New York Mets: Placido Polanco

Rapid Reaction: Marlins 3, Mets 2

July, 31, 2013

MIAMI -- Sandy Alderson kept the New York Mets intact, prioritizing a strong finish over obtaining a middling prospect for Marlon Byrd.

The first game after the trading deadline was not what the GM preferred.

Jenrry Mejia surrendered three runs in six innings and the Mets lost to the Miami Marlins 3-2 on Wednesday night. Worse, David Wright may be injured.

Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY SportsJenrry Mejia allowed three runs in six innings Wednesday.

Despite the loss, the Mets finished July with a 15-12 record -- their first month with a winning mark this season.

Uh oh? After stealing second base with the Mets trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Wright appeared to clutch his right hamstring, prompting a visit from trainer Ray Ramirez. Wright stayed in the game, but that definitely bears watching. During an ensuing pitching change that inning, Mets manager Terry Collins went to the field to check on Wright.

Wright was stranded at third base as the potential tying run when Mike Dunn entered and retired pinch hitter Josh Satin. Wright then took the field for the bottom of the eighth and did not look entirely comfortable.

Oh, Jenrry: After tossing seven scoreless innings at Nationals Park on Friday, Mejia this time allowed a second-inning solo homer to Jake Marisnick. Mejia then surrendered consecutive sacrifice flies to Placido Polanco and Giancarlo Stanton in the third inning as Miami took a 3-0 lead.

After Stanton’s RBI, Ramirez and Collins visited Mejia on the mound, but the right-hander remained in the game. The issue was not clear. Mejia did experience leg cramping in his previous start, Collins had said.

Mejia’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 3, R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4, K, 1 WP, 1 HR. He threw 94 pitches (59 strikes).

The Mets wasted an opportunity to score in the third inning, after Eric Young Jr. delivered a two-out triple against Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez.

Umpires reviewed the shot to determine if the baseball hit shrubbery above the right-center wall, but stuck with their initial call of a three-bagger after checking the video. Young was stranded at third base after Alvarez walked Daniel Murphy, then coaxed a fly out to right field from David Wright.

Ike Davis’ sixth-inning double into the right-field corner plated Byrd with the Mets’ first run. Chad Qualls, after inheriting Young on third base from Alvarez in the eighth, uncorked a wild pitch as the Mets pulled within a run.

Extra help: Carlos Torres, who next starts Saturday against Kansas City, pitched the eighth inning in lieu of throwing a between-starts bullpen session. The Mets may have needed Torres' services with LaTroy Hawkins and Bobby Parnell unavailable due to recent use.

What’s next: Matt Harvey (8-2, 2.11 ERA) opposes right-hander Tom Koehler (2-6, 4.67) in the 12:40 p.m. series finale Thursday. The Mets will not see another division opponent until facing the Braves on Aug. 20 at Citi Field.

Series preview: Mets vs. Marlins

April, 4, 2013

The Mets face (l to r) right-handers Alex Sanabia, Ricky Nolasco and Jose Fernandez this weekend.
METS (2-1, second place/NL East) vs. MIAMI MARLINS (0-3, fifth place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-0, -.--) vs. RHP Alex Sanabia (0-0, -.--), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-5, 2.70) vs. RHP Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.00), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Aaron Laffey (0-0, -.--) vs. RHP Jose Fernandez (0-0, -.--), 1:10 p.m. ET

Marlins short hops

Jose Fernandez, the 14th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of high school in Tampa, will make his major league debut Sunday. The 20-year-old right-hander went a combined 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA in 25 Class A starts last season between Greensboro and Jupiter.

The Marlins opted to use the rookie with Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez on the disabled list, both with shoulder inflammation.

Fernandez arrived in the U.S. from Cuba by boat as a refugee in 2008. In preparation for Sunday’s start, Fernandez threw a simulated game Tuesday in D.C., with first-year manager Mike Redmond and hitting coach Tino Martinez acting as batters. Both are not that far removed from major league careers.

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports
John Maine made the Marlins' Opening Day roster. He last pitched in the majors in 2010 with the Mets.

• Ex-Met John Maine made Miami’s Opening Day roster as a reliever. He did not appear during the season-opening series at D.C., so his first major league action since his Mets days may come this weekend at Citi Field. Maine last threw a big league pitch on May 20, 2010 in Washington. It was after that abbreviated outing that pitching coach Dan Warthen called Maine a “habitual liar” with respect his truthfulness about injuries. Maine went 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in six games during spring training. He struck out nine and walked nine in 13 2/3 innings.

