New York Mets: Max Scherzer

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 3, Mets 0

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
7:18
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NEW YORK -- There were no “Harvey’s better!” chants Saturday at Citi Field.

In the first-ever meeting of All-Star starting pitchers in a regular-season game that same year, Max Scherzer surrendered only three hits while striking out 11 in six scoreless innings and the Detroit Tigers beat the Mets, 3-0.

The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the sixth against Scherzer, but Juan Lagares struck out and John Buck popped out to shortstop on the next pitch to strand three teammates. Scherzer then departed with his pitch count at 118.

Scherzer improved to 19-1, joining Rube Marquard in 1912 and Roger Clemens in 2001 as the only pitchers in major league history to reach that win total in their first 20 decisions of a season.

Harvey surrendered a career-high 13 hits. His previous high had been 10 hits, by the Miami Marlins on June 2.

He departed with the bases loaded and two outs and the Mets trailing 2-0 in the top of the seventh.

Scott Rice entered and narrowly retired pinch hitter Torii Hunter on a fielder’s choice to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard in the frame. Detroit manager Jim Leyland briefly contested ump Ed Hickox’s call at second base, since Matt Tuiasosopo appeared as though he may have beaten shortstop Omar Quintanilla’s throw.

Harvey’s final line: 6.2 IP, 13 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. He had allowed eight hits in the first three innings, including an RBI double to Scherzer in a two-run second, before settling down.

The only other pitchers in Mets history to allow two or fewer runs while surrendering 13 or more hits in a start: Jason Isringhausen in 1995 and Al Jackson in 1962.

The biggest issue for Scherzer: Ike Davis, who went 2-for-2 with a walk against him, including a double as the Mets loaded the bases in what became a fruitless sixth. The Mets' only other hit in the game was a leadoff single by Daniel Murphy in the sixth.

Scherzer walked a season-high four batters. His 11 strikeouts matched Tim Lincecum on July 8 for the second most this season by a pitcher against the Mets. Chris Sale had 13 on June 25.

Scherzer’s second-inning RBI double marked his first hit and RBI since 2009 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had been 0-for-8 since being acquired by Detroit in the three-team trade that also sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees.

What’s next: The Mets try to avoid getting swept when Dillon Gee (9-8, 3.60 ERA) opposes right-hander Rick Porcello (9-7, 4.52) on Sunday at 1:10 p.m.

Saturday storylines: Scherzer vs. Harvey

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
10:00
AM ET

Saturday brings with it one of the most compelling pitching matchups of the season and the first regular-season rematch of two All-Star Game starting pitchers with Matt Harvey facing Tigers starter Max Scherzer.

Here are a few of the statistical storylines tied to this contest.

The unsupported ace
The Mets are 13-12 in Matt Harvey's 25 starts this season, and remember that they won the first five starts of the year.

Harvey is 4-4 with eight no-decisions in his last 16 starts, despite a 2.67 ERA, a 119-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio and four homers allowed in 108 innings pitched. The Mets are 6-10 in those 16 starts.

The Mets have scored 95 runs in Harvey's 25 starts. By comparison: The Tigers have scored 151 runs in Max Scherzer's 25 starts.

Matchup to Watch: Harvey vs Cabrera
Matt Harvey retired Miguel Cabrera in the All-Star Game, but getting him multiple times will be a challenge.

Cabrera will have no fear of Harvey's heater. He's 13-for-39 with four home runs in at-bats ending with pitches 95 mph or faster against right-handed pitchers.

Two of those homers came this month, the last a walk-off homer on August 17 against the Kansas City Royals and Aaron Crow, the other a go-ahead eighth-inning homer against the Cleveland Indians and rookie pitcher Danny Salazar, who had struck out Cabrera twice earlier in the game.

Against pitchers with comparable velocities and pitch selection, he was 1-for-4 against both Stephen Strasburg and Yu Darvish earlier this season

Harvey's best shot, as we noted Friday, will be to keep the ball down-and-away from Cabrera. Daisuke Matsuzaka paid the price when he threw Cabrera a high fastball and Cabrera parked it for a three-run homer, one that allowed him to pass Joe DiMaggio on the career home run list.

The Stats & Info blog has noted Cabrera's prowess against first pitches this season and Cabrera added two hits against them yesterday. He's now 41-for-83 in the first pitch of an at-bat this season with 14 home runs. Harvey has not allowed a first-pitch homer this season.

Mets vs Max
Scherzer is 18-1 this season with a 2.82 ERA and 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five starts since suffering his only loss of the season.

Elias notes that Scherzer can become the third pitcher to win 19 of his first 20 decisions in a season, joining two New York-based pitchers- Hall-of-Famer Rube Marquard for the 1912 Giants and Roger Clemens for the 2001 Yankees.

