New York Mets: Rafael Montero
Elsa/Getty ImagesNoah Syndergaard is rated the Mets' top prospect by Baseball America.
1. Noah Syndergaard, rhp
2. Steve Matz, lhp
3. Brandon Nimmo, of
4. Dilson Herrera, 2b/ss
5. Kevin Plawecki, c
6. Amed Rosario, ss
7. Michael Conforto, of
8. Rafael Montero, rhp
9. Marcos Molina, rhp
10. Gavin Cecchini, ss
"I think we've got the pieces," the manager said. "It's time to step up."
Told that heaped pressure on him as a manager to get results, Collins added: "So what? You put yourself on the hot seat. At my age, there's a lot of numbness down there anyway."
Among the tidbits from Collins:
• Juan Lagares is the likely leadoff hitter, with Curtis Granderson the fallback.
Collins acknowledged that Lagares leading off would allow him to alternate righties and lefties throughout the lineup, with Daniel Murphy batting second, David Wright third, Lucas Duda fourth, Michael Cuddyer fifth and Granderson sixth.
"We know he can steal bases. He showed us that last year," Collins said about Lagares.
The manager added that he just needs Lagares to improve his plate discipline.
• Wright is recovering well from his left shoulder injury, but is not yet swinging a bat. Wright should be doing so soon, since he's due to visit new hitting coach Kevin Long in Phoenix later this month.
• Although Sandy Alderson has all but named Wilmer Flores as the starting shortstop and Ruben Tejada as the backup barring an external addition -- and Alderson generally gets his way -- Collins is not prepared to name Flores the starter over Tejada just yet. Collins noted that Tejada has pledged to attend the Mike Barwis-led fitness and nutrition camp in January in Port St. Lucie, Florida. "He's 25," Collins said of Tejada, noting he should not be written off. "It would be one thing if he was 31 or 32."
• Duda, Bobby Parnell, Jonathon Niese and Flores already have been to the Barwis fitness camp this offseason. Collins said 40-plus players, including minor leaguers, are expected to attend in January.
• Matt Harvey, who expressed a goal of facing hitters as soon as he arrives in Port St. Lucie in early February, will be on a considerably slower track than that. And as much as Harvey says he's on board with the Mets' plan to shave his innings in-season, Collins noted about the first time the club tries to skip one of his starts: "Oh, there'll be a fight."
• Cuddyer likely will play right field, with Granderson shifting to left field.
• Parnell won't be ready for mound work until late January as he returns from Tommy John surgery and won't be highly active until the middle of spring training. He is likely to open the season on the DL. Still, Collins maintained the closer's job essentially is Parnell's to lose, with Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Vic Black in a competition for the role in the interim.
• The Opening Day bullpen should be Mejia, Familia, Black, Josh Edgin, Carlos Torres, an external addition who is a left-hander and a fill-in until Parnell is ready. Collins indicated Rafael Montero is the best young candidate to fill in at the start of the season in a bullpen role. A year ago, Cory Mazzoni would have been included on that list, but he had an injury-plagued 2014, so the Mets probably won't ask him to relieve to open the upcoming season.
FIRST PITCH: It’s Jacob deGrom Day at Marlins Park as his NL Rookie of the Year campaign continues.
DeGrom (7-6, 2.94 ERA) opposes Stony Brook University product Tom Koehler (9-9, 3.79) in the 7:10 p.m. rubber game on Wednesday against the Miami Marlins.
The minor-league playoffs also get underway Wednesday.
Rafael Montero starts for Las Vegas against Reno. Tyler Pill starts for Binghamton against Portland. Robert Gsellman starts for Savannah at Asheville.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Juan Lagares went 4-for-4 with a walk and two steals and David Wright went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and his first two extra-base hits in nearly a month as the Mets beat the Marlins, 8-6, Tuesday. Wright said he is finally feeling “dangerous” at the plate. Terry Collins has been pushing Lagares to steal more frequently. Jonathon Niese qualified for the win despite allowing six runs in six innings.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Niese’s outing in the Post.
• Read more on Lagares’ five steals in his past five games after prodding in the Journal and Newsday.
• Chris Young debuted with the Yankees on Tuesday. He struck out on three pitches as a pinch hitter in his first at-bat in pinstripes. Read more in the Daily News.
• Josh Edgin and Daisuke Matsuzaka received cortisone injections in their pitching elbows on Tuesday in New York and are expected to rejoin the Mets for the weekend series at Cincinnati. Read more in the Record.
• Noah Syndergaard fed a lion with his pitching hand.
• Matt Harvey made Page Six in the Post.
• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post says it’s up to the Jets and Giants to rescue New York sports fans. Writes Vaccaro:
And let’s face it: If you are a baseball fan with a team in this city, your summer hasn’t exactly been one for the ages. If you care for the Mets, you saw another season enter its denouement phase before the Fourth. If you are a Yankees fan, you’ve seen a few stops and a few starts and they all left you more frustrated the deeper we pushed into summer.
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post recommends the Mets retain Daniel Murphy for next season, pay him the $8 million he will command and use him as a super utility player. The logic: The Mets aim to contend in 2015. And they do not need the prospects or pitching that a team would be willing to trade for Murphy.
• The Mets finally do not need to rebuild their bullpen this offseason, writes Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger.
• Mark Carig in Newsday revisits the trade last August that brought Vic Black and Dilson Herrera from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Marlon Byrd and John Buck. "You can say we've made some bad signings or whatever," Collins told Carig. "Sandy Alderson's changed what's gone on here. You make the trades he's made and get those guys to the big leagues, he deserves a little credit for that."
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear searches for meaning in what's left of another lost Mets season.
BIRTHDAYS: Minor-league right-hander Corey Oswalt turns 21.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Is David Wright going to be OK?
David is having such a good game. I'm so happy for him. Take that haters. #mets— colferhummel (@colferhummel) September 3, 2014
Expansion plans: Rosters expand Monday, but do not expect a big wave of call-ups immediately. Third catcher Juan Centeno, who is on the 40-man roster, should join the Mets soon, if not precisely on Monday. Longer term, right-handers Rafael Montero, Gonzalez Germen and Erik Goeddel -- all on the 40-man roster, like Centeno -- could join the Mets.
The boot: Daniel Murphy is wearing a full walking boot on his right foot these days, further signaling the injury that put him on the disabled list is not minimal. The injury is limited to the calf, though, Murphy said.
BINGHAMTON 6, TRENTON 1: Greg Peavey (8-1) allowed one run and struck out seven in eight innings and Darrell Ceciliani produced two RBIs, scored a run and stole two bases.
ST. LUCIE at DAYTONA (ppd.): After consecutive rainouts, the teams will play doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.
AUGUSTA 5, SAVANNAH 2: Nelfi Zapata tripled and scored on Jorge Rivero's sacrifice fly to tie the score at 2 in the seventh, but Augusta scored a pair of runs in the bottom half. Starter Ricky Knapp allowed a leadoff walk and shortstop Yeixon Ruiz committed a one-out fielding error. With two on and one out, Knapp departed. Dawrin Frias allowed both inherited runners to score. Knapp was charged with four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings. Box
BURLINGTON 3, KINGSPORT 2 (10 innings)
BURLINGTON 7, KINGSPORT 2: In his third inning of relief, Bryce Beeler's wild pitch allowed the winning run to score in the bottom of the 10th in Game 1. Ivan Wilson's two-run double in the sixth had evened the score at 2. In Game 2, starter Andrew Church allowed six runs (four earned) in five innings. Box 1, Box 2
VERMONT 5, BROOKLYN 2: Vermont overcame a 2-1 deficit with a three-run fifth against starter Octavio Acosta. Michael Conforto finished 2-for-4. His RBI double in the third had evened the score at 1. Box
GCL MARLINS 14, GCL METS 1: Starter Adrian Almeida allowed seven runs (four earned) in 1 2/3 innings. Reliever Dan Hermann was charged with four runs without allowing a hit. He walked three and hit a batter and recorded two outs. Box
Compiled with team reports
FIRST PITCH: Daniel Murphy represents the Mets in Tuesday’s All-Star Game at 8 p.m. ET at Target Field in Minneapolis.
“I’ve got my feathers up a little right now,” Murphy told reporters on Monday in Minneapolis. “The Metropolitans are playing well. It was a lot of fun in the homestand. We’ve got some guys in San Diego on the beach right now, relaxing. It’s really nice to go into the break feeling good about the way you’re playing.”
Asked earlier whether the All-Star selection is validation of all the work he has put in, Murphy said: “I don’t know about validation. It’s nice to get recognized. I’m not going to say it’s not. It’s really nice. Validation, for me, seems like it’s the end of the road. There’s still so much work I have to do with my game to try to improve.”
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Bartolo Colon is available via trade, sources tell ESPNNewYork.com. In addition, industry insiders suggest the Mets are searching for upgrades at shortstop and left field. Starlin Castro does not appear likely, but Cubs’ Triple-A shortstop Javier Baez appears a realistic target.
An industry source tells David Lennon in Newsday that Castro won’t be available anyway, with the Cubs prepared to shift him to third base. “I’m not even thinking about that,” Castro told Lennon at Monday’s All-Star media session. “I’m here right now.”