• Fellow ex-Met Jon Rauch signed a one-year, $1 million free-agent contract with the Marlins on Feb. 5.

• Miami, which completed its latest fire sale during the offseason, mustered only one run while getting swept in a season-opening three-game series at Nationals Park. The Marlins became the first team to total no more than one run in the team's first three games since the 1988 Orioles (also one run), according to ESPN Stats & Information. The '88 Orioles opened that season 0-21.

• Third baseman Placido Polanco batted cleanup the first two games of the season. He had never started a game in that slot previously in his 16-year career.

• First baseman Casey Kotchman will land on the disabled list Friday, two days after straining his left hamstring. He becomes the third first baseman the Marlins have lost this season. Logan Morrison (knee surgery) is on the 60-day DL, while Joe Mahoney is on the 15-day DL with an intercostal strain. Among the flurry of moves last season, the Marlins traded first baseman Gaby Sanchez to the Pittsburgh Pirates last July 31.

Greg Dobbs should handle the bulk of the first-base duty for now, while Austin Kearns and rookie Chris Valaika may see action at the position, too.

Giancarlo Stanton, the lone remaining threat in Miami’s lineup, led the NL in slugging percentage (.608) and finished second to Ryan Braun in homers last season, with 37. Stanton now has 93 career homers, matching Frank Robinson for fifth-most in MLB history before turning 23. The only players with more: Mel Ott (115), Eddie Mathews (112), Tony Conigliaro (104) and Alex Rodriguez (95).

• Catcher Miguel Olivo signed with Miami on March 29 after playing in 21 games for the Cincinnati Reds during spring training. Jeff Mathis suffered a broken right clavicle early in spring training.

• In the Nov. 19 trade that sent Jose Reyes, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to Toronto, the Marlins received minor leaguers Anthony DeScalfani, Jake Marisnick and Justin Nicolino as well as Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria and Mathis. Reyes bristled during spring training at Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, after Loria denied advising Reyes days before the trade to buy a house in Miami.

Alex Sanabia, 24, will make his first major league appearance since Sept. 24, 2011 in the series opener. He went 6-7 with a 4.06 ERA in 17 starts last season at Triple-A New Orleans, where he also had three DL stints.

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

September, 17, 2012

US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Cliff Lee, Tyler Cloyd and Cole Hamels at Citi Field.
METS (66-80, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (73-74, third place/NL East)

Monday: RHP R.A. Dickey (18-5, 2.88) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (5-7, 3.36), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.92) vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.95), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-6, 4.99) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (15-6, 3.06), 7:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• Philadelphia, which catapulted back into the wild-card race after being 10 games under .500 thanks to 15 wins in a 19-game stretch, then proceeded to lose three of four during the weekend at lowly Houston. The Phillies (73-74) are now four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals (77-70) for the second wild-card slot. The Los Angeles Dodgers (76-71), Milwaukee Brewers (74-72) and Pittsburgh Pirates (73-72) also are ahead in the standings.

Ken Babbitt/Associated Press
September call-up Darin Ruf produced 38 homers at Double-A Reading this season.

• All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz returned Sept. 9 after missing more than a month with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot. Ruiz should start every other day down the stretch because the foot is not 100 percent.

• Third baseman Placido Polanco is on the DL with lower-back inflammation and is unlikely to return this season. Kevin Frandsen primarily has handled the position in Polanco’s absence -- although Michael Martinez started seven straight games last week because Frandsen is playing through pain from a stress fracture in his left shin, which resulted from fouling a ball off himself.

Ryan Howard is four homers shy of 300. Chase Utley needs two homers for 200.

• First baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf made his major league debut Friday as a pinch hitter at Houston. Ruf, who does not really have a position, produced 38 homers at Double-A Reading this season, including 20 in August. The long ball total led all of minor league baseball in 2012 and topped Howard’s Reading-record 37, set in 2004. Ruf, a 20th-round pick in 2009 out of Creighton, is expected to see some action in left field for the Phillies.

• Since the trades of Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the Giants, lefty-hitting Juan Pierre and righty-hitting Ty Wigginton have shared left field, John Mayberry Jr. has manned center and Domonic Brown primarily has handled right field. Pierre is due to be a free agent after the season. Mayberry is hitting .347 with four homers and 18 RBIs in his past 27 games.

