New York Mets: Wilson Valdez

Mets morning briefing 8.17.12

August, 17, 2012
Matt Harvey tossed a career-high 7 2/3 innings and the Mets had enough cushion to withstand another Frank Francisco meltdown and salvage the series finale with an 8-4 win in Cincinnati on Thursday night. Ike Davis and Jason Bay homered against Homer Bailey.

Harvey, firing fastballs and working with newcomer Kelly Shoppach in the former Red Sox catcher's Mets debut, limited Cincinnati to one run on four hits and a walk while striking out eight in an 89-pitch effort. Harvey also contributed a two-run double. His 34 strikeouts through five career games are the second most in franchise history, trailing only Dwight Gooden's 36.

"Coming off five walks in one game," Harvey said, referring to last Friday's appearance against Atlanta, "that's the last thing you want to do -- and do that two times in a row. From the first inning, the get-go, I really wanted to come out and attack. Going 7 2/3, I'm happy with. There are still things I need to work on and strive to be perfect, but overall I'm pretty happy."

As for working with Shoppach, Harvey noted they were on the same page despite unfamiliarity.

"He really didn't know too, too much about me. And I didn't know too, too much about him," Harvey said. "So at that time we wanted to get things going on the right page. It was awesome. When I wanted to throw a pitch, he put [the signal] down. And if I shook once, the second pitch that he called, it was right there. I give him a lot of credit. I stuck with him the whole time."

Henny Ray Abrams/Associated Press
Johan Santana tries to snap a string of subpar performances tonight against the Nats.

Now, Johan Santana (6-8, 4.58 ERA) opposes left-hander Ross Detwiler (6-5, 3.18) tonight as the Mets open a weekend series against National League East-leading Washington. Santana will be pitching on an extra day of rest as he tries to rebound from a start in which he was charged with eight runs while recording a career-low four outs against the Braves at Citi Field.

Santana has allowed six-plus runs in each of his past four starts, tying a franchise record. The only major league pitchers to surrender six or more runs in five straight starts in the past 10 years: Baltimore's Brian Matusz and Kansas City's Sean O'Sullivan, both last season.

A loss tonight would drop Santana three games under .500 in a season for only the second time in his career. He opened 2006 with Minnesota with three straight losing decisions (en route to a 19-6 record). Santana, who is due to earn $31 million next season with a 2014 buyout, already is ticketed for his worst ERA at least since posting a 4.74 ERA in 15 appearances (four starts) with the Twins in 2001.

Santana (.658) entered the season with the third-highest winning percentage among active major league pitchers with at least 125 starts -- trailing only Jon Lester (.691) and Roy Halladay (.671). With Santana's career winning percentage having slipped to .644, Jered Weaver, Tim Hudson, CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander now have overtaken him, too.

Friday's news reports:

Sandy Alderson told Brian Costa in the Journal the past two seasons under the GM's direction have been beneficial in terms of information gathering. Writes Costa:

No one expected the Mets to be a legitimate contender this season. But nearly six years after their last playoff appearance, it is hard to say when such an expectation will be reasonable again. How close are the Mets to competing for a championship? "It's a very difficult question to answer," general manager Sandy Alderson said. Alderson views the benefit of this season largely in terms of collecting information. Some of it has been good. Some of it hasn't. Ruben Tejada, for example, has established himself as a solid everyday player at shortstop. Zack Wheeler has emerged as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. But the struggles of Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and the continued deterioration of Jason Bay leave the Mets devoid of everyday outfielders going into 2013. And Ike Davis hasn't come close to resembling the All-Star he likely would have been before an injury wrecked his 2011 season.

"I think we have a much better sense now of who our players are, who we think are going to develop into those championship-caliber players, who may not, and are in a position to act on that," Alderson said. "The last couple of years, we've done a lot of experimenting. Some things have worked out. Some haven't. But I feel a lot more confident about where we're going than I did a couple of years ago."

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Pedro Beato was traded to the Red Sox to complete the deal for Kelly Shoppach.

• The Mets completed the trade for Shoppach on Thursday, when right-hander Pedro Beato was sent to the Red Sox through the waiver process. Beato was not held in high regard, but dealing anyone who can contribute at the major league level for a pending free agent such as Shoppach would seem to verify the Mets' intent to attempt to re-sign the catcher this offseason. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• For the second time this week, Francisco had to be pulled from an appearance and Jon Rauch bailed him out. Francisco, entering with a seven-run lead in the ninth after being idle since Sunday's meltdown at Citi Field, this time allowed a homer on the first pitch of his appearance, to Ryan Ludwick. The closer proceeded to allow three more hits and a walk before being pulled with two outs and two runners aboard. Rauch struck out ex-Met Wilson Valdez for his second save this week and third as a Met. Afterward, Terry Collins suggested it's "obvious" Francisco's fastball command is lacking because of erratic use.

