New York Mets: Michael McKenry

Rapid Reaction: Mets 2, Rockies 0

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
NEW YORK -- Reaching .500 may not be an insurmountable goal after all.

The playoffs? That still seems too ambitious.

Rafael Montero tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings and earned his first major league win as the Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies with a 2-0 victory Wednesday at Citi Field.

With their seventh win in their past eight games, the Mets improved to 71-75. They have not been this close to .500 since Aug. 2 (53-57).

The Pittsburgh Pirates, who occupy the second wild-card spot, won 6-3 in Philadelphia, so the Mets remain 5 back with 16 games remaining.

The Mets won despite mustering five hits. Eric Young Jr. had three of the hits, including a run-scoring triple in the second for the game’s opening run. Juan Lagares provided a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh.

For those into run differential, the Mets are back in the black at plus-one for the season.

The Mets tossed consecutive shutouts for the first time since June 29-30, 2012 at Dodger Stadium.

Jenrry Mejia tossed a perfect ninth to record the save.

Spot shine: Despite a high pitch count and effort that included issuing four walks, Montero took a no-hit bid two outs into the fifth inning. Opposing pitcher Tyler Matzek then doubled over Young’s head in left field to place two in scoring position. Montero rebounded. He coaxed a flyout from Charlie Blackmon that stranded two in scoring position.

Still nursing a 1-0 lead in the sixth, Montero allowed a leadoff double to Drew Stubbs and single to Justin Morneau that placed runners on the corners with none out. He struck out Nolan Arenado and then departed with his pitch count at 106.

Fellow rookie Dario Alvarez entered and retired Corey Dickerson on a squibber that moved Morneau to second base. Carlos Torres entered and retired Michael McKenry to leave both runners in scoring position.

Montero’s final line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K.

Terry Collins said pregame that it is undecided whether Montero would get another start this month. The Mets promoted him in part to gauge his ability in a relief role. And the Mets are reluctant to have their incumbent starting pitchers work with more than one extra day of rest between outings. Monday already is a team off-day.

Quiet night: In his first game at third base in more than three years, Daniel Murphy had no grounders he was required to field.

What’s next: If the Mets are going to make it interesting over the final 16 games, they’ll have to make noise against the first-place Washington Nationals. Two series remain between the teams, including a four-game set at Citi Field that opens Thursday. Bartolo Colon (13-11, 3.96 ERA) opposes right-hander Tanner Roark (12-10, 2.97) in the opener.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Rockies 1

May, 4, 2014
May 4
DENVER -- The Mets took an early lead Sunday at Coors Field … and held it!

A day after blowing a six-run lead, Dillon Gee tossed six scoreless innings and the Mets beat the Colorado Rockies, 5-1, to avoid getting swept in the four-game series.

Despite the Rockies entering the series finale averaging an MLB-best 7.8 runs per game at home, Gee became the fourth starting pitcher in Mets history to toss six or more scoreless innings at Coors Field. He joined Johan Santana (2012), Mike Pelfrey (2010) and Pete Harnisch (1995). Gee has tossed a career-high 16 consecutive scoreless innings.

Gee needed help from Carlos Torres and Scott Rice.

Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesDillon Gee tossed six scoreless innings Sunday at Coors Field.

Showing faith in his starting pitcher -- or, perhaps more aptly, reluctance to use his overworked and erratic bullpen -- Terry Collins allowed Gee to take the mound for the seventh with his pitch count at 105. Gee proceeded to allow consecutive singles to Michael McKenry and Corey Dickerson to open the frame and was pulled.

Torres recorded a pair of outs. And with Gee’s two runners in scoring position, Rice entered and coaxed a flyout to center field from lefty-hitting Charlie Blackmon to preserve the 5-0 lead.

The lone run came in the ninth inning on Justin Morneau's solo homer against Jeurys Familia.

The bullpen had logged a combined 11 1/3 innings the first three games of the series.

Gee has wanted to gain the faith from Collins to be trusted in late spots since being pulled in Arizona on April 16 with his pitch count at 72 after seven scoreless innings.

Gee has now completed six innings in 27 of his past 29 starts. He is 3-1 with a 0.67 ERA (2 ER in 27 IP) in his past four starts.