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Citizens Bank Park, Aug. 28-30 (AP game recaps)

Mets 9, Phillies 5 (10 innings): Ike Davis hit a tiebreaking double during a four-run 10th inning and Kelly Shoppach added a two-run homer. Shoppach hit a tying double in the eighth and then connected off B.J. Rosenberg (0-2) to finish a triple shy of the cycle. Mike Baxter also hit a two-run shot. More

Mets 3, Phillies 2: Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer and Matt Harvey had another sharp outing. Duda, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo three days earlier, also made an excellent catch in left field to preserve the lead and even stole a base. Harvey (3-3) allowed two runs and six hits, striking out six in 6 1/3 innings. He also had an RBI single. Tyler Cloyd (0-1) was decent in his major league debut filling in for Cole Hamels, who was scratched from the start because of a gastrointestinal illness. Cloyd allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. More

Phillies 3, Mets 2: Kyle Kendrick (8-9) allowed solo homers in the first two innings to Mike Baxter and Scott Hairston, but did not permit another run before leaving with two outs in the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon tossed a scoreless ninth for his 30th save as the Phillies avoided a three-game sweep. Jimmy Rollins was pulled for the start of the seventh inning. He failed to run hard on a dropped popup that could have put him on second base. He stole second base, then was caught in a rundown on a grounder and was tagged out. More

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Phillies 2

August, 29, 2012
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets have caught the Philadelphia Phillies.

Behind Lucas Duda’s two-run homer and a solid outing from Matt Harvey, the Mets beat Philadelphia, 3-2, Wednesday night to pull even for third place in the NL East.

The Mets have won four straight for the first time since June 27-30.

They also improved to 7-1 at Citizens Bank Park this season. That’s one win shy of matching the most wins ever in a season in Philadelphia -- an 8-1 mark in 1972.

Duda’s third-inning homer against right-hander Tyler Cloyd, who was making his major league debut in place of scratched Cole Hamels (stomach), plated Ike Davis and gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. It was Duda’s first major league long ball since July 6 against the Cubs’ Travis Wood, before a demotion to Triple-A Buffalo.

Harvey gutted through 6 1/3 innings, limiting Philadelphia to two runs on six hits and two walks (both to the opposing pitcher Cloyd). His completed the sixth inning by striking out Erik Kratz looking with pitch No. 97 to strand Laynce Nix at third base. Harvey then took the mound for the seventh, coaxed a flyout from pinch hitter Placido Polanco with the first pitch and was replaced by Josh Edgin.

In the second inning, Harvey’s four-pitch walk of Cloyd with two out set up an RBI double by Jimmy Rollins into the right-field corner that gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead. A half-inning earlier, Harvey had evened the score at 1 with an RBI single against the debuting Cloyd. Harvey finished 1-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt and is now 6-for-13 at the plate in his major league career.

Harvey struck out six, giving him 49 through seven major league starts. That’s narrowly shy of Dwight Gooden’s franchise-record 51 strikeouts through seven MLB appearances.

Frank Francisco protected a one-run lead in the ninth for his 22nd save.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jon Niese (10-7, 3.51 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12) in Thursday’s 1:05 p.m. series finale as the Mets aim for the sweep.

Series preview: Mets at Phillies

August, 27, 2012

US Presswire
The Phillies conceded 2012 with the trades of (l to r) Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Jim Thome.
METS (59-69, fourth place/NL East) vs. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (61-67, third place/NL East)

Tuesday: RHP Chris Young (3-7, 4.33) vs. RHP Vance Worley (6-9, 4.06), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Matt Harvey (2-3, 2.75) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99), 7:05 p.m. ET

Thursday: LHP Jon Niese (10-7, 3.51) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (7-9, 4.12), 1:05 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The Phillies’ five-year run as division champs will come to an end. Philadelphia’s dismantling included trading:

Aug. 3: Right-hander Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ryan O’Sullivan.

July 31: Center fielder Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for Ethan Martin, Josh Lindblom and a player to be named or cash.

July 31: Right fielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for Nate Schierholtz, Seth Rosin and Tommy Joseph.

Benny Sieu/US Presswire
Cole Hamels committed to the Phillies long term, signing a six-year, $144 million extension.

July 1: Right-hander Chad Qualls to the New York Yankees for a player to be named or cash.

June 30: First baseman Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon.

• Left-hander Cole Hamels agreed to a six-year, $144 million extension on July 25, after the Phillies explored trades.

