New York Mets: Paul Goldschmidt

Series preview: Mets vs. D-backs

May, 23, 2014
May 23
9:41
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets are due to face Chase Anderson, Josh Collmenter and Bronson Arroyo this weekend.
METS (21-25, fourth place/NL East) vs. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (18-31, fifth place/NL West)

Friday: RHP Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (2-0, 5.06), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-4, 4.53) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (2-2, 4.02), 4:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Rafael Montero (0-2, 6.97) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (4-3, 4.45), 1:10 p.m. ET

Diamondbacks short hops

• Tony La Russa, who is due to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 27, was hired as the team’s chief baseball officer last Saturday. He last was affiliated with a team in 2011, when he managed the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title. La Russa more recently worked with commissioner Bud Selig, including on implementing the new instant-replay and plate-collision guidelines. La Russa has final say on all baseball matters, which means longtime GM Kevin Towers has been stripped of considerable power.


Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY SportsTony La Russa has taken over as D-backs chief baseball officer.


“Until I really get more time to sit down with Tony to really find out structure, process, reporting and job responsibilities, I’m taking the high road and looking at this as hopefully a good thing for the organization,” Towers told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I certainly don’t want to be a pseudo-GM. The front office role will be new to him, and I’m hoping I can help him in ways too, like with the daily calendar and what’s important come June and July.”

• Right-hander Chase Anderson’s third major-league start comes against the Mets. He debuted May 11, limiting the Chicago White Sox to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out six in 5 1/3 innings. Bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. told the Arizona Republic that Anderson has the best changeup in their system. The 26-year-old Anderson, a ninth-round pick in 2009 from the University of Oklahoma, had been 4-2 with a 0.69 ERA and 0.718 WHIP in six starts at Double-A Mobile. He logged only 205 1/3 innings from 2011 through ’13 because of elbow troubles, which also prompted the organization to convert him to a reliever to close last season in Triple-A. Anderson had a 6.52 ERA in 13 relief appearances and reverted to starting this year.

• The Mets are seeing the reigning co-NL Players of the Week in consecutive series. Yasiel Puig has departed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but fellow winner A.J. Pollock now arrives at Citi Field with the D-backs. Pollock, a center fielder, hit .500 (11-for-22) with two homers last week.

• Left fielder Mark Trumbo, who was acquired during the offseason from the Los Angeles Angels, has been sidelined since April 21 with a stress fracture in his left foot. Trumbo had been hitting .210 with seven homers and 19 RBIs in 81 at-bats. Righty-hitting Cody Ross primarily has played the position in Trumbo’s absence, with lefty-hitting rookie Ender Inciarte also seeing some action in left field.

Didi Gregorius, the expendable shortstop for the D-backs, is hitting .296 with three homers, 20 RBIs and a .386 on-base percentage in 186 at-bats with Triple-A Reno. Chris Owings, who beat out Gregorius for the D-backs’ shortstop job, is hitting .275 with two homers and seven RBIs in 142 at-bats. Gregorius has appeared in 30 games at second base and 18 games at shortstop in the Pacific Coast League this season as the D-backs try to increase his versatility in case they retain him.

• Ex-Met Oliver Perez has a 1.26 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings over his past 15 appearances.

• First baseman Paul Goldschmidt’s 33 RBIs rank fifth in the National League. His .315 average is 10th. Goldschmidt hit a 437-foot homer against Shaun Marcum last season at Citi Field.

• After opening the season in the bullpen, Josh Collmenter entered the rotation April 14 to face the Mets in Phoenix. He allowed three runs in four innings. Collmenter swapped roles with Randall Delgado, who had allowed nine runs in 7 1/3 innings over a pair of early season starts.

Bronson Arroyo signed a two-year, $23.5 million contract with the D-backs on Feb. 7. The deal includes an $11 million team option for 2016 or $4.5 million buyout. Arroyo, 37, has reached the 200-inning plateau eight of the past nine years. The exception: 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds, when he was one inning shy. The Mets battered Arroyo for nine runs in 3 1/3 innings on April 15 at Chase Field. Kirk Nieuwenhuis delivered a two-run homer.

• Second baseman Aaron Hill returned Wednesday after missing three games with a sore shoulder.

• Third baseman Martin Prado departed Sunday’s game with a blurry left eye, but was prescribed medicine and did not miss a start.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Diamondbacks 2

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
6:27
PM ET
PHOENIX -- Dillon Gee retired the first 14 batters he faced and the Mets are now above .500 for the first time this season.

Gee tossed seven scoreless innings and Anthony Recker homered and doubled as the Mets swept the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 5-2 win Wednesday at Chase Field.

After winning six of nine games on a trip to the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels and Diamondbacks, the Mets improved to 8-7 this season. They outscored Arizona 21-5 in the series.

It marked the Mets’ first sweep in Phoenix since a four-game series in 2006, when Carlos Beltran went 9-for-17 with 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored.

The reeling D-backs have lost six straight and dropped to an MLB-worst 4-14 this season.

The Mets carried a shutout bid into the ninth, in which Jose Valverde surrendered consecutive homers to Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt to open the inning, snapping a streak of 18 straight scoreless innings by Mets pitchers.

Gee did not allow a baserunner until Martin Prado’s two-out double in the fifth.

He allowed only two other hits.

