New York Mets: Justin Sellers

Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 7, Mets 2

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
10:46
PM ET
Jonathon Niese and the New York Mets may have dodged a bullet.

Niese departed in the third inning after being struck on the inside of his right ankle with a comebacker off the bat of Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis. X-rays were negative, and Niese is listed as day-to-day with a bruise.

Meanwhile, after knocking out Niese, Ellis finished off the Mets, too. He delivered a game-tying solo homer against Robert Carson in the fifth, then a tie-breaking three-run shot against Brandon Lyon two innings later as the Dodgers beat the Mets, 7-2, Tuesday night at Citi Field.


Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Jon Niese was forced from Tuesday's game in the third inning after being struck in the lower right leg with a comebacker.


If Niese were to miss a start, Collin McHugh would be the most logical option. He is on the 40-man roster, and is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Las Vegas. Zack Wheeler, hoopla aside, walked six in 4 1/3 innings in his last 51s start. Meanwhile, neither Double-A prospect Rafael Montero (3-0, 1.59 ERA) nor newly signed ex-Yankee D.J. Mitchell is on the 40-man roster. Montero doesn’t need to be added to the roster next offseason, either.

CLAYTON’S PLACE: Clayton Kershaw, who typically dominates the Mets, required 111 pitches to navigate five innings. He departed with the score 2-2 and received a no-decision. It marked Kershaw’s shortest outing since Opening Day 2012, when he lasted only three innings against the San Diego Padres.

Kershaw retired the first eight Mets before stumbling against an unlikely batter. Carson -- in his first major league plate appearance, and only the 16th plate appearance of his seven-year pro career -- drew a two-out walk in the third. Kershaw then also walked Ruben Tejada. Daniel Murphy and David Wright followed with consecutive RBI singles as the Mets took a 2-1 lead.

Kershaw is now 5-0 in seven career starts against the Mets. His career ERA against the Amazin’s rose to 1.62.

Kershaw entered the game with the third-best ERA in major league history of any pitcher who had made five-plus starts against the Mets (1.37). That trailed only Doc Medich (0.85) and Mark Prior (1.03).

SUPER SUB: Carson took over for Niese in the third and offered a credible appearance in his longest outing since he was a starter with Double-A Binghamton in 2011.

Carson logged 2 1/3 innings and departed after the solo homer by Ellis.


Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Mark Ellis homered twice against the Mets on Tuesday night.


Carson joined the Mets on Sunday when Aaron Laffey was designated for assignment. When Shaun Marcum is activated for Saturday’s start against the Philadelphia Phillies, it is conceivable Carson sticks around and another reliever -- Josh Edgin (who surrendered a two-run double in the eighth to A.J. Ellis) or seemingly less likely Jeurys Familia -- is demoted.

DEBUTANT: Juan Lagares made his major league debut in center field. He entered in the top of the fifth inning on a double-switch when Carson departed. Lagares led off in the bottom half of that frame and flied out to the track in left field against Kershaw. He finished 1-for-2, singling against left-hander Paco Rodriguez in his seventh for his first major league hit.

WEB GEMS: Tejada, whose six errors have received considerable hype, appears to have turned a corner.

He turned in a pair of highlight-reel plays Tuesday night. Tejada leaped to catch a liner from Andre Ethier to strand two in the top of the third. An inning later, Tejada slid to his left and came up firing to retire Justin Sellers at first base for the second out of the fourth.

WHAT’S NEXT: Matt Harvey bids to become the first Met to earn the win in his first five starts of a season since Pedro Martinez in 2006. The franchise record belongs to Frank Viola, who won his first seven starts in 1990.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, only two Mets have gone 5-0 in April: Pedro in ’06 and Dwight Gooden in 1988.

Harvey opposes left-hander Ted Lilly, who is making his first major league appearance since May 23, 2012. Lilly is returning from labrum surgery on his left shoulder.