• Philadelphia swept the Nationals in a three-game weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Cliff Lee had been winless in his past 12 home starts (0-6) before limiting Washington to one run in seven innings. The ex-Dodger Lindblom notched his first career save with closer Jonathan Papelbon having worked the previous three days.

• Left fielder Juan Pierre stole his 586th base Sunday, tying Maury Wills for 19th on MLB’s all-time list. Pierre is the majors’ active leader in steals.

• Outfielder Domonic Brown has missed two straight games with a sore left knee. Brown had started 22 straight games since a promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, which coincided with the trades of Victorino and Pence. Brown initially started in left field, then in right field once the ex-Giant Schierholtz suffered a broken right big toe. Schierholtz began a rehab assignment Sunday. He is not expected to rejoin the Phillies until after the series against the Mets. John Mayberry Jr. has taken over for Victorino in center field.

• Despite being activated from the disabled list last Monday, Placido Polanco has started only two games in the past week because of continued lower-back inflammation. Kevin Frandsen has subbed for Polanco at third base.

• Journeyman Erik Kratz, 32, is the Phillies’ primary catch, with rookie Steven Lerud -- who has yet to make his major league debut -- the backup. Lerud has played in only nine career games above the Double-A level. Ex-Met Brian Schneider landed on the disabled list Friday with a strained left hamstring. He joined Carlos Ruiz (foot) on the DL.

• Right-handed reliever Phillippe Aumont, who had been the centerpiece of the deal that sent Lee to Seattle in December 2009, made his major league debut Thursday.

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at Citi Field, July 3-5 (AP game recaps)

Mets 11, Phillies 1: Jon Niese had a two-run single to back his fine performance on the mound and David Wright hit a three-run homer. Niese (7-3) pitched a season-high eight innings and gave up three hits, one a homer to Carlos Ruiz. His hit in the second inning put New York up for good in front of 42,516, the highest attendance in the four-year history of Citi Field. Ruben Tejada had an RBI single among his three hits. He put on a show at shortstop, too. Daniel Murphy finished a homer short of the cycle, doubled twice, drove in four runs and made a leaping catch and diving stop at second base. Tejada led off the game with an 11-pitch out and it rarely got much easier for Vance Worley (4-5) and Philadelphia's bullpen. More

Phillies 9, Mets 2: Cliff Lee finally posted his first victory of the season and Philadelphia hit three late homers. Lee (1-5) had gone a puzzling 13 starts this year without a victory. Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz hit consecutive home runs in the seventh inning against Chris Young as the Phillies rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Ty Wigginton's two-run homer in the ninth against Jeremy Hefner capped the surge. More

Mets 6, Phillies 5: David Wright singled off Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Mets to a comeback that preserved R.A. Dickey's 11-game winning streak. Josh Thole prevented a run in the eighth when he held on to the ball despite being barreled over at home plate. Daniel Murphy lined a shot off Papelbon's leg for the tying run with two outs in the ninth, setting the stage for Wright. Cole Hamels outlasted Dickey in a matchup of All-Stars that fizzled from the start. More

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 8, Mets 4

May, 28, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: David Wright -- forced into shortstop duty for only the second time in his pro career, with Justin Turner departing with an ankle injury and Ronny Cedeño unavailable -- seemed to have a costly misstep. And the Mets ultimately opened a stretch of eight straight series against teams with winning records with an 8-4 loss to the Phillies on Memorial Day.

Wright uneventfully handled his first chance at shortstop, a leadoff grounder in the fifth by Placido Polanco. But with the score tied at 4, Wright was not touching second base when he accepted a seventh-inning throw from Bobby Parnell while trying to force out Jimmy Rollins at second base and initiate a double play. The Mets only were credited with the out at first base, with Rollins ruled safe.

Ex-Met Ty Wigginton eventually plated Rollins with a two-out single to give the Phillies the decisive lead. (Wright postgame said he purposely cut off the throw because Rollins would have been safe on the hit-and-run, and Wright wanted to make sure to get at least one out, at first base.)

Regardless, Wright had a chance to make amends with Andres Torres on third base and two out in the eighth, but he grounded out against Cole Hamels. Wright is now hitless in his last 14 at-bats as his average has dipped to .373.

