New York Mets: Tim Hudson
FIRST PITCH: The Mets look to salvage a split of a four-game series against the wild card-leading Giants in Monday’s matinee finale at Citi Field.
Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.77 ERA) opposes right-hander Tim Hudson (8-8, 2.71) in the 12:10 p.m. game.
Gee has surrendered 15 runs in 16 2/3 innings in three second-half starts.
Hudson is the active wins leader against the Mets with 17 career victories.
Monday’s news reports:
• In his first start since the non-waiver trade deadline passed, Bartolo Colon surrendered six runs in 4 2/3 innings and served up homers to Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt as the Giants routed the Mets, 9-0, Sunday at Citi Field. Madison Bumgarner became the second Giants pitcher in three days to toss a complete-game two-hitter, joining Ryan Vogelsong (on Friday).
The Mets now trail the NL East-leading Nationals by eight games, and are 6.5 games out of a wild-card spot.
The last time two pitchers in the same series tossed complete-game two-hitters or better against the Mets came in 1965, when the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax and Claude Osteen accomplished it, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Colon was bidding to become the third pitcher to notch his 200th win in a Mets uniform. He also was bidding to become the third active pitcher and the third Dominican-born pitcher to reach that plateau.
Orel Hershiser and Pedro Martinez won No. 200 as a Met. Hudson (213 career wins) and CC Sabathia (208) are the lone active pitchers to have reached that total. Juan Marichal (243) and Martinez (219) are the lone Dominican-born pitchers to have reached 200 wins.
Colon’s next crack will be Friday in Philadelphia. He has a 1.45 ERA in his 10 wins this season. He has a 6.91 ERA in his other 12 starts.
Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Travis d'Arnaud all were out of Sunday’s starting lineup.
Read game recaps in the San Francisco Chronicle, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• The slumping David Wright insists he feels fine, despite dealing with a balky left shoulder this summer. Wright had one of the Mets’ two hits on Sunday, but is batting .197 in his past 18 games. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Star Ledger and Newsday.
• Matt Harvey's first serious mound session since undergoing Tommy John surgery is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Read more in the Post.
• Read more on Colon in the Daily News.
• Anthony McCarron in the Daily News delves into Terry Collins sitting Duda on Sunday. Collins cited the southpaw Bumgarner’s cross-body delivery as being difficult for a lefty batter, although Bumgarner entered the start with lefties hitting .256 and righties hitting .259 against him this season.
• Cory Mazzoni allowed one run in six innings and Matt Reynolds went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer against ex-Met Philip Humber as Las Vegas beat Sacramento, 7-2, on Sunday. Reynolds drove in three runs. Steven Matz limited Bowie to one unearned run in six innings to shave his Double-A ERA to 2.85, but the BaySox rallied against Binghamton’s bullpen for an 8-2 win. Luis Cessa allowed five runs in six innings and Clearwater beat St. Lucie, 5-1.
John Gant took a perfect-game bid two outs into the seventh inning and ultimately stranded the bases loaded that inning and Champ Stuart delivered an RBI single in the eighth as Savannah edged Hickory, 1-0. Starter Gaby Almonte allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings and dropped to 0-5 as Pulaski blanked Kingsport, 4-0. Michael Conforto’s solo homer accounted for the lone run in Brooklyn’s 5-1 loss to Connecticut.
BIRTHDAYS: '69 Met Cleon Jones turns 72. ... Dallas Green is 80. ... Original Met Joe Pignatano is 85.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Can the Mets reach the postseason?
Hunter Pence may not be able to parallel park, but he sure can park a couple baseballs at Citi Field (2 HR, 4 RBI) pic.twitter.com/ZRWlxT6DBY— 120 Sports (@120Sports) August 3, 2014
Three outs from snapping a four-game losing streak, Jenrry Mejia surrendered two ninth-inning runs and the New York Mets lost to the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Saturday night at AT&T Park.
Ex-Met Angel Pagan struck out to begin the inning, but reached when Anthony Recker’s throw to first base to complete the putout pulled Lucas Duda off the bag. Hunter Pence followed with a game-tying double. Buster Posey advanced Pence to third base on a fly out. After an intentional walk, Michael Morse won it with an RBI single.
It was Mejia’s first blown save since being installed as closer.
Things began to unravel in the sixth with a critical error by David Wright.
With the Mets leading 4-1, and with a runner at first base for the Giants with two outs, Bartolo Colon coaxed a grounder to third base from Brandon Hicks. Wright fielded it cleanly, but threw wide of second base trying to get the lead runner. The E-5 placed two runners in scoring position. After a walk loaded the bases, Pagan delivered his third hit of the game. The single to left field plated two baserunners and chased Colon.
An infield single by Hunter Pence against Jeurys Familia reloaded the bases and brought Posey to the plate. Familia went to a full count before striking out Posey to preserve a 4-3 lead.
Familia appeared poised to be the savior. He ultimately produced 2 1/3 scoreless innings, retiring the final seven batters he faced, before handing the ball to Mejia for the save attempt. The workload matched the longest by Familia this season. He also went that distance April 11 at Anaheim.
Mortal: Tim Hudson entered Saturday with the best ERA in the majors at 1.75, but had an uncharacteristically rough outing. Hudson surrendered three runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings and departed trailing 3-1. It marked only the second time in 12 starts this season that Hudson had surrendered more than two earned runs in a game.