Scherzer's success is attributable not just to run support, but to becoming more of a four-pitch pitcher who is less reliant on his fastball (a pitch he threw 62 percent of the time from 2010 to 2012, but only 55 percent in 2013).

Scherzer's breaking pitches have been nasty this season. He's getting five outs with his curve and slider for every baserunner he yields with them. Over the previous three seasons, his ratio of outs to baserunners with those two pitches was about 3-to-1.

Morning Briefing: Harvey's better?

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
4:55
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: A 2013 Cy Young winner should be pitching at Citi Field today, when the Mets face the Detroit Tigers at 4:05 p.m.

No disrespect to Matt Harvey, but we’re talking about right-hander Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82).


Rob Tringali/Getty ImagesAll-Star starters Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey meet again today.


The Harvey-Scherzer matchup marks the first time in MLB history the two All-Star starting pitchers have faced off in a regular-season game at any point that same year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Wall Street Journal notes All-Star starters twice have matched up in the World Series, though: Paul Derringer (Reds) versus Red Ruffing (Yankees) in Game 1 in 1939, and Roger Clemens (Red Sox) versus Dwight Gooden (Mets) in Game 2 in 1986.

“I think that’s what makes Matt Harvey tick, to be honest,” Terry Collins said. “It’s not just Max Scherzer. It’s the fact that he’s going to see Prince [Fielder] and [Miguel] Cabrera and Torii [Hunter]. That whole lineup is a challenge. Matt relishes that. That’s what makes him go. So he’s very excited about pitching.

“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a good ballgame, obviously. Max is pitching great. He can strike you out. And one of the things we’ve got some issues with sometimes, we strike out. So we’ve got to be a little more disciplined … and put some balls in play.”

After Travis d’Arnaud caught Harvey in San Diego last weekend, Collins indicated Friday he plans to pair John Buck with the ace today.

“They’ve been together for 25 or 26 starts. They’re pretty comfortable,” Collins said about the Harvey-Buck battery. “Travis d’Arnaud will catch him for 15 years. We’ll make up that ground.”

Saturday’s news reports:

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed early homers to Hunter and Cabrera before retiring the final 10 batters he faced and allowed five runs in five innings as the Mets lost to the Tigers, 6-1, Friday at Citi Field. Matsuzaka indicated he initially was nervous in his Mets debut. He said he signed with the organization because of the opportunity to immediately pitch in a major league rotation. Matsuzaka will earn slightly more than $100,000 for the remainder of the season, then be a free agent. Sandy Alderson called Matsuzaka the Mets’ “best option” to plug a rotation void the rest of the season, since the promising Triple-A pitchers face innings caps.

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


Adam RubinDavid Wright tossed a baseball and took grounders at Citi Field pregame Friday.


David Wright took grounders at third base pregame Friday. Collins indicated the third baseman should be in Port St. Lucie, Fla., doing significant baseball activities by Tuesday or Wednesday as he returns from a strained right hamstring.

• Read more on the Scherzer-Harvey matchup in Newsday.

• Benjamin Hoffman in the Times notes Matsuzaka’s legendary “gyroball” turned out to be nothing more than a myth when he came to the States in 2007. Writes Hoffman:

Using FanGraphs’ pitch-type data, provided by the record-keeping wizards at Baseball Info Solutions, Matsuzaka, like many other pitchers, relied mostly on his fastball, which he threw 53.1 percent of the time with the Red Sox. He also worked in a fair amount of sliders, cutters, changeups, splitters and curves.

The one hope that the gyroball does, or did, exist was that 0.8 percent of his pitches fell into the unknown-pitch-type category. Perhaps those were the gyroballs. Thus, when his 11,607 career pitches are considered, the possibility exists that he threw 93 gyroballs. That’s not a whole lot.

Wilmer Flores had a career-high three hits in the series opener. Read a profile of Flores from Mike Kerwick in the Record.

Frank Francisco tossed a scoreless inning Friday, in his second appearance in the Gulf Coast League in three days.

• Jacob deGrom was charged with six runs in five innings with Las Vegas. Brandon Welch and Carlos Gomez combined on a six-hit shutout as Kingsport beat Bluefield, 7-0. Alex Sanchez had a grand slam in Brooklyn’s 10-2 win against Vermont. Read the full minor league recap here.

From the bloggers: Mark Berman from Blogging Mets has a blueprint for success for the 2014 Mets. … Faith and Fear in Flushing visits Astoria and stumbles upon a Mets video time capsule.

BIRTHDAYS: Bartolome Fortunato, the reliever who came from the Rays with Victor Zambrano in the Scott Kazmir trade, turns 39.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you encouraged by Daisuke Matsuzaka retiring the final 10 batters he faced?