Said Francisco: "I'm just getting beat with everything, you know? There's nothing you can do about it. I'm struggling right now."

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

• Regarding Wednesday's bracelet flap, the Daily News' Andy Martino tweeted: "Ump supervisor Randy Marsh approached Dickey in BP & said [he] regretted [the] way [it] was handled. Should've been more discreet." Collins said that four people texted him to note that Seattle's Felix Hernandez had a larger object on the wrist on his glove hand during his perfect game the same night as Dickey pitched in Cincinnati. Read more in Newsday and the Daily News.

Zack Wheeler allowed five runs in five innings in his third Triple-A start as the Mets lost to Lehigh Valley, 5-2. "They really didn't hit me around too hard," Wheeler said. "I mean, I did let up the [solo] home run and I gave up a bunch of singles. I was just not locating very well." Said manager Wally Backman: "He didn't have good command today, and good command is a key. Those guys were swinging early, and they hurt him swinging early in the count." Read Thursday's full minor league recap here. Read more in the Post.

• While Collins has indicated Lucas Duda should return before rosters expand Sept. 1, the manager said Duda is not ready because he is still adjusting to a new, wider stance. Also on the outfield front: Collins expects Justin Turner will see some action in the outfield during spring training to increase his versatility. Because of a crowded infield, Turner's start Thursday was his first since July 31. Read more in Newsday.

TRIVIA: Name the four other starting pitchers the Mets have used this season beyond the current six in the rotation (Santana, Dickey, Harvey, Jon Niese, Chris Young and Jeremy Hefner).

Thursday's answer: Former Generation K member Paul Wilson started opposite Pedro Martinez in Cincinnati on April 4, 2005, when Willie Randolph, Carlos Beltran and "The New Mets" debuted on Opening Day in Cincinnati.

Series preview: Mets at Reds

August, 14, 2012

US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Homer Bailey during a midweek series at Great American Ball Park.
METS (55-60, third place/NL East) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (69-46, first place/NL Central)

Tuesday: RHP Chris Young (3-6, 4.87) vs. RHP Mat Latos (10-3, 3.81), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (15-3, 2.72) vs. RHP Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP Matt Harvey (1-3, 3.63) vs. RHP Homer Bailey (10-7, 4.08), 7:10 p.m. ET

Reds short hops

Joey Votto (.342, 14 HR, 49 RBIs) underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery July 17 to repair torn meniscus cartilage. He originally suffered the injury June 29, sliding into third base against San Francisco. Votto further injured the knee sliding last Wednesday while working toward a return and had a second, brief procedure two days later to remove floating cartilage. Votto is expected to return before the end of the month. Cincinnati is 19-8 since Votto became sidelined.

• Rutgers product Todd Frazier has manned either first or third base the past 13 games. Third baseman Scott Rolen (back) missed a fourth straight game Sunday because of back spasms. Minus Votto and Rolen, either ex-Met Miguel Cairo mans first and Frazier third, or Frazier mans first and fellow ex-Met Wilson Valdez handles the hot corner.

• Slumping right fielder Jay Bruce was hitless in 13 at-bats before producing a two-run homer Sunday. He had sat the previous two games because of a lack of production. Despite 22 homers this season, Sunday’s long ball was Bruce’s lone long ball in August. He is hitting .223 (21-for-94) since the All-Star break. Bruce, an All-Star, nonetheless has joined Frank Robinson as the only players in Reds history to reach the 20-homer plateau in each of their first five seasons in the majors.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Aroldis Chapman has surrendered only one earned run against National League foes this season.

• Left-hander Aroldis Chapman, named to his first All-Star team this season, is a Cy Young candidate along with fellow closer Craig Kimbrel of the Braves. Chapman registered 103 mph with his fastball multiple times during the weekend and has a historic strikeout rate.

Chapman was named MLB’s Delivery Man of the Month for July after going 13-for-13 in converting save chances while striking out 31, allowing six hits and walking two in 14 1/3 scoreless innings. The 13 saves fell one shy of the franchise record for any month, set by Jeff Shaw in September 1997.