Manny Acosta -- whose place on the roster is dangling by a thread, especially with Miguel Batista, Pedro Beato, Chris Young and Jenrry Mejia all viable promotions within a couple of weeks -- served up a three-run homer to Wigginton in the ninth. Wigginton finished with a career-high six RBIs. He is fourth player this season with a six-RBI game against the Mets, joining J.P. Arencibia, Chris Johnson and Carlos Gonzalez. Acosta's ERA swelled to 11.86. There have been only 11 six-plus-RBI games against other MLB teams this season.

FATHER'S DAY: Torres, whose wife gave birth at 6:30 this morning, had hustled to leg out a pinch-hit double to open the eighth inning with the Mets trailing 5-4. He advanced to third on Kirk Nieuwenhuis' groundout, but was stranded there when first Daniel Murphy with the infield in and then Wright grounded out.

THUMPS OFF COLE: Vinny Rottino and Scott Hairston delivered two-run homers in consecutive innings against Hamels, both of which evened the score. Rottino's fifth-inning shot, which made it 2-all, struck above the orange line in the left-field corner and would not have been a homer under the former Citi Field dimensions. Hairston's homer off Hamels in the sixth made it 4-4.

FREE PASSES: Jon Niese's wildness proved costly as three of the four Phillies who scored against him reached via walk.

Niese issued two-out walks to Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino in the third inning ahead of Wigginton's two-run double, which snapped the Mets' 28-inning scoreless streak. Then, a half-inning after the Mets had knotted the score at 2 on Rottino's long ball, Niese opened the sixth by walking Wigginton ahead of a two-run homer by John Mayberry Jr.

Niese's final line in a 115-pitch effort: 5-plus IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 7 K.

WELCOME: Jack Egbert, who hails from Rutherford, N.J., and pitched at Rutgers, made his Mets debut, completing the ninth inning in place of Acosta and recorded the final two outs. Egbert had appeared in two games with the Chicago White Sox in 2009. Egbert missed the 2010 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

MORE WRIGHT STUFF: Wright committed an error, but it came at third base, before he shifted to shortstop. Wright's error was one of two in the first inning. Murphy also committed one. Niese stranded the bases loaded that frame by coaxing a flyout from Mayberry.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jeremy Hefner, whose outing fell apart after a 68-minute rain delay in his first major league start, gets another shot Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. Hefner (0-2, 6.17 ERA) opposes Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton (2-2, 4.55).

Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Phillies 0

April, 14, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: David Wright is back. After a three-game absence, Wright homered on the first pitch he saw from Vance Worley on Saturday while playing with a fractured right pinkie. The Mets went on to beat Philadelphia 5-0. On Sunday afternoon, the 6-2 Mets will bid for their first series sweep in Philly since June 13-15, 2006.

Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch combined on only the Mets' second shutout at Citizens Bank Park since the ballpark opened in 2004. The other came Aug. 7, 2010, when Johan Santana combined with Francisco Rodriguez, who had a five-out save.

WRIGHT STUFF: Wright went 3-for-5, with one out coming on a hard-hit smash up the middle that deflected off Worley to shortstop Jimmy Rollins for an unlucky double play.

The first-inning homer gave Wright 730 career RBIs, within three of matching Darryl Strawberry for the franchise record. Wright is now hitting .588 (10-for-17) with two homers and five RBIs on the season.

Matt Slocum/Associated PressIke Davis congratulates David Wright after the third baseman homered on the first pitch he saw since Monday.

Wright had quipped pregame that his throwing is generally subpar anyway and wouldn't be affected as much as hitting by the broken pinkie on his right hand. He nonetheless had a couple of rough throws.

The first came in the second inning with an off-line toss to Ike Davis after Wright fielded John Mayberry Jr.'s grounder, although Davis reached down the line for the throw and made the play. The second off-the-mark throw came in the sixth, when Wright fielded Placido Polanco's grounder and tried to initiate a double play. Wright bounced the throw to second baseman Daniel Murphy, but Murphy scooped the ball and the Mets got the out at that base.

No worries, though. Wright then made consecutive 5-3 putouts to end the inning, including ranging wide to his left to field Hunter Pence's grounder, spinning and throwing on target to Davis for the final out of the sixth.

DUUUDE: Lucas Duda snapped an 0-for-15 drought with a two-run homer off Worley in the fourth that staked the Mets to a 4-0 lead. The Mets had loaded the bases with none out in that inning before Jason Bay grounded into a run-scoring 6-4-3 DP that set up Duda's at-bat with one runner aboard. It was Duda's third long ball of the season. He had a two-homer game against Atlanta on April 7, with the shots coming against Jair Jurrjens and Chad Durbin.

