New York Mets: Tom Seaver

Top 10: Best pitching performances (part 2)

November, 19, 2014
AP PhotoThe best-pitched game in Mets history was this near-perfecto
This is the third in a series of top 10 lists we will be generating on the Mets this month. We’ve previously covered the Mets most notable home runs (part 1|part 2) and best defensive players (part 1|part 2). Next up: the 10 greatest pitching performances in Mets history. We’ve combined regular season and postseason for this one and we’ve spaced out the results over two days. No. 6 through 10 ran Tuesday. Here are the top five.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

5. Jon Matlack vs. Reds (Oct. 7, 1973)

With the Mets down 1-0 to the Reds and having suffered a crushing loss in Game 1 of the LCS (Tom Seaver allowed home runs in the eighth and ninth inning to blow a 1-0 lead), the Mets were in desperation mode in Game 2.

They got a brilliant performance from Jon Matlack, who grabbed hold of a 1-0 fourth-inning lead and didn’t let go. Matlack pitched a two-hit shutout, allowing only a pair of harmless singles to Andy Kosco and the Mets added insurance runs late to win 4-0.

How good was Matlack? The first four hitters in the Reds lineup -- Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench -- were a combined 0-for-16.

This was the first of three brilliant starts that postseason by Matlack, in which he allowed three unearned runs in 23 innings. The fourth (unfortunately for Mets fans) was a loss to the Athletics in Game 7 of the World Series.

Stat to know: Sixteen pitchers have thrown at least 15 postseason innings for the Mets. The lowest ERA among those hurlers is Jon Matlack’s 1.40.

4. Bobby Jones vs. Giants (Oct. 8, 2000)

A brief moment of personal reminiscence here: I can remember watching Jones from the upper deck of Shea Stadium as he threw his warmup pitches prior to Game 4 of the NLDS, thinking “this looks like a guy who is 100 percent ready to go.”

Jones confirmed my intuition when I talked with him about it a few years ago. His wife had a similar feeling the day before, when she told Bobby Valentine that Jones would pitch “the game of his life.”

“You can imagine the electricity and the atmosphere at Shea that day,” Jones said. “I had no idea what it was like. I was so locked in. I didn’t hear another person say anything. I was so focused.”

Jones rewarded Valentine’s decision to start him by indeed pitching the best game of his life. He retired the side in order in every inning, but the fifth, and the only hit he allowed was a Jeff Kent double just over third baseman Robin Ventura’s glove.

The end result was a 5-0, one-hit shutout (“a masterpiece” as ESPN’s Jon Miller would call it) that put the Mets into the NLCS against the Cardinals.

Stat to know: Jones is one of six pitchers to throw a no-hitter or one-hit shutout in postseason play. He was the first since Jim Lonborg did so for the Red Sox against the Cardinals in Game 2 of the 1967 World Series.

3. Johan Santana vs. Cardinals (June 1, 2012)

I’m guessing the younger fans would like to see this game No. 1, given the historical significance attached to the Mets finally getting their first no-hitter. But I think this is its rightful place when put into a broader perspective.

AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek
Johan Santana had reason to celebrate.
Johan Santana was really good on this night, but he was also a bit fortunate. This wasn’t the dominant Santana of a few years back. It was the post-injuries version that walked five hitters.

The Mets caught a break, the kind they hadn’t caught in previous no-hit bids when Carlos Beltran’s chalk-hitting line drive was ruled foul, though replay showed otherwise.

The most angst-ridden moment of this game came when Yadier Molina made a bid for the Cardinals' first hit with one out in the seventh inning. Mike Baxter, who grew up in Whitestone, N.Y. and had a full understanding of the significance of the no-hit bid, made a reaching catch and then crashed into the left-field wall, breaking his collarbone.

The gain for the pain was a place in Mets history that will never be forgotten.

Santana had no really tough moments the rest of the way. He’d finish with his best pitch, a signature changeup that David Freese chased to end the 134-pitch game of glory.

Stat to know: The Mets went 8,019 games without a no-hitter. The Elias Sports Bureau reported that’s the most by any team beforet recording its first no-hitter.

2. Tom Seaver vs. Padres (April 22, 1970)

Seaver tied a then-major-league record with his 19 strikeouts and set a record, still unbroken, by striking out 10 in a row to end the game. Seaver allowed only two hits, a home run by Al Ferrara in the second inning and a single by Dave Campbell in the fourth.

You could certainly make the case that this was the best pitching performance in Mets history. What hurts its case is that it came against a weak-hitting Padres team that finished 63-99.

Seaver acknowledged as much after the game. New York Newsday’s reporter at the time described Seaver's reaction as 'blasÚ.'

Statistically speaking, according to the Bill James Game Score metric it actually ranked even with the No. 1 choice on the list.

Stat to know: This game was part of a streak spanning the 1969 and 1970 regular seasons in which Seaver went 16-0 with a 1.63 ERA over 18 starts. The 16 straight winning decisions is still a Mets record.

And the first start after the loss that ended the winning streak? How about a 15-strikeout, one-hitter against the Phillies that easily could have made this list as well.

1. Tom Seaver vs. Cubs (July 9, 1969)

The closest a Mets pitcher ever came to throwing a perfect game was this one against the Cubs in 1969 -- a game magnified by the Mets' sudden ascendancy to respectability and their chasing of the Cubs for the division lead.

Seaver noted in his 1970 book (co-authored by Dick Schaap, titled The Perfect Game) that he struggled warming up for this game and was dealing with a tight shoulder. Regardless, he retired the Cubs’ first 25 hitters. But as often befell Mets pitchers in their quest for no-hit glory, a little-known player would be the spoiler. Centerfielder Jim Qualls would notch the 12th base hit of his major-league career, an uncatchable line-drive single to center field.

Seaver would finish with a one-hit shutout and the Mets' seventh win in a row. And they had the full attention of the Cubs and the baseball world after this game.

Stat to know: Six Mets have thrown multiple complete-game one-hitters (games lasting at least nine innings): They are Seaver (5), R.A. Dickey (3), Steve Trachsel, Matlack, Gary Gentry and David Cone (2 each).

deGrom rates as an elite Mets rookie

September, 23, 2014
Now that Jacob deGrom’s rookie season is complete, let’s put it into its proper place in Mets history.

From a Mets standpoint, it was really good. The Mets have had four pitchers finish either first or second in the rookie of the year balloting: Tom Seaver (won in 1967), Jerry Koosman (runner-up in 1968), Jon Matlack (won in 1972) and Dwight Gooden (won in 1984).