One came when Gerardo Parra dropped a single in front of center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis with two outs in the sixth. Despite the D-backs trailing 3-0, Parra aggressively tried for a double with second base seemingly uncovered. However, Nieuwenhuis recovered the baseball and delivered it to Ruben Tejada, who in turn threw to Gee manning second, where he applied the tag.

The final hit against Gee came on a one-out double off the center-field wall by Goldschmidt in the seventh.

Gee managed to escape that inning unscathed. The next batter, Miguel Montero, sent a shot to the right-field wall, where Andrew Brown (2-for-5) made a stellar leaping catch. After a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen, Gee then stranded Goldschmidt in scoring position with a Mark Trumbo groundout to complete his outing.

Gee’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. He threw 72 pitches (48 strikes).

This season, Gee has allowed a .375 opponent batting average from his 76th pitch onward, and Terry Collins undoubtedly sensed him fading with the D-backs squaring up balls in the seventh.

Gee tossed the fewest pitches by a Mets starter in a performance of at least seven innings since Robert Person on June 13, 1996 (7 IP, 70 pitches against St. Louis).

In the eighth, Kyle Farnsworth entered and allowed a pair of baserunners, but he got a big strikeout call on a two-seam fastball with the count full against Eric Chavez for the second out. Scott Rice then entered and retired Parra to strand two inherited D-backs.

Valverde, pitching for the first time since surrendering a game-tying, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to the Angels’ Raul Ibanez on Saturday, had plenty of wiggle room after the Mets scored two runs in the top of the ninth to open a 5-0 lead. He needed it. With the two long balls surrendered by Valverde, Mets pitchers have now allowed an MLB-high 22 homers. The D-backs are second with 21.

Recker, in only his third start this season as the backup to Travis d’Arnaud, belted his second homer. The second-inning shot against Brandon McCarthy opened the scoring.

The Mets opened a 2-0 lead in the fourth when Ike Davis walked, Brown doubled and Nieuwenhuis produced a sacrifice fly. The Mets’ third run came in the sixth, when Brown singled, Recker doubled and Gee had an RBI groundout after an intentional walk to Tejada.

The Mets tacked on ninth-inning runs on RBI singles by Daniel Murphy and David Wright in a frame that also included two Arizona errors.

Welcome back: Curtis Granderson grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. It marked his first game action since bruising his left wrist, rib cage and knee in a collision with the outfield wall Monday. He is expected to return to the starting lineup Friday.

What’s next: The Mets try to duplicate their road success at Citi Field, at which they are 2-4 this season and 105-144 in four seasons under general manager Sandy Alderson.

After an off day, Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.46 ERA) opposes Atlanta Braves right-hander Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96) on Friday at 7:10 p.m.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 9, Diamondbacks 0

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
12:29
AM ET
PHOENIX -- The New York Mets are back where they started the season: .500.

Jenrry Mejia tossed five scoreless innings before departing with a blister issue, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered and drove in three runs in his return to the big leagues as the Mets routed the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-0 Tuesday night at Chase Field.

The Mets evened their record at 7-7 after failing in their five previous attempts this season to move to .500.


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesJenrry Mejia tossed five scoreless innings before departing with a blister issue.


Mejia departed with his pitch count only at 77 and the Mets leading by nine runs, because he had torn a blister on the tip of his middle finger. Blisters have been a recurring problem for Mejia.

At the plate, the Mets aggressively jumped on D-backs starter Bronson Arroyo. They took a 3-0 lead six batters and 14 pitches into the game, when Nieuwenhuis produced an RBI single in his first big-league at-bat since last July 26. Nieuwenhuis had been bypassed for a September call-up.

Nieuwenhuis (3-for-5) also opened the scoring in a six-run fourth against Arroyo with a two-run homer. That was the 21st homer surrendered by Arizona pitchers this season, matching the Mets staff for the most long balls allowed in the majors.

Arroyo was charged with nine runs on 10 hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings.

In center field, Nieuwenhuis did his best impression of slick-fielding Juan Lagares, the player he replaced on the roster.

In the fifth, Nieuwenhuis lunged headfirst in right-center to take away a hit from Mark Trumbo. Nieuwenhuis also ran down A.J. Pollock’s drive to the track in right-center to end the seventh.

Mejia retired the first nine D-backs batters, until issuing a leadoff walk to Gerardo Parra in the fourth. He kept a no-hit bid intact until one out in that frame, when Paul Goldschmidt singled down the third-base line.

Gonzalez Germen added three scoreless relief innings.

Guess who? Oliver Perez faced the Mets for the first time since being released by the club in spring training in 2011. Perez, who signed a two-year, $4.25 million with the D-backs, tossed two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. The lone baserunner against him came on a one-out single by Nieuwenhuis in the southpaw’s second inning of relief.

Perez had only faced the Mets twice before: in 2003 with the San Diego Padres and 2004 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

What’s next: The Mets attempt to sweep the series at Chase Field at 3:40 p.m. ET Wednesday. Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.03 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 7.78). The Mets last produced sweeps in Phoenix in 2005 and 2006, when they went 4-0 against the D-backs in consecutive seasons.

Series preview: Mets at Diamondbacks

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
9:00
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Josh Collmenter, Bronson Arroyo and Brandon McCarthy during a series against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
METS (5-7, fourth place/NL East) at ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (4-11, fifth place/NL West)

Monday: RHP Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.73) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (0-0, 2.25), 9:40 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 4.09) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 4.82), 9:40 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-0, 5.03) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 7.78), 3:40 p.m. ET

Diamondbacks short hops

• After allowing nine runs in 7 1/3 innings in two starts, Randall Delgado has been reassigned to the bullpen. Josh Collmenter steps into the slot Monday against the Mets.