Series preview: Mets vs. Tigers

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
8:45
AM ET

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (58-67, third place/NL East) vs. DETROIT TIGERS (74-52*, first place/AL Central)

Friday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (5-8, 3.92 at Triple-A Columbus) vs. RHP Doug Fister (10-6, 3.63), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Matt Harvey (9-4, 2.25) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (9-8, 3.60) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (9-7, 4.52), 1:10 p.m. ET

* plays Thursday vs. Minnesota

Tigers short hops

Max Scherzer and Roger Clemens are the only pitchers since 1919 with 18 wins in their first 19 decisions of a season as a starting pitcher, according to STATS. Clemens went on to go 20-3 with the Yankees in 2001.


Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesMiguel Cabrera is hitting .358 with 40 homers.


Miguel Cabrera leads the American League in batting average (.358), RBIs (123) and on-base percentage (.449) and ranks second in homers (40). The Tigers appeared to dodge an injury bullet with Cabrera, who winced swinging at a slider during a game-ending at-bat on Tuesday night. The slugger has dealt with an abdominal strain for a month.

• Designated hitter Victor Martinez has been working out in catching gear of late in preparation for potentially playing a game behind the plate this weekend in the NL ballpark. Martinez last caught in 2011, when he started 26 games. Alex Avila has been on the DL since Aug. 11 with a concussion and is just due to begin a rehab assignment. Backup Brayan Pena injured a toe fouling a ball off his right foot Tuesday. Bryan Holaday started Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins. Detroit has allowed 16 straight steals, the longest active streak in the majors, according to STATS.

• The Tigers acquired rookie Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox on July 30 to man shortstop in anticipation of losing Jhonny Peralta to a Biogenesis-related suspension. The three-team deal sent Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox to Boston. Peralta will be eligible to return from a 50-game suspension with three games remaining in the season.

• First baseman Prince Fielder ranks fifth in the AL with 87 RBIs.

• Outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo played for the Mets last season, at Triple-A Buffalo. Wally Backman advocated a September call-up for Tuiasosopo, but the Mets instead selected Fred Lewis. Tuiasosopo is the younger brother of former University of Washington football players Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo. Marques went on to attempt 90 passes for the Oakland Raiders from 2001-08 and also belonged to the Jets. Their father, Manu, played for the Seattle Seahawks.

• Second baseman Omar Infante is hitting .323 (10-for-31) since returning from the disabled list Aug. 12. He missed more than five weeks with a left ankle injury. Infante departed last Saturday’s game with lower-back stiffness and a tight quadriceps, but returned to the lineup Tuesday.

• The Tigers released former closer Jose Valverde from Triple-A Toledo on Aug. 7. Valverde had been 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA and had nine saves in 12 chances earlier this season at the major league level before he was designated for assignment on June 21. He subsequently had accepted a minor league assignment. Joaquin Benoit has 14 saves as well as a 2-0 record and 1.21 ERA in his past 30 appearances. He has not blown a save chance this season.

• Detroit bolstered its bullpen by acquiring Jose Veras from the Houston Astros on July 29.

Rick Porcello is a product of Seton Hall Prep in West Orange. He hails from Chester, N.J. Porcello is coming off an outing in which he allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins.

Morning Briefing: Historic matchup looms

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
6:20
AM ET

Associated Press, USA TODAY SportsTim Hudson (ankle) and Jason Heyward (jaw) have suffered serious bone fractures at Citi Field in the past month.
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Aces Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer will make history this weekend.

Their matchup Saturday at Citi Field will mark the first time the All-Star Game starters have faced off at any point during that same regular season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Of course, the Mets made that possible by keeping Harvey on an extra day of rest.

Carlos Torres steps into the rotation spot vacated by Jenrry Mejia to face Detroit Tigers right-hander Doug Fister in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener.

After Harvey-Scherzer Saturday at 4:05 p.m., Dillon Gee opposes Seton Hall prep product Rick Porcello in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. finale.

First, the Mets enjoy their first off-day today since Aug. 5.

Scherzer, by the way, is only the fifth pitcher in major league history to win at least 18 of his first 19 decisions of a season -- as a starter or reliever. He joins Rube Marquard (1912 New York Giants, 19-0), Roger Clemens (2001 Yankees, 18-1), Roy Face (1959 Pittsburgh Pirates, 18-1) and Don Newcombe (1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, 18-1).

Thursday’s news reports:

Jason Heyward suffered two fractures to his jaw when he was struck by a 90 mph fastball from Jonathon Niese in the sixth inning Wednesday. Heyward is due to undergo surgery in Atlanta on Thursday. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

It marked the second time this season the Mets had dealt a serious injury to a key member of the Braves at Citi Field. Tim Hudson fractured his right ankle covering first base when Eric Young Jr. stepped on him on July 24.