DeGrom wasn’t quite in their class, but it seems fair to say he was the next-best thing to them.

He finishes tied with Jason Isringhausen for the sixth-best single-season WAR by a Mets rookie pitcher. The pitchers ahead of him are the four we mentioned and Jae Seo, who was a hair better at 3.2 in 2003.

Similarly, he’s sixth-best among all Mets rookies with at least 100 innings (there have been 36 of them) pitched in ERA at 2.63 and ERA+, which attempts to even out the numbers based on how good offenses were at the time and accounting for primary ballpark.

There were a couple of numbers for which deGrom ranked among the team’s elite.

His 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings and .609 opponents’ OPS each rank second-best among that group of 36, trailing only Dwight Gooden’s 11.4 and .545.

deGrom also won fans over with his hitting. He hit .217 and is one of four Mets rookie pitchers to have at least a .200 batting average with more than 35 plate appearances in his rookie season, along with Gooden (fourth at .200) and the top two of Rick Aguilera (.278 in 1985) and Mark Bomback (.233 in 1980)

As deGrom’s season evolved, he morphed into a pitcher with ace-like qualities. He was 9-2 with a 1.90 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, with only two home runs allowed in his final 15 starts.

In those outings he allowed a total of 24 runs, posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 110 to 25, took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, went 28 innings without allowing an earned run, and tied Jim Deshaies’ modern major-league record by striking out the first eight batters of a game.

How he won
DeGrom’s season turned after getting rocked for 12 hits and six earned runs in a June 16 loss to the Cardinals that dropped his record to 0-4 and raised his ERA to 4.39.

What evolved for deGrom? Here are the key points:

He attacked the strike zone more often. His rate of pitches thrown inside the zone went from 45 percent through that Cardinals start to 51 percent after.

He increased the use of his curveball (from about six per game to 11 per game) and threw it with a high level of effectiveness (74 percent strikes).

He mixed up his pitch location when he was in favorable situations. Through the Cardinals start, he had 11 strikeouts on pitches in the upper half of the zone, 23 in the lower half of the zone. After the Cardinals start, the ratio was a more even 53 in the upper half to 57 in the lower half.

Opponents couldn’t square him up. His hard-hit contact rate was almost 15 percent in his first seven starts, but only 11 percent in his last 15. His ground ball rate jumped from 39 percent to 51 percent over those same stretches.

In fact, they had trouble making any sort of contact. Since June 17, opponents have put only 33 percent of their swings against deGrom into play, the second-best rate among starting pitchers.

The leader in that stat over that time? Near-certain Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.

Did You Know?
Perhaps the best thing for a Mets fan (particularly an optimistic one) to remember heading into the awards season is this: Remember those four Mets pitchers atop this article who finished either first or second in the rookie of the year balloting? All four pitched in a World Series for the team within two years of winning the award.

Morning Briefing: Wheels up!

July, 25, 2014
FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler has allowed one run and completed at least six innings in each of his last four outings.

He looks to keep that production going and get the Mets back on track Friday at Miller Park. Wheeler (5-8, 3.78 ERA) opposes right-hander Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.79) at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Friday’s news reports:

• The Mets have told the Colorado Rockies they would want in if the club is willing to trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez, Joel Sherman reports in the Post.

Tulowitzki is owed $20 million a season through 2019 and $14 million in 2020. CarGo is signed for $16 million in 2015, $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017.

Of course, John Harper in the Daily News had just written Wednesday why Tulowitzki will NOT be coming to the Mets or Yankees.

Dillon Gee surrendered six runs over the opening three innings and the Mets ultimately lost to the Brewers, 9-1, in Thursday’s series opener. Gee now has a 9.00 ERA in two starts since a prolonged layoff during the All-Star break.

The Mets are averaging 2.1 runs and 5.3 hits per game and have a .168 team batting average in seven games since returning from the All-Star break. Matt Garza, who had been knocked out by the Washington Nationals after recording only one out Saturday, limited the Mets to one run on two hits in eight innings. The lone damage came on a solo homer by Lucas Duda in the seventh.

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed a pair of home runs in two relief innings and appeared to be injured when he reached the dugout after the seventh, but Terry Collins said postgame that he was unaware of any issue.

Read game recaps in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times and at

• Although Ruben Tejada felt fine a day after getting beaned with a 94 mph fastball from Taijuan Walker, the Mets promoted Wilmer Flores and started him at shortstop on Thursday. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was optioned to Las Vegas to clear the roster spot. Tejada should be back at shortstop Friday. Read more in the Journal, Times, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at

Curtis Granderson returned to the lineup Thursday after missing two games with a flu-like illness.

• Colon Plaia’s ninth-inning solo homer lifted Savannah to a 2-1 win against Augusta. Josh Prevost, Kelly Secrest and Paul Paez combined for four scoreless relief innings as Brooklyn beat Vermont, 7-2. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Tom Seaver tells the Daily News that Derek Jeter should be the first unanimous Hall of Fame selection.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Mets closer Billy Wagner turns 43.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Do you believe the Mets are serious contenders if the Rockies trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez?

Morning Briefing: Seaver rails against caps

August, 31, 2013

FIRST PITCH: It’s Zack Wheeler Night in D.C.

Wheeler (6-3, 3.42 ERA) opposes right-hander Dan Haren (8-11, 4.66) at 7:05 tonight at Nationals Park.

“I’m a little tired,” Wheeler told Mike Puma in the Post. “My velocity has dropped a little, obviously, [but] I’m learning to pitch at that level so next year when I come back and my velocity is good to go back up, I’m hoping I pick up where I am right now, command-wise.”

Saturday’s news reports:

Frank Franklin II/Associated PressTom Seaver is not a fan of the modern-day babying of pitchers.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal suggests Matt Harvey is in denial about the need for Tommy John surgery.

Tom Seaver questioned innings caps, such as the ones applied to Harvey.

“Naturally, I felt terrible for the kid,” Seaver told Bill Madden in the Daily News about Harvey. “He’s got such a bright future. But, at the same time, all I could think of was how it just goes to show how all this babying of pitchers -- pitch counts and innings limits -- is a bunch of nonsense. You can’t predict these things, and there’s really not a whole lot you can do to prevent them, other than refining your mechanics as [pitching coach] Rube [Walker] did with us. But one way I know doesn’t do anything to prevent them is babying these kids like they do.