Hudson’s ERA climbed to 1.97, now tied for second in the majors with Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto, and trailing Atlanta’s Julio Teheran (1.89).
The Mets snapped Hudson’s 16-inning scoreless streak on Anthony Recker’s second-inning RBI single, although they left runners on the corners. An inning later, Lucas Duda and Recker both had run-scoring singles off the right-field wall as the Mets built a 3-0 lead.
The damage could have been more, but Ruben Tejada and Recker both ended up at second base on Recker’s third-inning shot. Tejada eventually was tagged out between second and third.
Snapped: Wright snapped a season-high 0-for-14 drought with a third-inning single.
What’s next: The Mets play the final game of a three-city trip to complete a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. Former Giants first-round pick Zack Wheeler (2-5, 3.89 ERA) opposes right-hander Tim Lincecum (4-4, 5.01) in the 4:05 p.m. ET finale.
Wheeler, dealt by San Francisco in 2011 to rent Carlos Beltran, already has pitched once with the Mets at AT&T Park. He allowed one run on three hits and three walks in seven innings last July 10 as the Mets won, 7-2.
Wright is expected to get Sunday day off.
Getty ImagesThe Mets face Matt Cain, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum this weekend in San Francisco.
Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.69) vs. RHP Matt Cain (1-3, 3.66), 10:15 p.m. ET
Saturday: RHP Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.52) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (6-2, 1.75), 10:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (2-5, 3.89) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (4-4, 5.01), 4:05 p.m. ET
Giants short hops
• Three-time All-Star Matt Cain will be activated from the disabled list to face the Mets. He departed a May 21 start after three scoreless innings with a strained right hamstring. Former Mets farmhand Yusmeiro Petit, who was traded to the Miami Marlins to acquire Carlos Delgado on the eve of Thanksgiving in 2005, had stepped into the rotation in Cain’s absence. Petit has returned to the bullpen.
• In the same May 21 game against the Colorado Rockies that Cain became injured, reliever Santiago Casilla also strained his right hamstring. His remains on the disabled list and is at least two weeks away from being activated.
• After nine seasons with the Atlanta Braves, 38-year-old Tim Hudson signed a two-year, $23 million contract with San Francisco during the offseason. Hudson’s 1.75 ERA ranks second in the majors, trailing only Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (1.68). Hudson has tossed seven scoreless innings in each of his past two starts.
• Right fielder Hunter Pence (.290, 8 HR) signed a five-year, $90 million extension with the Giants on Sept. 29. Pence has started 232 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.
• San Francisco has won 11 of its past 14 games to move a season-high 18 games over .500. The Giants’ 39-21 record is the best in the majors. They play 20 of their next 25 games at AT&T Park.
• The Giants have scored an MLB-best 47 runs in the first inning.
• Tim Lincecum, who appeared last season like he may be headed elsewhere, re-signed with the Giants for two years, $35 million on Oct. 23. Linecum allowed eight runs in 4 1/3 innings at Cincinnati in his last start as his ERA swelled to 5.01. He left his previous start with a blister on his right middle finger after tossing five no-hit innings against the Cubs, albeit with four walks and 96 pitches thrown. Lincecum turns 30 on June 15.
• Reliever Jean Machi has a 21 2/3-inning scoreless streak, trailing only Atlanta’s David Hale (22 2/3) on the active leaderboard. Miami’s Henderson Alvarez ranks third at 21 innings.
• Outfielder Tyler Colvin was promoted from Triple-A Fresno on May 10 after first baseman Brandon Belt suffered a broken left thumb. Belt is scheduled to get two pins removed on Friday. The fracture occurred when he was struck by a fastball from Paul Maholm.
Belt’s injury prompted Michael Morse to move from left field to first base. Morse is 14-for-his-last-36 (.389), with 11 extra-base hits and 12 RBIs during that span. He signed with the Giants on Dec. 12 for one year at $6 million.
• Shortstop Brandon Crawford had been 4-for-his-last-32 before producing a three-run homer in the fourth inning Thursday afternoon against Cincinnati’s Mike Leake.
• With Marco Scutaro having missed the season’s first 60 games with a lower-back strain, Brandon Hicks has emerged as the regular second baseman. Brandon Hicks? Yes, the same player who looked challenged defensively in spring training with the Mets in 2013 and went on to hit .283 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs in 318 at-bats with Triple-A Las Vegas. Hicks is in the midst of a 4-for-37 slump over his past 13 games that has dropped his average to .182, albeit with a .303 on-base percentage. Scutaro recently received platelet-rich plasma therapy.
• Ex-Met Angel Pagan is hitting .321 and has a .370 on-base percentage as San Francisco’s leadoff hitter and center fielder.
• Buster Posey, whose gruesome left leg fracture in 2011 prompted MLB to institute the new blocking-the-plate rule, is 11-for-his-last-63. He has missed five games since May 20 with lower-back tightness related to a nerve issue. Posey has started 40 games at catcher and nine games at first base this season.
• Madison Bumgarner, whom the Mets do not face, is the reigning NL Pitcher of the Month. He was the first Giant to win the award since Lincecum in June 2009. Bumgarner went 5-0 with a 2.08 and MLB-best 48 strikeouts in six starts in May.
Eric Young Jr. stepped on and broke Tim Hudson's right ankle on July 24 at Citi Field. Then, Jonathon Niese broke Jason Heyward's jaw with a fastball to the face on Aug. 21.
