FIRST PITCH: Their anemic hitting already has reached historic levels. And things get no easier for the Mets as they shift coasts to California.
The Mets are due to face All-Stars Scott Kazmir on Tuesday and Jeff Samardzija on Wednesday in Oakland. After a day off, the Amazin’s then draw expected NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw to open a weekend series at Dodger Stadium, followed by Dan Haren and Kevin Correia.
“We know going into Oakland and L.A., obviously we’re going to face good pitching,” David Wright said.
The Mets have now failed to exceed four hits in any of their past five games -- a franchise record. The last major league team to have a streak that long was the 2002 Mets.
If that streak continues against Kazmir and the A’s on Tuesday, the Mets will become the first MLB team since 1900 to have a single-season streak of six games producing four hits or fewer in each, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Also on the negative front: Despite splitting a four-game wraparound series with the Chicago Cubs, the Mets produced a total of 16 hits. That’s the fewest hits by a team in a four-game series in MLB since May 2-5, 2008, when the Chicago White Sox also mustered 16 hits against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“There’s no easy answers,” Terry Collins said. “It’s not the workload. These guys are working. As a matter of fact, at this time of year maybe they’re swinging too much.”
Dillon Gee (4-5, 3.69 ERA) opposes Kazmir (13-5, 2.78) at 10:05 p.m. ET.
Collins implied that Daniel Murphy is due for a day off in Oakland. That would seem more likely to occur against the southpaw Kazmir. Murphy is 3-for-6 with a homer in his career against Samardzija, the ex-Cub.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Bartolo Colon was scratched from Monday’s scheduled start against the Cubs and traveled to the Dominican Republic, where his mother died at age 63 after battling breast cancer. Gonzalez Germen will join the Mets on the West Coast while Colon is placed on bereavement leave, which may last three to seven days. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Wright took batting practice in a cage early Monday and convinced Collins to place him in the lineup. Wright, after missing one game with a bruised left shoulder, went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in his return. Postgame, Wright denied the shoulder issue that initially arose on a headfirst slide on June 12 was hindering his substandard production. Read more in the Times, Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Carlos Torres tossed five scoreless innings as an emergency fill-in for Colon. However, once he departed, Dana Eveland surrendered an RBI single to Luis Valbuena in the sixth as Chicago evened the score. Anthony Rizzo had a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth against Buddy Carlyle and Javier Baez had a two-run shot against Jenrry Mejia in the ninth and the Cubs ultimately beat the Mets, 4-1, Monday at Citi Field.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will not activated from the disabled list with Colon going on bereavement leave, instead will make his third rehab start on Thursday. Matsuzaka is scheduled to pitch for the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park against the Staten Island Yankees.
• The Cyclones host the New York-Penn League All-Star Game on Tuesday. Brooklyn’s representatives include left-hander Shane Bay, right-handers Marcos Molina and Corey Oswalt, shortstop Amed Rosario, third baseman Jhoan Urena and outfielder Michael Bernal.
• Bobby Abreu went 1-for-4 with a walk and RBI in his return to Triple-A, but John Lannan was roughed up and Las Vegas lost at Omaha, 9-5. Travis Taijeron had four hits and five RBIs and Binghamton sliced its magic number to claim a playoff spot to three with an 11-4 win against Erie. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• A bone-marrow donor and recipient met for the first time at Citi Field, Kathryn Cusma and David K. Li write in the Post.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear offers a public service announcement of sorts.
BIRTHDAYS: Pitcher-turned-broadcaster Ron Darling turns 54. ... Ex-Mets left-hander Chris Capuano is 36. ... Among Mets minor leaguers, Flabio Ortega is 24 and Ismael Tijerina is 25.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
@AdamRubinESPN At least the Mets are good at being 1st in something!!!
— linda wolf@MetsMom31 (@lindawolf12) August 18, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets exceed four hits on Tuesday?