“Take a look at all of them, Marichal, Jenkins, Spahn, what do you think made them successful? They conditioned their arms by pitching more, not less, starting from when they signed their first contract. Jenkins threw 300 or more innings half a dozen times. Same with Palmer, Carlton and Marichal. I keep going back to that Marichal-Spahn game when they both pitched 16 innings and threw almost 500 pitches between them. Neither one of them had any adverse aftereffects from it.”

Dillon Gee is now the Mets’ win leader with 10. Gee limited the Nats to a pair of solo homers in 7 2/3 innings and the Mets beat Washington, 3-2, Friday night. Gee gave a scare to his manager by walking off the mound and rolling his shoulder at one point, but it turned out he was trying to cover up for thinking he struck out Ian Desmond when it was only strike two.

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

• Nats manager Davey Johnson was forced to leave the dugout from the fourth inning through the remainder of the game after feeling lightheaded. The big issue on Washington’s side, though: Bryce Harper did not run out his eighth-inning groundout that Daniel Murphy bobbled. Harper stranded two runners.

"The thing about Bryce right now that’s tough: He gets frustrated," bench coach Randy Knorr told D.C. reporters. "I don't think he does it intentionally, but he's gonna have to start picking it up a little bit, because we've got everybody else doing it. He gets frustrated at times and it just comes out of him. It's something we've got to fix."


• Sandy Alderson told he expected September call-ups to wait until minor leaguers were done with their playoffs -- with the exception of reliever Vic Black, who is due to join the Mets on Sunday after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates this week. Ruben Tejada will play “quite a bit” once he returns, Terry Collins said. Read more on Tejada in the Daily News.

Justin Hampson failed to protect a one-run lead in the ninth and Las Vegas lost to Tucson, 3-1. The 51s maintained a two-game division lead with Sacramento’s loss. Three games remain, and Las Vegas has the tiebreaker because of winning the season series. So the magic number stands at one. Left-hander Darin Gorski tossed seven scoreless innings in Binghamton’s 3-0 win. Brooklyn lost to Staten Island, but maintained a half-game lead on Aberdeen for first place in their New York-Penn League division. Brooklyn and Aberdeen play today and tomorrow at MCU Park. Read the full minor league recap here.

Frank Francisco tossed a scoreless innings for Binghamton on Friday night, but the buzz is the Mets likely will release him before ever letting him appear in their major league uniform again.

• The Las Vegas 51s handed out their own awards. Wilmer Flores was given the “Mayor’s Trophy.” Eric Campbell was named player of the year. Hampson was named most valuable pitcher. Catcher Kai Gronauer received recognition for his community service.

Bobby Parnell is unlikely to return this season, although the need for surgery to repair a herniated disc is not resolved. Meanwhile, Jeurys Familia is on track to reappear in the big leagues this season after undergoing elbow surgery on June 5.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record profiles Andrew Brown.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear in Flushing revels in Ralph Kiner.

BIRTHDAYS: Ramon Ramirez, who arrived with Andres Torres in the Angel Pagan trade, turns 32. … Hideo Nomo is 45.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who should the Mets call up in September?

Morning Briefing: Now the rest of '13

July, 17, 2013

Elsa/Getty ImagesMatt Harvey tossed two scoreless innings Tuesday night, in his first All-Star Game.

FIRST PITCH: And now the home stretch of the season.

With the All-Star Game in the books, the Mets have their final full day off of the break Wednesday. They then regroup Thursday for a 5 p.m. workout at Citi Field.

Terry Collins has given David Wright and Matt Harvey off for that workout. Wright particularly needs the rest after dealing with a sore left foot of late, then serving as unofficial ambassador during All-Star festivities.

The Mets open a seven-game homestand Friday, when Jeremy Hefner opposes Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick.

Zack Wheeler opposes Cole Hamels on Saturday, while All-Stars Matt Harvey and Cliff Lee match up in Sunday’s series finale.

Then come the Atlanta Braves for four games.

With the Mets facing two left-handers against the Phillies, the Ike Davis versus Josh Satin playing time issue should quickly get very interesting.

Wednesday’s news reports:

• The National League looked a lot like the regular home team at Citi Field. It mustered only three hits -- one by Wright -- in a 3-0 shutout by the American League on Tuesday night before a Citi Field-record crowd of 45,186. Harvey tossed two scoreless innings, although he drilled Robinson Cano with a pitch, which prompted Harvey to apologize.

Harvey had hit only one of 501 batters he faced during the first half (Michael McKenry of the Pirates). Harvey became the first Mets pitcher with three strikeouts in an All-Star Game since Sid Fernandez in 1986, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Wright finished 1-for-3 and played seven innings at third base.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan writes in the Post about being the driver for Harvey in the All-Star parade Tuesday afternoon across 42nd St. Read more in the Times.

• Read more on Harvey in the Times, Yahoo!, Star-Ledger, Daily News, Journal and Record.

• Read more on Wright in the Star-Ledger, Journal and Newsday.

• An 18-year-old fan wearing a Yankees shirt ended up getting tackled by security and arrested after boasting on Twitter he would enter the field. Read more in the Post and Daily News.

• Fred Wilpon offered a positive review of the first All-Star Game in Queens since 1964.

• Tom Seaver threw the ceremonial first pitch to Wright. "Wright saved me. He caught it when it was in the air," Seaver said, writes Neil Best in Newsday. Read more in the Times.

• In Men’s Journal, David Amsden spends a day with Harvey, including a stop at an upscale clothing store frequented by athletes. Writes Amsden:

Harvey strolls into the store and seeks out Gerry, a salesman who dresses most of the athletes that come through.

"We're flying out Thursday, going to Miami," Harvey tells Gerry. "Normally we wear a suit, but this week, Mets management switched it to some sort of white shirt. I want to go all white. Maybe, like, white linen? Freak everyone out a bit." Harvey eyes a linen blazer with about a million buttons running along the seam and a funky, upturned collar -- a baroque garment more befitting a general in Napoleon's army than a ballplayer. "Think I can pull this off?" he asks.

Gerry gently pivots Harvey away from the coat. "Might be a bit much," he says, delicately. "But I think I've got just the thing for you."

• On a light day in the minors, Angel Cuan suffered the loss in his Double-A debut. Justin Turner played shortstop for the B-Mets in his second day rehabbing with the club. Turner went 1-for-3 with a walk and run scored. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Jeff Pearlman on his blog profiles Stephen Keane, the man behind the blog The Eddie Kranepool Society.