Collmenter made 49 relief appearances for the D-backs last season. He last started on Sept. 30, 2012. Collmenter had a four-inning save Wednesday, so he is reasonably stretched out for the starting duty.

Delgado, who began wearing glasses last year, incidentally has dropped using them because of comfort -- although it leaves his vision less than perfect.

Bronson Arroyo signed a two-year, $23.5 million contract with the D-backs on Feb. 7. The deal includes an $11 million team option for 2016 or $4.5 million buyout. Arroyo, 37, has combined to log only 9 1/3 innings over two starts. He has reached the 200-inning plateau eight of the past nine years. The exception: 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds, when he was one inning shy.


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesOffseason acquisition Mark Trumbo leads the majors in homers and RBIs.


Mark Trumbo leads the majors in homers (six) and RBIs (18). The left fielder was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on Dec. 10 as part of a three-team trade that landed left-hander Tyler Skaggs back in Anaheim. Trumbo homered in four straight games April 3-6.

• Ex-Met Oliver Perez signed a two-year, $4.25 million deal with the D-backs on March 10. He has allowed six runs (five earned) on four hits, four walks and a hit batter in seven appearances spanning 5 1/3 innings.

• The D-backs signed veteran left-hander Randy Wolf on a minor-league deal Friday for pitching depth. Arizona lost 2013 NL All-Star Patrick Corbin for this season due to an elbow ligament tear that required Tommy John surgery. The D-backs have an MLB-worst 5.95 ERA. They also have allowed 20 homers. Only the Mets, with 21, have allowed more homers in the majors.

Wolf asked for his release from the Seattle Mariners last month after declining to sign an agreement that would have allowed the club to release him during the season’s first 45 days without being responsible for his remaining salary. John Lannan agreed to sign that type of stipulation with the Mets.

• Outfielder Cody Ross, who suffered a dislocated right hip last August against the Mets, is a week into a rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno and may return during this series.

• Two-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder Gerardo Parra has a .340 average (36-for-106) in 31 career games against the Mets.

Didi Gregorius, who was made available in trade talks by the D-backs, instead ended up in Triple-A, where he is now splitting time between shortstop and second base. Gregorius, who was born in Amsterdam, is hitting .357 with one homer, four RBIs and five walks in 11 games with Reno.

Chris Owings, who won the big-league shortstop job, is hitting .295 with a .340 on-base percentage after going 2-for-3 with a walk Sunday as the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a sweep in Phoenix.

Addison Reed, who had a career-high 40 saves for the Chicago White Sox last season, was acquired on Dec. 13 for third baseman Matt Davidson. That has pushed incumbent closer/ex-Met J.J. Putz to a setup role.

• First baseman Paul Goldschmidt finished second in 2013 NL MVP voting after hitting .302 with 36 doubles, 36 homers and 125 RBIs. Goldschmidt is hitting .317 with two homers and nine RBIs so far this season.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 9, D-backs 5

August, 11, 2013
8/11/13
7:18
PM ET


PHOENIX -- Jonathon Niese struggled in his first major league start in more than seven weeks but nonetheless contributed six innings and earned the victory Sunday afternoon.

Andrew Brown's three-run homer in the seventh against right-hander Will Harris opened a four-run lead en route to an 9-5 rubber-game win against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.


Norm Hall/Getty ImagesArizona's Cody Ross suffered a dislocated right hip running to first base in the first inning.


It was Brown's second career pinch-hit homer. He also went deep in that role June 20 against Atlanta Braves left-hander Mike Minor.

Wilmer Flores produced a ninth-inning solo homer against Heath Bell -- the rookie's first big league long ball. It extended Flores' streak of games with an RBI to five. Flores now has nine RBIs in his first six major league games.

Staked to a 5-1 lead, Niese served up a three-run homer to Aaron Hill in the third that pulled Arizona within a run. But Niese, who had been on the disabled list with a partial tear of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder since a June 20 start, completed his outing with three straight scoreless innings.

He created his own jam in the sixth when he fielded Tuffy Gosewisch's comebacker and then bounced a throw to second base attempting to initiate a double play. But Niese rallied to strand two baserunners and preserve a 5-4 lead by consecutively striking out Cliff Pennington and pinch hitter Jason Kubel.

Niese's line: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. He threw 83 pitches (56 strikes).

Walk in the park: Ike Davis, now batting .205, reached base eight straight plate appearances over two games before a ninth-inning strikeout. Davis had three walks and a single Sunday.

Bad run: The Mets had four runners thrown out on the bases in the series. In the series finale, Mike Baxter was retired at the plate trying to score from first base on Omar Quintanilla's third-inning single. Marlon Byrd (attempting an inside-the-park homer) and Juan Lagares (attempting a triple) were thrown out Friday. Flores was retired going first to third Saturday.

Olé: The Mets scored four unearned runs in the first inning. Rookie Zeke Spruill was poised to escape a bases-loaded, two-out jam unscathed. But first baseman Paul Goldschmidt missed Baxter's would-be inning-ending grounder and three runs scored. Anthony Recker followed with a run-scoring double past third baseman Martin Prado.

