New York Mets: Jordan Lyles

Rapid Reaction: Astros 3, Mets 1

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
10:03
PM ET


WHAT IT MEANS: Not to the lowly Houston Astros?

Yes, to the lowly Astros.

Despite a 7-43 record since June 27 -- the most futile 50-game stretch by a National League team since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders -- Houston came to Citi Field and beat the freefalling Mets, 3-1, in Friday night’s series opener. The Mets lost their sixth straight game, matching their season high.

Coming on the heels of getting swept in a four-game series by the Rockies in Queens, the Mets (57-69) dropped into a last-place tie with the Marlins in the NL East, pending the outcome of Miami’s game at Los Angeles.

The not-so-Amazin’s own an 11-29 record since the All-Star break, better than only Houston, which improved to 7-33 during that span. The Mets failed to exceed two runs for the seventh straight game, the longest stretch since the woeful 1982 Mets also went that length.

The Astros (40-86) matched the win total of the 1962 Mets with Friday's victory, pretty much ensuring they will avoid ignominy.

Jonathon Niese allowed a pair of second-inning runs, on consecutive RBI doubles by No. 8 hitter Brandon Barnes and opposing pitcher Jordan Lyles, and the Mets never led.

The combination of Jordany Valdespin and Andres Torres twice stranded a pair of runners on base -- including in the second inning, when the Mets had runners on the corners and none out. Valdespin’s grounder to first base resulted in Ike Davis being forced out at the plate. Torres followed by grounding into a double play.

Niese surrendered a leadoff homer in his seventh and final inning to Tyler Greene as the Astros grabbed a 3-1 lead.

200 CLUB: David Wright became the third player in franchise history with 200 homers, with a replay-confirmed solo shot in the fourth that struck the base of the right-field foul pole. Wright became the third Met to reach that plateau, joining Darryl Strawberry (252) and Mike Piazza (220). Wright had gone 92 at-bats between long balls, since going deep on July 27 at Arizona against Josh Collmenter. The drought was nine at-bats shy of matching Wright’s longest career homerless streak, which came in 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

DEPOSED? Struggling Frank Francisco was summoned in the eighth inning with the Mets trailing by two runs -- not the typical time for use by a closer. He issued a walk but also recorded two outs.

SPECIAL K: Fernando Martinez, a waiver claim by Houston in January from the Mets, pinch hit for Lyles in the seventh and struck out to leave an insurance run at third base in his return to Citi Field as a visitor.

WHAT’S NEXT: R.A. Dickey (15-4, 2.82 ERA) resumes his quest for 20 wins when he opposes left-hander Fernando Abad, who will be promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City for Saturday's 1:10 p.m. game.

Series preview: Mets vs. Astros

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
10:29
AM ET

Getty Images
Tony DeFrancesco (left) was named interim manager by first-year GM Jeff Luhnow (center), replacing fired Brad Mills (right).
METS (57-68, fourth place/NL East) vs. HOUSTON ASTROS (39-86, sixth place/NL West)

Friday: LHP Jon Niese (10-6, 3.82) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (2-10, 5.70), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (15-4, 2.82) vs. TBA, 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 5.11) vs. RHP Lucas Harrell (10-9, 4.04), 1:10 p.m. ET

Astros short hops

Tony DeFrancesco became interim manager Sunday, replacing fired Brad Mills. DeFrancesco had been managing Triple-A Oklahoma City. First-year GM Jeff Luhnow also replaced hitting coach Mike Barnett with Ty Van Burkleo and first base coach Bobby Meacham with Dan Radison.

• This series marks the last meeting before the Astros move to the American League West in 2013. Houston is 307-256 against the Mets all time in the regular season.

The Mets beat the Astros, 4-2, in the 1986 NLCS -- taking the clinching Game 6 in 16 innings. The Mets trailed, 3-0, entering the ninth, with the prospect of facing ace Mike Scott in Game 7 looming. But the Amazin’s scored three runs in the ninth on RBIs from Mookie Wilson, Keith Hernandez and Ray Knight. After trading runs in the 14th, the Mets produced three runs in the 16th and held on, 7-6, when Jesse Orosco struck out Kevin Bass.


Bob Levey/Getty Images
All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve remains on an otherwise dismantled Astros roster.