"He never lost consciousness," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters afterward about Heyward. "Right before he went to the hospital he popped his head into the clubhouse to say goodbye to some of the guys.

“It’s not the ballpark. It's just a matter of freak stuff happening. It can happen anywhere.”

Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post and Newsday.


Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsFirst-base ump Jerry Layne gets an earful from Terry Collins after a blown 10th-inning call.


• On his first major league pitch since July 19, Greg Burke surrendered a three-run homer to Chris Johnson and the Mets lost to the Braves, 4-1, in 10 innings. The inning was prolonged for Johnson’s blast when first-base umpire Jerry Layne incorrectly ruled Freddie Freeman safe on a close play, which placed runners at first and second base with two outs.

Daniel Murphy was ejected for barking at Layne about the Freeman call as Johnson rounded the bases. Terry Collins subsequently returned to the field to argue and was tossed, too. Major League Baseball intends to institute manager challenges next season that would have reversed such a call.

Niese had allowed one run in seven innings in a no-decision. Atlanta evened the score at 1 in the sixth when Niese briefly unraveled after drilling Heyward with two outs. The southpaw subsequently surrendered singles to Andrelton Simmons and Freeman.

The Mets have now played 52 extra innings this season, eight shy of matching the franchise record, set in 1979 and duplicated in 1985.

Juan Lagares recorded his 11th outfield assist, pulling even with Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Gonzalez for the major league lead. Lagares has the most outfield assists by a rookie since Rocco Baldelli had 15 with Tampa Bay in 2003.

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

Frank Francisco resurfaced in the Gulf Coast League on Wednesday. Francisco surrendered a solo homer to minor league veteran Ben Lasater. He otherwise struck out two in one inning against the GCL Marlins in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It marked Francisco’s first official minor league game action since July 15.

Unless the Mets can get Francisco to the major league level in the next nine days and trade him while he would be eligible for another team’s playoff roster, it clearly would be plausible for them to release the former closer soon. After all, why give him a September opportunity to set up a free-agent deal elsewhere this offeason?

Francisco, making $6.5 million as part of an expiring two-year, $12 million deal, has not appeared with the Mets this season. He seemingly underwent a benign surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.

Jeremy Hefner will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday, but believes he is headed for Tommy John surgery to address a partially torn medial collateral ligament. The surgery, which has a typical 12-month recovery time, would sideline Hefner for most if not all of the 2014 season. Hefner also needs bone spurs removed. Read more in the Times, Daily News, Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Brian Costa notes in the Journal that he willingly preferred to attend Citi Field rather than Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Writes Costa:

But as the Mets slog through what's left of another forgettable season in relative obscurity, a window of opportunity is opening. The emergence of their best young players is coinciding with the devolution of the Yankees into an abject spectacle, like the Bronx Zoo Yankees of the 1970s minus the championship.

You'd be a fool to write the Yankees off entirely. Entering Thursday, they'd won eight of their last 10 games. But the odds are not in their favor. Based on the team's run differential and remaining schedule, the website coolstandings.com gave the Yankees a mere 11 percent chance of making the playoffs entering Thursday. And with no top young talent on the immediate horizon, 2014 looks as murky as ever.

For the first time in a long time, it looks entirely possible that the Mets will be a better team than the Yankees a year from today.


Courtesy of New York MetsDustin Lawley has been named Florida State League player of the year.


• Playoff-bound Binghamton (81-49) clinched outright its first Eastern League division title since 2000 with a 5-3 win against Bowie on Wednesday. Allan Dykstra slugged his 20th homer, while Travis Taijeron also went deep. Taijeron has 13 Double-A homers this season and 22 long balls overall. Jeff Walters notched his 36th save, which ties the all-time Binghamton saves record originally set by Tim Lavigne over five seasons.

“We mixed some older guys in, myself included, and we jelled well," Dykstra told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. "It’s just a good camaraderie in the clubhouse and that really reflects on the field.”

Eric Campbell had a walk-off single in the 11th as Las Vegas rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat Fresno, 8-7, and improve to 72-57. Demoted Anthony Recker made his 51s debut with an eighth-inning groundout as a pinch hitter.

Domingo Tapia allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings as St. Lucie lost to Palm Beach, 7-0. Kyle Johnson extended his hitting streak to 16 games. St. Lucie earlier had won the resumption of Tuesday’s suspended game, 6-4. Robbie Shields had a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh.

After St. Lucie's doubleheader, outfielder/third baseman Dustin Lawley (.259, 25 HR, 90 RBIs) was named Florida State League player of the year. Bronx-raised infielder T.J. Rivera and right-hander Matt Bowman also were named to the FSL postseason All-Star team.

Estarlin Morel threw a walk-off wild pitch as Savannah lost at Kannapolis, 4-3. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-3 with a walk and now has a .406 average (26-for-64) in August.