THAT'S NIESE: Coming off a season debut in which he took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against Atlanta, Niese did not have comparable drama this time, surrendering a single to No. 2 hitter Polanco in the first inning. Yet Niese took a scoreless effort into the seventh for a second straight outing. This time, he was pulled with his pitch count at 102, two out in the frame and one runner on base after Carlos Ruiz was announced as the pinch hitter. Parnell recorded the final out, then pitched a scoreless eighth as well. Niese's line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

THIEF: The Mets stole their first base this season when Mike Baxter walked and swiped second in the ninth. Baxter then scored the Mets' fifth run on an RBI by Ruben Tejada. The Mets' first steal coming in Game 8 was the third-longest drought to start a season in franchise history. It took 17 games in 1963 and 12 games in '62.

WALLBANGER: Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a reputation for not fearing walls, which contributed to his suffering injuries in the minor leagues. That fearless play was on display Saturday. Nieuwenhuis went deep into the right-center gap to track down Brian Schneider's shot near the wall and end the second inning.

WHAT'S NEXT: Mike Pelfrey opposes Cole Hamels on Sunday as the Mets bid for their first series sweep in Philly in six years. Pelfrey's career ERA at Citizens Bank Park: 8.60, in eight starts. Hamels, though, has 10 losses against the Mets, more than against any other opponent. The southpaw's lifetime 4.46 ERA against the Mets is better than his ERA against only two National League opponents -- the Houston Astros (5.02) and Colorado Rockies (5.09). Of course, much of the career damage against Pelfrey has been inflicted by injured Ryan Howard (.372, 3 HR) and Chase Utley (.333, 4 HR).

No crying foul over Matthews Sr. critique

August, 24, 2011

Howard Smith/US Presswire
Mike Pelfrey had a shaky three-run second, but managed to complete six innings as the Mets salvaged the series finale in Philadelphia.
Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews Sr., a former major leaguer and the father of ex-Met Gary Jr., called the Mets “crybabies” on the Philadelphia telecast. It stemmed from Mike Pelfrey objecting to Placido Polanco seemingly leaning into a pitch with his arm protector trying to get hit in the sixth inning.

“I hung a slider. I thought he tried to lean into it,” Pelfrey said. “And I told him, ‘Don’t lean into it.’ He said that he didn’t and that was it. Done.”

The Mets shrugged off Matthews’ analysis of the exchange. Heck, they’ve been called worse by Fred Wilpon this season.

“I don’t care,” Pelfrey said. “I don’t even know who that is, so I don’t care.”

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews Sr.

Said Terry Collins: “That’s his opinion. He doesn’t know. Ask him how he felt when he was in a five- or six-game losing streak. You’re on edge a little bit.”

Pelfrey lightheartedly noted he was chewed out worse by a Mets fan while warming up in the bullpen before Wednesday’s 7-4 win against the Phillies. The spectator mocked Pelfrey’s tendency to lick his hands.

“I immediately licked my hand just kind of joking around, and he just blew me up,” Pelfrey said. “He didn’t keep it clean. He cursed me out -- I’ve killed this team. Oh, he let me have it. And then somewhere along the line, he said, ‘You might be a nice guy. Try volleyball or something.’ He wore me out.

“And then I heard the security guards talking, and that was the end of it. It was a good four or five minutes straight of just yelling and screaming. It was kind of funny.”

Collins complimented Pelfrey’s ability to overcome an early high pitch count and three-run second inning to get the Mets through six innings. Pelfrey tossed a career-high 125 pitches and was charged with no additional runs aside from the three-run second.

“(When) he got in trouble, I saw some 95s and 94s (mph),” Collins said. “I saw a guy saying, ‘I’m getting out of this. They need me today and I’m stepping up and I’m letting it fly.”

Pelfrey is under the Mets’ control for two more years, but he is making $3.925 million this season and is arbitration-eligible, meaning he would be due a raise. So he knows it’s important to finish strong. After Wednesday’s outing, he’s now 7-10 with a 4.60 ERA.

“Beyond this year I’m not guaranteed anything,” Pelfrey said. “So I think these next six or seven starts are big not only for me and for some of the goals that I set, but for the team and next year. I want to go out there and do well and then we’ll see what happens.”

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Phillies 4

August, 24, 2011
Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Nick Evans matched a career high with three hits, including a three-run homer, and finished with four RBIs before being double-switched out of the game as the Mets salvaged the finale at Citizens Bank Park, 7-4, to snap a five-game losing streak.

