New York Mets: Yoenis Cespedes

Morning Briefing: Ready for some baseball?

September, 7, 2014
9/07/14
5:45
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: M-E-T-S.

Mets! Mets! Mets!

It may now be football season in New York, but the Mets nonetheless will play a rubber game against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday at Great American Ball Park.

Zack Wheeler (9-9, 3.45 ERA) opposes right-hander Mat Latos (5-4, 3.46) at 1:10 p.m.

Travis d'Arnaud is due for Sunday off.

Sunday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of solo homers and Eric Young Jr., initially ruled safe on a steal of third base in the ninth, was ruled out after a replay review as the Reds beat the Mets, 2-1, Saturday. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News suggests the Mets would be smart to acquire Yoenis Cespedes, whom Madden expects will be placed on the trading block by the Boston Red Sox this offseason. Writes Madden:

Considering Cespedes’ “lame duck” status for next year, the Red Sox cannot expect to get a huge return for him, and with [Rusney] Castillo, trading deadline acquisition Allen Craig and promising rookie Mookie Betts creating a sudden glut of outfielders, their biggest need would appear to be pitching, of which the Mets have a surplus -- of both starters and even closers with Bobby Parnell expected back to compete with Jenrry Mejia. The Mets are definitely positioned to deal for Cespedes (who, at the Home Run Derby two years ago, proved he had no trouble hitting home runs at Citi Field) and they should not concern themselves with his sign-ability.

• With Daniel Murphy (calf) seemingly poised to return from the DL as soon as Tuesday, Terry Collins offered no inclination to give time at shortstop to Dilson Herrera. “I’m not here to run a tryout camp,” Collins said. “I’m here to win some games.” Read more on Herrera in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Rafael Montero, expected to join the Mets on Sunday, will mostly work in relief to judge his aptitude for that role in 2015. Only one start is penciled in right now. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Jim Baumbach in Newsday notes Curtis Granderson could have an interesting distinction soon. Already the single-season record holder for strikeouts as a Yankee (195 in 2012), Granderson (128 Ks) may soon claim that “honor” with the Mets, too. He needs 34 more Ks in the final 20 games to pass David Wright, who had a franchise-record 161 strikeouts in 2010.

For the record: Granderson does not hold the Detroit Tigers record, although he’s close. He had 174 Ks in 2006. Cecil Fielder had 182 in 1990.

• Las Vegas’ season ended with a 7-3 loss at Reno in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Binghamton forced a winner-take-all Game 5 on Sunday in its opening-round series by beating Portland, 11-4. Savannah left the bases loaded in the eighth inning and was eliminated with a 2-1 loss against Asheville on Saturday, in the resumption of a suspended game. Read the full minor-league recap here.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear noticed another baserunning play at third that didn't go the Mets way.

BIRTHDAYS: Jason Isringhausen turns 42. ... David Newhan is 41. ... Brian Stokes is 35. ... Darren Bragg is 45.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will you be watching Mets-Reds or Jets-Raiders at 1 p.m.?

Series preview: Mets at A's

August, 19, 2014
8/19/14
9:35
AM ET

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets draw a pair of aces when they face Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija in Oakland.
METS (59-67, fourth place/NL East) vs. OAKLAND ATHLETICS (73-51, second place/AL West)

Tuesday: RHP Dillon Gee (4-5, 3.69) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (13-5, 2.78), 10:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (8-8, 3.49) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (5-9, 2.96), 3:35 p.m. ET

A’s short hops

• Oakland enters the series on a season-high five-game skid and losers of seven of eight. The A’s were swept by the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field last weekend. Oakland, still comfortably in a playoff position, dropped a half-game behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West as a result. On Saturday, the A’s lost sole possession of first place in the division for the first time since April 28. They had been alone atop the standings for 106 consecutive days.

Jon Lester, acquired from the Boston Red Sox on July 31 along with outfielder Jonny Gomes, had been 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA since the trade until allowing four runs (three earned) in six-plus innings on Sunday to suffer his first loss since June 7.


Ed Zurga/Associated PressThe A's have lost a season-high five straight games.


• Since the trade of Yoenis Cespedes in the Lester deal, Brandon Moss has started 10 games, Gomes has started four games and Sam Fuld has started three games in left field. Fuld was acquired at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Twins for left-hander Tommy Milone.