• Check out ESPNNewYork.com’s grades for Mets pitchers here and position players and management here. Also read a report card from Mike Puma in the Post.
• Read more on the All-Star Murphy in the Post, Daily News and at MLB.com.
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post suggests the Mets have the opportunity to retake the city from the Yankees. Writes Sherman:
In this town, the Yanks have been made men, the Mets Madoff.
Yet, cue familiar music, we are at another moment when the Mets and their disheartened fan base can dream a little -- of better days finally being near, if not here. Meanwhile, the Yankees are trending toward the dreaded Double Bs -- bad and boring. There is nothing a fan in this city loves more than his team being up -- unless if it can coincide with the other New York club being down.
• Mr. Met and some pixelated extras pretending to be Mets players tip their caps to Mr. Met in a Nike commercial saluting retiring Derek Jeter. Watch here.
• Read about the state of the Mets from Matt Ehalt in the Record.
• Matt Harvey talks about his road back with Kristie Ackert in the Daily News. It’s now obvious Harvey will not pitch in the majors this season. Scott Boras recently said pitchers rehabbing from Tommy John surgery should wait 14 to 16 months to get into games, and Harvey’s surgery was last Oct. 22. Harvey notes the Mets now will not let him get on a mound at any point in July.
• Darrell Ceciliani homered twice and Binghamton moved a season-high 20 games over .500 with an 11-4 win against Erie. Rehabbing Rafael Montero pitched four scoreless innings in Game 1 and Domingo Tapia pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in the nightcap as St. Lucie swept a doubleheader against Lakeland. Taylor Teagarden caught five innings in the Gulf Coast League as he works back from a left hamstring strain. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Allan Dykstra won the Home Run Derby at the Triple-A festivities in Durham, N.C. He will serve as the Pacific Coast League DH in Wednesday’s All-Star Game.
• From the bloggers … Blogging Mets thinks the Mets should make a couple of deals to make a playoff push.
BIRTHDAYS: Fernando Nieve, who still cringes whenever Jerry Manuel points, turns 32. ... Wilson Delgado is 42. ... James Baldwin (the pitcher, not the playwright) is 43. ... The late Donn Clendenon was born on this date in 1935.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Eight months later, the 28-year-old Bronx native is pitching in Double-A for the Binghamton Mets, where he has a 3-2 record and 3.52 ERA in 19 appearances. He has produced a 0.913 WHIP.
He throws a fastball that sits at 93-94 mph, cutter and changeup while working in relief.
After graduating from Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx, Velasquez played college ball, picking up an associate degree in entertainment and sports promotion management, then a bachelor’s degree in management from Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Undrafted, he signed with the Phillies and rose to the Florida State League. In 2010 with Clearwater, he went 3-9 with a 3.19 ERA in 45 appearances (five starts) for the high-A club.
Velasquez subsequently was released. He pitched for Rockland in the Can-Am League in 2011 and ’12 and was prepared to walk away and get a regular job when his manager, former major league pitcher Dave LaPoint, called with an opportunity to finish the season with Camden in the Atlantic League.
Velasquez enjoyed the experience and returned for 2013.
“I was thinking about retiring and just moving on with life and getting a regular job,” Velasquez said. “My manager, Dave LaPoint, called me up like 12 days after our Can-Am season and asked me if I wanted to go out and play in the Atlantic League. I was like, ‘Sure.’ So I went there and played and had such a great time. I had a newfound love for the game after I went to Camden. They asked me if I wanted to play in 2013.”
Still, though, independent ball can be a difficult way to make a living. And Velasquez still did not get an offer from a major league club to join its farm system, even though he posted a 1.95 ERA in 61 relief appearances last year with Camden.
He resolved to go to winter ball in Puerto Rico to try to draw interest. If that did not work, he was done with pro baseball.
The decision worked out. The Minnesota Twins signed Velasquez less than a month after he arrived in Puerto Rico. Then things got interesting.
Because he had signed only a week or so before the winter meetings, Velasquez was exposed for the minor-league phases of the Rule 5 draft. The Mets selected him. Velasquez, not expecting such a move, found out via Facebook while trying to reach a Spanish-language baseball site’s alert on his phone. Velasquez is of Puerto Rican descent but not perfectly fluent in Spanish.
“I had a notification on Facebook and I clicked on it,” Velasquez said. “Usually they just put things up if I pitched the night before with how I did. I was like, ‘I didn’t pitch yesterday. Why did they tag me?’ And I started reading it. It was in Spanish, and I’m not really fluent. It takes me a little bit to understand. So I was reading through it and I kind of saw something about the Mets. As soon as I was like, ‘Wait, what’s going on?’ my agent called me.”