Sunday’s line: 6+ IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. He threw 113 pitches (68 strikes).

The performance was desperately needed after Bartolo Colon, Zack Wheeler and Jenrry Mejia each failed to complete five innings in the series.

The Mets (16-14) actually moved to within a game of the first-place Atlanta Braves, who have lost six straight. Of course, the Mets also are only a half-game out of last place in the congested National League East.

Juan Lagares, inserted into the starting lineup after Eric Young Jr. was scratched with a bruised right cheekbone, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Lagares opened the game with a single and scored on Curtis Granderson’s two-out single against Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin. Lagares and Daniel Murphy had back-to-back two-out doubles in the fourth as the lead swelled to 4-0.

Lagares had four doubles in the four-game series. He was activated from the disabled list Thursday after a pulled right hamstring healed.

Granderson has hit safely in five straight games.

Stop, Forrest: The good news: Murphy followed up Saturday’s four-hit game with a two-hit performance Sunday. The bad news: His aggressiveness on the bases is borderline recklessness.

Murphy, trying to draw a throw home on a fake tag-up in the first inning, was caught straying too far off third base and was retired 7-5-6 when the ball was cut off. On Friday, Murphy had been caught stealing at third base with David Wright batting, similarly depriving the Mets of a potentially big first inning.

What’s next: The Mets head to Miami to complete a three-city trip. Jonathon Niese (2-2, 2.20 ERA) opposes right-hander Nate Eovaldi (2-1, 2.58) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener. The Marlins are an MLB-best 14-5 at home this season.

Morning Briefing: Mets-Phillies still rivalry?

August, 28, 2013

Getty ImagesJohn Buck and Marlon Byrd are now Pirates, while second baseman Dilson Herrera joins the Mets organization.

FIRST PITCH: Where have you gone Mets-Phillies rivalry?

From the Mets finally unseating the Atlanta Braves in 2006, to the following year’s “team-to-beat” proclamation by Jimmy Rollins, the NL East seemed to revolve around New York and Philadelphia.

Now? The teams are a collective 24 games under .500 and merely jockeying for third place in the division.

And we’re left tonight with Daisuke Matsuzaka Night at Citi Field against an eight-games-under-.500 Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62 ERA).

Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00 ERA) makes his second Mets start at 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• The Mets traded Marlon Byrd, John Buck and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Class A second baseman Dilson Herrera and a player to be named. Herrera, a Futures Game participant from Colombia, will be assigned to low-A Savannah for the remainder of the season.

"Marlon Byrd is an impactful bat with significant numbers against left-handed pitching and John Buck is a strong receiver who works well with a pitching staff," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters in Pittsburgh. "Those were areas we were looking to improve upon and strengthen, and the trade also adds a couple of layers of experience to our club."

Writes ESPN’s Keith Law on Herrera:

Playing full time at age 19 in the low-Class A Sally League, Herrera has shown somewhat surprising pop, with a .156 isolated power and 41 extra-base hits in 109 games. He's got a simple, quiet approach, just loading his hands a little higher than he should, with adequate hip rotation for 15-20 homer power at his peak.

He's an above-average runner whose speed hasn't translated into baserunning value, and is presently a fringy defender at second, but should develop into an above-average glove given time and instruction. I'd call him a future everyday second baseman, a solid regular with a chance to be an above-average one.

I'm told by multiple sources that the Mets will receive another player-to-be-named who is a "solid" piece, enough to make this deal even better for New York.

(Insiders can read Law’s full trade write-up here.)

Writes columnist Dejan Kovacevic in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

I got to know Herrera a bit during the All-Star Futures Game in New York last month and loved his backstory: Orlando Covo, the Pirates' lead scout in Colombia, works by day as, of all things, the president of a bank. He moonlights because of a passion for baseball and for the Pirates, who hired him under Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo a half-decade ago.

Colombia is no baseball hotbed, but Covo and Gayo invest disproportionate energy into making it work. In the case of the prized Herrera, Covo pushed so hard that, as the kid told me, “I was wearing a Pirates cap when I was 12.”

Herrera's a quality second baseman with a live bat. As [GM Neal] Huntington put it, “The Mets did well” to get him. But the Pirates also did well to have him.