Coco Crisp is batting .118 (9-for-76) with no homers in his past 21 games (20 starts). Fellow center fielder Craig Gentry, who remains on the disabled list with a broken right hand, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Monday, serving as the designated hitter.

• Oakland acquired Jeff Samardzija along with Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs on July 5 for highly regarded shortstop prospect Addison Russell as well as Dan Straily (who hit David Wright with the pitch Saturday in his Cubs debut), Billy McKinney and a player to be named. Samardzija is 3-2 with a 3.21 ERA in eight starts since the deal. He is under A’s control through the 2015 season.

Scott Kazmir's 13 wins match his career high, also produced in 2007 with Tampa Bay. Kazmir’s 2.78 ERA ranks eighth in the AL. He allowed a season-high seven runs in three innings against the Mets at Citi Field on June 24, including three homers.

Stephen Vogt is hitting .355 (11-for-31) with three homers and eight RBIs in his past nine games (eight starts), while manning first base. He previously had been mired in an 0-for-21 drought. Vogt is one of three catchers on the A’s, but has not appeared behind the plate since July 7 because of a bone bruise in his right foot. He is unlikely to catch again this season.

• Shortstop Jed Lowrie landed on the disabled list Thursday with a hairline fracture to his right index finger. Call-up Andy Parrino and Eric Sogard have shared duty at the position in Lowrie’s absence.

• Oakland has outscored opponents by 161 runs. That’s the most in the majors by a wide margin. The Washington Nationals are second at plus-93. The A’s franchise record is plus-239, in 2001.

• Left-hander Fernando Abad has stranded all 23 inherited runners this season. That’s the most in the majors among relievers who have not allowed an inherited runner to score in 2014.

Series preview: Mets vs. A's

June, 23, 2014
6/23/14
1:35
PM ET

Getty Images/Associated PressThe Mets are due to face left-handers Scott Kazmir and Brad Mills during a two-game series against Oakland.
METS (35-41, fourth place/NL East) vs. OAKLAND ATHLETICS (47-29, first place/AL West)

Tuesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (7-5, 3.88) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (9-2, 2.08), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-7, 3.93) vs. LHP Brad Mills (0-0, 4.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

A’s short hops

Sonny Gray (7-3, 2.91 ERA) had been lined up to face the Mets in the series opener, but will have his start pushed back to Saturday at Miami to conserve the 24-year-old ace’s innings. He has tossed a team-high 99 innings this season.

As a result, Scott Kazmir moves up to Tuesday to oppose Bartolo Colon. After a successful 2013 season with Cleveland, Kazmir signed a two-year, $22 million deal with Oakland to replace Colon, who signed the two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets.

The ex-Mets farmhand Kazmir, 30, will be pitching in Queens for the first time since the notorious July 30, 2004, trade that sent him to Tampa Bay for Victor Zambrano. Kazmir struck out 12 Mets in six scoreless innings in his first meeting against his original club last September in Cleveland.

Kazmir is 4-0 with a 1.27 ERA and .184 opponent batting average in his past five starts. Overall, his 2.08 ERA leads the American League, narrowly ahead of runner-up Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees (2.11). Kazmir’s average fastball velocity is 90.8 mph this season, down from 92.5 mph a year ago with the Indians, but significantly higher than his 86.5 mph with the Los Angeles Angels in 2011, when he was dumped and his career appeared done.

Kazmir told ESPNNewYork.com last year about facing the Mets for the first time: “I guess you can say there will always be something there from it being the team that drafted me. But it just feels like so long ago. I’m just concentrating on what I have to do and not really worried about too much of the significance of the game.

“When I was there, it was a completely different staff, front office, players and everything. Plus, I never really got to the big leagues with the Mets. It’s nice to see the guys that I got drafted with and stuff like that, but it just seems like I’ve already turned the page.”

Brad Mills, 29, made his A’s debut Friday against Boston. He allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and four walks and threw 94 pitches in four innings. He had been 4-2 with a 1.56 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts) for Triple-A Nashville in the Milwaukee Brewers organization this season before Oakland purchased his contract for $1. Mills took over in the rotation for Drew Pomeranz, who punched a chair after a poor start and fractured his right hand.


Otto Greule Jr./Getty ImagesJosh Reddick is returning from the disabled list to face the Mets.


• Right fielder Josh Reddick (.214, 4 HR, 22 RBIs) will return from the disabled list for Tuesday’s series opener. He already had a rehab assignment for a hyperextended right knee.