"I can't answer what the Braves feel. I can honestly tell you there was nothing intentional on either issue," Terry Collins said. "It's just part of the game. It just happens. And I can't worry about the crowd."
FIRST PITCH: Talk about a quick turnaround.
After finishing Sunday’s game at 11:16 p.m. at Nationals Park, the Mets headed off to the airport for a game less than 14 hours later at Turner Field today.
Terry Collins estimated the Mets would not be in their hotel beds in Atlanta until 5 a.m. He has scheduled the bus to the ballpark for 11 a.m. to try to get the players time for limited shuteye.
In Matsuzaka’s last outing, he already had thrown 82 pitches after three innings. He averaged 28.4 seconds between pitches during the start.
Collins subsequently implored Dice-K to work quicker today against the Braves, mindful of how groggy the players will be behind him.
Matsuzaka’s 28.4 seconds between pitches last Wednesday against Philadelphia was six seconds more than his average in his Mets debut, against Detroit. It also is significantly longer than Jeremy Hellickson’s average of 25.8 seconds between pitches this season, which is tops among qualified major league pitchers.
Matsuzaka is a notoriously slow worker. His average time between pitches since 2007 is second in the majors among qualified starters, slightly trailing his former Boston Red Sox teammate, Josh Beckett.
“We addressed that the other day,” Collins said. “He’s got to work a little faster. And he knows that. He’s been told that a lot of times. The other day he didn’t have very good command, and I think he was trying to make sure that each and every pitch meant something, so there was a thought process going on in between pitches.”
Collins joked that he is “thinking about having a dizzy spell in about the fifth” to get himself out of the full game today. That was a veiled reference to Davey Johnson checking out of Friday’s series opener in D.C. in the fourth inning after becoming lightheaded.
The series does mark the first time in Atlanta since the Mets handed injuries to Tim Hudson (broken ankle) and Jason Heyward (broken jaw), so there may be some crowd hostility.
The Mets will have enough stamina to conduct their annual postgame fantasy football draft tonight. Even injured Ike Davis flew with the team to Atlanta to take part. He then will head to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to get an MRI of his strained right oblique after the conclusion of the Labor Day weekend.
ESPN needed to select Mets-Nats for its Sunday night telecast in part because other teams had exceeded their allotment of appearances for the season.
“There’s nothing we can do about it,” Collins said about the quick turnaround. “We’re going to have to suck it up.”
Monday’s news reports:
• There are “strong” indications Collins will be invited to return as manager next season, although there is not expected to be any formal announcement until after the season, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.
• Vic Black, the hard-throwing reliever acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates, joined the Mets on Sunday. Black noted he was drafted by the Mets out of high school. He did not sign because it was a late round and because he had just converted his senior year from catching to pitching. Read more in Newsday.
• Tim Byrdak is back in the majors less than a year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Scott Rice and Gonzalez Germen combined to surrender three eighth-inning runs and the Mets lost to the Nats, 6-5, to fall shy of a series sweep. Matt den Dekker slugged his first major league homer and Lucas Duda had a pair of RBI singles in his first game at first base since Davis’ injury.
“The first couple of games I had a lot of adrenaline rushing,” den Dekker said. “These games I’ve kind of calmed down, relaxed.”
Collins noted Duda’s career production has been better as a first baseman than an outfielder.
Jonathon Niese departed the game in the sixth inning with an escort from trainer Ray Ramirez, but insisted it was just a left calf cramp and a nonissue.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• Wilmer Flores is due to return to the starting lineup today, after being held out for two days with cranky ankles.
• Jeurys Familia tossed a scoreless inning in Class A St. Lucie’s season finale Sunday, in his first action since getting his elbow surgically cleaned out on June 5.
• David Wright is not ready for rehab games, but he will have to hit the road when he is, Collins noted. Both the Florida State and Gulf Coast clubs based in Port St. Lucie, Fla., have completed their seasons.
• Kevin Plawecki and Matt Reynolds were promoted from St. Lucie to Binghamton.
• B-Mets first baseman Allan Dykstra slugged the decisive two-run homer and was named Eastern League MVP on Sunday. Kingsport won its playoff opener behind five scoreless innings from Chris Flexen. Brooklyn lost to Aberdeen to fall 1½ games out of a playoff spot. Read the full minor league recap here.
BIRTHDAYS: Marvelous Marv Throneberry was born on this date in 1933.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Associated Press, USA TODAY SportsTim Hudson (ankle) and Jason Heyward (jaw) have suffered serious bone fractures at Citi Field in the past month.
FIRST PITCH: Aces Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer will make history this weekend.
Their matchup Saturday at Citi Field will mark the first time the All-Star Game starters have faced off at any point during that same regular season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Of course, the Mets made that possible by keeping Harvey on an extra day of rest.
Carlos Torres steps into the rotation spot vacated by Jenrry Mejia to face Detroit Tigers right-hander Doug Fister in Friday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener.
After Harvey-Scherzer Saturday at 4:05 p.m., Dillon Gee opposes Seton Hall prep product Rick Porcello in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. finale.
First, the Mets enjoy their first off-day today since Aug. 5.