Ouch: Arizona's Cody Ross dislocated his right hip running to first base on a first-inning groundout.

What's next: The Mets open a three-game series in Los Angeles against the red-hot Dodgers. Jenrry Mejia (1-1, 1.96 ERA) opposes right-hander Ricky Nolasco (8-9, 3.65) in Monday's 10:10 p.m. ET series opener. The Mets will avoid facing Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in the series.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, D-backs 1

August, 10, 2013
8/10/13
11:11
PM ET


PHOENIX -- The future is starting to look bright.

Zack Wheeler took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning, Wilmer Flores drove in three runs and Juan Lagares homered as the Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 on Saturday night at Chase Field.

Lagares went deep, and Flores drove in a run for the fourth straight game as the Mets grabbed a 2-0 lead against D-backs starter Brandon McCarthy in the fourth inning. With the Mets clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth, Flores followed a two-out intentional walk to Ike Davis with a bases-loaded two-run single to give the Mets a three-run cushion.

Matt York/Associated PressZack Wheeler took a shutout bid into the seventh inning.
Flores now has eight RBIs in his first five major league games. He did depart on a double switch for the third time since his promotion, this time a half-inning after the key two-run single. Justin Turner again took over at third base.

The aged played a role in the win, too: After inheriting the bases loaded from Carlos Torres with two outs in the eighth, Pedro Feliciano struck out Gerardo Parra looking to preserve the 4-1 lead. Lefty batters are now 0-for-7 against Feliciano since the southpaw’s promotion.

LaTroy Hawkins notched his third save -- his most in a season since 2009 with Houston, when he had 11.

Davis went 2-for-2 with two walks to lift his average to .203. It marks the first time this season Davis has been above the Mendoza Line. Davis doubled and scored the Mets’ second run on Flores’ fourth-inning single.

Wheeler’s line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

Until he surrendered a solo homer to Aaron Hill to open the bottom of the seventh on pitch No. 100, only one runner had reached scoring position against Wheeler -- when Paul Goldschmidt stole second with two outs in the first inning. Wheeler proceeded to strike out Hill in that instance.

Scott Rice inherited a runner on first base with one out from Wheeler in the seventh. The southpaw ultimately loaded the bases before retiring Adam Eaton on a grounder to preserve a 2-1 lead.

Wheeler, Flores and Lagares, meanwhile, weren’t the only Mets youngsters starring Saturday evening.

In Double-A, Noah Syndergaard tossed another five scoreless innings before he was pulled after only 56 pitches to conserve his innings. Syndergaard, acquired in December with Travis d’Arnaud in the deal that sent R.A. Dickey to Toronto, has now allowed only one run and five hits in 16 innings over his past three Binghamton starts. He has struck out 16 and walked one during that stretch.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese returns from the disabled list to oppose right-hander Zeke Spruill (0-1, 6.48 ERA) at 4:10 p.m. ET Sunday. Niese (3-6, 4.32), who made three minor league starts while working back from a partial rotator cuff tear, will make his first major league start since June 20.

Morning Briefing: D'Arnaud cameo soon

August, 10, 2013
8/10/13
5:15
AM ET
PHOENIX

FIRST PITCH: Well, at least the Mets still occupy third place in the NL East after losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

The first-place Atlanta Braves now have won 14 straight, the longest single-season winning streak in the majors since the Oakland Athletics won 20 straight in 2002.

In the runner-up category in the NL East, Washington (55-60) has a two-game lead on the Mets (52-61), a three-game lead on Philadelphia (52-63) and an 11˝-game lead on Miami (43-71).

The Mets try to rebound at 8:10 p.m. ET today when Zack Wheeler (4-2, 3.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon McCarthy (2-5, 4.94).

Saturday’s news reports:

• Travis d’Arnaud is the catcher the Mets intend to call up when John Buck requires paternity leave sooner or later, a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com. D’Arnaud played for Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday night for the first time since fracturing the first metatarsal in his left foot on April 17. He went 1-for-3 with a walk.


Adam RubinTravis d'Arnaud is expected to fill in once John Buck goes on paternity leave.


“I feel like my timing is back,” d’Arnaud told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin before departing Double-A Binghamton on Thursday. “I feel good at the plate. I feel good behind the plate. I just feel good in general.”

• David Laurila at fangraphs.com has a Q&A with Mets manager of baseball analytics Ian Levin.

“Trying to better quantify defense is something teams are working on, and some of that information isn’t necessarily in the public domain,” Levin tells Laurila. “To find a way to value defense appropriately -- within the environment of how we value it with offense and pitching -- would be extremely valuable. That’s where some players get a lot of their value, and ideally you can quantify just what that value is. That’s easier said than done.

“While we’re very good at quantifying offensive performance, I think there are variables that can’t be completely measured. There are still things that aren’t quantifiable in terms of projecting how players are going to develop and perform in future situations. Fielding is the same way, but with fewer clearly measurable variables. First, we’ll need to be confident in our explaining past defensive performance properly through objective metrics.

“If we can do that, we might be able to get to where we want to be. Some of the information that can help is available at the major-league level but isn’t available at the minor-league level, and probably isn’t going to be anytime soon. I think there is always going to be a strong need for the scouting perspective. I think scouting is the most important component of defensive metrics, and it may continue to be.”