With Matt Harvey landing on the DL and the two departures via trade, the Mets promoted Matt den Dekker, Anthony Recker and Robert Carson from Triple-A Las Vegas. The lefty-hitting Den Dekker and righty-hitting Andrew Brown should combine to fill the void left by Byrd’s departure -- although den Dekker’s starts may primarily come in center field, pushing Juan Lagares to right field on those days.

Sandy Alderson indicated the Mets’ trade activity likely was completed. The GM also reiterated that Terry Collins will be judged by more criteria than simply wins and losses.

In a humorous twist, the trade occurred hours before a Byrd T-shirt promotion at Citi Field.

With Pittsburgh, Buck will back up Russell Martin. Backup catcher Michael McKenry underwent season-ending surgery for a torn meniscus. As for Byrd, he particularly will help with outfielder Starling Marte out for a few weeks with a sprained ligament in his right hand.

Read columnist Larry Brooks’ take on the trade in the Post and news stories in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and Read more on Herrera in Newsday.

• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post suggests the Wilpons must show Mets fans the money this offseason. Writes Vaccaro:

Does Harvey’s absence allow another mailed-in offseason?

It had better not. And the men who own the Mets had better be prepared to keep to whatever plans they had about strengthening this team, and not allowing the abyss to run to six full seasons of non-competitive baseball. The tough talk of February had better be able to stay intact by November, regardless of whether Harvey is a part of 2014 or not.

Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SportsMatt Harvey tweeted that he will be pitching next April 1.

Their credibility was at stake anyway, their show-me fan base eager to see if the Wilpons’ claim of financial freedom was legitimate. It should be even more so now. The Mets have crowed about their pitching depth. But even if Harvey pitched to a 0.01 ERA next year, he already knew -- and [Zack] Wheeler learned Monday -- it hardly matters if the Mets offense remains somewhere between inept and impotent.

• Harvey tweeted he will be pitching next April 1, but Alderson responded there is no new information on which to base that conclusion. Harvey will get another MRI in two to three weeks, once swelling in his pitching elbow subsides, in order to determine the extent of his UCL tear and whether Tommy John surgery will be required. Read more in the Post, Newsday and Record.

Jeremy Hefner is due to undergo Tommy John surgery today. Mets doctor David Altchek is due to perform the procedure at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Hefner will miss most, if not all, of the 2014 season.

Jonathon Niese tossed a three-hit shutout and also produced a three-run double as the Mets blanked the Phillies, 5-0, Tuesday at Citi Field. The teams are again even for third place in the NL East. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, and

David Wright should be hitting in games -- but probably not fielding -- in Port St. Lucie as soon as Sunday or Monday, Collins said. Read more in the Post.

• The Mets named right-handers Chasen Bradford and Hansel Robles, catcher Cam Maron, infielder Aderlin Rodriguez and outfielder Cory Vaughn to their Arizona Fall League contingent. Two more pitching spots will be filled later.

• Las Vegas’ rally from a four-run deficit in the ninth fell a run short in a 13-12 loss at Colorado Springs. Jeff Walters set a new Binghamton career saves record with No. 37 as the B-Mets beat Bowie, 3-2. Read the full minor league recap here.

From the bloggers: Faith and Fear in Flushing contemplates how rosters turn over and over. … Mark Berman from Blogging Mets wonders if the Mets are partly to blame for Harvey's injury.

BIRTHDAYS: Joel Youngblood turns 62. … Mike Torrez is 67.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe Matt Harvey will bypass undergoing Tommy John surgery?

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 11, Mets 2

May, 11, 2013
WHAT IT MEANS: Not to fear -- Matt Harvey Day is next.

Jonathon Niese was charged with a career-high-matching eight runs while lasting only 4 1/3 innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates drubbed the Mets, 11-2, Saturday afternoon on Banner Day at Citi Field. There was a 47-minute rain delay in the middle of the ninth inning, after which Andrew Brown delivered a solo homer.

athy Kmonicek/Associated Press
Jon Niese allowed a career-high-matching eight runs, including two homers.

The Mets (14-19) -- who matched their low-water mark at five games under .500 -- did not post much at the plate anyway. They mustered only a sixth-inning run, on Marlon Byrd’s infield single against Francisco Liriano. The southpaw tossed 5 1/3 innings in his Pirates debut.