Carlos Beltran in the Post says he could wear a Mets cap in the Hall of Fame.

From the bloggers … Faith and Fear still has a twinkle in its eyes from the All-Star Game coming to Flushing. ... Metsmerized writes the honeymoon is officially over for Sandy Alderson and he is now on the clock. … continues the countdown of its midseason top-25 Mets prospects, with Gavin Cecchini checking in at No. 9.

BIRTHDAYS: Shortstop Roy McMillan was born on this date in 1929.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Did you appreciate the All-Star Game sendoff for Mariano Rivera, even though you’re a Mets fan?

Morning Briefing: Almost break time

July, 14, 2013

FIRST PITCH: The Mets soon will have a chance to recharge their batteries -- well, with the exception of David Wright and Matt Harvey, who should be plenty busy over the next few days.

Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60 ERA) opposes rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole (4-2, 3.68) in today’s 1:35 p.m. first-half finale at PNC Park as the Mets look to avoid getting swept. All-Star southpaw Jeff Locke was scratched from the start by the Pirates.

Courtesy of New York MetsNoah Syndergaard is the starter for Team USA in today's Futures Game.

Less than a half-hour after the Mets-Pirates game gets under way, the All-Star events at Citi Field begin with the 2 p.m. Futures Game, which will be televised live on ESPN2.

Mets farmhands Noah Syndergaard (Team USA) and Rafael Montero (World) will start opposite each other on the mound. The squads will be managed by Mookie Wilson and Edgardo Alfonzo. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo will come off the bench for Team USA.

Mets special assistant J.P. Ricciardi, in a radio interview Saturday, projected Montero as a No. 4 starter in the majors and raved about Syndergaard’s electric fastball and power sinker.

The celebrity softball game featuring Mike Piazza, John Franco, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Rickey Henderson will be played today at Citi Field after the Futures Game. It will be televised by ESPN on Monday, after the 8 p.m. Home Run Derby, at approximately 10:30 p.m.

Sunday’s news reports:

• After Saturday’s game, Jordany Valdespin was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Scott Atchison will return from the disabled list to give the Mets an extra relief arm for the first-half finale. Valdespin was 2-for-his-last-36. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Post.

• Despite Carlos Torres contributing five solid innings in his first major league start in three years, the Mets lost to the Pirates, 4-2, Saturday at PNC Park. Ike Davis was unable to make a pair of fielding plays in Pittsburgh’s two-run seventh inning.

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

• Sandy Alderson told he does not foresee the roster “looking substantially different” after the July 31 trade deadline.

Alderson, in a separate interview in Newsday, said about Marlon Byrd: "We're not looking to move Marlon. Obviously, we have our eye on the future, but we want to be as good as we can be this year as well. Now, if what we can get for the future exceeds the value of the present, we'd have to look at that. But we're not anxious to do it."

Regarding Bobby Parnell, the GM added: "We've been looking for a closer for two years. Looks like we've found one. Why would we want to give him away immediately? This is not a guy we're looking to move, either."

Ricciardi, matching Alderson’s comments, said the Mets are not eager to trade Byrd.

Read more in the Post.

• Alderson told Kristie Ackert in the Daily News that Harvey skipping Saturday’s start primarily was to curtail his innings and was not about the All-Star Game. “He would pitch in the All-Star Game whether he pitched today or not,” Alderson told Ackert on Saturday. “That wasn’t the reason we made the decision. We made the decision on his projected workload over the course of the season. His blister was a factor.”

• John Harper and Anthony McCarron in the Daily News catch up with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Gooden, Ron Darling and Al Leiter about their first All-Star Game experiences. Ken Davidoff in the Post talks with 72-year-old Ron Hunt, the last Met to start an All-Star Game in Queens, back in 1964 at Shea Stadium.

• Seaver will serve as the grand marshal of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. All-Star parade, which will travel across 42nd St., beginning at Sixth Ave. and continuing to Third Ave.

• Regarding his first All-Star Game, Harvey tells Kevin Kernan in the Post: “This is a huge honor for me, and to be able to put that uniform on is really awesome, especially being there with David. David told me to keep my eyes open, keep my ears open and really just enjoy it. All of this is new, and I’m taking it in stride. But when it comes to Cliff Lee and guys who have done it multiple times, it’s really something I’m looking forward to. And, hopefully, it’s not my last All-Star Game.”

• Anthony Rieber in Newsday talks with Wright on the eve of another All-Star appearance, while colleague Marc Carig in Newsday talks with Harvey about his first-half success.

Jeremy Hefner will start the second-half opener for the Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday at Citi Field. Zack Wheeler starts on Saturday, followed by Harvey on Sunday. Gee then gets next Monday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves, followed by Torres.

• Terry Collins identifies outfield production as one reason for the Mets’ improved team performance, the Times writes.

• Wright’s pitcher in Monday’s Home Run Derby is bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Justin Turner began a rehab assignment for a strained intercostal muscle on his left side on Saturday as the DH in the Gulf Coast League. He is expected to play for Class A St. Lucie on Sunday, signaling a return right after the All-Star break.

Jenrry Mejia, on a rehab assignment, tossed five scoreless innings as Binghamton completed a doubleheader sweep of Portland. Wilmer Flores, who had been due to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, departed Sunday’s Las Vegas game after one inning with a hamstring injury. Anthony Chavez’s RBI double in the top of the ninth lifted Brooklyn to a 2-1 win against Connecticut. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Ken Belson in the Times discusses the benefit to the host team of putting on an All-Star Game. Writes Belson:

The main financial lift for the host club is to use the All-Star Game to help push ticket sales to every other game on the schedule.

“For us, the big plus is you expand your season-ticket base going into that year,” said Kevin Uhlich, the senior vice president for business operations for the Kansas City Royals, who were the hosts for the All-Star Game in 2012. “While our play on the field didn’t change, our season tickets were up 25 percent because the only way to guarantee All-Star tickets was to buy a ticket plan.”

• Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger discusses Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ improved performance with the center fielder.

• Cody Derespina in Newsday suggests Harvey has pitched better than his 7-2 record indicates.

• Jordan Lauterbach in Newsday profiles Brooklyn second baseman LJ Mazzilli, son of Lee Mazzilli.

• Steven Marcus in Newsday writes that All-Star venue Citi Field evokes memories of Ebbets Field, as Fred Wilpon intended.