Mike Pelfrey labored, requiring a career-high 125 pitches to get through six innings, but notched his first win since July 27. Pelfrey entered with a 1-3 record and 9.38 ERA in seven career starts in Philadelphia.

Michael Martinez opened the door for a four-run first inning by the Mets. Subbing for injured Jimmy Rollins, Martinez mishandled a surefire double-play grounder off the bat of Ruben Tejada.

Evans eventually capped the inning with a three-run homer. He had hits in five straight at-bats over two games -- and actually hit for the cycle over that two-day span with a triple in his final at-bat Tuesday night, then a homer, single and double in his first three at-bats Wednesday afternoon.

Evans also had three-hit games Sept. 26, 2010 against the Phillies and in major league debut on May 24, 2008 at Colorado, with three doubles off Jeff Francis.

First base has opened for Evans to play with Lucas Duda now getting more regular action in right field, Duda’s presumed 2012 position. Evans’ other major league homer this season came July 10 at San Francisco off Jeremy Affeldt.

WHAT ABOUT BOB? Bobby Parnell notched his second career save, working a scoreless ninth despite walks to Chase Utley and John Mayberry Jr. Parnell’s other major league save came Aug. 5, 2009 against St. Louis, when he worked the final three innings of a 9-0 rout. Parnell had only five minor league saves over six seasons -- all last year.

SPEED BUMP: Josh Thole jawed with Placido Polanco during the bottom of the sixth. Pelfrey said postgame that he was upset Polanco seemed to be sticking his elbow guard over the plate trying to get hit.

Gary Matthews Sr., a Phillies broadcaster, proceeded to set Twitter afire by saying on air: “The Mets are crybabies. That’s why they lose."

PITCH MAN: The Phillies answered the Mets’ four-run first with a three-run second that included a two-run single by Shane Victorino. Pelfrey, working at a deliberate pace, eventually stranded the bases loaded by coaxing a fly out to right field from Hunter Pence.

WRIGHT STUFF: David Wright’s opposite-field homer in the third inning gave the Mets a 5-3 lead. Wright added a sacrifice fly the following inning to up the lead to three runs. Since 2004, the season Wright made his major league debut, he has the second-most homers in the majors against the Phillies. Ex-teammate Carlos Beltran has 25, Wright 23, Dan Uggla 21, Chipper Jones 19, Carlos Delgado 17, and Adam Dunn, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Reyes 16 apiece.

TOE JAM: Ronny Paulino, who may have a broken toe, pinch-hit in the seventh inning and walked. He required Chris Capuano to run for him. The Mets hope to use Paulino in that fashion and rely on newly promoted Mike Nickeas as the backup catcher rather than place Paulino on the disabled list. Paulino is due for more conclusive tests on the toe now that the Mets are returning to New York.

TO ERR: The Mets committed three errors: Duda in right field mishandling a single, then at first base when he missed stepping on the base in the eighth, in a disputed call. Angel Pagan also missed a cutoff man for an error. On the eighth-inning call, after Duda had moved to first base, ump Jim Reynolds ruled Duda was not on the bag after accepting a throw from Justin Turner. Terry Collins argued to no avail. The Mets overcame it when Turner made a diving stop to his right on the ensuing batter Polanco’s grounder and initiated a double play.

WHAT’S NEXT: After a team off-day, the Mets open a series Friday at Citi Field against the Atlanta Braves. Scott Hairston (oblique) is expected to join Jon Niese on the DL before that game. Capuano (9-11, 4.71 ERA) opposes Atlanta right-hander Tim Hudson (13-7, 3.01).

Extra days of rest pay off for Niese

September, 12, 2010
NEW YORK -- Given two extra days of rest, Jon Niese was much improved on Sunday against the Phillies. The lefty gave up three runs over seven innings and struck out six hitters in Philadelphia’s 3-0 win.

“The rest kind of helped. I felt refreshed and ready to go,” Niese said. “All my stuff was 100 percent and I thought I was throwing the ball where I wanted to for the most part.”

Coming into the start, Niese struggled in his last two games, giving up eight runs (three earned) in 4.2 innings against Atlanta, and giving up five earned runs in six innings against Chicago on Sept. 5. Scheduled to pitch Friday night, Niese was instead bumped back to Sunday giving him extra rest.