Niese, who recently had been dealing with a back issue, surrendered homers to Jose Tabata (4-for-5) and Jordy Mercer. Niese’s final pitch, a fastball that registered only 85 mph, resulted in a run-scoring double by Tabata that made it 6-0. Niese’s velocity has, on average, been 1 mph slower this season.

Terry Collins wanted to stay away from overused Scott Atchison, but was forced to insert him after Niese’s short outing. Atchison, inheriting a pair of runners in scoring position, allowed both to score on Michael McKenry’s single. Atchison also was charged with a run of his own as Pittsburgh’s lead swelled to 9-0.

How agonizing has it been in non-Harvey starts?

Harvey is 4-0 with a 1.28 ERA and has averaged seven innings per outing. The remainder of the Mets’ starters have produced a 4-13 record and 5.59 ERA and have averaged five innings a start.

WALK THE PLANK: Jordany Valdespin, who admired his pinch-hit homer a wee bit too much in a lopsided game Friday, was sent up as a pinch hitter by Collins this time in the seventh inning with the Mets trailing, 10-1. Predictably, Valdespin was plunked in the right arm by the second pitch from Bryan Morris. Valdespin "threw a fit" in the dugout afterward, Kevin Burkhardt tweeted.

WHAT’S NEXT: After the Wiggles perform pregame, with Lachy, Simon and Emma making their New York City debuts, Harvey opposes Pirates right-hander Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.38 ERA) as the Mets look to salvage a split of the four-game series Sunday at 1:10 p.m.. Various Mets will use pink bats and batting gloves in the Mother’s Day game.

Mets morning briefing 5.22.12

May, 22, 2012
PITTSBURGH -- Mike Baxter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a communications gaffe on an eighth-inning fly ball, resulting in a three-base error, and Clint Barmes followed with a game-deciding sacrifice fly as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Mets, 5-4, Monday at PNC Park.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was Pittsburgh's biggest come-from-behind victory since June 1, 2009, also against the Mets -- when a five-run lead for the Amazin's turned into an 8-5 loss that included five straight batters reaching against J.J. Putz in a five-run eighth. Putz made only one more appearance as a Met, also in that series, before undergoing season-ending elbow surgery.

The Pirates' string of 160 straight games trailing by four-plus runs without a comeback victory was the second-longest in MLB history, according to Elias. Only the the Washington Senators, who had 178 straight losses when they trailed by four-plus runs from 1906 to 1910, had a longer drought.

Tuesday's news reports:

Johan Santana could not hold a four-run lead. He surrendered a game-tying two-run homer to No. 8 hitter Michael McKenry in the seventh. His record stands at 1-2 after nine starts this season.

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

Josh Thole and Jason Bay have headed to Florida to ramp up activity, while Ruben Tejada could be the first of trio to return from the disabled list -- as soon as next weekend. Thole, cleared for baseball activities two weeks after suffering a concussion, is aiming to appear in a minor league game for the first time May 28. Tejada (quadriceps) has been running in Port St. Lucie. He could be in a minor league rehab game as soon as Wednesday. Bay (fractured rib) is due to start taking batting practice from coaches that day, and soon thereafter may advance to minor league action, initially as a DH. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Andres Torres is 1-for-his-last-29. Terry Collins plans to sit him Tuesday and start Nieuwenhuis in center, with Baxter in left field.

Ike Davis sat against another left-hander, Erik Bedard, but entered Monday for defense in the sixth inning and eventually struck out in both of his ensuing at-bats. Davis is now hitting .161. A demotion may be looming, potentially coinciding with the return of a player from the DL. Collins met with Davis in the visiting manager's office at PNC Park before Monday's game. Read more in the Journal, Post, Newsday, Times and Daily News.

Vinny Rottino rejoined the Mets on Monday from Triple-A Buffalo and made his first major league start at first base. Chris Schwinden was optioned back to the Bisons. With Miguel Batista landing on the DL, Jeremy Hefner has been confirmed as Thursday's starter against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field.

Terry Collins expressed appreciation for umpire Brian Knight acknowledging missing Saturday night's call, when Baxter was ruled out at second base in Toronto.