BIRTHDAYS: White Sox manager/ex-Met Robin Ventura turns 46. He will be one of the AL coaches at Tuesday’s All-Star Game, along with Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. The NL coaches also have Mets ties: Collins and Davey Johnson. ... Las Vegas reliever Jack Leathersich is 23.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Terry Collins use Josh Satin at first base on Sunday, even though the Pirates now are using a right-hander?

Seaver, celebs part of All-Star festivities

July, 10, 2013

Frank Franklin II/Associated PressTom Seaver will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday's All-Star Game.

SAN FRANCISCO -- There will be no shortage of VIPs at the All-Star Game at Citi Field, including The Franchise.

Tom Seaver will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field before Tuesday's All-Star Game, the first in Queens since the 1964 game in the Mets' inaugural season at Shea Stadium.

Other celebs:

• Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, retired manager Tony La Russa and ex-Mets Dwight Gooden, Ed Charles, Ed Kranepool, Art Shamsky and Barry Lyons will attend the MLB All-Star 5K & Fun Run benefiting Sandy Relief on Saturday at Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

• Mike Piazza as well as Chris Rock, Kevin James, George Lopez, Ashanti, Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan and Jennie Finch will participate in Sunday's softball game.

• Pitbull will perform prior to the Home Run Derby on Monday at Citi Field.

• American Idol winner Candice Glover will perform the national anthem and Marc Anthony will sing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at Tuesday's All-Star Game.

Morning Briefing: New starter Carlos Torres

July, 10, 2013

FIRST PITCH: Carlos Torres is the newest starting pitcher for the New York Mets, although he still had some relief work left to complete before switching roles.

Torres, now due to take Shaun Marcum’s rotation spot, worked two innings for the second straight day Tuesday night. He surrendered only his second run in 17 2/3 innings since a call-up from Triple-A Las Vegas, where he served as a starting pitcher.

Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY SportsCarlos Torres is entering the Mets' rotation.

Torres, an ex-Rockies and White Sox pitcher, has been dominant since the call-up. That’s a far cry from spring training, when he had been rocked to the point where he looked like he merited getting released.

Torres, 30, had an 8.44 ERA and allowed nine hits and four walks in 5 1/3 Grapefruit League innings before relocating to minor league camp.

Something clicked in mid-May for Torres in Triple-A. After a May 8 appearance against Round Rock in which he surrendered nine runs in four innings, Torres went on a tear. He finished his stint with the 51s with consecutive complete games, during which he allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out 15 in 18 innings.

“In spring training we were trying to make mechanical adjustments,” Torres said. “We were trying to do a couple of things like move me farther to the left side of the rubber and move my front side up higher. And it just didn’t end up working. We got to Las Vegas and they said go back to whatever you were doing.”

Torres’ June 15 call-up came after he forced the Mets’ hands. He exercised an out in his contract and had the right to become a free agent if the Mets did not promote him. Rather than watch him walk, the Mets brought him to the big-league club as a reliever.

Torres said there was some uncertainty after he exercised the clause about what the Mets would do.

“I just took the opt-out and would see what happened after that,” Torres said.

As for Wednesday’s 3:45 p.m. ET series finale against the Giants, the Mets will be aiming for their first sweep in San Francisco since 1994. Zack Wheeler, the former sixth overall pick by the Giants in the 2009 draft, opposes Matt Cain.

“I looked at the schedule before the season,” Wheeler said. “I was just looking through every game that we played, and supposedly when they were going to be calling me up in early June who I’d be facing. And I saw the Giants shortly after. Pretty cool.”

Wednesday’s news reports:

• Marcum will undergo season-ending surgery Monday in St. Louis for thoracic outlet syndrome, which caused numbness and coldness in his pitching hand. Torres will step into Marcum’s rotation spot at least until Jonathon Niese returns.

Jeffrey Phelps/Associated PressShaun Marcum is due to undergo season-ending surgery Monday in St. Louis.

Read more in the Post, Times, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Torres may actually start Saturday in Pittsburgh. The Mets are considering skipping Matt Harvey’s final first-half start to (1) allow a blister to heal, (2) start curtailing his innings so he can complete the season without hitting a cap and (3) give him ample rest to start for the NL All-Star team.

Read more in the Daily News and Newsday.

• The Mets are lobbying hard to get Harvey the All-Star Game start, writes Mike Puma in the Post. Still, writes columnist Joel Sherman in the Post:

There is something in my sense of right and wrong in the sport that feels wrong the Mets will rig their rotation and likely shorten Harvey’s workload on Saturday to make sure he is on the mound for the first pitch Tuesday night of what ultimately is an exhibition game. This seems too close a cousin to Jose Reyes bunting for a hit and being removed from Game 162 to secure a batting title. It is not a sacrilege, certainly not illegal, but even as it makes a bunch of people feel great, it still plays wrong on some level to me.

Marlon Byrd’s grand slam capped a five-run eighth inning and Anthony Recker earlier produced a two-run homer as the Mets beat San Francisco, 10-6, Tuesday night at AT&T Park. Dillon Gee surrendered five runs and walked five in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision.

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

• The Mets and a Native American group got into a squabble over a planned night celebrating the culture. The root of the problem, according to Scott Cacciola in the Times: The Mets scheduled the date coinciding with a visit by the Atlanta Braves, whose name is viewed as an insensitive. Writes Cacciola:

So in the past week, concerned that such activities might be interpreted by the Braves organization as a form of protest over its nickname, the Mets drastically reduced the day’s activities: no singing, no dancing. And now there won’t be any American Indians, either. On Monday, the A.I.C.H. pulled out of the event, citing frustration with the Mets for thwarting months of planning.

• After logging 16 innings Monday, the Mets had played 814 innings this season. That is the most innings through 86 games in MLB since the Houston Astros had the same total in 1995, writes Andrew Keh in the Times. The Mets are the first team to play four games of 15 innings or more before the All-Star break in major league history.

Writes Jared Diamond in the Journal:

The Mets entered Tuesday's contest here averaging 9.465 innings per game. Since 1920, the furthest back that Stats LLC tracks such curiosities, only two teams averaged more over a full season: the 1943 Boston Red Sox (9.471) and the 1969 Minnesota Twins (9.469).