Average: Andrew Brown, Vegas, .359; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, .356; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .355; Matt Reynolds, Binghamton, .352; Jairo Perez, St. Lucie, .351; Jeff McNeil, Savannah, .346; Kevin Plawecki, Binghamton, .335; Brandon Nimmo, St. Lucie, .332; Matt Clark, Binghamton, .331; Wilfredo Tovar, Binghamton, .313.
Homers: Andrew Brown, Vegas, 13; Taylor Teagarden, Vegas, 8; Matt Clark, Binghamton, 8; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 8.
RBIs: Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 44; T.J. Rivera, St. Lucie, 44.
Steals: Jeff McNeil, Savannah, 14; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 13; Dilson Herrera, St. Lucie, 13; Brandon Nimmo, St. Lucie, 9.
ERA: Kevin McGowan, Savannah, 1.66; Steven Matz, St. Lucie, 1.73; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 2.44; John Gant, Savannah, 2.67; Matt Koch, St. Lucie, 2.70; Ricky Knapp, Savannah, 3.09; Gabriel Ynoa, St. Lucie, 3.88; Luis Cessa, St. Lucie, 3.98; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 4.02.
Wins: Matt Koch, St. Lucie, 6; Miller Diaz, Savannah, 5; John Gant, Savannah, 5; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 5; Gabriel Ynoa, St. Lucie, 5.
Saves: Chasen Bradford, Binghamton, 11; Robert Coles, Savannah, 10; Vic Black, Vegas, 7; Randy Fontanez, St. Lucie, 7; Jeff Walters, Vegas, 6; Beck Wheeler, St. Lucie, 6.
Strikeouts: Darin Gorski, Vegas, 59; Dana Eveland, Vegas, 58; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 57; Miller Diaz, Savannah, 53; Dario Alvarez, Savannah, 52.
• St. Lucie will have seven players in the Florida State League All-Star Game on June 14 in Bradenton, Fla.: second baseman Dilson Herrera, center fielder Brandon Nimmo, infielder T.J. Rivera, catcher Cam Maron, left-hander Steven Matz and right-handers Matt Koch and Randy Fontanez.
• Savannah placed seven players in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, which will be played June 16 in Hickory, N.C.: right-handers Kevin McGowan, Miller Diaz, Akeel Morris and Robert Coles, left-hander Dario Alvarez, third baseman Jeff McNeil and shortstop Gavin Cecchini. Gnats manager Luis Rojas will lead the Southern Division team.
Nimmo resumed playing Monday after missing three days with pinkeye. Rivera also just returned from a three-game absence because of soreness.
• Frank Viola, who underwent open-heart surgery on April 2, is due to join Las Vegas on Friday as pitching coach. Viola and Mike Piazza first will represent the Mets on the opening day of the draft Thursday at Secaucus, N.J.
• The player to be named in the Ike Davis trade with the Pirates will not be announced immediately after the draft. The PTBN can be announced a year after he signed his first pro contract, not a year after he was drafted. If it does turn out to be Connecticut prep right-hander Neil Kozikowski, which has been speculated, he signed June 21. So the Mets would have to wait until the one-year anniversary to receive him. Kozikowski was selected in the eighth round and signed for an over slot $425,000 in 2013.
• Rafael Montero walked four in 5 1/3 innings in his return to Las Vegas on Tuesday night. Combined between the Mets and 51s this season, Montero has walked 33 in 67 innings, or 4.4 per nine innings. That is the highest rate of his career by a wide margin. The rate was 1.6 per nine innings in 2011, 1.4 in 2012 and 2.0 in 2013.
• Noah Syndergaaard is due to reenter the Vegas rotation Thursday after dealing with a forearm strain.
• Cory Mazzoni, who suffered a lat-muscle injury starting for the Mets in the final Grapefruit League game, is due to pitch an inning in extended spring training on Wednesday for the first time since suffering the injury.
• Rob Whalen, who raced to a 4-0 start with a 1.80 ERA through 20 innings with Savannah before developing an infection in his pitching hand, has been cleared to start throwing on flat ground.
• Amed Rosario is not yet done with Savannah, even though he was transferred off their roster temporarily to clear a spot. The 18-year-old shortstop still will be joining Brooklyn when the New York-Penn League season opens June 13 at Staten Island. Rosario struck out in all five at-bats in his lone South Atlantic League appearance so far.
• Jairo Perez, who missed two weeks in April with a right hamstring pull, now has enough at-bats to qualify for the Florida State League leaderboard. Perez checks in at No. 2, with a .351 average. Rivera, his teammate, is first overall at .356. Nimmo ranks fourth in the league at .332.