Kyle Blanks departed Sunday’s game with a left calf strain and will be placed on the DL. Blanks has been platooning with Brandon Moss at first base. The righty-hitting Blanks, 27, was acquired from the San Diego Padres on May 15 for Jake Goebbert and player-to-be-named Ronald Herrera. He is hitting .333 (15-for-45) with two homers and seven RBIs since the trade.

• Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson leads by more than one million votes over Texas’ Adrian Beltre in the latest American League All-Star balloting at third base. Yoenis Cespedes has climbed to fourth among outfielders, while No. 2 Derek Norris now trails leader Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles by 365,920 votes at catcher.

Cespedes leads the majors with nine outfield assists.

Oakland carries three catchers. Norris was struck in the head on a backswing by Boston’s Jonathan Herrera. He reportedly passed a concussion test, but has been struck multiple times before.

• A’s manager Bob Melvin and bench coach Chip Hale were among the serious candidates for the Mets managerial job that went to Terry Collins. Melvin said he is definitely interested in seeing the ex-A’s pitcher Colon bat. “We may walk Bartolo intentionally a couple of times just to get him on the basepaths, see him run around a little bit,” Melvin joked to Bay Area media.

• Oakland leads the majors in runs scored (389), on-base percentage (.336), ERA (3.02) and opponent batting average (.228).

• The A’s are the lone major league team not to use a rookie this season.

• Left-hander Sean Doolittle has not allowed a run in his past 22 appearances. The 24 1/3 scoreless innings streak is the longest active streak in the AL. He is the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out 45 while issuing no more than one walk to begin a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• Former Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis has appeared in five games in relief since being claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds on May 18.

• Shortstop Jed Lowrie is hitting .117 (7-for-60) with seven walks and 16 strikeouts in his past 15 games.

Series preview: Mets at Dodgers

June, 28, 2012
6/28/12
2:01
PM ET

Howard Smith/US Presswire
Former teammates Chris Capuano and Chris Young square off in Thursday's series opener at Dodger Stadium.
METS (40-34, third place/NL East) vs. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (43-33, first place/NL West)

Thursday: RHP Chris Young (1-1, 3.42) vs. LHP Chris Capuano (9-2, 2.60), 10:10 p.m. ET

Friday: RHP R.A. Dickey (11-1, 2.31) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (5-4, 3.81), 10:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Johan Santana (5-4, 3.00) vs. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (0-4, 4.04), 7:15 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (5-6, 4.42) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-4, 2.74), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Dodgers short hops

Frank McCourt’s ownership ended May 1, when controlling owner Mark Walter, the CEO of a Chicago financial services company, and president Stan Kasten took over the Dodgers. Sale price: $2.15 billion, more than double any previous amount for a major league team. The ownership group includes Magic Johnson as the face. Johnson has McCourt’s old corner office, but he is not a key decision maker, and actually has not been around Dodger Stadium much because of his responsibilities as an NBA commentator. McCourt, who went through a high-profile divorce that added debt to the team, had owned the Dodgers since 2004. Kasten formerly served as president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals.

• Right fielder Andre Ethier was forced from Wednesday’s game in San Francisco with a left oblique strain that likely will land him on the disabled list. Ethier joins fellow slugger Matt Kemp as unavailable. Kemp (.355, 12 HR) has been on the DL since straining his left hamstring May 30, and is not projected to return until after the All-Star break. Ethier’s 55 RBIs rank second in the NL, trailing only Carlos Beltran’s 59. Assuming Ethier is placed on the DL, ex-Pirate Andy Van Slyke’s son Scott Van Slyke could be promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque. Jerry Sands is another option.

• San Francisco pulled even with the Dodgers atop the NL West standings after completing a three-game sweep at AT&T Park in which L.A. did not score a run. It marked the first time the Dodgers had ever failed to score in a series of three-plus games, according to ESPN Stats & Information. L.A. has lost four straight and eight of nine. The Dodgers have been held scoreless for 30 innings, since Adam Kennedy’s sacrifice fly scored Juan Rivera in the sixth inning Sunday in a loss to the Angels. L.A. will try to avoid getting shut out four straight games for the first time in franchise history on Thursday night. How bad did things get in San Francisco? The Associated Press reported the Dodgers’ equipment truck broke down on the 101 freeway after the series.


Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Andre Ethier appears headed to the DL with an oblique strain.


