Morning Briefing: Friday the 13th edition



FIRST PITCH: Two struggling teams meet this weekend at Citi Field.

San Diego arrives in Queens after having been swept in Philly. The Padres (28-38) have lost of eight of their last 10. They have scored an MLB-low 200 runs.

The Mets have lost eight of their last nine games and have dropped a season-worst eight games under .500.

Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.31 ERA) opposes right-hander Andrew Cashner (2-5, 2.13) in the Friday the 13th series opener at 7:10 p.m.

Friday’s news reports:

Carlos Torres was charged with four runs in the 13th inning and the Mets lost Thursday’s rubber game to the Brewers, 5-1, at Citi Field. Torres was seen punching himself in his towel-draped head in the dugout after the appearance. (See video here.)

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Carlos Torres trudges off the mound in the 13th.

The Mets (29-37) had loaded the bases with one out in the 11th (with Zack Wheeler the pinch runner at first base). That opportunity ended up going for naught. Wilmer Flores’ grounder forced out David Wright at the plate and Anthony Recker struck out looking. Recker then was ejected by plate umpire Angel Hernandez over objections to the strike zone. Terry Collins called Recker’s actions inexcusable because the only remaining position player on the bench at that point was backup catcher Taylor Teagarden.

The Mets used a season-high-matching 21 players in the four-hour, eight-minute game. It was the Mets’ eighth game of at least four hours this season, a major league high.

Jonathon Niese and Kyle Lohse had dueled to a 1-all draw through most of regulation. The Mets’ lone run came when center fielder Carlos Gomez had a two-base error on Daniel Murphy’s fourth-inning single and Bobby Abreu followed with a sacrifice fly. Niese was pulled with his pitch count at 97 in the eighth after Gomez’s two-out single. Niese was visibly upset with the hook and mouthed a profanity. Collins reasoned that ensuing batter Aramis Ramirez is solid against southpaws and already had homered against Niese in the second inning.

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

Jenrry Mejia was pulled from the game with back tightness and “a little bit of pain” after taking the mound for the 11th. Read more in the Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

Curtis Granderson was held out of the starting lineup Thursday with a sore left calf. He did pinch hit in the 11th and was intentionally walked to load the bases for Flores. Wheeler pinch ran for Granderson. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• With Flores and not Ruben Tejada in the lineup, Murphy batted leadoff for the first time this season and 12th time in his career.

• The Mets and Houston Astros are tied for the longest active streak of consecutive losing seasons at five. Ken Davidoff in the Post asserts the Astros’ approach during their lean years -- a full teardown, as opposed to the Mets’ try-to-make-it-look-good tact -- has left Houston in a better position going forward. Writes Davidoff:

From Opening Day 2009 through the present, the Astros own a 343-535 record, a .391 winning percentage. In the same time period, the Mets are 403-473, .460. The Astros selected first overall in last week’s amateur draft, a record third straight year they had earned such a dishonor. In this span, the Mets gave their fans such treats as Dickey’s 2012 National League Cy Young Award, Jose Reyes’ 2011 NL batting title and Matt Harvey’s 2013 surge that culminated in him starting the All-Star Game at Citi Field.

Yet those peaks seemed to only increase the trust deficit between the Mets’ fans and their owners; Reyes and Dickey are gone and Harvey injured. Though the Mets continue to struggle to put together a quality team, the Astros look like a rising stock. They went 15-14 in May to post their first winning month since Luhnow took over baseball operations.

“I don’t think there are many teams in recent history that have tried to do what Houston’s done,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Thursday. “In baseball, it’s usually not a recipe for success, but in this case, that’s a strategy they’ve pursued. It appears they’ve gotten through the worst of it. I applaud them for carving a strategy and sticking with it.”

• Tyler Kepner in the Times writes about the Mets’ reliance on prospects:

When you hit on almost all your top prospects, you get the San Francisco Giants, with four first-round draft picks in a seven-year span -- Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey -- becoming major contributors to multiple championship teams. But the Giants are the outlier.

The strong chance is that some of the players anointed as Met saviors will not help the team very much. The Mets must make better decisions on the major leaguers they acquire, and hope for the best from the farm, recognizing that immediate, sustained success is the exception.

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday writes that the Mets look like trading-deadline sellers.

Matt Harvey was elected by his teammates as the Mets player representative for union matters. Read more in the Daily News.

Eric Young Jr., on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, played his first rehab game Thursday. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored in a seven-inning game with Class A St. Lucie. Young’s rehab assignment is due to continue with Double-A Binghamton on Friday.

Eliot J. Schechter/MLB Photos

Florida State League All-Star Brandon Nimmo returned to St. Lucie's lineup on Thursday.

• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, who had been sidelined since last Friday with a right wrist injury after getting hit by a pitch, returned to St. Lucie’s lineup Thursday. He manned center field in both games of a doubleheader. St. Lucie now heads into the Florida State League All-Star break. Nimmo is due to be one of the team’s seven St. Lucie representatives in Saturday’s All-Star Game in Bradenton, Fla.

• The Tom Gamboa-managed Brooklyn Cyclones open their season at 7 p.m. Friday at Staten Island. See the full roster here. Andrew Beaton in the Journal profiles the two managers: Gamboa and Baby Bombers skipper Mario Garza.

Joel Carreno limited Colorado Springs to one run on three hits and three walks in seven innings and newly demoted Scott Rice tossed 1 2/3 scoreless relief innings as Las Vegas won, 3-1. Kyle Johnson, Xorge Carrillo and Rylan Sandoval each had three-hit games as Binghamton used an eight-run seventh to beat Akron, 11-3. St. Lucie swept a doubleheader against Jupiter. Cam Maron, Jairo Perez and Cole Frenzel homered in Game 1 and Aderlin Rodriguez went 4-for-5 and drove in five runs and Eudy Pina homered twice in the nightcap. Savannah swept a doubleheader from Augusta. Jonathan Leroux had a walk-off RBI double in the opener. John Gant had a seven-inning shutout in Game 2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Marc Carig in Newsday warns against writing off Travis d’Arnaud too quickly. Carig pointed to Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy as an example of a catcher who took time to hit his stride in the majors.

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger catches up with the ex-Met Gomez.

• Marty Noble at MLB.com places Murphy’s paternity leave and White House visit in a historical context.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear thought the Mets played a late-September game in the middle of June.

BIRTHDAYS: Mets minor-league left-hander Angel Cuan turns 23.


YOU’RE UP: What can the Mets do to halt their freefall?