FIRST PITCH: After a 14-inning loss to the Philadelphia Phillies that lasted five hours, 23 minutes, the Mets attempt to bounce back Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.
Jacob deGrom, still in search of his first major-league win despite a 1.83 ERA, opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.04) in the 3:05 p.m. game.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Chris Young dropped a leadoff fly ball to right field off the bat of Marlon Byrd in the bottom of the 14th and the ex-Met eventually scored the winning run as Philadelphia beat the Mets, 6-5, Friday night. Rafael Montero lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his fourth major-league start. The Mets had won six straight games in Philly before Friday’s defeat.
• With the bullpen having to log 9 1/3 innings Friday, 36-year-old reliever Buddy Carlyle will be promoted from Las Vegas for Saturday’s game. The Mets did not announce a corresponding move late Friday, but Montero could be headed to Vegas, according to a team source. If that materialized, it presumably would mean Daisuke Matsuzaka enters the rotation until Dillon Gee returns from the DL. Montero has a 5.40 ERA and 11 walks and has surrendered five homers in 20 innings spanning four starts.
If Montero does end up back in Triple-A, it will be interesting to see if he reenters Vegas’ depleted rotation, or if he slips into the bullpen there to get groomed for a potential return in a relief role. Another month in the minors likely would ensure Montero misses becoming a Super 2 after the 2016 season.
Read more at MLB.com.
• Noah Syndergaard, who was diagnosed with a mild forearm strain, reportedly is due to reenter the Vegas rotation Thursday. Read more in the Post.
• 50 Cent talked about his ugly ceremonial first pitch at Citi Field on Good Morning America.
• David Wright and Daniel Murphy each will get a day off during this road trip, which also includes stops in Chicago and San Francisco, Terry Collins said.
• Gonzalez Germen’s infection is “starting to get cleaned up” and he is returning to the mound, Collins said.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal writes that a youth infusion is paying dividends in the bullpen.
• Tim Rohan in the Times lightheartedly wonders if deGrom, who struck out as a pinch hitter in the 14th, could be a shortstop candidate, at least in a pinch. Of course, one reason deGrom switched from shortstop to pitcher at Stetson was his light offensive production. Still, deGrom noted, his lone collegiate home run did come against Chris Sale, formerly of Florida Gulf Coast University and now a standout with the Chicago White Sox.
• Josh Satin had a two-out RBI triple in the top of the ninth to pull Vegas within a run, but the 51s lost to El Paso, 4-3. 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo will miss three days with St. Lucie because of pinkeye. Read the full minor-league recap here.
BIRTHDAYS: Binghamton Mets right-hander Matt Bowman, a Princeton product, turns 23. ... Fellow minor-league pitcher Juan Urbina, son of ex-MLB pitcher Ugueth Urbina, is 21. ... Joe Orsulak was born on this date in 1962.
TWEETS OF THE DAY:
The reinforcement was needed after Rafael Montero lasted only 3 2/3 innings and Terry Collins exhausted his bullpen in a 14-inning loss to the Phillies on Friday.
Carlyle is 1-1 with a 1.27 ERA and one save in 21 1/3 innings with Vegas spanning 18 relief appearances. The 36-year-old right-hander has appeared in the majors during parts of seven seasons, with the Padres, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees.
Carlyle will have to travel from El Paso, Texas, where the 51s are currently playing.
After allowing four runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings Friday against the Phillies, Montero now has a 5.40 ERA in four major-league starts. He is averaging five innings per start. Montero also has surrendered five homers. He has walked 11 in 20 innings -- bucking his career minor-league pattern of low walk totals (until this year, when his bases on balls also spiked with Vegas).
"The troubling part is the deep counts, the ball-one counts, because that is not how we thought he would attack up here," Collins said. "Certainly his whole history, as we've said so many times before, has been he's a strike-thrower. To be behind in the count like he is and to get himself in some deep situations, that's the troubling part."
Montero said he did not have an explanation for falling behind in counts.
"I don't really look much into that," he said through an interpreter. "Each start is different."
After Davis went 0-for-2 with a walk, he was replaced by righty-hitting Gaby Sanchez in the eighth when Terry Collins inserted southpaw Scott Rice to protect a two-run lead.
The bullpen surrendered five runs the rest of the way.
Sanchez homered against Rice and Jose Valverde allowed a game-tying RBI single to Jose Tabata later in the eighth.
The Pirates added three ninth-inning runs to take a 5-2 lead in the Memorial Day win at Citi Field, highlighted by Sanchez's tiebreaking single against Valverde. Two runs scored on the play, the latter courtesy of a throwing error by left fielder Curtis Granderson.