From the bloggers: Faith and Fear in Flushing has seen enough of the Braves.

BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Darrin Jackson is 50. … Ray Burris was born on this date in 1950.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you concerned for the Mets being the target for retribution when they play at Turner Field from Sept 2-4, given the injuries to Jason Heyward and Tim Hudson?

Morning Briefing: Harvey Day, Stars edition

July, 16, 2013
7/16/13
1:02
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Matt Harvey Day! In the All-Star Game at Citi Field!

After officially being named the All-Star starter on Monday afternoon by NL manager Bruce Bochy, Harvey is expected to handle the first two innings opposite Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer.

David Wright will bat cleanup for the NL squad.

The All-Stars will parade across 42nd St. at 1 p.m.

Tuesday’s news reports:


Elsa/Getty ImagesDavid Wright stalled in the first round of the Home Run Derby.


• Wright produced only five homers and had a first-round exit in Monday’s Home Run Derby, but the NL captain beamed about the Citi Field atmosphere, likening it to the playoffs in 2006 at Shea Stadium. Pedro Alvarez, who also was eliminated in the first round, said he felt badly about the treatment Wright received in Pittsburgh last weekend. Domonic Brown, snubbed, offered no complaint about being omitted from the event. Read more about the Derby in Newsday.

• Earlier Monday, Wright downplayed playing on an injured foot as the first half closed.

• Jeff Wilpon, while appearing on WFAN, pledged the Mets would spend money next offseason.

"We haven't set a payroll for next year, but I can tell you we're ready to invest with those big contracts coming off the books," Wilpon said, according to Newsday. "We have the money to invest. We're going to invest it prudently. Sandy [Alderson] is going to set a path. There's no predetermined, set way we're going to spend the money, but we do have the money to spend."

• Speaking with the Times during a charity event with MLB, Fred Wilpon addressed a handful of topics:

On Terry Collins: “We all love Terry, who has done a very good job with what we have.”

On Alderson: “We haven’t turned him down on anything.”

On whether the payroll will return to $140 million, like it had been in the past: “I asked Sandy about that. He said he couldn’t invest that much money.”

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw did not appear thrilled Bruce Bochy said Harvey would have been his choice to start no matter where the game was held. At one point Kershaw told reporters about the starting snub: “It hurts.”

• In a very funny skit on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Harvey -- without disclosing his identity -- asked New Yorkers what they thought of him. Watch here.

• Collins acknowledged Harvey will have second-half starts skipped.

• Writes columnist Bob Klapsich in the Record on Harvey:

For one, maybe two innings tonight, Harvey has a chance to pull Mets fans into the organization’s time tunnel -- back to 1984 when Doc Gooden introduced himself to the world with a blow-away fifth inning in that year’s All-Star Game.

Gooden struck out Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon and Alvin Davis with a fastball that might as well have been shot out of a rifle -- that’s how overmatched the American League’s sluggers were. Gooden, only 19, was the advertisement of the gathering storm in Flushing, which is why the parallel to Harvey is so striking, even though he’s five years older.

Harvey is the Mets’ vehicle for legitimacy, smart and articulate and much hungrier for attention than David Wright. It’s no sin for the Mets to milk this opportunity for good PR, even if it looks like they sacrificed a chance to take a series from the red-hot Bucs this weekend. Truth is, the choice isn’t quite so stark.

Writes columnist David Lennon in Newsday:

Harvey may have blindsided the Mets with the nude layout, and surprised even more people by telling another publication of his post-baseball aspirations to be a movie star -- a full 29 starts into his major-league career.

But there's no need to hang up his spikes first. Look at R.A. Dickey. The knuckleballer released a book, starred in a documentary and won a Cy Young Award in the same season. Don't think Harvey wasn't paying attention.

When asked Monday about his inspiration, guess who Harvey brought up? Dickey, a multi-media darling who prepped for his career year by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

"I came up and obviously wanted to do everything I could to fill in for R.A. Dickey," Harvey said. "We knew him not being with us, it was going to take a lot and someone needed to step in. It was a role I wanted to take."

Writes columnist John Harper in the Daily News:

As for Boras, he joked on Monday that Harvey sure is in good company posing naked along with Gary Player, among others, noting that the 77-year-old golfer is renowned for being one of the most disciplined athletes in the world.

Still, a person close to the situation said Boras wasn’t thrilled with Harvey’s appearance in the magazine. On Monday he said he doesn’t make such decisions for his athletes, and chose his words carefully on the subject.

“Each individual athlete has to determine what they want to do when they’re approached about that,” he said. “All I care about is, you can do what you want off the field but it cannot affect your commitment, your focus, your ability to be ready for the next game.”