Scott Atchison surrendered a walk-off homer to Paul Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks beat the Mets, 5-4, at Chase Field. Jeremy Hefner allowed four runs in five-plus innings. Marlon Byrd and Juan Lagares were thrown out on the bases. Justin Turner contributed three RBIs.

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

Jeurys Familia, who had surgery to clean out his right elbow in early June, is due to step on a mound for the first time since the procedure any day. Meanwhile, Frank Francisco has not been on a mound in weeks.

David Wright remains in New York getting treatment on his strained right hamstring, and Terry Collins is unsure when he will return. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Josh Rodriguez produced a tiebreaking RBI double and Chase Huchingson recorded his first professional save as Binghamton earned a doubleheader split with a 7-6 nightcap win against Erie. Pedro Perez drove in three runs for Kingsport. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger writes about Ike Davis sitting Friday against left-hander Patrick Corbin, as has been Davis’ pattern against southpaws since returning from the minors.

LaTroy Hawkins retweeted an ESPNDallas.com story quoting Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban being critical of MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Cuban accuses Selig of being the equivalent of a mafia boss.

Asked if he endorsed that sentiment given his retweet, Hawkins would only say: “I like Mark Cuban. I like Mark Cuban a lot.”

Earlier in the week, Hawkins retweeted this in which a person writes about Biogenesis and PEDs in baseball: “Selig allowed it to happen, got rich because of them & is now backstabbing all of them for it. He should be tried & jailed.”

BIRTHDAYS: Brandon Lyon, released earlier this season by the Mets, turns 34. He subsequently pitched briefly for Triple-A Pawtucket, but opted out at the beginning of the month and has not resurfaced. … Gerald Williams is 47. … Chuck Carr is 46.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: How do you think Travis d’Arnaud will perform at the major league level this season when he finally gets his chance?

Notes: Atchison on HR, Hef on struggles

August, 10, 2013
8/10/13
1:23
AM ET
PHOENIX -- Paul Goldschmidt now shares the NL home-run lead with Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez.

No. 27 came at a costly time for the Mets.

Goldschmidt sent a 1-1 cutter from Scott Atchison over the right-field wall with one out in the bottom of the ninth as the Arizona Diamondbacks produced a 5-4, walk-off win against the Mets on Friday night at Chase Field.

“I work him like anybody else -- try to be aggressive, get in there and get ahead,” Atchison said about the dangerous Goldschmidt. “I was able to do that and then just left a cutter up. He’s a good hitter and obviously has good power to all fields, especially there. He made me pay for a bad pitch.”

Oh, Jeremy: Jeremy Hefner is now 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA (23 ER in 22.2 IP) over his past five starts. The four earned runs Hefner allowed in five-plus innings snapped a string of 10 straight outings in which the Mets starter allowed three runs or fewer.

“I wasn’t missing too many bats,” Hefner said. “I had the outfield running all over the place. I just wasn’t very good.”

Said Terry Collins: “Especially in the fifth inning, and even the start of the sixth inning, if you look back, he had two strikes on a lot of the hitters. He couldn’t put anybody away. He’d get two strikes on them and leave something in the middle of the plate and they’d certainly get a good swing at it.”

Opposing pitcher Patrick Corbin got a two-out rally started in the fifth with a double. Adam Eaton and Martin Prado followed with doubles, too, as the D-backs took a 2-1 lead at that point.

In Hefner’s previous outing, against Kansas City, it also was the opposing pitcher who helped start to unravel Hefner’s performance. After two scoreless innings against the Royals, George Kottaras opened the next frame with a solo homer and then pitcher Bruce Chen singled in what became a three-run frame.

“I got two outs, and two outs really quick,” Hefner said about Friday’s fifth at Chase Field. “And I fell behind [Corbin]. I’m not trying to walk the guy. If the guy puts the ball in play and gets a hit, then I’ll tip my cap. I just didn’t execute the pitch and left it down the middle. He put a good swing on it.”

Hefner said his problem is pitches he intends to get inside drifting over the plate.

“It’s an easy fix,” he said. “Instead of missing over the plate, you either hit the corner or you miss at them.”

Collins said he left Hefner in for what became a two-run sixth after the fifth-inning struggles because the starter was only at 80 pitches and the bottom of the order was due up.

Running into trouble: Collins said he spoke with Juan Lagares about making the final out of the seventh trying to stretch an extra-base hit into a triple with the Mets trailing by two runs.

While applauding the hustle, Collins said he told Lagares: “You have to understand the circumstance.”

As for Marlon Byrd getting thrown out at the plate attempting an inside-the-park homer, Collins noted that was Tim Teufel’s call, since Byrd had his back to the play. And Collins was not going to question his third-base coach.

“The one thing we’ve talked about all year long is to try to be more aggressive on the bases, to try to make the opponent make big plays and make throws,” Collins said. "And they did. Tonight in two situations they made good relay throws.”

JT: Justin Turner drove in three runs -- his first multi-RBI game since April 20 against Washington.

“You always feel good when he’s up at the plate because you know you’re going to get a good at-bat,” Collins said. “So I’m not surprised he got some RBIs.”