Michael Salfino in the Journal tries to reconcile the Mets' winning record with their run differential. He notes a few lopsided losses skew the results somewhat, but counters that the Mets have been outslugged with homers by a wide margin. Writes Salfino:

In the standings, they look like a contender. Entering Monday, they were a surprising 22-19. But on the stat sheet -- and we're not talking doctorate-level statistics here -- they look overmatched. They've been outscored by 31 runs, the fifth-worst mark in baseball. Even the 15-25 Colorado Rockies (minus-27) have been better. The Mets are on pace to finish 87-75 while being outscored by 122 runs. This would be a rather historic achievement: All-time, the worst run differential by a winning team belonged to the 1905 Detroit Tigers (minus-90), who went 79-74. The Mets' current record is about five games better than what's expected from a team with that poor of a run differential, according to

• Salfino also notes in the Journal that the Mets bullpen has protected leads for R.A. Dickey remarkably well -- in 21 of 22 games in which the knuckleballer has left in a position to win during his Mets career. According to the article, the bullpen has failed to hold 14 of 50 potential wins for Santana during his Mets career.

• Pitching coach Dan Warthen wants Jon Niese to prepare more for unfamiliar opponents, Mike Puma writes in the Post. "He’s had a couple of poor games against teams he doesn’t know very well,” Warthen told Puma. “A couple of us talked to him the other day and told him he could do a little bit better with the studying of hitters.”

TRIVIA: Who holds the record for career runs scored in a Mets uniform?

Monday's answer: The yellow bridge spanning the Allegheny River adjacent to PNC Park is named for the late Roberto Clemente.

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 5, Mets 4

May, 21, 2012
WHAT IT MEANS: Johan Santana could not protect a four-run lead and the Mets dropped the ball in the eighth inning -- literally -- en route to 5-4 loss against Pittsburgh in Monday’s series opener.

Santana served up a game-tying two-run homer to No. 8 hitter Michael McKenry in seventh inning.

In the eighth, after each pinch-hitting in the top half, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter headed to the outfield. They miscommunicated on Neil Walker’s leadoff fly ball to left-center and Nieuwenhuis dropped it for a three-base error. Walker then scored the decisive run on a sacrifice fly by Clint Barmes against Jon Rauch narrowly ahead of a throw from right fielder Lucas Duda.

It was the second time this season Nieuwenhuis had a high-profile drop while manning center field. Against the Giants on April 21, Nieuwenhuis overran a ball to prolong the game, although the Mets salvaged that one, 5-4, on San Francisco miscues.

NOT WRIGHT: David Wright went 2-for-4 with a walk and RBI to lift his average to .415, but he also committed his second and third errors this season.

Wright’s RBI single had lifted the Mets to a 4-0 lead against Pirates starter Erik Bedard.

Neither error proved costly. With the bases loaded in the fourth inning shortly after Wright’s throwing miscue to first base, Santana coaxed a 6-4-3 DP to preserve a two-run lead. In the seventh, after Santana served up the game-tying two-run homer and a walk, Wright misfielded a grounder that advanced the potential go-ahead run into scoring position. But Bobby Parnell struck out Andrew McCutchen and Tim Byrdak fanned Pedro Alvarez to keep the score tied.

LEADING MAN? Andres Torres went 0-for-4 with a walk. He twice struck out and also popped out on a bunt. Torres is now hitless in 14 at-bats and 2-for-38 in his last 11 games. His eighth-inning fielder’s choice stranded the go-ahead run at third in the eighth.

OUT: Scott Hairston was pulled for the bottom of the sixth inning, with Vinny Rottino moving from first base to left field and Ike Davis entering the game.

It was not immediately known if that was a strategic move or Hairston needed to be removed.

Davis and Lucas Duda consecutively were retired in the top of the seventh inning with two runners aboard while facing lefty reliever Tony Watson as the Mets failed to build on a 4-2 lead at the time.

AHOY: Ronny Cedeno returned to Pittsburgh, where he had been the starting shortstop last season and hit .249. He went 2-for-4.

WHAT’S NEXT: R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.76 ERA) opposes right-hander James McDonald (3-2, 2.68) on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187