano for the National League lead. Hamels, a free-agent-to-be at season’s end, took a no-hit bid one out into the sixth inning in his most recent start. He ultimately tossed eight scoreless innings against the Nationals.

Joe Blanton has been knocked out in the fifth inning in each of his past two starts. He allowed seven runs apiece against Boston and St. Louis. The consecutive subpar outings have lifted his ERA from 2.96 to 4.55.

Roy Halladay departed Sunday’s game at St. Louis after two innings with right shoulder soreness. Halladay has logged 220 innings in each of the past six seasons. Since ’06, Halladay’s 1,487 innings are the most in the majors, ahead of runner-up CC Sabathia’s 1,463 and Dan Haren’s 1,429. Halladay had surrendered a grand slam to Yadier Molina before departing. Brian McCann also had a slam against Halladay this month. They are the first two slams allowed by the ace since Evan Longoria accomplished it in 2008. Fellow starter Vance Worley (elbow inflammation) may throw a bullpen session during the series in Queens but has yet to be activated from the DL.

• The Phillies are hitting .282 with 85 extra-base hits in May. They are averaging 4.8 runs per game this month. In April, they hit .247 with 47 extra-base hits and averaged 3.3 runs per game. Among the top May performers: catcher Carlos Ruiz (.410, 4 HR, 19 RBIs), Victorino (.288, 16 RBIs), Galvis (.283, 18 RBIs), Pence (.272, 8 HR, 18 RBIs) and left fielder Juan Pierre (.310). Ruiz has batted in the cleanup spot four of the past five games, with Pence moving to No. 3 and Victorino to fifth. Ruiz had never batted in the No. 4 hole in his seven-year career before this stretch.

• Philadelphia is carrying four left-handed relievers -- Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, Joe Savery and ex-Met Raul Valdes. Bastardo has allowed one run over his past 12 appearances, spanning 10 1/3 innings. Diekman and Valdes were promoted immediately after the meltdown series early this month against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, when Philadelphia failed to hold a lead in three straight games and was swept.

Jonathan Papelbon’s 14 saves lead the NL. He has converted every chance this season. His lone loss remains May 7, when Jordany Valdespin delivered a tiebreaking, pinch-hit three-run homer.

Jimmy Rollins took until at-bat No. 136 to homer. That was the second-longest drought to start a season in his career, only shy of the 155 at-bats required in 2004. Rollins missed three games last week on paternity leave for the birth of his first child, a daughter. If Rollins starts all three games this series, he will match Larry Bowa in Wednesday’s finale with 1,667 games played at shortstop for the Phillies.

Last series results

Mets won, 3-0, at Citizens Bank Park, May 7-9 (AP game recaps)

Mets 5, Phillies 2: Jordany Valdespin had a pinch-hit three-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning for his first major league hit. David Wright hit a tying two-run double off Roy Halladay in the sixth. On the same day Ruben Tejada was placed on the disabled list, Josh Thole left with a concussion after colliding with Ty Wigginton at the plate. More

Mets 7, Phillies 4: Lucas Duda had a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh. The Mets took the lead with four two-out runs on four hits, including Duda's single off Antonio Bastardo (1-2). Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ RBI single pulled New York within 4-2. Chad Qualls replaced starter Joe Blanton and gave up an RBI single to David Wright. On Hunter Pence's throw home, Wright got caught in a rundown between first and second. After Jimmy Rollins threw to first while second base was uncovered, Pete Orr tried to get Nieuwenhuis off the bag at third. The throw bounced past Placido Polanco, allowing Nieuwenhuis to score. More

Mets 10, Phillies 6: Ike Davis hit a three-run homer and Andres Torres also connected as the Mets completed their first three-game sweep in Philadelphia in six years. The Mets rallied to win all three against slumping Philadelphia. They trailed after five innings against Roy Halladay in the opener, then after six against Joe Blanton, and after six against Cliff Lee in the series finale. The Mets (18-13) moved five games above .500 for the first time since July 19, 2010. The loss prompted manager Charlie Manuel to address his team. Lee left with a 4-2 lead, but Kyle Kendrick (0-3) quickly gave that up. More

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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