Series preview: Mets at Diamondbacks

August, 9, 2013
8/09/13
8:55
AM ET

Associated Press, USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face (l to r) Patrick Corbin, Brandon McCarthy and Zeke Spruill this weekend at Chase Field.
METS (52-60, third place/NL East) vs. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (58-55, second place/NL West)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-8, 4.23) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (12-3, 2.33), 9:40 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (4-2, 3.73) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-5, 4.94), 8:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-6, 4.32) vs. RHP Zeke Spruill (0-1, 6.48), 4:10 p.m. ET

Diamondbacks short hops

• All-Star Patrick Corbin’s 12 wins are one off the NL lead, shared by St. Louis Cardinals teammates Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn as well as Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann. Corbin’s 2.33 ERA trails only Clayton Kershaw (1.91) and Matt Harvey (2.09). Corbin had been 9-0 until the Mets scored five runs in six innings and handed him a defeat at Citi Field on July 2. A victim of little run support, Corbin now has lost two straight starts, although he allowed only a combined four runs in 14 innings in those defeats.

• The Diamondbacks dealt underachieving right-hander Ian Kennedy to the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline for situational left-hander Joe Thatcher, potential future closer Matt Stites and a draft pick. Arizona personnel have compared the right-handed Stites to Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel. Kennedy, a 21-game winner two years ago, was 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts for Arizona this season.


Brad Mangin/Getty ImagesPaul Goldschmidt leads the National League in RBIs.


• Third baseman Martin Prado has five multi-hit games in his past seven games. He is hitting .388 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 18 games since the All-Star break. He reached base in all five of his plate appearances Wednesday. Prado, acquired from the Braves during the offseason in the Justin Upton trade, has made consecutive starts in left field before shifting to third base later in the games. That’s because manager Kirk Gibson is fiddling with his lineup with outfielders Jason Kubel (.226, 5 HR) and A.J. Pollock (.249, 6 HR) struggling.

• Sidearmer Brad Ziegler has taken over for ex-Mets J.J. Putz and Heath Bell in the closer’s role. Ziegler has converted all seven of his save chances and has not allowed an earned run in 12 straight appearances. Putz and Bell nonetheless have contributed 11 straight scoreless appearances apiece. Ziegler coaxed 21 double plays last season, which led major league relievers. Putz blew a save chance July 1 at Citi Field in his second game after a DL stint, after which Ziegler stepped into the role and excelled.

Paul Goldschmidt is tied with Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez for second in the NL with 26 homers, one shy of leader Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Goldschmidt has a league-leading 90 RBIs.

• Catcher Miguel Montero landed on the disabled list a week ago with a lower-back strain and required an epidural injection. Wil Nieves is handling the bulk of the catching duties in Montero’s absence, while Tuffy Gosewisch has been promoted as the backup.

• After making his major league debut in June as a reliever and appearing in four games, 23-year-old Zeke Spruill made his first major league start last Thursday at Texas. The rookie right-hander -- who also arrived in the Upton trade -- allowed five runs in four innings, including homers to A.J. Pierzynski, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland.

Trevor Cahill is nearing a return to the rotation, but remains on the DL with a right hip injury. Cahill allowed six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Reno on Tuesday, and it was determined he would make another minor league start before being activated, so Spruill remains in the rotation.

• Outfielder Cody Ross is hitting .412 (14-for-34) with three homers and 10 RBIs in his past nine games (eight starts). He is hitting .394 this season against left-handed pitching.

• Third baseman Eric Chavez (.305, 9 HR), who missed most of June with an oblique injury, is not playing every day, but has produced when in the lineup.

Who should Wright pick for HR Derby?

July, 8, 2013
7/08/13
1:50
PM ET
Who should David Wright select to participate in the 2013 Home Run Derby when selections are announced at 6 p.m. ET on Sportscenter tonight? Members of ESPN’s Home Run Tracker team weighed in.

Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves

Upton has only one home run since May 17, but his shortest home run is 404 feet. Remarkably, his 427.9 average home run distance is highest among all players with more than one home run. Upton has two 460-foot home runs and six others of at least 425 feet. Of his 15 home runs, 13 would have been out of Citi Field.

Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds

Bruce has eight home runs that have gone at least 425 feet, tied with Upton for the most in the NL.

June solidified Bruce’s nomination, as he hit his five longest home runs of the season- all at least 430 feet. His headline home run was a 472-foot blast off Patrick Corbin, the third-longest home run this season.

Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Alvarez edges out Paul Goldschmidt by the narrowest of margins, getting the nod because he has hit two home runs over 450 feet this season and has three others over 430 feet.

Fourteen of his 22 home runs have been at least 400 feet, and all but four of his home runs would have been out of Citi Field.

Alvarez has nine home runs classified by www.hittrackeronline.com as “No Doubt” home runs, the most in the majors. (No Doubt home run means the ball cleared the fence by at least 20 vertical feet and landed at least 50 feet past the fence).

Other NL options:

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks: Goldschmidt falls just short of nomination despite having hit three home runs over 440 feet this season and another 437 feet.

Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies: Gonzalez leads the NL with 24 home runs, aided by his league-leading 11 home runs classified by www.hittrackeronline.com as “Just Enoughs,” meaning home runs that cleared the fence by less than 10 feet.

Gonzalez does have five home runs that went at least 430 feet, but his average home run distance is only 406.5 feet.

Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: Brown is second in the NL with 22 home runs, but only four of those went over 400 feet. Brown has not hit a single home run to left or left center field.

Brown’s average home run distance is 381.7 feet, the lowest in baseball among players with over 10 home runs.

Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals: Beltran has 19 home runs, but not one has gone over 425 feet.

Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals: Holliday is third in the majors with an average home run distance of 419.2 feet (min. 10 home runs), and he has seven home runs of at least 425 feet. However, with only 11 home runs on the season, Holliday does not make the cut.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, D-backs 4 (13)

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
12:26
AM ET


NEW YORK -- Catcher Miguel Montero could not hold onto the ball. The Arizona Diamondbacks eventually could not hold on for the win, either.

Cody Ross opened the 13th inning with a homer against David Aardsma, but Andrew Brown’s two-run single in the bottom half lifted the Mets to a 5-4 walk-off win against the Diamondbacks.

The Mets had a bevy of chances.

They also had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th, but Omar Quintanilla lined out to first base to end the threat.

The Mets had been 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position and had left 18 men on base before the 13th-inning heroics.


Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsShaun Marcum was spared his 10th loss with Monday's comeback win.


The eventful game came on the day the Mets have to make their annual $1,193,248.20 payment to Bobby Bonilla -- an obligation that runs through 2035.

With the Mets trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth, surging Josh Satin’s RBI single against ex-Met J.J. Putz evened the score at 3 ... oh so narrowly.

Marlon Byrd, attempting to score the tying run from second base after doubling, would have been nailed at the plate on Satin’s single to left field. But Montero dropped the perfect-hop throw from Jason Kubel, which would have been in plenty of time to retire Byrd.

Satin advanced to second on the miscue at the plate. John Buck then walked. But on a would-be wild pitch that seemed destined to advance Satin to third, Buck decided to take off, too. Montero threw him out at second base as the trail runner to send the game to extra innings tied at 3.

Satin continues to produce as the regular first baseman, which could further stall Ike Davis’ return, even as the Mets are all but clear of the bevy of lefty pitching they had faced. Satin went 3-for-6 with two doubles, a walk and game-tying RBI. He now has a career-high seven-game hitting streak and has reached base in 12 straight games.

Absolved: The Mets’ ninth-inning comeback spared Shaun Marcum from becoming the first Met to have 10 losses on July 1 since Jason Isringhausen in 1996, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Marcum remained at 1-9 with the no-decision.

Coming off his first Mets win, an outing in which he pitched eight scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox, Marcum surrendered a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning. He ultimately was charged with three runs in six innings.

Ouch: Diamondbacks right fielder Gerardo Parra had a painful end to his evening in the eighth. Parra did a face-plant into the warning track in right-center after Quintanilla’s shot bounced off his glove for a triple.

Eric Young Jr. followed with a two-out double against Arizona reliever David Hernandez to plate Quintanilla and pull the Mets within 3-2, although Daniel Murphy flied out to left field to strand Young at third base.

Buck’s shot? Buck finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and three walks (two intentional). After a torrid start to the season, Buck is hitting .170 (27-for-159) since May 5.

The Mets stranded five runners on base in the opening two innings alone. That futility came courtesy of a strikeout looking by Buck to leave the bases loaded in the first, then consecutive strikeouts by Young and Murphy with two in scoring position an inning later.

With runners on the corners and two outs in the seventh, Buck popped out in foul territory against ex-Met Heath Bell.

Still winless: Wade Miley was poised to become the first D-backs starting pitcher to earn a win since June 5, until the Mets’ ninth-inning comeback handed him a no-decision. Arizona starters are now 0-8 with 15 no-decisions in their past 23 games -- one game shy of matching the franchise record, which they established in 1998 with 24 straight starts without recording a win.

Miley tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings before departing with runners on the corners in the sixth, once Zach Lutz pinch hit for Marcum. When Kirk Gibson inserted right-handed reliever Brad Ziegler, Terry Collins countered by replacing Lutz with Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis struck out to strand two runners as Arizona maintained a 3-0 lead.

What’s next: Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 3.72) opposes unbeaten left-hander Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.22) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.

Series preview: Mets vs. Diamondbacks

July, 1, 2013
7/01/13
10:11
AM ET

Associated Press/Getty ImagesThe Mets face two southpaws to open a four-game series vs. Arizona: Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin.
METS (33-45, fourth place/NL East) vs. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (42-39, first place/NL West)

Monday: RHP Shaun Marcum (1-9, 5.08) vs. LHP Wade Miley (4-7, 4.55), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 3.72) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.22), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (7-1, 2.00) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (0-2, 4.05), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (3-4, 5.36), 1:10 p.m. ET

Diamondbacks short hops

• Closer J.J. Putz was activated from the disabled list Saturday. The ex-Met had been sidelined since May 7 with a right elbow strain, which had caused tingling in his fingers. Fellow-ex Met Heath Bell handled the closing duties for seven weeks minus Putz. Although Bell has flirted with danger, he has converted 10 of his last 11 save opportunities.


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesJ.J. Putz returned from the disabled list Saturday.


• First baseman Paul Goldschmidt leads the NL with 67 RBIs, four ahead of runner-up Allen Craig of St. Louis. Goldschmidt’s 4.2 WAR rating ranks third in the NL, trailing only Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez (5.0) and David Wright (4.5).

• Outfielder Gerardo Parra had been 1-for-20 on the road trip before producing two hits Sunday. Atlanta nonetheless completed a weekend sweep, dropping Arizona to 1-5 on its NL East tour. Parra (.301, 7 homers, 26 RBIs) has been caught stealing nine times in 15 attempts.