Chapman has converted 20 straight save chances, the longest streak by a Red since Rob Dibble in 1991 tied John Franco’s single-season franchise record by converting 23 straight. Ex-Red Francisco Cordero converted 29 straight spanning the 2008 and ’09 seasons. Chapman has a 0.17 ERA against NL teams this season. The Mets tallied an unearned run against him May 17, while Pittsburgh is the lone NL team to produce an earned run. The flame-throwing southpaw allowed seven earned runs in interleague play.

• The Reds acquired Jonathan Broxton from the Royals at the trading deadline for right-hander Juan Carlos Sulbaran and left-hander Donnie Joseph. Broxton had a 2.27 ERA and 23 saves in 27 chances with Kansas City, but has surrendered four runs in four innings spanning five appearances since the deal.

• Catcher Devon Mesoraco returned from a seven-day concussion DL stint Thursday. He has appealed a three-game suspension for bumping ump Chad Fairchild on July 30, the day he suffered the concussion. Dioner Navarro was demoted.

• Second baseman Brandon Phillips missed five games last week with a strained left calf, but is hitting .347 (34-for-98) since the All-Star break.

• Cincinnati has used only five starting pitchers this season -- Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Mike Leake. That’s a modern franchise record. The last major league team that used five starting pitchers wire-to-wire was the 2003 Seattle Mariners, also with Bryan Price as pitching coach. Cincinnati’s streak is expected to end Aug. 18 with a day-night doubleheader.

• The Reds are an MLB-best 22-8 since the All-Star break.

Last series results

Cincinnati won, 3-0, at Citi Field, June 15-17 (AP game recaps)

Reds 7, Mets 3: Jay Bruce hit an inside-the-park homer that left Jason Bay with another concussion and Bronson Arroyo notched his first victory in 5 weeks. Brandon Phillips added a two-run shot. Reds slugger Joey Votto and Mets star David Wright were both hit by pitches, but neither led to any trouble. Arroyo (3-4) was pulled in the seventh, having allowed Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ third homer in two games and a two-run drive by Scott Hairston. More

Reds 4, Mets 1: Homer Bailey pitched out of trouble for eight innings and Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer. David Wright hit two of four Mets drives that were caught within steps of the wall. One night after Joey Votto and Wright were both hit by pitches, this time it was Bruce and Lucas Duda. But again, no trouble ensued. Bailey was hit hard by the Mets twice last year in his only previous outings against them. This time he allowed six hits and one walk while striking out three to improve to 4-1 in his last six starts. Aroldis Chapman tossed a hitless ninth for his eighth save. Jon Niese (4-3) made one big mistake to Bruce during seven otherwise effective innings. He struck out seven and walked one. More

Reds 3, Mets 1: Second baseman Brandon Phillips made a between-the-legs flip to start a flashy double play and also hit a tiebreaking single, leading Johnny Cueto and the Reds to a sweep and their sixth straight win. Cueto (8-3) overcame an early bout of dizziness and struck out a season-high eight in seven innings. He also doubled for the first extra-base hit of his career. The only run against Cueto came when he issued a bases-loaded walk to Chris Young. Sean Marshall got four outs for his ninth save in 10 chances. It was 3-1 in the sixth when Lucas Duda led off with a single and Ike Davis followed with a hard grounder up the middle that Phillips backhanded. While in full stride, the All-Star tossed the ball with his bare hand between his legs to shortstop Zack Cozart, who made the relay. Phillips' single capped a three-run rally in the fifth, helped by Duda's wild throw from right. More

Series preview: Mets vs. Phillies

July, 2, 2012

US Presswire
The Mets are expected to face (l to r) Vance Worley, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels during the midweek series.
METS (43-37, second place/NL East) vs. PHILADLEPHIA PHILLIES (36-45, fifth place/NL East)

Tuesday: LHP Jon Niese (6-3, 3.55) vs. RHP Vance Worley (4-4, 2.92), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Chris Young (2-1, 3.30) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (0-5, 4.13), 1:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.15) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.08), 7:10 p.m. ET

Phillies short hops

• The underwhelming Phillies traded a pair of veterans to the American League during the weekend. They dealt Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league catcher Gabriel Lino and right-hander Kyle Simon. A day later, reliever Chad Qualls was sent to the Yankees for cash or a player to be named. Thome, 41, was hitting .242 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 62 at-bats, but back woes made it difficult for him to man first base. Qualls (4.60 ERA) had been designated for assignment Thursday.

Ex-Met Jason Pridie and left-hander Jeremy Horst took their roster spots. Horst had been acquired by the Phillies in January in the trade that sent infielder Wilson Valdez, another ex-Met, to Cincinnati. Pridie had signed with Oakland as a minor league free agent during the winter, was suspended 50 games by MLB for a second positive test for a drug of abuse in March, was released by the A’s last month and signed with Philadelphia on June 15.