Scherzer, by the way, is only the fifth pitcher in major league history to win at least 18 of his first 19 decisions of a season -- as a starter or reliever. He joins Rube Marquard (1912 New York Giants, 19-0), Roger Clemens (2001 Yankees, 18-1), Roy Face (1959 Pittsburgh Pirates, 18-1) and Don Newcombe (1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, 18-1).
Thursday’s news reports:
• Jason Heyward suffered two fractures to his jaw when he was struck by a 90 mph fastball from Jonathon Niese in the sixth inning Wednesday. Heyward is due to undergo surgery in Atlanta on Thursday. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.
It marked the second time this season the Mets had dealt a serious injury to a key member of the Braves at Citi Field. Tim Hudson fractured his right ankle covering first base when Eric Young Jr. stepped on him on July 24.
"He never lost consciousness," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters afterward about Heyward. "Right before he went to the hospital he popped his head into the clubhouse to say goodbye to some of the guys.
“It’s not the ballpark. It's just a matter of freak stuff happening. It can happen anywhere.”
Read more in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post and Newsday.
Daniel Murphy was ejected for barking at Layne about the Freeman call as Johnson rounded the bases. Terry Collins subsequently returned to the field to argue and was tossed, too. Major League Baseball intends to institute manager challenges next season that would have reversed such a call.
Niese had allowed one run in seven innings in a no-decision. Atlanta evened the score at 1 in the sixth when Niese briefly unraveled after drilling Heyward with two outs. The southpaw subsequently surrendered singles to Andrelton Simmons and Freeman.
The Mets have now played 52 extra innings this season, eight shy of matching the franchise record, set in 1979 and duplicated in 1985.
Juan Lagares recorded his 11th outfield assist, pulling even with Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Gonzalez for the major league lead. Lagares has the most outfield assists by a rookie since Rocco Baldelli had 15 with Tampa Bay in 2003.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Journal and MLB.com.
• Frank Francisco resurfaced in the Gulf Coast League on Wednesday. Francisco surrendered a solo homer to minor league veteran Ben Lasater. He otherwise struck out two in one inning against the GCL Marlins in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It marked Francisco’s first official minor league game action since July 15.
Unless the Mets can get Francisco to the major league level in the next nine days and trade him while he would be eligible for another team’s playoff roster, it clearly would be plausible for them to release the former closer soon. After all, why give him a September opportunity to set up a free-agent deal elsewhere this offeason?
Francisco, making $6.5 million as part of an expiring two-year, $12 million deal, has not appeared with the Mets this season. He seemingly underwent a benign surgery in December to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.
• Jeremy Hefner will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday, but believes he is headed for Tommy John surgery to address a partially torn medial collateral ligament. The surgery, which has a typical 12-month recovery time, would sideline Hefner for most if not all of the 2014 season. Hefner also needs bone spurs removed. Read more in the Times, Daily News, Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Brian Costa notes in the Journal that he willingly preferred to attend Citi Field rather than Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Writes Costa:
But as the Mets slog through what's left of another forgettable season in relative obscurity, a window of opportunity is opening. The emergence of their best young players is coinciding with the devolution of the Yankees into an abject spectacle, like the Bronx Zoo Yankees of the 1970s minus the championship.
You'd be a fool to write the Yankees off entirely. Entering Thursday, they'd won eight of their last 10 games. But the odds are not in their favor. Based on the team's run differential and remaining schedule, the website coolstandings.com gave the Yankees a mere 11 percent chance of making the playoffs entering Thursday. And with no top young talent on the immediate horizon, 2014 looks as murky as ever.
For the first time in a long time, it looks entirely possible that the Mets will be a better team than the Yankees a year from today.
“We mixed some older guys in, myself included, and we jelled well," Dykstra told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. "It’s just a good camaraderie in the clubhouse and that really reflects on the field.”
Eric Campbell had a walk-off single in the 11th as Las Vegas rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat Fresno, 8-7, and improve to 72-57. Demoted Anthony Recker made his 51s debut with an eighth-inning groundout as a pinch hitter.
Domingo Tapia allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings as St. Lucie lost to Palm Beach, 7-0. Kyle Johnson extended his hitting streak to 16 games. St. Lucie earlier had won the resumption of Tuesday’s suspended game, 6-4. Robbie Shields had a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh.
After St. Lucie's doubleheader, outfielder/third baseman Dustin Lawley (.259, 25 HR, 90 RBIs) was named Florida State League player of the year. Bronx-raised infielder T.J. Rivera and right-hander Matt Bowman also were named to the FSL postseason All-Star team.
Estarlin Morel threw a walk-off wild pitch as Savannah lost at Kannapolis, 4-3. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-3 with a walk and now has a .406 average (26-for-64) in August.
• From the bloggers: Faith and Fear in Flushing has seen enough of the Braves.
BIRTHDAYS: Outfielder Darrin Jackson is 50. … Ray Burris was born on this date in 1950.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Are you concerned for the Mets being the target for retribution when they play at Turner Field from Sept 2-4, given the injuries to Jason Heyward and Tim Hudson?
Damn J-hey. I'm super pissed. Next car I see with #mets tag on it I'm gonna take a big ol dump on their hood.— Don Payne (@bringdapayne1) August 21, 2013
USA TODAY SportsThe Mets face Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood during a two-game series at Citi Field.
Tuesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (5-2, 3.43) vs. RHP Brandon Beachy (2-0, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. ET
Wednesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (5-6, 4.25) vs. LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 2.61), 1:10 p.m. ET
Braves short hops
• Brandon Beachy made his season debut July 29 after missing 13 months recovering from Tommy John surgery. He took the rotation spot vacated by Tim Hudson, who underwent ankle surgery after getting stepped on by Eric Young Jr. at Citi Field during Atlanta’s last visit. Beachy had the NL’s best ERA at 2.00 when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on June 16, 2012 against the Baltimore Orioles.
• The Braves are 19-3 since July 26. They own a season-high 15½-game lead over the second-place Washington Nationals. The last time Atlanta enjoyed a larger division lead came when it won the NL East in 2002 by 19 games over the Montreal Expos, while going 101-59.
Overall, Atlanta’s relief corps ranks first in the majors in ERA (2.40), opponent batting average (.213) and WHIP (1.11).
• Since emerging as the leadoff hitter on July 27, Jason Heyward is batting .370 (30-for-81) with five homers, 15 RBIs and a .433 on-base percentage. Andrelton Simmons, who previously occupied the leadoff spot the bulk of the time, mostly has dropped to eighth.
• Rookie Alex Wood, a second-round pick out of the University of Georgia in 2012, makes his seventh major league start -- and third career start against the Mets. In his previous two appearances against the Mets, he has allowed a combined five earned runs on 10 hits and five walks (one intentional) in 7 1/3 innings.
• Jordan Schafer has started the Braves’ last four games against right-handed pitchers over B.J. Upton in center field. Upton is hitting .186 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in 317 total at-bats. He is in the first season of a five-year, $75.25 million deal.
• Dan Uggla is on the DL after undergoing LASIK surgery to correct his vision. Tyler Pastornicky, Paul Janish and rookie Philip Gosselin have started at second base over the past five games in Uggla’s absence. Gosselin was promoted after Pastornicky tore the ACL in his left knee.
The Braves also have signed second baseman Tyler Greene to a minor league contact and assigned him to Triple-A. He previously was with the Chicago White Sox.
Uggla ranked second on the Braves in homers with 21 and had a team-leading 62 walks when he landed on the DL. But he also had the worst batting average (.186) among major league qualifiers and led the NL in strikeouts (146).
• Left-hander Paul Maholm, on the disabled list since July 29 with a bruised left wrist, is nearing a return after making a rehab start Saturday with Class A Rome.
FIRST PITCH: Second-place Mets?
It could be true soon, although that would be a commentary on the state of the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals as much as about the Mets.
The Mets (45-53) have played four fewer games than those 49-53 clubs.
It is a split doubleheader today for the Amazin’s. Jenrry Mejia makes his first 2013 major league appearance in the 1:35 p.m. matinee at Nationals Park, opposite right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. In the 7:05 prime-time affair, Matt Harvey opposes spot-starting right-hander Ross Ohlendorf.
Mejia will be the 26th man for the Mets, which is now permitted under a rule for doubleheaders scheduled more than 48 hours in advance.
Read the Mets-Nats series preview here.
Friday’s news reports:
• Zack Wheeler picked up his first home win despite allowing four runs (three earned) in six innings as the Mets split a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves with a 7-4 win Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record and MLB.com.
• Eric Young Jr. left Thursday’s game with right-knee pain, which began during his contact with Tim Hudson on Wednesday night. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.
• Columnist Filip Bondy in the Daily News suggests the Mets are blissful … for not having drama like the Yankees. Writes Bondy:
It’s amazing how adults can behave when they put their minds and ligaments to it. Eric Young Jr. strained his knee on Wednesday, had it X-rayed on Thursday, started the game, then told Terry Collins his joint ached a bit after running the bases. Young was pulled in the fourth inning and hopes to play one of the doubleheader games on Friday.
End of story. No second doctor’s opinion. No controversy.
• John Buck is hitting .349 (15-for-43) with 13 RBIs in his past 11 games. He drove in three runs Thursday. “An adjustment that I had to make to just shorten up and take the single with a couple of RBI rather than the big blast,” Buck suggested was the reason for the production upswing. Read more in the Daily News and Post.
• Darin Gorski tossed a complete game, but Binghamton was one-hit in a 2-0 loss against Trenton. Persio Reyes also tossed a complete game, and Kingsport beat Elizabethton, 3-1. Read the full minor league recap here.
• In their second games since returning from injury, Travis d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda each played seven innings in the field for the Gulf Coast League Mets. D’Arnaud had a two-run double, although the play originally was scored an error. He also had a high pickoff throw to first base, which was charged as an error to him. “It feels great -- normal,” d’Arnaud told Walter Villa in Newsday about the foot he fractured April 17.
• The Mets made a minor trade Thursday, getting $360,500 in extra international cap space from the Los Angeles Angels for minor leaguers Julio Concepcion and Andres Perez.
• Howie Mandel visited family friend Josh Satin in the clubhouse Thursday afternoon.
• Danny Knobler at CBSSports.com speaks with a scout about Double-A slugger Cesar Puello, who has been implicated by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” in the Biogenesis scandal.
• Jeff Pearlman at jeffpearlman.com suspects Marlon Byrd’s production may be impure and chastises beat writers for not investigating. Writes Pearlman:
Last year, Byrd’s season was interrupted when he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for Tamoxifen, a medicine that blocks the effects of the estrogen hormone in the body. Byrd’s statement was predictable nonsense -- ”Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance-enhancement reasons.” Blah, blah, blah.