The loss dropped the Mets to 22-28. They are now 19-3 when leading after seven innings.
Valverde (1-1) was charged with four earned runs while recording only two outs. His ERA ballooned to 5.66.
Total package: Between pitching assignments, deGrom may be worthy of playing some shortstop, his original position at Stetson University.
With Terry Collins being refreshingly liberal with pitch counts of late, even for his young starters, deGrom was permitted to toss 122 pitches.
DeGrom departed after issuing his fifth walk -- to Neil Walker in the seventh, which advanced Travis Snider to second base. Jeurys Familia, who had appeared in both games on Sunday’s doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks, then struck out reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen looking to strand both runners inherited from deGrom and preserve a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates had loaded the bases in the first inning, but deGrom coaxed Russell Martin into an inning-ending double play. An inning later, deGrom allowed a single and walk to open the frame but stranded both runners.
His pitch count was at 47 after two innings, but deGrom became efficient. His final line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. He threw 122 pitches (67 strikes) and departed leading 2-0.
The 122 pitches were the most by a Mets pitcher within his first three major-league appearances since Bill Pulsipher tossed 131 and then 122 in June 1995.
Collins has been less conservative of late with pitch counts. Zack Wheeler has thrown 118 in two of his past three starts. Rafael Montero threw 113 on Sunday.
As for his bat, deGrom’s two-out single in the fifth against Brandon Cumpton ignited the Mets to open the scoring. Juan Lagares followed with a walk. Daniel Murphy then laced a two-run single to right field.
Well, it was a two-run single after a replay review.
Lagares had attempted to score all the way from first on Murphy’s single after right fielder Josh Harrison’s throw eluded third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
Lagares initially was ruled out by plate umpire Laz Diaz. However, the umpires initiated a review of whether catcher Russell Martin illegally blocked the plate -- the Rule 7.13 adopted this year to prevent horrific collisions and injuries like the one that occurred with San Francisco’s Buster Posey.
The video review ultimately determined Martin had blocked the plate, Lagares was ruled safe, and the Mets took a 2-0 lead.
It was not the first time this year a runner had been awarded home because a catcher blocked the plate. On April 19, Colorado’s Nolan Arenado was ruled safe because, after a review, Carlos Ruiz was determined to have blocked the plate.
Meanwhile, with singles in each of his two at-bats against Cumpton, deGrom is now 4-for-5 this season. He became the first pitcher in franchise history with a hit in each of his first three career games. Include position players and deGrom still is the first Met since Victor Diaz in 2004 to hit safely in each of his first three major-league games.
DeGrom has four of the six hits by Mets pitchers this season. He had snapped the pitchers’ 0-for-64 drought to begin the season with a hit in his May 15 debut.
Snapped: Lucas Duda snapped the longest active streak in the majors of innings pitched without allowing a homer with his leadoff blast in the bottom of the ninth against Mark Melancon. Melancon had tossed 86 homer-free innings.
Debutant: Matt den Dekker entered on a double-switch in the ninth for his first major-league action in 2014. He struck out to end the game.
What’s next: Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.70 ERA) opposes right-hander Edinson Volquez (2-4, 4.37) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Associated PressIke Davis is back at Citi Field on Monday, now a Pittsburgh Pirate.
FIRST PITCH: Ike Davis is back!
Davis and the Pittsburgh Pirates begin a three-game series at Citi Field at 1:10 p.m. Monday.
“It’ll be weird being in the visiting clubhouse for the first time,” Davis told the Pirates’ web site. “Truth is, it’s not something big to me. Just gotta do it, go and try to beat the Mets.”
Davis is actually back in New York for the second time since being traded for right-hander Zack Thornton and a player to be named (expected to be from the 2013 draft, which means an announcement coming next month). The Pirates played in the Bronx on May 17 and 18.
At Yankee Stadium, Davis told New York reporters: “It’s nice to play for someone that actually wants you or thinks that you can help the team. Obviously the Mets thought I could help the team ... a couple years [laughs] -- ’cause I was there for almost five. I had one bad season, and they had to make a change. And they traded me away. I don’t really know what else to say about that. It’s nice to be with a team that likes you. I don't think the Mets hated me ... until, you know.”
Davis is batting .303 (30-for-99) with two homers and 11 RBIs since the April 18 trade. He arrives on a six-game hitting streak, during which he is 10-for-23 with a homer and four RBIs.
“Really, it takes a while during the season to find a groove, and I’m usually pretty decent once I do find it,” Davis told Pirates.com. “Usually it takes me a little longer. I found it earlier this year.”
Lucas Duda, by contrast, is hitting .208 (20-for-96) with two homers and 11 RBIs since April 18.