• The Mets and Astros own the two worst second-half records in the National League. Houston is 6-33 since the All-Star break. The Mets are 11-28. Next: The Cubs are 14-24, followed by the Marlins at 16-25 and the Rockies and Brewers, each at 17-21.

• The Astros’ pre-trading deadline dismantling included:

July 4: Sent first baseman Carlos Lee to Miami for third baseman Matt Dominguez and left-hander Rob Rasmussen.

July 20: Traded right-handers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter and left-hander J.A. Happ to Toronto for right-hander Francisco Cordero, outfielder Ben Francisco, right-hander Joe Musgrove, right-hander Asher Wojciechowski, left-hander David Rollins, catcher Carlos Perez and a player to be named.

July 21: Traded Brett Myers to the Chicago White Sox for right-hander Matt Heidenreich and left-hander Blair Walters.

July 24: Traded left-hander Wandy Rodriguez to Pittsburgh for left-hander Rudy Owens, outfielder Robbie Grossman and left-hander Colton Cain.

July 27: Claimed right-hander Chuckie Fick off waivers from St. Louis.

July 28: Claimed outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce off waivers from Baltimore.

July 29: Sent third baseman Chris Johnson to Arizona for infielder Bobby Borchering and outfielder Marc Krauss.

• All-Star Jose Altuve leads NL second baseman in average at .304, two points ahead of Arizona’s Aaron Hill.

• Outfielder Fernando Martinez, who was claimed off waivers from the Mets on Jan. 11, was promoted from Triple-A on Aug. 10. During a June stint with the major league club, he landed on the disabled list for 18 days with a concussion. Martinez is 7-for-44 with the Astros this season, but he produced a .314 average with 13 homers and 62 RBIs in 341 at-bats for Oklahoma City.

Jordan Lyles is the youngest active starting pitcher in the majors. He was born Oct. 19, 1990. Toronto’s Henderson Alvarez (April 18, 1990) ranks second. Miami’s Nate Eovaldi (Feb.13, 1990) is third. The Astros have the youngest active roster overall, at an average age of 26.4. Kansas City (26.5) and Colorado (26.8) are next.

Lucas Harrell (10-9) has logged more innings than any NL rookie and ranks second in wins to Arizona’s Wade Miley (14-8).

• With 50-year-old Roger Clemens pitching for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters on Saturday, there is speculation he could appear with the Astros before the end of the season.

• Reliever Rhiner Cruz (1-1, 6.90 ERA), a Rule 5 selection from the Mets, appears poised to last the season with the Astros and become Houston’s property.

Last series results

Houston won, 3-0, at Minute Maid Park, April 30-May 2 (AP game recaps)

Astros 4, Mets 3: Jordan Schafer had two hits and scored twice, including the go-ahead run on a single by Jed Lowie in the eighth inning. More

Astros 6, Mets 3: Chris Snyder hit a three-run home run and Jed Lowrie had a two-run shot. Lowrie's homer, off Jon Niese, which hit the inside of the foul pole in left field in the first inning, got things going for the Astros. More

Astros 8, Mets 1:Chris Johnson homered in consecutive at-bats among his four hits and drove in a career-high six runs to back up another solid outing by Wandy Rodriguez. Johnson's first homer of the season, off Chris Schwinden (0-1), was a three-run shot to the Crawford Boxes in left field that put Houston up 3-0 in the second inning. More

Series preview: Mets at Astros

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
2:44
AM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Bud Norris, J.A. Happ and Wandy Rodriguez during the final trip to Houston with the Astros an NL member.
METS (13-9, third place/NL East) vs. HOUSTON ASTROS (8-14, fifth place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP R.A. Dickey (3-1, 4.44) vs. RHP Bud Norris (1-1, 5.84), 8:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jon Niese (2-0, 2.81) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (1-1, 4.70), 8:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Chris Schwinden (0-0, 11.25) vs. LHP Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 1.72), 2:05 p.m. ET

Astros short hops

• The Astros, who debuted as a member of the National League alongside the Mets in 1962, originally as the Colt .45s, move to the American League West next season as part of the conditions of Jim Crane's purchase of the team from Drayton McLane. Crane received a $65 million purchase credit to balance the leagues at 15 teams apiece.