Howard Smith/US Presswire
Chase Utley made his season debut last week after dealing with chronic knee woes.

• ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the dismantling may not be limited to peripheral players, with pending free agent Cole Hamels as well as Shane Victorino also potentially available.

• Hamels, catcher Carlos Ruiz and closer Jonathan Papelbon will represent the Phillies in the July 10 All-Star Game in Kansas City, although San Francisco’s Buster Posey will start over Ruiz behind the plate. Ruiz, a first-time All-Star, leads the majors in batting at .356, two points ahead of David Wright.

• Second baseman Chase Utley made his season debut last Wednesday with a three-hit game. He homered against the Pirates’ James McDonald in his first at-bat. Utley, who played in 10 rehab games, has started three of five games since being activated from the DL. The absence was caused by chronic left knee woes. Mike Fontenot has started the other two games at second base since Utley’s return.

• First baseman Ryan Howard may not be too far behind Utley. He began a rehab assignment Thursday with Class A Lakewood. Howard underwent surgery in October on his left Achilles and suffered a setback when the area got infected.

• Rookie infielder Freddy Galvis, who had started 45 games at second base in Utley’s absence, was suspended by MLB for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He already was sidelined with a back injury and will be allowed to serve the suspension while on the disabled list. In a statement, Galvis denied knowingly using the banned substance.

• The Phillies are nine games under .500 for the first time since July 25, 2006, when they were 44-53. A loss in the series opener against the Mets would drop Philadelphia 10 games under .500 for the first time since July 22, 2002. The Phillies had not had this bad a record at the midpoint of a season since they were 23-58 in 1997.

• After using Vance Worley in the series opener, the Phillies are expected to skip Kyle Kendrick and go with Cliff Lee and Hamels in the series.

• Lee remains winless through 13 starts. The last MLB pitchers to open a season with that many starts and not have one victory to show for it? They would be Kenshin Kawakami with Atlanta and Kevin Millwood with Baltimore, two seasons ago. They both failed to be credited with a win in their first 14 starts of 2010. Lee has allowed five or more earned runs in three straight starts, one shy of matching his career high, which came with Cleveland in 2007.

Roy Halladay threw a bullpen session Friday for the first time since landing on the DL with a back strain.

Last series results

Philadelphia won, 2-1, at Citi Field, May 28-30 (AP game recaps)

Phillies 8, Mets 4: Ty Wigginton drove in a career-high six runs with a homer and a pair of two-out hits and Cole Hamels won his eighth straight decision. Scott Hairston and Vinny Rottino each hit tying two-run homers for the Mets. Down 5-4, the Mets threatened in the eighth when pinch hitter Andres Torres doubled. With one out and Torres on third, Daniel Murphy grounded out and then David Wright also grounded out to end the inning. Wright has gone hitless in his last 14 at-bats, dropping his average to .373. More

Mets 6, Phillies 3: Jeremy Hefner earned his first victory in the majors and highlighted the occasion by homering for his first big league hit. The 26-year-old rookie became the first major league pitcher to hit his first homer in his first win since 2002, when Dennis Tankersley did it with San Diego, STATS LLC said. Pinch hitter Scott Hairston had a two-run homer, and newcomer Omar Quintanilla doubled twice and singled. More

Phillies 10, Mets 6: Carlos Ruiz came off the bench with a sore hamstring to hit a tying homer in the seventh inning, Jimmy Rollins added a three-run shot and the Phillies busted loose late. Shane Victorino drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth and Philadelphia bailed out winless Cliff Lee to take two of three in the series. Ty Wigginton also homered for the Phillies, who improved to 3-6 against the Mets this season. Lucas Duda went deep twice, including a two-run shot off Lee in the sixth that gave the Mets a 3-1 lead. Dillon Gee pitched 6 2/3 effective innings, but the New York bullpen was battered after he left -- beginning with the pinch-hit homer by Ruiz. More

US Presswire
The Mets face Mike Leake (left) and Mat Latos (right) during a two-game midweek series against Cincinnati.
METS (20-16, third place/NL East) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (18-17, second place/NL Central)

Wednesday: LHP Johan Santana (1-2, 2.92) vs. RHP Mike Leake (0-5, 7.11), 7:10 p.m. ET

Thursday: RHP R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.65) vs. RHP Mat Latos (2-2, 4.54), 1:10 p.m. ET

Reds short hops

• The right side of Cincinnati’s infield should remain stable for a long time. First baseman Joey Votto signed a 10-year, $225 million extension with the Reds on April 4 that locks him up as least through 2023. Six days later, second baseman Brandon Phillips signed a six-year, $72.5 million contract, through 2017. Votto won the 2010 NL MVP, is a two-time All-Star and earned last year’s Gold Glove at first base. Phillips has been an All-Star the past two seasons and has three Gold Glove awards.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Jay Bruce is hitting .365 with seven homers in his past 17 games.