Terry Collins said having Davis in town will not be extra motivation for Duda, who left 15 runners on base in nine hitless at-bats in the weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Any time you’re in a slump it’s mentally exasperating,” Collins said.
Monday’s news reports:
• Daniel Murphy dropped the third out at second base on a throw from David Wright in the top of the ninth as the tiebreaking run scored and the Mets dropped Game 1 of a doubleheader to the Diamondbacks, 2-1, Sunday at Citi Field. The Mets grounded into five double plays, matching the franchise record for a nine-inning game.
Rafael Montero became the second Mets pitcher to strike out 10, joining Zack Wheeler on April 25 against the Miami Marlins. Montero received a no-decision despite limiting the D-backs to one run and two hits in six innings.
The Mets salvaged a doubleheader split and the finale of the three-game series by winning Sunday’s nightcap, 4-2. Daisuke Matsuzaka, in his first start of the regular season, contributed six innings in a 98-pitch effort. He limited Arizona to two runs on three hits and a walk in six innings to earn the win. Jenrry Mejia, who until recently had not pitched on consecutive days in four years, worked both games of the doubleheader. He suffered the loss in the opener because of Murphy’s drop, but picked up his third save in Game 2.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• Dillon Gee felt uncomfortable and did not get on a mound Sunday for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a right lat-muscle strain. As a result, it is clear Gee’s return is not close and Jacob deGrom and Montero should be in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
• Eric Young Jr. is expected to land on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring before Monday’s game. Matt den Dekker will be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger.
• Vic Black, who served as the 26th man for Sunday’s doubleheader, was returned to Vegas after the twinbill without appearing.
• Travis d’Arnaud went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and caught for five innings for Double-A Binghamton in his first game since suffering a concussion on May 13. D’Arnaud is expected to DH on Monday with the B-Mets, catch again Tuesday and potentially be activated as soon as Wednesday.
D’Arnaud told Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin he had one flashback to the concussion injury during Sunday’s game.
“There was one on a curveball in the dirt, I kind of flinched back,” he said. “It was a curveball to the left and it was kind of like the same thing. Right when he swung, I kind of fell straight back. It wasn’t even close to me, I guess. I just flinched.”
As a side note: Once d’Arnaud returns, the Mets will become the first team in MLB history to have three players with surnames beginning in lower-case Ds simultaneously on their big-league roster: d’Arnaud, den Dekker and deGrom.
• Jared Allen of East Lyme, Conn., won Sunday’s Banner Day competition with a sign that included the tickets from the 70 games he has attended since 2002.
• Native son Eric Campbell is profiled in The New London (Conn.) Day. Writes Mike DiMauro:
Fittingly, it was [Wally] Backman, so instrumental in Campbell’s development within the Mets organization, delivering the information. Start spreadin’ the news. You’re leavin’ today.
"The phone rings at 1:30 in the morning," his dad, Duke, was saying Saturday. "I got in late that night and I didn't want to disturb Amy (Duke's wife and Eric's mom), so I was sleeping in another room. Amy comes in and says, 'You have to take this call.' I'm groggy. She says, 'No, you have to take it.'"
Fancy that. Every parent's worst nightmare: The phone call in the middle of the night. That's when Lincoln's better angels of our nature are swarmed by our demons. It can't be good news at that hour.
Or it's the best news of all.
"There were tears," Duke said.
• Read more on Davis’ return in the Record.
• Giancarlo Alvarado allowed six runs in five innings and Las Vegas lost its fifth straight, 10-1 against Sacramento. Victor Cruzado, Stefan Sabol and Jorge Rivero homered as Savannah beat Lexington, 11-6. Read the full minor-league recap here.
BIRTHDAYS: St. Lucie right-hander Gabriel Ynoa turns 21. ... Teammate Paul Sewald, a reliever, is 24. ... Former Mets farmhand Kevin Mulvey is 29.
TWEETS OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: If the Mets could undo the Ike Davis trade, would you be in favor?
Tomorrow will mark my 4th #mets game in less than 48 hours. I think I was a sadomasochist in my past life— The Coop (@Coopz22) May 26, 2014
The Diamondbacks won the first game 2-1. The Mets won the second game 4-2. Both teams remain in last place in their respective divisions.
Still, we learned a few things about the Mets on this long day in Queens. Here are six items, after six hours and change of action on the field:
Montero belongs here: Rafael Montero is still looking for his first major league win, but he deserves the opportunity to keep trying after striking out 10 in Game 1.
He became just the fourth pitcher in franchise history to strike out 10 or more in one of his first three starts -- Matt Harvey was the last to do so, and we all know how good Harvey turned out to be.
"This was my best, and there is better to come," Montero said.