Read more on Harvey’s start tonight in the Post, Times, USA Today, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Journal and Newsday.

• The Mets actually owe Bobby Bonilla more than the originally reported $1.19 million a year. Read more in the Post.

• An ill-timed subway line fire left the No. 7 train without service as the Home Run Derby was letting out. Read more in Newsday.

• Collins spoke openly about Jordany Valdespin acting immaturely in the clubhouse Saturday in Pittsburgh. The manager said Valdespin’s biggest mistake may have been having the histrionics with Sandy Alderson as a witness. Valdespin wanted to land on the DL rather than be dispatched to Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.

• Wright says Carlos Beltran was underappreciated as a Met. Read more on Beltran in the Star-Ledger.

Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, a first-time All-Star, said Mookie Wilson was a major influence as he was a young player in the Mets system.

• Logan Verrett tossed eight innings and rehabbing Justin Turner went 2-for-3 with an RBI as Binghamton beat Richmond, 7-3. Chris Flexen tossed a shutout as Kingsport swept Burlington. Matt Oberste’s RBI double in the 12th lifted Brooklyn past Connecticut, 5-4. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Turner told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin about the left intercostal strain that landed him on the DL: “I haven’t had any setbacks so far. The process, obviously, took a long time. I was down there for a month. It went a lot slower than I was hoping. You get that cortisone shot and I was hoping to respond to it pretty quickly. It’s one of those things that it takes time. It’s a real small muscle.”

• Forbes ranks the Mets as the 45th-most valuable sports franchise in the world. Read more in Newsday.

• The Mets’ income at Citi Field continues to nosedive, Newsday reports.

• Charles V. Bagli writes in the Times that Citi Field’s neighbors plan a protest today over getting evicted for the development of a mall and other projects to complement the stadium.

• Read a feature on Wright at CBSSports.com.

From the bloggers … Mets Police caught up with some of the visiting mascots at Citi Field.

BIRTHDAYS: Catcher Norm Sherry was born on this date in 1931.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Does Clayton Kershaw have a legitimate beef not starting the All-Star Game?

Tigers 3, Mets 2: 'Spin stating case

March, 8, 2013
3/08/13
4:54
PM ET
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tyler Collins produced a tiebreaking homer against prospect Cory Mazzoni in the eighth and the Detroit Tigers beat the Mets, 3-2, Friday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Detroit had pulled even at 2 an inning earlier on an unearned run. Josh Edgin seemingly had coaxed an inning-ending fielder’s choice, but shortstop Wilfredo Tovar errantly dropped a toss from second baseman Reese Havens.

Game tidbits:

‘SPIN CITY: It’s getting hard to fathom Jordany Valdespin not making the Opening Day roster, even if Terry Collins cautioned, “It’s March 8. I’ll wait.”

Making his first spring-training start in the outfield, Valdespin delivered a solo homer in the seventh against right-hander Jose Ortega to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Valdespin is now hitting .333 with two homers in Grapefruit play.

Officially, Collins said he’s “still searching” for the right answers in the outfield.

After exclusively playing second base early in camp, Valdespin relieved Marlon Byrd in center field on Wednesday against Venezuela. This time, Valdespin started in left field.

Because he cannot be viewed as a backup shortstop, Valdespin making the Opening Day roster likely would displace Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Justin Turner. Nieuwenhuis was 0-for-his-last-17 when he suffered a bone bruise in his left knee. Turner, whom Collins likes, is not held in the same regard by the front office.

“He’s played very well,” Collins said about Valdespin. “… He likes to play. He loves to be on the stage. He plays with some flair. There’s nothing wrong with that. But he certainly plays with some energy, too. We need that.”

NO-HIT WONDER: Tigers starter Max Scherzer departed after 2 2/3 no-hit innings, having struck out six and walked three. The Mets put only two balls in play against Scherzer -- both outs by Valdespin.

The Mets have not fared well thus far in spring training against opposing starters -- which is generally more reflective of the caliber of pitching they will face during the regular season.

This spring, opposing starting pitchers have a 2.91 ERA against the Mets, who have produced only 24 hits in 34 innings.

The Mets did not muster a hit Friday until Zach Lutz delivered an RBI single in the fourth against Luke Putkonen.

Putkonen hit three batters during his appearance, including Travis d’Arnaud.

GEE FIZZ: Dillon Gee walked three and struggled to locate his fastball. But buoyed by a double play and a baserunning miscue, Gee limited the Tigers to one run and one hit in four innings. The lone hit came on an RBI double by Matt Tuiasosopo, who played for the Mets’ Triple-A Buffalo affiliate last season.

By one count, only 26 of Gee’s 57 pitches were strikes.