Niese worked in and out of trouble several times during the game, but showed poise on the mound. The first three Phillies reached in the first inning, including a RBI single by Chase Utley to make it 1-0, but Niese struck out Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez to end the threat.

Trailing 3-0 in the seventh inning with runners on second and third and zero outs, he got a groundout and following an intentional walk, a double-play ball off the bat of Placido Polanco to get out of the inning. That was his final inning of work.

“It meant a lot,” Niese said of being able to stay in the game in the seventh. “I thought I still had good stuff that inning and it shows that (Mets manager Jerry Manuel) has a lot of confidence in me and I like that.”

Niese only made one mistake the entire game, a 90-mph fastball that Raul Ibanez crushed over the center field wall to give the Phillies their 3-0 lead in the seventh. He dropped to 9-8 on the year with a 3.85 ERA.

“I thought he pumped the strike zone great,” catcher Josh Thole said. “We attacked with his fastball, that’s what I thought made him so good today, it got off to a little bit of a slow start, a couple base runners but then to get out of it and a few strikeouts there was huge and he built off of that.”

Game 143: Phillies @ Mets

September, 12, 2010
3:25 p.m.: Oswalt strikes out Beltran to end the game and the Mets get shut out and get just four hits. The Mets did not put a runner in scoring position all game.

3:11 p.m.: Oswalt is three outs from a shutout as he retires the bottom of the Mets lineup (which included two pinch hitters) easily and we go to the ninth. 3-0 Phillies.

2:56 p.m.: Niese is done for the day. He finishes with a line: 7 IP, 8 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 6 strikeouts. 101 pitches, 66 strikes.

2:40 p.m.: Raul Ibaenz clobbers his 14th home run of the year to dead center to give the Phillies a 3-0 lead, but Niese works his way out of further trouble. A single and double follow, but Niese retires Oswalt, and then after intentionally walking Shane Victorino, Polanco bounces into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. 3-0 Phillies, going bottom seven.

2:32 p.m.: Niese has to be wondering what he can do to get any support in this game. He singles up the middle to start the sixth inning, but the Mets big bats of Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan and Carlos Beltran can't do anything and the Mets strand a runner. 2-0 Phillies, going top seven.

2:18 p.m.: Oswalt is cruising. The Mets are still without a hit since the first inning, and aren't even putting together good at-bats. Niese leads off the next inning, so let's see if Jerry Manuel has him go six and yanks him. 2-0 Phils, going top six.

2:08 p.m.: This Oswalt fella is kind of good. He's retired 10 of the last 11 Mets, and has not given up a hit since the first inning. Mets aren't even putting together good at-bats. 2-0 Phillies, going top five.

1:48 p.m.: The Phils tack on another run as Ryan Howard singles to left field with two out to score Placido Polanco. Niese has five strikeouts so far through three innings. 2-0 Phillies, mid third.

1:19 p.m.: The Phillies take a 1-0 lead as the first three men all reach base, including an RBI single to right field by Chase Utley. Jon Niese, though, strikes out the next three Phillies (Ryan Howard, Jasyon Werth, Raul Ibanez) with runners on the corners to minimize the damage. 1-0 Phillies, mid first.

12:35 p.m.: Lineup


Jose Reyes, SS
Angel Pagan, RF
Carlos Beltran, CF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Chris Carter, LF
Josh Thole, C
Luis Hernandez, 2B
Jon Niese, LHP


Shane Victorino, CF
Placido Polanco, 3B
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Jayson Werth, RF
Raul Ibanez, LF
Carlos Ruiz, C
Wilson Valdez, SS
Roy Oswalt, RHP

Nation not gaga for Wright

June, 29, 2010
The Mets may have organized a drive to make David Wright the starting third baseman for the National League in the All-Star Game, but the efforts have not put him over the top with in-stadium voting complete. In the latest tally released Tuesday, Wright still trails Philadelphia's Placido Polanco at third base -- although clearly by a surmountable margin (1,418,096 to 1,395,461).

The All-Star rosters will be announced Sunday at noon. Voting continues online through Thursday at 11:59 p.m.

Polanco ranks second in the National League in average at .318. He also has 15 doubles and 27 RBIs.

Wright leads the league with 61 RBIs, one ahead of Milwaukee's Corey Hart.

The other leading NL vote-getters at this point: St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley, Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez, St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and outfielders Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, Jason Heyward of Atlanta and Andre Ethier of Los Angeles.

UPDATE: Polanco was placed on the DL Tuesday with left elbow inflammation.



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