Votto on Sunday became the first player in major league history with three homers in a game including a walk-off grand slam. The final blow came against Washington’s Henry Rodriguez. Votto joined Johnny Bench, Gus Bell, Eric Davis and Aaron Boone as the only players to have multiple three-homer games in their Reds careers. His bat will be turned over to the Hall of Fame, although Votto is not done using it yet. Votto’s first two homers came off Nats starter Edwin Jackson.

• Former Phillie Ryan Madson, who signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Reds last offseason that includes a 2013 mutual option, will not throw a pitch for the organization this season. Madson underwent Tommy John surgery last month. Sean Marshall, who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in December for left-hander Travis Wood, outfielder Dave Sappelt and minor league infielder Ronald Torreyes, has six saves in the closer’s role.

• The Reds will become the first team since interleague play began to face both New York teams consecutively in the Big Apple. After the two-game series against the Mets, Cincinnati shifts to Yankee Stadium for a weekend interleague series. According to STATS LLC, it will mark the seventh time since interleague play began that a team consecutively has faced opponents in the same market. The Texas Rangers will become No. 8 next month, when they have a combined seven straight games at Oakland and San Francisco.

Aroldis Chapman has tossed 18 1/3 scoreless innings, the most innings logged without allowing a run in the majors among relievers this season.

Mike Leake (0-5, 7.11 ERA) produced his shortest career start Friday at Washington, lasting only three innings while allowing six earned runs. He played at Arizona State with Ike Davis.

• Third baseman Scott Rolen landed on the disabled list Saturday because of left shoulder soreness. Rutgers product Todd Frazier has manned the position in Rolen’s absence, with infielder Mike Costanzo called up to take Rolen’s roster spot.

Zack Cozart became the first rookie shortstop to start on Opening Day for the Reds since Dave Concepcion and Frank Duffy did it consecutively in 1970 and ’71.

• Right fielder Jay Bruce is hitting .365 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in his past 17 games.

Mat Latos was acquired from the San Diego Padres on Dec. 17 for Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.

• Ex-Met Miguel Cairo returned May 7 from the disabled list, where he had landed with a left hamstring strain. The Reds also employ a second former Met as a utility infielder: Wilson Valdez. Cairo could see limited action at third base if Frazier underperforms.


Santana vs. Reds (career: 4-0, 3.23 ERA)
Miguel Cairo .294, 2 BB, 6 K, 20 PA
Brandon Phillips .263, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 22 PA
Joey Votto .250, 3 BB, 3 K, 15 PA
Wilson Valdez .200, 2 K, 5 PA
Jay Bruce .182, 1 RBI, 3 K, 11 PA
Ryan Ludwick .160, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 9 K, 27 PA
Drew Stubbs .000, 4 PA

Dickey vs. Reds (career: 1-0, 2.70 ERA)
Ryan Ludwick .333, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 PA
Todd Frazier .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Jay Bruce .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Miguel Cairo .333, 3 PA
Wilson Valdez .250, 1 BB, 3 K, 9 PA
Drew Stubbs .250, 1 RBI, 2 K, 4 PA
Brandon Phillips .200, 1 RBI, 1 K, 5 PA
Ryan Hanigan .000, 1 PA

Leake vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 2.19 ERA)
Justin Turner .667, 1 BB, 4 PA
Ronny Cedeno .364, 1 RBI, 12 PA
Daniel Murphy .333, 3 PA
Andres Torres .286, 1 BB, 4 K, 8 PA
David Wright .167, 2 K, 6 PA
Ike Davis .000, 2 PA

Latos vs. Mets (career: 2-1, 3.00 ERA)
Ronny Cedeno .500, 1BB, 5 PA
Lucas Duda .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Andres Torres .308, 1 RBI, 5 K, 13 PA
David Wright .143, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 8 PA
Ike Davis .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 2 PA

Last series results

Cincinnati won, 2-1, at Citi Field, Sept. 26-28, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Reds 6, Mets 5: Chris Heisey hit a go-ahead, three-run homer just moments after making a diving catch and Cincinnati held off New York. Jose Reyes had three hits for the Mets to take over the NL batting lead, but his baserunning blunder in the eighth inning cost them a chance to tie the game. Reyes lined an RBI double into the right-field corner to cut it to 6-5. Perhaps expecting a throw to the plate that would allow him to take third, Reyes took a wide turn around second -- much too far. The Reds threw behind him and he was easily tagged out. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce singled off Tim Byrdak (2-1) in the seventh before Heisey hit the first pitch from Josh Stinson over the 16-foot fence in left field. Logan Ondrusek (5-5) got one out for the win and Francisco Cordero escaped a jam in the ninth to earn his 36th save.