As for Astros fans’ negative reaction to the AL move, Crane told The Houston Chronicle: “I think it's calmed down considerably once people understand that was our destiny. That's the way baseball had decided -- whoever owned the Astros was going to be in the American League. You can argue anything I guess, but what they did does make some sense for baseball. When you look at the two Texas teams, it evens out that, keeps the Rangers from traveling more. Our TV partner Comcast feels it's a stronger deal for us with the East Coast teams like Detroit and Cleveland and some of the old traditional teams -- the Yankees and Boston. And we're going to do better on the network because of that.

“The downside that we'll see is the DH and a little more travel. And we'll try to get games scheduled so that when we get getaway games they'll be in the afternoon, so you're not going to see that many late-night games.”


Brad Barr/US Presswire
Rhiner Cruz, a Rule 5 pick from the Mets, is off to a solid start in Houston's bullpen.


• The Astros have lost six straight series, the latest secured with a 6-5 loss at Cincinnati in Sunday’s rubber game.

• Diminutive second baseman Jose Altuve is among the league’s hottest hitters. The 5-foot-5 Altuve went 3-for-5 Sunday to lift his average to .373. That trails only Matt Kemp (.425) and David Wright (.397) in the National League. Altuve, who turns 22 next Sunday, is the shortest player in the majors this season. He has runner-up Alexi Amarista of the Los Angeles Angels beat by two inches. Altuve had been the second-youngest too, behind Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison. But 19-year-old Bryce Harper and 20-year-old Mike Trout just made their major league debut/return. Altuve began last season at Class A Lancaster, but made his major league debut July 20 after jumping from Double-A.

• The Astros acquired shortstop Jed Lowrie and right-hander Kyle Weiland from the Boston Red Sox on Dec. 14 for right-handed reliever Mark Melancon, Houston’s 2011 saves leader with 20. Lowrie opened the season the disabled list with a sprained right thumb. He made his Astros debut April 13. Weiland (0-3, 6.62 ERA) landed on the DL with shoulder bursitis, and Jordan Lyles was promoted for a spot start Sunday. Lyles was returned to the minors postgame.

• Catcher Jason Castro, the 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft, out of Stanford, missed last season while recovering from right knee surgery to repair a torn ACL. He also missed two games last week with a neck issue after a plate collision with Milwaukee’s Mat Gamel. Castro returned Friday. Opponents have been successful in all 13 steal attempts against Castro this season.

Carlos Lee left Friday’s game in the first inning with a left ankle sprain, which he suffered pursuing a low throw from third baseman Chris Johnson that eluded him at first base. X-rays were negative, but Lee (.273, 2 HR, 13 RBIs) likely will remain sidelined at least early in the Mets series. Lee exclusively has played first base this season, after splitting time evenly between that position and left field a season ago. Matt Downs has filled in at first base in Lee’s absence. J.D. Martinez is now the full-time left fielder.

• Backup infielder Marwin Gonzalez spent the weekend on paternity leave, but was activated for Monday’s series opener in the roster spot Lyles held for a day.

Wandy Rodriguez has a 1.72 ERA in five starts.

Bud Norris allowed seven runs in his last start, including two-run homers to Milwaukee’s Travis Ishikawa and Corey Hart.

• Closer Brett Myers is 4-for-4 in save chances.

• Right-hander Rhiner Cruz (1-0, 2.08 ERA) is Rule 5 pick from Metsm who is drawing rave reviews from scouts because of his 98 mph fastball from a “weird,” low arm slot. Cruz, who was not protected on the Mets’ 40-man roster, opened eyes with Cibao in the Dominican Winter League, before the December draft. He posted a 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings over 21 relief appearances in winter ball. Cruz has not appeared since last Monday because of a twisted an ankle. Cruz, 25, had control issues last season between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton in the Mets organization. He walked 45 and hit seven batters in 71 2/3 innings.

Fernando Martinez, who was claimed off waivers by the Astros from the Mets during the offseason, is hitting .318 with four homers and 21 RBIs in 22 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He primarily has played left field, while being assigned to DH the past two games.

• Ex-Brave Jordan Schafer was ejected Sunday after disputing a caught-stealing call by ump Marvin Hudson in the second inning. Before that, the 25-year-old center fielder extended his streak of reaching base at least once to 22 games, the longest to open a season by an Astro since Ricky Gutierrez had a 23-game streak in 1998. Denis Menke owns the franchise record -- 25 games in 1969.

