New York Mets: Pedro Strop

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 2, Mets 1

August, 17, 2014
Aug 17
NEW YORK -- If this is rookie Rafael Montero's final rotation look until rosters expand in September, the 23-year-old right-hander offered a favorable final impression.

Montero allowed one run on five hits in a career-high 7 1/3 innings, but the Mets’ bats again were quiet in a 2-1 loss to the Cubs on Sunday at Citi Field.

Starlin Castro delivered a game-deciding homer on the first pitch of the ninth inning against Jenrry Mejia (5-6).

Curtis Granderson had snapped an 0-for-17 slump with a two-out RBI single a half-inning earlier against Pedro Strop as the Mets evened the score at 1.

The Mets (59-66) mustered two hits in seven innings against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. They failed to score against him despite the first batter reaching in four different innings.

The lone run Montero surrendered in what became a no-decision came in the fourth inning, when he walked leadoff batter Javier Baez and Luis Valbuena plated Baez with a two-out single. Montero entered with a 6.12 ERA in five career major league starts. He had allowed eight home runs in 25 innings in those outings, including at least one long ball in each appearance.

Before Sunday’s game, Jacob deGrom threw his first bullpen session since going on the disabled list with rotator-cuff tendinitis. DeGrom remains on track to retake his rotation spot next weekend at Dodger Stadium.

No offense: The Mets produced only four hits in the game. Those came on leadoff singles by Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada in the second and third innings, respectively, a one-out single by Tejada in the eighth and Granderson’s game-tying RBI single later in that frame.

It marked the fourth straight game the Amazin’s produced four hits or fewer. That is the third-longest streak in franchise history. In 1963 and 2004 the Mets went five straight games producing four hits or fewer.

Still, the Mets have taken two of three games from the Cubs.

The Mets entered Sunday ranked 29th in runs (90), 30th in batting average (.215), 29th in on-base percentage (.280) and 30th in slugging percentage (.310) in the majors since the All-Star break.

They twice had a runner on second base with no one out Sunday and failed to plate him. In the third inning, Juan Lagares ultimately grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners. After a leadoff walk and stolen base by Matt den Dekker in the fifth, Anthony Recker struck out, Tejada grounded out and Montero struck out.

The Mets played without David Wright (shoulder) as well as No. 1 catcher Travis d'Arnaud (day game after night game).

What’s next: Bartolo Colon (11-10, 3.85 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Hendricks (4-1, 1.79) in Monday’s 12:10 p.m. series finale.

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 7, Mets 4

June, 5, 2014
Jun 5
CHICAGO -- To quote the late, legendary Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray: “Holy Cow!”

With a 7-4 loss on Thursday night, the Mets were swept in a three-game series at Wrigley Field for the first time in a decade. The Cubs, who sport the worst record in the National League, had not previously won three straight games this season, much less swept a series.

Vic Black surrendered a tiebreaking solo homer to Anthony Rizzo in the seventh. The shot came a half-inning after Andrew Brown’s two-run homer in the top half, in his first major league game since April 20, had evened the score at 4.

Within six outs in the series opener of moving to .500, the Mets now are 28-32.

Matt Marton/USA TODAY SportsAndrew Brown's two-run homer in the seventh pulled the Mets even at 4, but the Cubs retook the lead in the bottom half.

Rookie Jacob deGrom remained winless, but the outcome was not primarily his fault. He did not receive help from his fielders in a three-run second by the Cubs. And the Mets again struggled with runners in scoring position.

Batting with runners on the corners and two outs in the eighth and the Mets trailing 5-4, David Wright grounded out against Pedro Strop.

Earlier, the Mets left the bases loaded in the fourth when Travis d’Arnaud flied out to center. They left two in scoring position the following inning when Cubs starter Travis Wood struck out Eric Campbell.

Jenrry Mejia surrendered a two-run double in the eighth to Junior Lake that capped the scoring.

The Mets last were swept in Chicago in a three-game series in 2004, when Greg Maddux, Kerry Wood and Matt Clement earned victories.

No defense: DeGrom’s streak of quality starts to begin his career ended at four games. The rookie, now winless in five major league starts, did not get much help in a three-run second inning.

Chris Young, who has shown little ability to play center field this season, had Luis Valbuena’s sinking liner glance off his glove in left-center for what was ruled a leadoff double. After a walk to Nate Schierholtz, the combination of Ruben Tejada at shortstop and Wilmer Flores at second base then was too slow to turn a double play on Darwin Barney. So the Cubs had first and third, one out in a frame deGrom rightfully should have already escaped unscathed.

No. 8 hitter Eli Whiteside then sent a fly ball to left field. Brown made a strong throw to the plate on Valbuena’s tag attempt, and plate umpire Clint Fagan ruled Valbuena out. However, a replay challenge by Cubs manager Rick Renteria showed Valbuena had placed his left hand on the plate ahead of the tag from d’Arnaud. With the run counted and the inning prolonged, opposing pitcher Travis Wood slugged his eighth career homer, a two-run shot that gave Chicago a 3-0 lead.

It was the second long ball surrendered to a pitcher this season by the Mets. Bartolo Colon served up a long ball to Washington’s Gio Gonzalez in the second game of the season. Wood homered against Dillon Gee last season at Wrigley Field.

DeGrom’s line: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. He threw 90 pitches (59 strikes). DeGrom’s ERA climbed to 3.19.

Working on off-day: Daniel Murphy, given a start off for the first time since his season-opening paternity leave, was inserted as a pinch-hitter with runners on the corners and one out in the sixth with the Mets trailing, 4-1. Brian Schlitter stuck out Murphy, but then surrendered a two-out bloop single to center field by Young that pulled the Mets within 4-2.

What’s next: The Mets jet to San Francisco for a serious challenge: facing Matt Cain, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum. The Giants own an MLB-best 39-21 record. Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.69 ERA) opposes right-hander Matt Cain (1-3, 3.66) in the 10:15 p.m. ET opener Friday at AT&T Park.



Daniel Murphy
.299 9 52 70
HRL. Duda 23
RBIL. Duda 69
RD. Murphy 70
OPSL. Duda .841
WB. Colon 11
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.48
SOZ. Wheeler 148