Reds 5, Mets 4 (13 innings): Jose Reyes hit two solo homers, putting pop into his bid for the NL batting title, but the Reds won on Drew Stubbs' squeeze bunt in the 13th inning. Juan Francisco, who entered after Reds star Brandon Phillips exited early with a strained left quadriceps, hit a tying double with two outs in the ninth. He then hustled for a triple in the 13th and scored on Stubbs' bunt. Justin Turner lined into a double play with the bases loaded to end the game, leaving Reyes on deck. The Reds left the bases loaded in the 10th when pinch-hitter Dontrelle Willis struck out, and left them loaded again in the 11th when Chris Heisey grounded out. Sam LeCure (2-1) got the win and Francisco Cordero held on for his 37th save in 43 chances. Dale Thayer (0-3) took the loss. Both of Reyes' home runs came against Bronson Arroyo. Jay Bruce hit his 32nd home run and Joey Votto hit his 29th for the Reds.

Mets 3, Reds 0: After a bunt single in the first inning, Jose Reyes was finished. The strategy paid off: Reyes won the National League batting title that night when Milwaukee's Ryan Braun went 0-for-4. The hit elevated Reyes' average to .337057 and gave him a 2-point lead over Braun. The Brewers star needed to go 3-for-4 to overtake Reyes. He finished at .332. And that gave the Mets their first batting champion. Fans chanted "Please stay, Jose!" throughout the ninth inning, and he gave a salute to the crowd as he walked off the field. Chants of "Jo-se Re-yes!" continued after he threw his hat into the stands as he disappeared into the home dugout. Meanwhile, Miguel Batista (5-2) pitched a two-hitter for his 11th complete game -- and his first since July 19, 2006, for Arizona. He allowed a one-out single to Edgar Renteria in the first and leadoff double to Chris Heisey in the second. Queens product Mike Baxter hit his first big league homer, a two-run drive off Edinson Volquez (5-7) in the sixth. Nick Evans singled in a run in the fourth. The Mets, beset with financial issues, traded Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez during the season, lost David Wright for several months with a back injury and finished their third straight losing season at 77-85. The Mets announced a crowd of 28,816, giving them a final attendance of 2,352,596, a drop of about 7 percent from 2010 and their lowest total since ’04.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 7, Phillies 4

August, 24, 2011
Recap | Box score | Photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Postgame review: Phillies 11, Mets 0

April, 7, 2011

Recap | Box score | Photos

Terry Collins’ take on the Mets’ season-opening .500 trip to Miami and Philadelphia?

“That’s certainly not the way you want to go home, to start the season at home,” Collins said after the Mets lost 11-0 to Roy Halladay and the Phillies on Thursday afternoon. “As you’re sitting back, trying to look at the best side of it, that’s, ‘Hey, we started on the road. We’re 3-3. We’re going home. We get to play in our park for the first time. The energy will be rekindled.’ They swung the bat great the last two nights. We couldn’t stop them. If you can’t stop them with him on the mound, you’re not going to win many games.”

Other postgame tidbits:

Roy Halladay

Starting Pitcher
Philadelphia Phillies


2011 Season Stats
2 1 0 1 13 0.69
• With the bases loaded and one out in the third inning, Halladay struck out David Wright on a down-and-away cutter and got Ike Davis on a groundout to preserve a scoreless tie.

“I think what makes him so good is that all his pitches look the same coming out of his hand,” Wright said. “There are some guys that might slow their arm speed up a little bit on the changeup, or you could see a little something different on off-speed pitches. But him, everything comes out the same.”

Said Davis about his encounter: “That was a very bad at-bat.”

Predictably, Collins noted the Mets cannot let good pitchers wriggle free of jams like that.

“You can’t let good pitchers off the hook,” Collins said. “I don’t care who it is -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, [Sandy] Koufax, [Don] Drysdale -- you can’t let them off the hook. We had chances to get some runs. Not that it would have changed the outcome hugely, but certainly it changed the way you approached a lot of things.”