• Ex-Mets/Astros outfielder Richard Hidalgo is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday’s series opener.

Matchups

Dickey vs. Astros (career: 1-2, 3.82 ERA)
Travis Buck .667, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Jason Castro .667, 3 PA
Jed Lowrie .500, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Matt Downs .500, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 PA
Jordan Schafer .429, 1 K, 7 PA
Carlos Lee .381, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K, 21 PA
Chris Johnson .286, 1 RBI, 14 PA
Brian Bixler .200, 1 K, 5 PA
Chris Snyder .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 PA

Niese vs. Astros (career: 1-1, 1.80 ERA)
Brian Bixler .333, 2 K, 6 PA
Chris Johnson .333, 1 RBI, 6 PA
Carlos Lee .250, 1 RBI,1 BB, 9 PA
Jordan Schafer .000, 2 K, 8 PA
Jason Castro .000, 3 PA
Chris Snyder .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Schwinden vs. Astros (career: never faced)

Norris vs. Mets (career: 1-1, 4.85 ERA)
Daniel Murphy .333, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K, 6 PA
Justin Turner .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Josh Thole .250, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 10 PA
Ike Davis .250, 1 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Scott Hairston .200, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 PA
David Wright .000, 3 BB, 4 K, 12 PA
Andres Torres .000, 1 K, 3 PA

Happ vs. Mets (career: 2-2, 4.82 ERA)
Mike Nickeas .500, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 PA
David Wright .462, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 15 PA
Andres Torres .333, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .286, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 7 PA
Justin Turner .200, 1 RBI, 5 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 RBI, 2 PA

Rodriguez vs. Mets (career: 3-2, 2.91 ERA)
Scott Hairston .462, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 15 PA
Justin Turner .333, 3 PA
David Wright .316, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 21 PA
Andres Torres .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 PA
Josh Thole .000, 1 BB, 3 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Minute Maid Park, May 13-15, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 6, Astros 4: David Wright hit a go-ahead homer to cap a four-run eighth inning that rallied the Mets. Wright's two-run shot was the last of three late homers by the Mets that helped them overcome a 4-0 deficit for their sixth win in eight games. Jason Bay got New York going with a solo shot in the seventh and pinch-hitter Fernando Martinez cut it to 4-3 with a long, two-run drive in the eighth. Jose Reyes walked and, with two outs, Wright homered off reliever Jeff Fulchino (0-1) into the Crawford Boxes in left field to put New York on top. It was the sixth home run of the season for the slumping Wright, who had been given the previous day off in Colorado to rest a sore neck and back.

Astros 7, Mets 3: Carlos Lee delivered his 2,000th hit with an RBI single during a four-run first inning. Lee also hit one of three Astros homers. J.A. Happ (3-4) pitched six innings for the win, scattering five hits and three walks. Michael Bourn tripled to open the game against knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey (1-5) and scored on a groundout by Clint Barmes. Hunter Pence and Lee followed with singles, and three more runs scored on a double by Brett Wallace and singles by Chris Johnson and Bill Hall. Dickey allowed six hits in the first inning, then held the Astros in check until the sixth, when Hall and pinch hitter Matt Downs hit solo homers. Dickey pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowed 11 hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out two. Lee became the 17th active player to reach 2,000 hits, and he is the ninth active player to have at least that many hits while also belting 300 or more home runs. The Mets got one run in the third when Jose Reyes doubled and scored on a single to right field by Justin Turner, then added another in the fourth, when Daniel Murphy led off the inning with his third homer of the season. Reyes had an RBI single off reliever Mark Melancon in the ninth. Carlos Beltran sat out the game with swelling in his right eye.

Mets 7, Astros 4: Justin Turner homered and drove in a career-high five runs and Jason Pridie hit a go-ahead single and stole home for the Mets. Chris Capuano (3-4) allowed six hits and two runs in five innings. He struck out six. Aneury Rodriguez (0-2) didn't allow a hit until the fifth, but finished with five earned runs and four walks in his third major league start. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th straight save. He has not allowed a run in 14 appearances since April 14.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Carlos Torres
WINS ERA SO IP
2 1.86 12 9
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Lagares .314
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSJ. Lagares .816
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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