He cheated, he was caught, he was suspended, he lied about the story. Happens all the time. Here’s the thing: Why isn’t anyone questioning Byrd’s season?
• The Mets’ TV ratings on SNY are down this season, reports Justin Terranova in the Post. The Yankees are down, too. Writes Terranova:
The Mets have experienced a similar, though less severe, decline on SNY with their ratings down 30 percent from this time last year, going from 2.61 to 1.82. There’s no great mystery why -- as the team has spent most of the year under .500. Though recent seasons have ended bitterly, they have started off successfully.
The positive is the uptick that has occurred when Matt Harvey (1.96 rating) and Zack Wheeler (2.34 rating) start. The significant advantage Wheeler holds is likely because of the small sample size of starts he has had.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes the Mets are 20-13 since Wheeler’s major league debut. That is comfortably the best record in the NL East during that span.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing wonders if the Mets understand the object of the game is to bring runners home, not merely land them on base. … Mark Berman at Blogging Mets advocates trading Bobby Parnell.
BIRTHDAYS: No players to appear in a game for the Mets were born on July 26, but Sandra Bullock, Mick Jagger and Kevin Spacey celebrate birthdays today.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Stat of the Series: Leadoff HR, then shut down
Tuesday's game opened with an Andrelton Simmons homer, but the Braves did not score again. It marked only the third time in Mets history that they allowed a home run to the first batter of the game in the top of the first inning, and then didn't allow another run.
The last time it happened was August 19, 1998, a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. The home run was hit by a future Met, Darryl Hamilton.
The only other instance was on September 2, 1963, in the second game of a doubleheader with the Cincinnati Reds. The home run was hit by Pete Rose, the only run in a 1-0 Reds win.
The Braves had won Kris Medlen's previous seven starts against the Mets. Medlen's loss leaves Clayton Kershaw as having the longest streak of team wins against the Mets in his starts. His run currently stands at seven straight.
Torres continues to produce
Carlos Torres got his first win as a starter since September 3, 2009 by beating the Braves and tied his career high with six strikeouts.
Torres is the 324th pitcher to win a game in Mets history and the 145th Met whose primary position was pitcher to get an RBI.
If you combine Torres' minor-league numbers with his major league numbers, he's now allowed five earned runs in 43 innings in his last six starts.
David Wright's disputed triple
David Wright's sixth-inning triple on Thursday was his sixth of the season (his most in a season) and 25th of his career, tying him with Ed Kranepool for ninth-most in Mets history.
Wright's next triple will tie him with Doug Flynn for eighth and the next one after that will tie him with Lance Johnson for seventh-most.
The club record is still pretty safe -- 99 by Jose Reyes.
Zack Wheeler became the second pitcher in Mets history to have at least four wins and no more than one loss in his first seven career appearances, joining Octavio Dotel.
Wheeler continued to show the ability to get out of jams, holding the Braves to 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
He matched his career-best by getting 14 swings-and-misses, with both of those games coming against the Braves.
Dillon Gee was not rewarded for his seven scoreless innings after the Mets lost to the Braves 2-1 in the series opener.
It was tied for the second-longest scoreless start of his career, trailing only a 7 2/3 inning effort against the Nationals on May 19, 2011.
Gee has a 2.39 ERA since May 30. Entering Thursday, that rated 10th-best in the majors in that span, and nearly identical to the pitcher right in front of him (the previously-mentioned Kershaw).
Another win for Hudson
The Braves lost Tim Hudson, likely for the season, after he got spiked by Eric Young Jr. at first base.
Hudson pitched a terrific game to that point. The win was his 17th against the Mets. That's tied for 14th-most against them of any pitcher (the same number as Sandy Koufax, Ferguson Jenkins, Tom Glavine and Rick Wise). Hudson's total is the most of any pitcher who made his major-league debut in the last 25 seasons.
NEW YORK -- Zack Wheeler did not duplicate the six scoreless innings he tossed at Turner Field in his major league debut on June 18. In reality, his outing today was an unremarkable showing. Yet Wheeler received the win as the Mets earned a split of a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves.
Wheeler surrendered homers to Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman, but the Mets nonetheless produced a 7-4 win on an atypically chilly July afternoon at Citi Field.
Daniel Murphy's single plated Andrew Brown with the go-ahead run. David Wright followed with a disputed RBI triple as the Mets took a two-run lead. John Buck then notched his third RBI of the game with a run-scoring double. Murphy finished 3-for-4.
With the series split, the Mets leave for Washington in the same position as when the Braves series began -- 10 games behind division-leading Atlanta. But now the Mets (45-53) have 64 games remaining in their season.
Wheeler's line: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP. He threw 95 pitches, including 31 to navigate the first inning.
Ouch: Eric Young Jr. left the game after three innings with right knee pain, possibly related to his contact with Tim Hudson on Wednesday. It was Brown, Young's replacement, who had the leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth and scored on Murphy's single for a 5-4 lead.
Outta here: Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected in the sixth, although he actually was in the right in the dispute. Wright was credited with an RBI triple in the Mets' three-run frame. In reality, the ball bounced up and hit the railing above the left-field wall, which should have made it a ground-rule double and prevented a run from scoring from first base.