• Gabriel Ynoa tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings as Savannah beat Augusta, 8-1. Jeff Diehl’s walk-off homer lifted Kingsport to a 3-2 win against Greeneville. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Tom Seaver will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the All-Star Games. Writes Bill Madden in the Daily News:

A year ago, on any given day, the mention of the Mets hosting the All-Star Game for the first time since 1964 might have easily drawn a blank look on Seaver’s face. Forget about not registering places and events, Seaver had trouble remembering names and faces of people he had known for years. Even scarier was the fact that he didn’t know why -- until finally, about six months ago, he went to see a doctor who, after administering a series of tests and scans, determined he did not have dementia, as Seaver had feared, but rather was suffering from Stage 3 Lyme disease. …

It has been a slow but steady road back -- Seaver still takes a bunch of pills, most of them vitamins, every day, has changed his diet and no longer drinks his beloved wine, not even the highly rated Cabernet he produces in his GTS (for George Thomas Seaver) Vineyard -- but Seaver, who was grateful a few months ago for feeling good for two to three straight days, now has mostly good days.

• Campbell Abbott in the Daily News reviews the charitable components of the All-Star festivities.

• Billy Witz in the Times profiles first-round pick Dominic Smith, and looks at the underrepresentation of African-Americans in baseball.

“That’s what some scouts like about me; that’s what some scouts hate about me. They see me play and feel like I’m not giving 100 percent, like I’m too cool,” Smith told Witz in the feature. “But it’s how I play -- I try not to get caught up in the antics or the emotion. I don’t play the game with emotion. If you play with emotion, you make emotional mistakes.”

From the bloggers … The Eddie Kranepool Society suggests the Mets’ resiliency could get Terry Collins an extension. … John Delcos at Mets Report suggests Collins’ obligation with respect to Harvey is to the Mets, not the NL All-Star team.

BIRTHDAYS: Bob Bailor was born on this date in 1951.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should Anthony Recker be the No. 1 catcher over John Buck?

Harvey's April was Seaver-esque

April, 30, 2013
Matt Harvey, Tom SeaverGetty ImagesMatt Harvey's April was Tom Seaver-esque.
The most meaningful (and hopeful) numbers we saw from the Mets this April belonged to Matt Harvey. Let’s give them a thorough review.

From the historical perspective
Harvey ended April 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA and an 0.82 WHIP. The Mets have had only two pitchers end April with at least four wins, no losses, an ERA that low and a WHIP that low.

Dwight Gooden did so, not in his Cy Young season of 1985, but in April 1986, going 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA and an 0.79 WHIP. Frank Viola then followed that up in April 1990, going 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA and an 0.73 WHIP.

Harvey tied Pedro Martinez’s end-of-April record with 46 strikeouts in the month, something Martinez did in 2005. Harvey’s 10.26 strikeouts per 9 innings rates fifth-best among Mets pitchers for March/April (minimum 25 innings). The four ahead of him are Sid Fernandez (13.5 in 1992), Johan Santana (12.1 in 2009), Pedro Martinez (11.5 in 2005) and Tom Seaver in 1971 (10.30 in 1971).

Take note of the reference to Seaver’s opening month in 1971. Besides Harvey's one extra start, there are a lot of similarities between those two Aprils.

We’ve placed them side by side in the chart on the right. Seaver finished 20-10 with a 1.76 ERA, leading the NL in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.

One more Harvey/Seaver note. Harvey finished the month as only the second Mets pitcher to throw 40 innings and allow less than five hits per nine innings in April.

Seaver is the only other Met to end April with those numbers, doing so in 1973.

From an analytical perspective
Harvey had good numbers with all four of his pitches in April. He had great numbers with three of them.

He threw 136 sliders in April, accounting for a little more than one-fifth of his pitches. They resulted in 28 outs (27 batters retired, with one hitting into a double play), one hit and two walks.

Harvey also threw 75 changeups in April, an average of about a dozen per start. Those netted 23 outs, one hit, two walks, and one batter reaching via error.

If we’re going to grade those pitches as A-level, then his fastball needs to go right alongside that. As we can show you in the chart on the right, Harvey’s fastball is upper-echelon.

His rate of getting misses against it is more than double the major league average for the month. Not only that, but his fastball location has improved dramatically from last season. And that’s made a big difference.

When hitters took Harvey’s heater last season, he got a called strike 31 percent of the time.

In 2013, Harvey is getting called strikes 42 percent of the time.

What is the 11 percentage-point differential worth?

About three to four more balls turned into called strikes just with that pitch per game.

That’s helped Harvey lower his walk rate from 3.9 last season to 2.7 in April.

Looking ahead
The bad news is that Harvey’s April is going to be almost impossible to replicate. Even the most optimistic Mets fan knows that going Gooden ’85 (1.53 ERA) for six months is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of feat.

But consider this: If Harvey finished with 200 innings and an ERA of 2.56 (a full point higher than it is right now), his ERA from May to September would still be considerably below 3.

And there would likely be a few more moments like he and the Mets have had in his first six starts this season.

Morning briefing: Wright's side stop in PSL

March, 15, 2013

FIRST PITCH: Captain America, it turns out, is not invincible.

David Wright should be back at the Mets’ spring-training complex today, not with Team USA as it faces an elimination game in Miami against Puerto Rico. And that is worrisome. (UPDATE: Wright will fly directly to New York this morning to be examined by team doctors. He is due in Port St. Lucie on Saturday.)

Wright was scratched from Thursday night’s game, an eventual 3-1 loss to the Dominican Republic, with rib soreness on the back left side. He is due to be examined today by Mets doctors in Port St. Lucie.

Wright said he began feeling discomfort a week ago. He has had difficulty sleeping in recent days, but maintains his body feels better playing than while idle. He was scratched after going through batting practice as the Mets exerted their influence.

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
David Wright should be back in Port St. Lucie getting a rib-cage issue checked out.

During the 2011 season, Wright played through discomfort before eventually being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back. Last spring training, the now-30-year-old Wright dealt with a left rib-cage strain, although he told reporters last night this injury seemed different.

Wright insisted he could have played last night.

If Wright is not ready for Opening Day, however, Zach Lutz, Justin Turner or Brandon Hicks would be capable of playing third base.

On the field, the Mets travel to Disney today to face the Atlanta Braves.

Jeremy Hefner, who is poised to open the season in the rotation in place of Johan Santana, starts for the Mets opposite Tim Hudson. Also scheduled to pitch: Aaron Laffey, Bobby Parnell, Josh Edgin and Scott Atchison.

Terry Collins said Laffey should pitch at least two innings as he begins to get stretched out, presumably as the next alternative should another starting pitcher be needed.

Also today, Mets officials must ship out prospects on the 40-man roster or face additional risk the remainder of spring training. If Travis d’Arnaud or Wilmer Flores remained in camp beyond Friday and subsequently became injured, they would need to open the season on the disabled list and accumulate major league pay and service time. So prospect cuts from major league camp may be looming before today’s close of business.

