New York Mets: Justin Smoak

Morning Briefing: Who'll stop the swoon?

July, 22, 2014
7/22/14
5:27
AM ET
SEATTLE

FIRST PITCH: The Mets have stumbled out of the gate since the All-Star break, and now have lost three straight. They are back in fourth place and nine games behind the division-leading Washington Nationals.

Rookie Jacob deGrom (3-5, 3.18 ERA) looks to right the ship Tuesday. He opposes right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (1-4, 4.58) at 10:10 p.m. ET at Safeco Field.

Bobby Abreu is due to DH the final two games of the series.

Tuesday’s news reports:

Jonathon Niese's streak of 21 straight starts allowing three earned runs or fewer was snapped in his return from the disabled list as the Mets lost to the Mariners, 5-2, Monday.


Adam RubinMariners hitting coach Howard Johnson watches Seattle's early batting practice Monday.


Travis d'Arnaud was robbed of a solo homer by left fielder Dustin Ackley, a converted infielder. D’Arnaud said he immediately thought about his brother Chase d'Arnaud taking away a homer Sunday while playing a Triple-A game for the Indianapolis Indians.

The Mariners, meanwhile, maintained a 2˝-game wild-card lead over the Yankees and Blue Jays, although starter Roenis Elias was forced to leave the game in the sixth inning with left forearm cramping.

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

• Left fielder Chris Young departed the game in the eighth inning with a left calf cramp. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

David Wright went 2-for-5 and drove in the Mets’ opening run on the 10th anniversary of his major league debut. Wright’s teammates surprised him by taking him to dinner on Sunday night in Seattle to celebrate the occasion. Read more in the Times, Journal, Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Wilmer Flores extended his hitting streak to 22 games and rehabbing Taylor Teagarden homered, but Las Vegas lost at Tacoma, 11-8. Zach Mathieu had a walk-off two-run homer and drove in all three runs as Kingsport beat Princeton, 3-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Teagarden is not expected to join the Mets when his rehab assignment ends.

• The Mariners adjusted their rotation. Prospect Taijuan Walker may start against the Mets in Wednesday’s series finale. Hisashi Iwakuma, originally listed for that day, instead will get an extra day of rest and miss the Amazin’s.

• Seattle optioned first baseman Justin Smoak to Triple-A after Monday’s game to clear the roster spot for Ramirez’s promotion to start against the Mets on Tuesday. Read more in the Seattle Times and at MLB.com.

Daisuke Matsuzaka in the Daily News weighs in on Masahiro Tanaka's injury.

From the bloggers …Faith and Fear thinks about the strange ways the Mets have lost ballgames in recent years.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets catcher Rob Johnson, who also has a franchise-record 0.00 ERA, turns 32.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you bereave?

Series preview: Mets at Mariners

July, 20, 2014
7/20/14
11:11
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are expected to face Roenis Elias, Erasmo Ramirez and Hisashi Iwakuma in Seattle.
METS (46-52, third place/NL East) vs. SEATTLE MARINERS (52-46, third place/AL West)

Monday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-4, 2.96) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (7-8, 4.54), 10:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jacob deGrom (3-5, 3.18) vs. RHP Erasmo Ramirez (1-4, 4.58), 10:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-8, 4.12) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (8-4, 2.95), 3:40 p.m. ET

Mariners short hops

• Ex-Yankee Robinson Cano, who has battled hamstring issues throughout the season, asked for Sunday’s series finale off against the Los Angeles Angels because of continued tightness. He had played 28 innings over the previous two days. Cano signed a 10-year, $240 million deal in December. Of course, agent Jay Z first dined with Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon. Cano’s .335 average ranks second in the American League, trailing Houston’s Jose Altuve by a point. Cano, 31, also has seven homers and 57 RBIs and a .394 on-base percentage in 404 plate appearances. Willie Bloomquist started Sunday in place of Cano at second base.

• After facing Odrisamer Despaigne on Sunday in San Diego, the Mets will see a second straight Cuban rookie in the series opener in Seattle. Roenis Elias, 25, is 7-8 with a 4.54 ERA in 19 starts. Elias reportedly defected four years ago aboard a raft after a middling, brief career in his native country. He spent 30 hours at sea before landing in Mexico.

• Closer Fernando Rodney, bidding for his 200th career save, failed to convert the five-out opportunity Sunday in a 6-5 walk-off loss to the Angels. Rodney still has an AL-leading 27 saves.


Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsHoward Johnson is the hitting coach for the Mariners.


• Although officially undeclared, Erasmo Ramirez is expected to return from Triple-A to start Tuesday against the Mets while rookie Taijuan Walker gets more seasoning in the minors.

Logan Morrison and Justin Smoak have split the first-base duties of late, with neither putting up acceptable numbers. Smoak (.210) had spent more than three weeks on the DL with a left quadriceps strain, then was optioned to Triple-A on July 4 when deemed healthy. He returned when right fielder Michael Saunders landed on the DL a week later. Morrison, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins in December, is hitting only .222 with five homers in 144 at-bats.

• The Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays reportedly are in discussions regarding David Price and Ben Zobrist.

• Seattle’s coaching staff has a distinct Mets accent. Hitting coach Howard Johnson formerly held that role with the Mets and was a central piece of the 1986 championship club. Pitching coach Rick Waits formerly was minor-league pitching coordinator for the Mets. Rich Donnelly managed the Brooklyn Cyclones the past three seasons. He was hired by the Mariners to manage Triple-A and ascended to the major league staff when John Stearns, another ex-Met, had to step down as third-base coach because of a slow recovery from hernia surgery. Mariners infield coach Chris Woodward played for the Mets in 2005 and ’06. Even Seattle bullpen catcher Jason Phillips is an ex-Met, having played for the club from 2001 through ’04.

The connections don’t stop there. Endy Chavez is a backup outfielder.

• Ex-Met John Buck, who was backing up Mike Zunino, was released during the All-Star break. He was hitting .226 with one homer and six RBIs in 84 at-bats.

• The Mets will miss facing Felix Hernandez during the series. He possesses an AL-best 2.02 ERA. They also will miss ex-Mets right-hander Chris Young, who pitched Sunday. Young is 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 20 appearances (19 starts).

• Shortstop Nick Franklin, who became expendable in a trade once the Mariners signed Cano and committed to using Brad Miller at shortstop, has struggled after a torrid start at Triple-A this season. The 23-year-old Franklin was 6-for-47 at the major league level during cameos in April and May with the club. He currently is back in the Pacific Coast League. Miller, meanwhile, is hitting only .204.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187