What's next: The Mets head to D.C. for a three-day, four-game series against the Washington Nationals. Jenrry Mejia makes his season debut for the Mets in the Friday afternoon game opposite Nats right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (12-5, 3.01 ERA). Mets ace Matt Harvey (8-2, 2.23) opposes right-hander Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 2.03) in Game 2 of the day-night doubleheader.
Hudson will undergo surgery in Atlanta once the swelling subsides. Doctors told him he was actually relatively fortunate, given the damage that could have occurred in that area.
The Mets got to talk with Hudson extensively after the incident, since the X-ray room at Citi Field is right off the Mets clubhouse. Hudson made sure to convey to Eric Young Jr. that the Met acted responsibly on the play at first base.
Hudson was in decent spirits given the circumstances. He joked Terry Collins: "This is not how I wanted to go into free agency."
Collins said Young tweaked a leg on the play, too. But he is back in left field for the Mets on Thursday.
For ppl who think I would purposely try 2 hurt someone,& felt they needed to say that 2 me...I will continue 2 pray for u as well.#godbless— Eric Young Jr (@EYJr) July 25, 2013
FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler, who tossed six scoreless innings in his major league debut at Turner Field in Atlanta, albeit with five walks, gets another crack at the Braves in an early start this afternoon.
Wheeler (3-1, 3.58 ERA) opposes rookie left-hander Alex Wood (0-2, 2.45) as the Mets look to salvage a split of the four-game series. First pitch: 12:10 p.m.
Wood steps in for fellow southpaw Paul Maholm, who landed on the disabled list on the eve of the series with a bruised wrist.
With the Mets facing a left-hander, Josh Satin should start at first base and Juan Lagares in center field. Justin Turner also is due for his first start since returning from the disabled list.
Terry Collins planned for Turner to be used at a middle-infield position, but Turner might start at third base if David Wright needs a day for a sore back/neck. Wright inadvertently hit himself with the shattered bat during his own swing in the fourth inning Wednesday night.
Thursday’s news reports:
• The Texas Rangers are scouting Marlon Byrd among a bevy of outfield options, writes CBSSports.com. Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox appears Texas’ primary target, according to the report. Writes Jon Heyman:
Ideally, Texas would have loved to make a run at young Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton, Hunter Pence (a local, being a U-T Arlington product) or perhaps Michael Cuddyer, but with those three apparently unavailable at the moment, the Rangers are surveying a market that's heavy on far lesser talents. Pence would seem to have the best chance to be traded of those three, and Texas would target him if he becomes free. Nolan Ryan is said to be a fan.
Seattle, which has Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse, isn't ready to trade anybody yet. And most believe they'll ultimately keep at least Ibanez and Morales now that they are showing decent signs of life. …
The Rangers reportedly have looked at Norichika Aoki, as well, and Danny Knobler reported they are scouting Marlon Byrd, their former player. Other outfielders who could go in trades include Justin Ruggiano, Chris Denorfia, Nate Schierholtz and Alejandro De Aza.
• Tim Hudson suffered a gruesome fracture of his right ankle when he was stepped on while covering first base by runner Eric Young Jr. on Wednesday night. Hudson had taken a scoreless effort into the eighth inning when the injury occurred.
“I saw them get tangled up,” Dan Uggla told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I was just hoping he Charley-horsed him or something. I didn’t see the extent of it. Once I saw Huddy’s reaction, I was like, ‘Oh, no. This isn’t good.’ …
“He was kind of in disbelief, obviously in a lot of pain. You could see just the thoughts going through his head, ‘This can’t be happening. … This is unbelievable.’ That sort of thing. I know he was in a lot of pain.”
Young expressed remorse for what happened.
"I'm hustling down the line like I always do, going for the base," Young said. "I saw his foot, as I'm going for the base, right there in the middle, as I came down, I knew I didn't get any of the base. I know I got all of his foot. I pretty much knew it was probably broke right as I did it, and that's why I sprinted right back to him and tried to console him as much as I could and apologize.
"I was able to see Tim before they took him to the hospital. He told me it wasn't my fault, just one of those freak plays that happened."
Read more on the injury and reaction in the Post and Daily News.
• Evan Gattis, Uggla and Andrelton Simmons all homered against Jeremy Hefner as the Braves beat the Mets, 8-2 at Citi Field. Hefner surrendered six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings. He became the first Mets pitcher to allow three homers in a home game this season. Hefner has allowed 13 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings over his past two starts. Daniel Murphy had two doubles, but also committed two errors.
Columnist John Harper in the Daily News summarizes the night.
Read game recaps in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.
• Read more on Wright’s status after getting struck with his own bat in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.
• Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud returned to game action for the first time Wednesday, in the same Gulf Coast League game. D’Arnaud went 1-for-3 and caught five innings in his first official action since fracturing the first metatarsal in his left foot on April 17 with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Duda, who landed on the DL with an intercostal muscle strain on his left side after a June 21 game, went 0-for-2 with a walk. He played five innings in left field. It would have been far more noteworthy because of the implications for Ike Davis if Duda had played first base, but that was not the case. Read more in the Post.
• Jonathon Niese, on the DL with a shoulder issue, is ready to pitch in a Gulf Coast League game this weekend or shortly thereafter. He likely will need multiple rehab starts before returning, so rejoining the Mets in mid-August is most likely. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Jenrry Mejia joined the Mets in advance of Friday’s start opposite Jordan Zimmermann in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Nationals Park. Matt Harvey opposes Ross Ohlendorf in the nightcap that day. The other matchups that series: Dillon Gee versus Dan Haren on Saturday and Carlos Torres versus Taylor Jordan on Sunday.