Patrick Corbin, while unbeaten, is bidding for his 10th win for his sixth straight start. He last earned a win June 2. In his string of five straight no-decisions, Corbin has a 2.55 ERA and .197 opponent batting average.

Arizona starters actually are winless in 22 straight games. That is the longest streak in the majors since San Diego Padres starters went winless in 25 straight games in April/May 2009, according to STATS. The streak is the second-longest in Diamondbacks history -- trailing only a 24-game winless streak by their starting pitchers in 1998.

• Right-hander Randall Delgado, who starts Wednesday, arrived with Martin Prado as well as Brandon Drury, Nick Ahmed and Zeke Spruill in the Jan. 24 trade that sent Justin Upton and Chris Johnson to the Braves. After 13 starts for Triple-A Reno, Delgado made his Diamondbacks debut June 3, coinciding with Brandon McCarthy landing on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

Delgado twice has faced the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate this season. He surrendered a homer to Andrew Brown while getting charged with five runs in 3 1/3 innings on May 1. Delgado rebounded to limit Las Vegas to one run, albeit on nine hits and two walks, in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision on May 28.

McCarthy has advanced in his rehab to throwing bullpen sessions.

• Third baseman Eric Chavez (oblique) returned from the disabled list Friday. Eric Hinske, who had started only three games this season and was hitting .173, was designated for assignment to clear the roster spot for Chavez’s return.

• Outfielder Cody Ross is hitting .389 against left-handed pitching and .187 against right-handed pitching this season. He signed a three-year, $26 million contract as a free agent in December.

• Catcher Miguel Montero signed a five-year, $60 million extension last season that locks him up through 2017. It was the largest contract in Diamondbacks history. The workhorse Montero (.226, 5 HR, 27 RBIs) has started 70 of the Diamondbacks’ 81 games behind the plate, including 21 straight before Wil Nieves handled the duty Sunday.

Scouting report on D-backs' best

July, 26, 2012
7/26/12
12:07
PM ET
At some point in the whirlwind that is taking place for new Mets pitcher Matt Harvey leading up to tonight's 9:40 p.m. start, he’ll be in his first meeting with coaches and catchers, who work with the pitching staff to devise a game plan.

Harvey’s role in this meeting is to play the role of sponge, to absorb what he can without being overwhelmed. He'll be facing a team with a very potent offense, one that ranks in the top three in each of the slashline stats (batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage).

This is especially true at Chase Field, which ranks among the most hitter-friendly parks in ESPN.com’s Park Factors.

What are some of the things he’ll likely hear about?

Let’s use our pitch-performance data, heat maps, and video examples as the basis to imagine some of the things that will be brought up. We’ll put the stats that may lead to those choices in parenthesis.

Jason Kubel
Overall: .298 BA, 22 HR, 72 RBI


vs RHP: .298 BA
Kubel is the least-likely Diamondback to swing at the first pitch.

In particular, he almost never swings if you throw it to the outside corner. (He’s swung at one of every 10 first-pitches on the outer-third or further away all season, among the lowest rates in baseball).

That said, he does have four first-pitch homers this season, so if you throw him one right down the middle, he’ll crush it.

If you make a mistake middle-in or down-and-in to Kubel, he’ll make you pay, as he did a few days ago against the Astros.

He will also be very smart about expanding the strike zone on pitches away. He’s hit five home runs on pitches that were out of the strike zone, off the outside corner (no one else in the majors has more than three).

There will be a shift in the infield to help out, because his hitting tendencies warrant it (43 of his 49 ground-balls against righties have been to the right of second base).

Kubel’s susceptibility is the the really-good slider down-and-in (two starts ago in a game televised on SNY, Harvey relied primarily on his fastball, changeup, and curveball. However reports indicate he does throw a slider).

If you get to a two-strike count, chances are your catcher will call for a pitch inside. Just keep the ball down and you should be ok.

Paul Goldschmidt
Overall: .288 BA, 13 HR, 46 RBI


vs RHP: .245 BA
You can come after Goldschmidt with fastballs. Lefties can’t, but righties should be willing to so.

Be very careful about pitching him inside. He is one of the best in baseball against the inner-third of the strike zone, regardless of whether he’s facing a righty or lefty (he's hitting .342 against inner-third pitches).

You can try to jam him, because he stands far off the plate, but make sure you miss enough off the inside corner and not over the middle.

If Goldschmidt comes up with a runner in scoring position, he becomes a very aggressive swinger. He is the most likely of their big hitters to swing at a first pitch in that situation.

If you have your good sinker going, he will be vulnerable to it, and will almost certainly pound it into the ground. He’s also going to have a hard time reaching anything you throw down-and-away or up-and-away.

Justin Upton
Overall: .272 BA, 8 HR, 41 RBI


vs RHP: .270 BA
Upton is still dangerous, though he’s not hitting for power like he did last season.

You can challenge him with a fastball now, because he’s less likely to hit it out of the ballpark (he had 12 home runs against fastballs from righties last season, but just three this year).

Upton been much more protective of the plate the last six weeks than he was earlier in the season, when he was willingly watching strike three go by him.

The best approach with two strikes may be to blow the fastball by him, or drop in a curveball.

He hasn’t gotten a hit against a two-strike hook all season (he's had 18 at-bats end with a curve, 10 versus right-handed pitchers).

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.88 106 141
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .292
HRL. Duda 18
RBIL. Duda 57
RD. Murphy 60
OPSL. Duda .856
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 121