Friday’s news reports:

• Read more on Wright’s injury in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and

• Tom Seaver has been battling a serious case of Lyme disease that included some memory loss, Bill Madden reports in the Daily News.

Dillon Gee allowed six runs on three hits, four walks, two hit batters and three wild pitches in two innings and the Mets lost to the Tigers, 9-1, Thursday at Tradition Field. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Times, Newsday, Post, Daily News and

• The Post’s Mike Vaccaro and Mark Hale spoke with Sandy Alderson on a Podcast. (Listen here, beginning at the 4:30 mark.)

On whether a multiyear deal will come up to cover the remaining three years of arbitration for Ike Davis and beyond, Alderson said: “It has to fit for us. It has to fit for the player. So, in his case, and maybe one or two others, we keep an eye on it. Sometimes the player is not interested. Sometimes the agent is not interested. It’s one of those things that has to work for both sides.”

As for why Collins is managing a lame-duck season rather than getting an extension, the GM said: “In part a desire just to see how the team continues to develop … we felt that this was the best thing for the Mets. That doesn’t mean that Terry won’t be with us long term. And it doesn’t mean that he’ll be judged strictly on the basis of wins and losses either.”

Jeff Robertson/Associated Press
Ike Davis is hitting 357 during spring training.

• Despite an 0-for-3 performance Thursday, Davis is still hitting .357 in Grapefruit League play. “Yeah!” Davis told Anthony Rieber in Newsday.

Davis discusses how badly Valley fever knocked him out last spring training with Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. Writes Ackert:

Every night last spring, after a day fighting through fatigue at the ballpark, Ike Davis would go back to his place and just crash. Still, lying there in his bed at night, there was no relief from the fatigue of Valley fever, the fungal infection that attacked Davis’ lungs and sapped his strength. He’d get dizzy, he’d struggle to breathe -- and every night he would hardly sleep at all.

Jenrry Mejia, who has recently rediscovered his cutter, has not pitched since Monday because of tendinitis, Mike Puma writes in the Post.

Mike Baxter mourned the death of legendary prep coach Jack Curran, whom Baxter played for at Archbishop Molloy.

• Mike Kerwick in the Record reviews the recent outings of Bobby Parnell.

• Steven Marcus in Newsday reports that Sunday’s college lacrosse doubleheader marks only the second time the sport has been played at a major league stadium on an intercollegiate level. The other instance came when Navy faced Johns Hopkins in the Houston Astrodome in 1971.

From the bloggers … In light of Wright's plot-twist, Mets Police is convinced The Mets is actually a scripted television series.

BIRTHDAYS: No player to appear in a game for the Mets was born on March 15, but Eva Longoria, Kellan Lutz, Bret Michaels and Fabio celebrate birthdays today.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: If David Wright were to start the season on the DL, whom would you like to see at third base -- Zach Lutz, Justin Turner, Wilmer Flores, Brandon Hicks or Brian Bixler?

Seaver No. 24 in ESPN Hall

December, 13, 2012
Tom Seaver checked in at No. 24 in ESPN's Baseball Hall of Fame selection, which includes 100 players. Other players with New York ties in the top 25:

1. Babe Ruth
2. Willie Mays
7. Roger Clemens
9. Mickey Mantle
11. Lou Gehrig
14. Rickey Henderson
18. Alex Rodriguez
21. Joe DiMaggio
23. Randy Johnson

Check out the full list here.

Piazza, Kid check in at ESPN Hall

December, 11, 2012
With some big PED-era names facing judgment day next month in the Baseball Hall of Fame voting and with the everlasting cacophony over who belongs in Cooperstown and who doesn't, we decided to take a fresh look at the greats of the game.

Out with conventional wisdom and hidebound opinions; in with a new analysis of which players really are the best of the best.

And so we present the ESPN Hall of 100: the top 100 players of all time.

In the first round of players unveiled, Mike Piazza checks in at No. 78 and Gary Carter appropriately checks in at No. 86. (Tom Glavine, more for his Braves days, is No. 93).

Hall of 100 – Day 1: Honorable mentions and Nos. 100-76

Hall of 100 methodology

Steve Wulf’s intro

Hot Button: Halladay in, Schilling out

Schoenfield: These guys got snubbed!

Szymborski: Projecting the next generation

Triple Play: Surprises




The series in Metrics (Mets vs. Rockies)

August, 23, 2012
Getty Images/Jason SzenesMatt Harvey was a bright spot in a very grim series for the Mets.
The Mets have scored two runs or fewer in six straight games for the first time since 1982.

They’ve lost eight straight to the Rockies at home, tied for the fifth-longest losing streak they’ve had against a team in their home ballpark (the longest since dropping 10 straight to the 1991-92 Braves).

They lost a 1-0 game to the Rockies for the first time in club history, after winning the first 27 times they held the Rockies to one run or fewer.

That’s enough about that sort of thing.

Let’s focus this series recap on the team’s starting pitching performances and related news.

Tough-luck Collin McHugh
It was a historic debut performance for Collin McHugh who Elias tells us became the fourth pitcher since 1900 to go at least seven innings, allow no runs and two hits or fewer, and strike out nine in his major-league debut.

The other three are Elmer Myers (1915 Athletics against the Washington Senators), Hall-of-Famer Juan Marichal (1960 Giants against the Phillies), and Steve Woodard (1997 Brewers against the Blue Jays in a 1-0 win over Roger Clemens).

Elias also notes that the Mets are also the first team in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to have two pitchers strike out at least nine hitters in their major-league debut. Matt Harvey whiffed 11 Diamondbacks a few weeks ago.

Harvey Happenings
Matt Harvey struck out nine in six innings in Wednesday’s no-decision, giving him 43 strikeouts in his first six career appearances.

That’s the most of any pitcher in Mets history in his first six appearances, surpassing Nolan Ryan’s 42 (Ryan had one relief appearance within that).

Harvey also had his second career multi-hit game, joining Brian Bannister as the only pitchers in Mets history with a pair of multi-hit games in their first six career games.

Really Awesome and nothing to show for it
The fine work of R.A. Dickey went to waste in Monday’s 3-1 loss. Dickey allowed one run in seven innings, but got a no-decision.