• Matching an event annually staged at San Francisco’s A&T Park, the Mets will host a sleepover for fans at Citi Field on Aug. 10. Unlike with the Giants, it will not occur the night of a home day game. Tickets, which range $175-$200 per person and include admission to the Sept. 28 game against the Milwaukee Brewers, go on sale at 10 a.m. today at Mets.com/sleepover. The Mets also announced PR man Jay Horwitz bobblehead day will be held Aug. 23. There’s also a Third Eye Blind concert after that game against the Detroit Tigers.
• Columnist Larry Brooks in the Post suggests the Mets are laying the groundwork for a brighter future.
• Mark Cohoon became the all-time innings-pitched leader in Binghamton history and closer Jeff Walters matched Jerrod Riggan’s B-Mets single-season record with save No. 28 in a 6-3 win against Reading. Read the minor league recap here.
BIRTHDAYS: Billy Wagner, now spending time with his alpacas, turns 42. … Where’s Mota? Guillermo Mota is celebrating his 40th birthday.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
NEW YORK -- Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr. said he was "bummed" out after his collision with Atlanta's Tim Hudson resulted in a fractured right ankle for the pitcher in the Braves' 8-2 win on Wednesday.
Young stepped on Hudson's lower ankle/Achilles at first base while running out a grounder in the eighth inning.
"I apologized to him, told him it was an accident, I obviously wasn't trying to hurt him on the play," Young said. "He just told me to keep my head up and keep playing the game the hard way, the right way. He said there was nothing I can do about it. That made me feel somewhat better, but still bummed that he's going to be out for a while."
With the Braves ahead 6-0 and two men on and one out in the eighth, Young hit a chopper to first that bounced off first baseman Freddie Freeman's chest. Freeman recovered and tossed to Hudson, who was covering first. Hudson's right foot tagged the middle of the bag, and Young stepped right on the lower ankle/Achilles area as he tried to beat out the throw.
Hudson immediately went down, and Young ran right back to the veteran to apologize and offer words of support. Young said that he knew he didn't get the bag and had instead landed on Hudson's foot, and he instantly thought Hudson may have broken a bone. Hudson was eventually carted off the field, and Young stayed with him right until Hudson departed.
Young said it was hard to play the final inning after the collision, but he saw Hudson and his wife after the game and that put him at ease. He appreciated that Hudson complimented him for playing the game the right way.
"He told me it wasn't my fault, just one of those freak plays that happened" Young said. "His foot was in the middle of the bag and I was just hustling like I normally do and I couldn't avoid him. You never want to injure anybody.
"I just hope he has a speedy recovery, getting out there doing what he does. I mean, he pitched a great game tonight and hopefully he can get back out there doing what he loves."
Mets manager Terry Collins and his players wished Hudson a speedy recovery while praising him for being one of baseball's great ambassadors. Hudson threw 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball and recorded the win.
"That sucks. He pitched a heck of a game and to have that kind of freak accident happen to one of the good guys in the game," Mets third baseman David Wright said.
"I've gotten a chance to be around Tim at All-Star Games and playing against him for so long. He's one of the good guys in the game and to see him go down like that and know something was wrong, it's tough to watch. You never want to see anybody get hurt. You just wish him a speedy recovery and hope it's not too serious."
After carrying a shutout bid into the ninth inning, Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of runs as the Atlanta Braves beat the Mets, 2-1, on Monday night/Tuesday morning at Turner Field.
Justin Upton began the comeback bid with a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth. Freddie Freeman then delivered a walk-off two-run homer on pitch No. 101.
With John Buck on second base and two outs in the seventh inning of a scoreless tie, Gee delivered an RBI single through the left side of the infield against Tim Hudson.
Gee had been bidding to become the sixth pitcher in franchise history to drive in the lone run in a 1-0 win, according to statistician Eric Hornick. He would have joined Nino Espinosa, Ray Sadecki and Buzz Capra as well as the tandem of Jerry Koosman and Don Caldwell, who performed the feat in dual 1-0 wins in a 1969 doubleheader.
Gee’s pitch count was at a modest 64 when he batted in the seventh.
Despite dealing with elbow tendinitis of late, Gee continued a solid string of outings. He nonetheless had his three-game winning streak painfully snapped. He has a 1.53 ERA (five runs allowed in 29 1/3 innings) in his past four starts, striking out 32 and walking four during that stretch.
Gee’s lone complete game remains on a technicality: a rain-shortened six-inning win against the Chicago Cubs on May 25, 2011.
Dude! Lucas Duda, playing first base for the first time this season, went 4-for-4. The hit total matched his career high. The last time he achieved that total also came at Turner Field, on Sept. 16, 2011.
Duda also fielded a bounced throw from second baseman Daniel Murphy for the final out of the eighth with the tying run in scoring position.
What’s next: Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler Day!
Harvey (5-1, 2.04 ERA) faces rookie left-hander Alex Wood (0-0, 3.52) in the 1:10 p.m. game Tuesday. Wheeler then makes his major league debut at 7:10 p.m. opposite left-hander Paul Maholm (7-5, 3.65).
Scott Atchison is expected to be activated from the DL, while Justin Turner (intercostal strain) likely is headed there.