Series preview: Mets vs. Dodgers

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
9:15
AM ET

USA TODAY Sports
The Mets face (l to r) southpaws Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lilly and Hyun-Jin Ryu this week at Citi Field.
METS (9-8, third place/NL East) vs. LOS ANEGELES DODGERS (8-10, fourth place/NL West)

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (2-1, 3.80) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-2, 1.88), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (4-0, 0.93) vs. LHP Ted Lilly (0-0, -.--), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 7.07) vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 4.01), 1:10 p.m. ET

Dodgers short hops

• Los Angeles had eight starting pitchers in spring training, but the surplus is depleted. Aaron Harang was traded to the Colorado Rockies, then flipped to the Seattle Mariners, when L.A. seemed like it had a ton of depth. Zack Greinke suffered a broken left collarbone in the altercation with San Diego’s Carlos Quentin (which devolved into Padres president Tom Garfinkel having to apologize for an insensitive comment.) Fill-in Chris Capuano suffered a strained left calf. And now Chad Billingsley landed on the DL Sunday with elbow pain.

Ted Lilly makes his season debut Wednesday, after three minor league starts during which he allowed 24 hits and 15 runs (13 earned) in 17 innings. Lilly is returning from labrum surgery on his left shoulder. He missed the final 118 games of last season. Lilly was ready out of spring training and was upset when he did not make the Opening Day roster.


Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports
Zack Greinke suffered a broken left collarbone courtesy of Carlos Quentin.


Stephen Fife made his season debut Sunday in Baltimore, plugging another rotation spot.

Clayton Kershaw publicly said he did not want to negotiate a contract extension in-season, but the sides are believed to have continued talking hush-hush beyond Opening Day.

Kershaw became the second-youngest Dodger to reach 1,000 career strikeouts on Wednesday, at 25 years, 29 days. Fernando Valenzuela accomplished that feat at age 24 years, 303 days.

Kershaw enters the Citi Field outing off a loss to San Diego in which he matched a career high by surrendering three homers. Still, Kershaw has been exceptional this season. He is not getting run support. L.A. has scored a combined seven runs in his four starts.

Kershaw is 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA in six career starts against the Mets.

• The Dodgers acquired catcher Ramon Hernandez from the Rockies on April 6 for Harang. The trade brought in a backup for A.J. Ellis that will allow 25-year-old catcher Tim Federowicz to get regular playing time in Triple-A. All three were on the active roster this weekend in Baltimore, but that is expected to change.

Hyun-Jin Ryu was named to seven straight South Korean All-Star teams before joining the majors this season. He is viewed as a No. 3 of 4 starter. The Dodgers paid a $25.7 million posting fee to Ryu’s South Korean club, plus owe him $36 million in salary over six years.

Hanley Ramirez, who is on the disabled list after undergoing right thumb surgery, may return quickly -- by the end of the month -- after initial projections of mid-May. Ramirez suffered the injury in the final game of the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic championship run, while diving awkwardly for a groundball.

L.A. has not announced whether Ramirez will play shortstop or third base when he returns, although the educated guess is shortstop. Both spots having gaping voids. Shortstop Justin Sellers is hitting .174. Third baseman Luis Cruz is hitting .087.

• The Dodgers took on $250 million in payroll in the Aug. 25, 2012 mega-trade with the Boston Red Sox that brought in Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto.

• Cuban defector Yasiel Puig -- who signed for $42 million -- is hitting .333 with three homers and nine RBIs through 48 at-bats with Double-A Chattanooga. The 22-year-old right fielder may eventually make Andre Ethier expendable -- or, perhaps, Matt Kemp … if Kemp continues to struggle. Puig is briefly sidetracked in the Southern League because of a sprained left thumb.

• The struggling Kemp -- who finished second in MVP balloting just two years ago, behind Ryan Braun -- injured his shoulder last August in Colorado and had left surgery for a partially torn labrum in October. He had only one Cactus League homer and has not gone deep this season. Kemp is signed through 2019.

• The Dodgers’ most common batting order:

Crawford, lf
Mark Ellis, 2b
Kemp, cf
Gonzalez, 1b
Ethier, rf
Ellis, c
Cruz, 3b
Sellers, ss

• The Dodgers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 7-4 win Sunday at Baltimore. Kemp, who started the season slowly, went 3-for-5 to lift his average to .235. He produced his sixth RBI.

• Manager Don Mattingly appears on the hot seat. His 2014 option has not been picked up.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
12 4.01 132 172
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .301
HRL. Duda 26
RBIL. Duda 77
RD. Murphy 73
OPSL. Duda .822
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.45
SOZ. Wheeler 163