Dickey now has an NL-best 13 starts this season in which he’s pitched at least seven innings and allowed one run or fewer, the most by a Met since Frank Viola had 14 in 1990. The Mets record is 18 by Dwight Gooden in 1985, one more than Tom Seaver’s 17 in 1971.

Dickey currently stands at 181 strikeouts. The last Mets righty with that many was Pedro Martinez (208 in 2005). Only four Mets righties have reached 200 strikeouts in a season -- Seaver (9 times), David Cone (4), Gooden (4) and Martinez (1).

Closing the book on Santana’s season
Johan Santana finished the season with a 4.85 ERA, which will likely rank as the worst ever for a single-season by a left-handed pitcher who made at least 20 starts for the Mets. Lower the minimum to 15 starts and it drops to fourth-worst, with Pete Schourek’s 5.96 ERA in 1993 leading the way.

Santana finished the season with nine losses, his third straight season with exactly that many defeats (keeping in mind that he skipped 2011). Santana and Ron Darling are the only pitchers in Mets history with three seasons of exactly nine defeats.

Santana also ends the season as the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Mets history (you didn’t think we’d leave that out, did you?)

The series in 'Met'rics (Mets at Reds)

August, 16, 2012
AP Photo/David KohlMatt Harvey had his best start in Wednesday's win.
For the third straight series, the Mets lost the first two games, than closed with a win. We look at the statistical highs and lows with the help of and other tools.

Harvey looks like an ace
Matt Harvey’s eight strikeouts gave him 34 in the first five games of his career.

The only Met with more through his first five appearances is Dwight Gooden with 36 in 1984. Bill Pulsipher slides down to third-most with 33.

Harvey also contributed with the bat, driving in two runs with a long double.

He’s the third Mets pitcher with a multi-RBI game within the first five games of his career, joining Julio Valera (1990) and Brian Bannister (2006).

The Bruce is Loose
Jay Bruce beat Josh Edgin and the Mets with his fourth career walk-off home run. Three of his walk-off home runs have come against current Mets pitchers, with the other two who allowed them being Manny Acosta with the Braves and Tim Byrdak with the Astros (a homer that clinched the NL Central for the 2010 Reds).

The Mets have allowed 13 walk-off home runs to the Reds, the second-most they’ve allowed to any team. They’ve allowed 16 to the Phillies.

This was the third time in Mets history that they lost when a walk-off homer broke a scoreless tie. The other two instances were against the Marlins (Derrek Lee) in 2000 and Brewers (Corey Hart) in 2010.

Young made viewers age
Chris Young had one of the worst good outings in Mets history, allowing eight hits and four walks, but no runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Prior to Tuesday, 343 starting pitchers had allowed at least 12 baserunners in a game this season. Every one of them gave up at least one run. He was the first Mets pitcher with a 12-baserunner, no-runs start since Bobby Jones against the Braves in 1996.

The last starting pitcher to allow at least 12 baserunners but no runs against the Reds was a former Met, broadcaster Bob Ojeda, for the 1992 Dodgers. The last before him: another former Met and current broadcaster, Orel Hershiser, for the 1989 Dodgers.

The Reds left 14 men on base through the first seven innings of Monday’s win without scoring a run. Elias noted that they were the first team to leave that many men on base without scoring in the first seven innings since the Senators against the Tigers in 1969.

The Thole Story
The Elias Sports Bureau noted that in Tuesday's loss, Josh Thole became the first catcher in Mets history to have three passed balls in one game.

Complete Effort
Mike Leake’s complete game was the first by a Reds pitcher against the Mets in Cincinnati since Bill Gullickson on July 4, 1987, the first against them in Cincinnati that featured four baserunners or fewer since Mario Soto threw one in 1982.

Tooting the Statistical ‘Horn’
New York Islanders TV statistician Eric Hornick chimed in with these terrific nuggets on R.A. Dickey’s loss on Wednesday.

He’s the third Mets pitcher with a nine-strikeout, three-homer game, with the other two thrown by Tom Seaver (1972) and Sid Fernandez (1992) and the first Mets pitcher with a nine-strikeout, 10-hits allowed game since Bobby Jones in 1995.

In another note (running through the teams with the most baserunners in a 1-0 win), Eric also came up with what should be this blog post’s philosophy: “As I've always said, 'if you can't be good, be historical.'"

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Diamondbacks 1

July, 27, 2012

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Move over Tom Seaver. (And Bill Denehy). Matt Harvey set a franchise record by striking out 11 in his major league debut. And behind 5 1/3 scoreless innings from the 2010 first-round pick, the New York Mets snapped a six-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks to open an 11-game West Coast trip.

Seaver and Denehy struck out eight apiece in their major league debuts three days apart in 1967. Harvey’s strikeout total was the most in a major league debut since Stephen Strasburg had 14 for the Nationals against Pittsburgh on June 8, 2010.

Scott Hairston went 3-for-4 with a two-run double, while Andres Torres snapped an 0-for-17 drought with a fourth-inning triple, allowing him to score on Rob Johnson’s sacrifice fly to provide Harvey with a three-run cushion. The Mets won for only the second time in 13 games since the All-Star break, and handed NL All-Star Wade Miley a defeat.

Harvey also went 2-for-2 at the plate, including a second-inning double off Miley for his first major league hit. David West was the lone other Mets pitcher to have a multi-hit major league debut, on Sept. 24, 1988 against St. Louis.

Harvey became the first pitcher since 1900 to have 10 or more strikeouts and produce two or more hits at the plate in his major league debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Mets' only other first-round pick to have a scoreless major league debut with the organization as a starting pitcher was Tim Leary in 1981. He only logged two innings.

Pumping in fastballs at 96-97 mph, Harvey limited the Diamondbacks to three hits and three walks. He tossed a pair of wild pitches.

Harvey departed with his pitch count at 106 -- three more than his highest Triple-A total this season -- after issuing his second walk of the sixth inning.

Fellow rookie Josh Edgin, who was selected in the 30th round of the same draft in which Harvey was selected seventh overall, stranded both runners inherited from Harvey by retiring lefty-hitting Miguel Montero and pinch hitter Chris Young. Edgin went on to toss a scoreless seventh as well.

Jon Rauch surrendered an eighth-inning run on Justin Upton’s sacrifice fly. Bobby Parnell notched the save despite walking two in the ninth.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jon Niese (7-4, 3.59 ERA) tries to build on the momentum when he opposes Diamondbacks right-hander Josh Collmenter (2-2, 3.82) at 9:40 p.m. ET Friday.



Bartolo Colon
15 4.09 151 202
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187