Asked if Halladay was getting the benefit of the doubt on some calls after complaining to plate umpire Mike Everitt following an early walk to Angel Pagan, Collins said: “From where I sit, I couldn’t tell. There were a couple of balls that certainly could have been called balls that were called strikes. But we saw enough pitches. We had other opportunities to get some hits.”

Josh Thole clearly felt wronged on a full-count call that was ruled on the inside corner to end the fourth that stranded Pagan a third base.

Jon Niese was charged with six earned runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out seven in four innings.

“I think I missed my spots on my fastball and cutter,” Niese said. “I thought for the most part my curveball was pretty sharp today. They battled me good. They put some good swings on some mistakes. … I didn’t throw the ball necessarily where I wanted to.”

Niese, by the way, has not allowed a steal in 36 straight starts, the longest streak in franchise history.

• Philly writers believed Wright said something to Wilson Valdez after the ex-Met tagged to third base up 10-0 in the eighth inning, in violation of unwritten baseball etiquette. Wright professed postgame to have no knowledge of an exchange.

Valdez said to reporters that Wright told him he was a good player. If that’s precisely what Wright said, it probably was meant as a backhanded compliment for the tag. Valdez had a career-high four hits.

Ike Davis

First Base
New York Mets


2011 Season Stats
6 1 6 3 .423 .348
• Davis committed a fifth-inning throwing error on a grounder by Raul Ibanez, when he tried to catch the lead runner, Ryan Howard, at second base but instead threw the ball past Jose Reyes.

“I probably would have just held it and tagged first, especially with the score,” Davis said. “If I throw it normal, he’s out by 10 feet still. Once I bobbled it, I probably should have just ate it and tagged first. You live and you learn, right? I guess it’s better to make it when you’re down eight than up one in the ninth. Next time I’ll definitely just tag first.”

Mike Pelfrey is prepared to get jeered Friday during introductions, if that’s what the Citi Field crowd needs to do to express displeasure with his first two outings. With Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez gone, Francisco Rodriguez could be another target -- although K-Rod has repeatedly said he hopes to win back the fans following the August incident at the stadium with his girlfriend’s father.

Mets morning briefing 3.23.11

March, 23, 2011
R.A. Dickey starts in Jupiter on Wednesday against the Cardinals. He then heads to Nashville for the birth of his son. Jason Isringhausen will try to throw a bullpen session, with his career at a potential crossroads. And Carlos Beltran, well, we'll see ...

On to the day's news reports:

Jose Reyes tells Newsday's Jim Baumbach he will make a concerted effort to raise his on-base percentage, which was only .321 last season. Writes Baumbach:

With free agency looming after this season, Reyes clearly knows his best chance at a big payday is not only by staying healthy, but also by becoming a more complete hitter. And in order to accomplish that, he's forcing himself to understand that he doesn't need to think "hit" all the time. "Walks, I need to make that a part of my game again," Reyes said. "Last year I wanted to get a hit every time I got to home plate because in 2009 I only played, like, 30-something games. So I just wanted to do so good every time. This year is going to be different. I'm not thinking like that."

Of the 89 major leaguers to have 600 plate appearances last season, Reyes tied for 74th in on-base percentage.

David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News talks with Luis Castillo, after his eventual arrival at Phillies camp Tuesday. Castillo must beat out fellow ex-Met Wilson Valdez as injured Chase Utley's placeholder at second base, or win a bench job from a group that also includes Josh Barfield, John Mayberry Jr., Michael Martinez, Pete Orr and Delwyn Young. Writes Murphy:

Castillo blamed his late arrival on a "miscommunication between me and my agents," which is the same thing Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters. The Phillies expected the second baseman to arrive in time to play against Toronto today, one of nine games the team has left before it opens the regular season on April 1. "More importantly, I'm here, and I'm excited to be here," Castillo said. "I'm healthy. I feel good. I'm ready. I'm here to play baseball and help this team win some games." Asked what the Phillies told him about the opportunity he will get here, Castillo responded, "Right now, I know Valdez is doing a good job and Utley is hurt right now. I'm trying to find a job here. I want to compete and I want to win the job. I want to play. I have 10 days to prove and try to get ready."

Dan Martin of the Post also chronicled Castillo's arrival. The ex-Met continued to maintain he feels he did not get a legit shot with the Mets. "[Collins] wouldn't give me a chance to play," Castillo said upon arriving at Phillies camp. "I told him if he didn't give me the chance to play that I don't know if I have to be on the team. He decided to release me."