“Other than the walks, though, I felt better out there than I felt in Jupiter,” Gee said, referring to his previous outing against the Miami Marlins, when he tossed three scoreless innings. “Obviously I never want to walk that many guys. But I was talking to Dan [Warthen] about this: I feel like I’m really close. I felt pretty good today.

“I can just kind of tell I’m real close to clicking. Obviously the fastball was up again today most of the time, but I threw some good ones. I was throwing the changeup behind in the count, [and] sliders and stuff like that. Throwing secondary pitches behind in the count and getting the contact that I want in their count is big right now. I don’t know if it’s just a sixth sense, but I can feel I’m pretty close.”


Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
Bobby Parnell tossed a 1-2-3 sixth inning.


CLOSER CALL: Bobby Parnell tossed a 1-2-3 sixth.

“I love his demeanor on the mound,” Collins said. “He goes after hitters like he knows he’s going to get them out. He doesn’t get caught up if he gives up a hit. And we know he’s still got the good arm if he needs to reach back and have some extra.”

Said d’Arnaud: “Unfortunately he couldn’t locate some of his fastballs, but he kept his composure when he needed to and got a few pitcher’s-best-friend double plays.”

HAWK SIGHTING: Reliever LaTroy Hawkins made his first Grapefruit League appearance. He allowed a pair of singles but no runs in the fifth.

Series preview: Mets at Pirates

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
11:00
AM ET

Getty Images/Associated Press
The Mets face (l to r) Erik Bedard, James McDonald and Charlie Morton in Pittsburgh.
METS (22-19, third place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (19-22, third place/NL Central)

Monday: LHP Johan Santana (1-2, 2.89) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (2-5, 3.07), 7:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.76) vs. RHP James McDonald (3-2, 2.68), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jon Niese (2-2, 4.85) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (2-4, 4.35), 12:35 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops

• Manager Clint Hurdle benched outfielder/leadoff hitter Jose Tabata on Friday for lack of hustle on a groundball the previous day. Tabata also had misplayed two fly balls that gam. "He didn't get out of the box,” Hurdle told the team’s web site. “We saw it happen. We've seen it happen a couple of times. They understand when that happens something else also happens: You're gonna sit over there with me and watch. We had a talk. Jose said he 'lost the moment.' Fine, then get down the line. That didn't happen, and that's not part of our identity. That's not what we're creating here.”

• Center fielder Andrew McCutchen went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Sunday. In the six previous days, McCutchen had hit a sizzling .381 (8-for-21) with four homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored. He had two multi-homer games in a three-game span, becoming only the second Pirate in the past 25 years to accomplish that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other: Pedro Alvarez, who homered twice in consecutive games in July 2010.


Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Ex-Met Rod Barajas, who actually was awarded to the Dodgers on a waiver claim while the Mets were in Pittsburgh in 2010, signed a one-year deal with the Pirates as a free agent.


• Alvarez is RBI-less in his past six games, and is hitting .106 (5-for-47) in his past 15 games. Still, his seven homers trail the MLB leaders among third baseman -- Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera and David Freese -- by only one.

• Ex-Mets catcher Rod Barajas signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Pirates during the offseason. He homered Sunday against Detroit’s Max Scherzer, his fourth long ball this season, but is hitting only .220 this season. Barajas has thrown out only two of 18 would-be stealers.

• Right-hander James McDonald had a no-hit bid through five innings in his most recent start, against the Washington Nationals. Ex-Mets farmhand Jesus Flores broke it up with a sixth-inning double.

• Left-hander Erik Bedard allowed four runs in six innings against the Nats on Wednesday. Bedard had been forced from a May 9 start after one-plus innings with back spasms and received extra rest before last week’s start. He has one career start against the Mets: on June 16, 2006 at Shea Stadium, when he allowed three runs in six innings during an interleague series while playing for the Baltimore Orioles. Chris Woodward had an RBI groudout and Jose Reyes had a two-run double against Bedard in Baltimore’s 6-3 win.

• Closer Joel Hanrahan is 9-for-10 in save chances. He has a 90.7 percent success rate since the beginning of the 2011 season. The only NL closer with 40 opportunities and a better save-conversion percentage during that span: Milwaukee’s John Axford (94.5 percent). Hanrahan already ranks eighth on the Pirates’ all-time saves list with 55. Next up: Bill Landrum with 56.

• Shortstop Clint Barmes played for Hurdle with the Colorado Rockies. He signed a two-year, $10.5 million deal as a free agent to succeed current Met Ronny Cedeno as shortstop in Pittsburgh.

• The Pirates have used righty-hitting Casey McGehee (.198) and lefty-hitting Garrett Jones (.231) at first base this season.

Nate McLouth (.143 overall) is 0-for-13 as a pinch hitter this season in his second tour of duty with the Pirates.

• Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander came within two outs of a no-hitter against the Pirates on Friday. Josh Harrison, who has been starting on the left side of the infield against left-handed pitching, broke up Verlander’s bid for his third career no-hitter with a single to center.

• Set-up man Jason Grilli landed on the bereavement list Sunday. Southpaw Jeff Locke temporarily has been promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis to work in long relief. Locke will not be used as a second lefty specialist to complement Tony Watson.

• Ex-Met Nick Evans is hitting .197 with two homers and nine RBIs in 71 at-bats at Triple-A Indianapolis. He signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent during the offseason. Evans has been sidelined since April 30 and is on the International League disabled list.

Matchups

Santana vs. Pirates (career: 2-2, 1.96 ERA)
Pedro Alvarez .667, 3 PA
Jose Tabata .333, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Rod Barajas .286, 2 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Casey McGehee .200, 3 K, 10 PA
Nate McLouth .133, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 17 PA
Andrew McCutchen .000, 3 K, 4 PA
Garrett Jones .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Neil Walker .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .000, 3 PA

Dickey vs. Pirates (career: 1-2, 2.78 ERA)
Josh Harrison .571, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 8 PA
Garrett Jones .400, 1 RBI, 1 K, 10 PA
Jose Tabata .333, 1 BB, 1 K, 11 PA
Andrew McCutchen .222, 2 BB, 4 K, 12 PA
Rod Barajas .143, 2 RBI, 1 K, 7 PA
Neil Walker .111, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 10 PA
Casey McGehee .100, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Pedro Alvarez .000, 1 BB, 4 PA
Nate McLouth .000, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .000, 1 RBI, 3 PA

Niese vs. Pirates (career: 1-0, 2.45 ERA)
Jose Tabata 1.000, 3 PA
Nate McLouth .667, 1 RBI, 4 PA
Rod Barajas .667, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Andrew McCutchen .667, 3 PA
Neil Walker .333, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .222, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Casey McGehee .200, 1 K, 5 PA
Pedro Alvarez .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Garrett Jones .000, 2 PA

Bedard vs. Mets (career: 1-0, 4.50 ERA)
David Wright .500, 1 BB, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .300, 1 K, 10 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 1 K, 3 PA

McDonald vs. Mets (career: 1-1, 3.49 ERA)
Ike Davis .500, 1 BB, 7 PA
Daniel Murphy .500, 1 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA
David Wright .333, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Andres Torres .200, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 6 PA
Justin Turner .000, 3 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 1 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 1 PA

Morton vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 4.76 ERA)
Lucas Duda .500, 3 RBI, 4 PA
Ike Davis .500, 1 BB, 3 PA
Justin Turner .400, 2 RBI, 7 PA
Daniel Murphy .286, 7 PA
Andres Torres .167, 1 BB, 1 K, 7 PA
David Wright .000, 4 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 3 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at PNC Park, June 10-12, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 8, Pirates 1: Dillon Gee remained undefeated, Jose Reyes homered among his three hits and the Mets won for the fifth time in six. Gee became the first Mets' rookie starter to improve to 7-0. New York has won all nine of his starts. He allowed one run and eight hits in a career-high eight innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Gee won his fifth straight outing and is the majors' first rookie starter to open 7-0 since 2006, when Jered Weaver started 9-0 for the Los Angeles Angels. Gee has allowed one earned run or less in three of his past five starts and has allowed only one run over his past two outings combined. Reyes and Josh Thole went 3-for-5, and Angel Pagan had two hits and scored twice. The Pirates' Charlie Morton had his worst start of the season, though he was the victim of some infield hits, shoddy defense and bad bounces. Morton (6-3) lasted a season-low four-plus innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) and nine hits.

Pirates 3, Mets 2: James McDonald allowed two runs in six effective innings and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run double. Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison each had two hits and scored a run. Garrett Jones had an RBI double among his two hits for Pittsburgh. Baseball's leading hitter, Jose Reyes, had two hits and Ruben Tejada and Carlos Beltran each also had two hits for the Mets. McDonald (4-4) allowed eight hits and three walks. Tim Wood pitched a scoreless seventh, Jose Veras struck out Ronny Paulino looking with runners on second and third to end the eighth and Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save in as many opportunities.

Mets 7, Pirates 0: Chris Capuano pitched seven innings and Jose Reyes homered in the rubber-game win. Capuano (5-6) allowed three hits and two walks with five strikeouts to win consecutive starts for the first time since April 2007. Reyes had three hits for his majors-leading 33rd multi-hit game. He homered two pitches after pinch-hitter Scott Hairston also did in the ninth. David Murphy and Angel Pagan went 2-for-4 and Carlos Beltran had a two-run single. Kevin Correia (8-5) unraveled late after being perfect through 4 2/3. He missed on a chance to tie for the majors' lead in victories.

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