• The Dodgers have reached agreement with outfielder Yasier Puig for $42 million over seven years pending a physical, ESPNDeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas reports. It would be the largest contract ever for a Cuban defector, surpassing the four-year, $36 million deal the A’s gave to outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

• Ex-Met Chris Capuano evened his career record at 66-66 in his most recent start, when he limited the Angels to one run and seven hits in seven innings. He is 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA at Dodger Stadium this season, while limiting opponents to a .215 batting average at home.

• Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi stepped into the rotation after Ted Lilly experienced shoulder inflammation and landed on the DL. Eovaldi, 22, went to Alvin (Texas) High, which also produced Nolan Ryan. His fastball has averaged 94.8 mph this season. He also throws a slider (13.6% of the time), curveball (10.1%) and changeup (5.0%). Eovaldi has been pitching well; his winless record is a function of no run support.

• Second baseman Mark Ellis is due to begin a rehab assignment Saturday. Ellis required an urgent surgical procedure May 19 to drain blood and other fluid, or otherwise risked losing part of his left leg. He was injured absorbing a slide at second base from St. Louis’ Tyler Greene. Jerry Hairston Jr., brother of Scott Hairston, has manned second base.

• Catcher A.J. Ellis (no relation to Mark) has a .417 on-base percentage. That ranks fourth in the National League, trailing only Joey Votto (.478), David Wright (.449) and Carlos Ruiz (.430).

• Right-handed reliever Ronald Belisario has allowed only three runs and 11 hits in 24 1/3 innings since returning from a 25-game suspension on May 4. The suspension was related to a positive cocaine test that also forced him to miss last season with a visa issue, ESPNLosAngeles.com reported.

• Third baseman Juan Uribe is hitting .132 (5-for-38) in the two weeks since returning from the DL. His slump has resulted in switch-hitting rookie Elian Herrera starting two of the past four games at the position. Herrera wasn’t on the 40-man roster or even in big-league spring-training camp, but has bounced around multiple positions and plays most days, batting second.

• The lone Dodgers starter the Mets do not face is Chad Billingsley, who overlapped at Defiance (Ohio) High with Jon Niese.

• The Dodgers’ Sue Falsone (@SueFalsone) is the lone female head athletic trainer in the history of a major professional sports organization, according to the team.

• Shortstop Dee Gordon’s 24 steals match the Cubs’ Tony Campano for the major league lead.

• Closer Kenley Jansen has converted 12 of 15 save chances.

Last series results

Mets won, 3-1, at Dodger Stadium, July, 4-8, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 5, Dodgers 2: Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran and Daniel had RBI doubles in the sixth inning after the Mets were held hitless through five by Rubby De La Rosa. Chris Capuano (8-7) allowed six hits and two runs in six innings. Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth to earn his 21st save in 24 chances. Terry Collins said he's willing to play with a 24-man roster for a few days while Jose Reyes recovers from a strained left hamstring rather than immediately placing him on the disabled list. More

Mets 6, Dodgers 0: Jason Bay made it 3-0 with a leadoff homer in the sixth against Ted Lilly and broke the game open in the eighth with his sixth of the season, a three-run shot off Blake Hawksworth. It was his first multihomer game since June 28, 2010, at Florida, when he went deep twice against Ricky Nolasco. Carlos Beltran also went deep and Mike Pelfrey (5-7) stranded seven runners in scoring position through six gritty innings. More

Mets 5, Dodgers 3: Ruben Tejada doubled home two runs while filling in again for injured shortstop Jose Reyes, helping lead the Mets to their fourth straight victory. Carlos Beltran doubled twice and scored twice. Jon Niese (8-7) allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings, improving to 8-4 over his past 14 starts. Hiroki Kuroda (6-10) gave up four runs and eight hits over six innings for Los Angeles, dropping to 1-5 with a 5.75 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets. More

Dodgers 6, Mets 0: Clayton Kershaw scattered five hits over eight innings and the Dodgers parlayed extra-base hits by Matt Kemp, Juan Uribe, Aaron Miles and Dioner Navarro into a five-run sixth inning. Kershaw got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by striking out Ronny Paulino to end the inning after getting a visit from manager Don Mattingly. The Mets loaded the bases again in the ninth against Kenley Jansen before Hong-Chih Kuo got the final two outs. Dillon Gee (8-3) gave up five hits and six runs -- five earned -- struck out two and walked one to lose his second straight. Jose Reyes went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. More

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187