• Independent lawyers tell Newsday they don't expect former Gov. Mario Cuomo to be able to compel a settlement in trustee Irving Picard's $1 billion-plus lawsuit against Mets owners. Certainly, they say, there's little chance anything would materialize before a June 29 hearing in which U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland will rule on the defendant's motion to toss the case (which would be a long shot). Writes author Anthony M. Destefano:

Sources familiar with the case and outside legal experts point to the latest exchange between the two sides in the form of dueling news releases and court filings. "I don't think there is anything magical Mario [Cuomo] can do," said attorney Howard Kleinhendler of Manhattan, who represents other Madoff victims.

• The Times delves into the legal wrestling going on, with Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz's lawyers demanding Picard turn over documents and the trustee denying those requests for the time being, until he's compelled to put all his cards on the table. Writes Richard Sandomir:

The team’s owners have now charged that Picard has been deceptive in employing that tactic. They charged in a court filing Sunday that he had withheld some evidence that deeply undercut his lawsuit’s central allegation: that Wilpon and Katz continued to invest with Madoff, and profit greatly from those investments, in the face of repeated warnings that he might not have been clean. ... In denying Wilpon and Katz’s lawyers access to the contested evidence -- called precomplaint discovery -- Picard is not violating any rules, said two law professors with expertise in civil procedure who are not involved in the litigation.

• After watching Beltran go 2-for-8 and require a pinch-runner in minor league games Tuesday, Newsday's David Lennon concludes the right fielder -- who has yet to play right field in a game this spring -- likely will start the season on the DL, even though that's not the organization's official position. Remember, Beltran's DL stint can be backdated to the point where he only needs to miss three-regular season games. That is, as long as he limits his spring work to the minor league side and does not appear in a Grapefruit League game. Regarding appearing full throttle in a spring game, Beltran tells Lennon: "I have to be smart. I just can't throw myself out there like that. It doesn't work that way. Just because it feels great doesn't mean I'm healed 100 percent, you know?"

Steve Popper of the Record says the Mets have a plan to put Beltran in three Grapefruit League games next week if his knees allow. ... I'm skeptical that happens. Because then if Beltran lands on the DL, the backdating is out the window and he misses a full 15 regular-season days. Frankly, it sounds like something the last front office would do.

Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger looks at the Tuesday activities of Angel Pagan and Beltran. Pagan was pulled in the second inning of a game in Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers because his back stiffened, but he insists he will be back in the lineup Thursday as scheduled. Beltran continued to take small steps toward being ready for the season. ... Here are similar accounts in the Post and Daily News.

• Isringhausen, who played catch Tuesday after being shut down for three days with elbow inflammation, knows he's at a make-or-break point in his career. He's supposed to throw a bullpen session Wednesday. "I don't have much time left," Isringhausen tells The Wall Street Journal's Brian Costa. "If I try to throw [Wednesday] and I can't do it, that could be it for me. I know this."

Sandy Alderson candidly noted that putting Izzy on the major league roster from a money perspective is not a concern. He's only slated to make $500,000. The problem is that if he breaks camp with the team, the Mets could lose another pitcher from the organization. Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, Tim Byrdak, D.J. Carrasco and Taylor Buchholz appear safe, and Rule 5 pick Pedro Beato certainly merits being included too. So taking Izzy with the last slot should mean Manny Acosta and Pat Misch get exposed to waivers. Blaine Boyer, who has drawn positive reviews, is on a minor league deal and can go directly to Triple-A, although one teammate continues to think Boyer will make the roster. Left-hander Mike O'Connor is on a minor league deal, too.

David Waldstein of The New York Times looks at the maturation of Josh Thole behind the plate. Thole caught in high school, but he primarily played first base from the 2005 draft until May '08. That's when first-string St. Lucie catcher Sean McCraw's hitting woes opened the door for Thole to become a full-time catcher, and he ran with it. Writes Waldstein:

Many of the Mets pitchers say Thole’s pitch-calling is noticeably improved. “When he first came up in 2009, I thought he was OK as a pitch-caller,” [Mike] Pelfrey said of Thole’s debut with the Mets that September. “But when he came back last year, he was a totally different man to the point where he’s become a guy you recommend. I want to throw to this guy.”

George King, the Yankees beat writer for the Post, quotes Brian Cashman on the team's interest in Oliver Perez. "[Team president] Randy Levine asked me to look into it," Cashman tells King. "I have no interest. It's not a fit, not something that makes sense based on what we have seen." ... Even former Mets teammates are skeptical Perez will appear in the majors this season.

BIRTHDAY: Left-hander Mike Remingler was born on this day in 1966 in Middletown, N.Y. He made 15 appearances (nine starts) for the Mets in 1994 and '95 during a 14-year major league career.



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