When Dillon Gee returns from the disabled list (and he may be out longer than expected now), the Mets will have to make a decision. Neither Montero (0-2, 4.96 ERA) nor Jacob deGrom (0-2, 2.77) have gotten a win yet, but the team's anemic offense has a lot to do with that. Why not keep 'em both in the rotation, and send Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34) to the bullpen? He's not a part of the long-term future, anyway. Just a thought.
Dice-K can still start: The Mets have converted Daisuke Matsuzaka into a reliever this season but turned to him in desperation on Sunday, and he delivered.
Needing a spot starter because of the doubleheader, the Mets gave the ball to Matsuzaka in Game 2 and he gave them six innings, allowing just two runs on three hits -- striking out six, walking just one, and throwing 98 pitches despite not being stretched out in preparation.
"It tells you the kind of heart he’s got," manager Terry Collins said. "He knows we needed help, he knows our bullpen’s a little thin after what we’ve gone through this week, and he gave us a tremendous outing."
The 33-year-old Matsuzaka has now done it all for the Mets this season -- started, set up and closed. And it's not even June.
Collins shot down the notion of Matsuzaka being added to the rotation after the game, but he's been effective out of the bullpen as well -- now 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA on the season. Matsuzaka estimated he needs three days of rest before he'll be able to pitch again.
"I wanted to go and pitch as deep into the game as I could," he said. "That was the least I could have done, and I’m glad I was able to help out the team."
Mejia can pitch twice in one day: The Mets used Jenrry Mejia for an inning in each game of the doubleheader. He took the loss in the first game, but the winning run was unearned, scoring on an error by Daniel Murphy. And Mejia bounced back to record his third save of the season in the nightcap.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen called down to the bullpen early in the second game, and Mejia said he felt up to pitching again.
"I think it says a lot -- that he's healthier, he's starting to realize that he can bounce back, that he can do more than he first thought," Collins said.
Collins sounded hesitant about using Mejia in Monday's day game against the Pirates, but Mejia said he thinks he will be up for it, and seems to be embracing the closer role.
"Right now I feel pretty good," Mejia said. "Let's see how I feel tomorrow. That's my first time, pitching twice. It's unbelievable."
Wright's really on: The Mets are one of the poorest offensive teams in baseball, but it's certainly not David Wright's fault.
Wright went 2-for-3 and reached base four times in the first game of the doubleheader, and went 1-for-4 in the finale, extending his hitting streak to nine games.
He is batting .444 (16-for-36) during the streak, and has 36 hits in May, second-most in the National League.
Wright also made an outstanding play in the field in the second game. With the Mets leading 3-2 in the top of the seventh, the Diamondbacks had the tying run on second base with one out. Ender Inciarte hit a low foul pop to the left of the third-base line, and Wright made a beautiful sliding grab near the Diamondbacks' dugout. Well done.
Duda, Young really aren't: The Mets are going nowhere if they keep getting this kind of production from the middle of their lineup.
A day after going 0-for-4 and stranding seven runners on base, Lucas Duda went 0-for-5 and stranded eight more Sunday -- starting Game 1, and pinch-hitting in Game 2 -- and is now batting .228 on the season.
Chris Young went 0-for-3 and stranded six runners in Game 1, did not play in Game 2, and is now batting .204 on the season.
"I think mechanically I'm right where I want to be," Duda said. "But I think pitch selection obviously -- chasing balls out of the zone, taking balls that are strikes, that's kind of vice versa of what you hope to do as a baseball player at the plate. That's how it goes -- you hit rough patches, and it is what it is, and I'll come out tomorrow and hopefully knock in a few runs."
Collins said Duda will start Monday but wouldn't commit to Young yet, mentioning the possibility of giving Bobby Abreu another chance. Abreu went 2-for-3 in Game 2 on Sunday, and also drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in Game 1.
The bases loaded is a bad thing: It is for the Mets, anyway. They are now 6-for-44 (.136) with the bases loaded this season, after going 0-for-2 on Sunday.
The Mets are hitless, with zero RBIs, in their last nine at-bats with the bases juiced.
You can't make this stuff up, folks. But tomorrow's a new day.
They wasted a wonderful performance by Rafael Montero, and opportunity after opportunity at the plate, losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 in the first game of a single-admission doubleheader at Citi Field.
The Diamondbacks scored the winning run in the top of the ninth, with A.J. Pollock coming home from third base after Daniel Murphy dropped David Wright's throw from third on what should have been an inning-ending forceout.
With runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Juan Lagares struck out and then Murphy flied out to left field -- Ender Inciarte, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth -- made a nice running catch on the play.
The last-place Mets (21-27) have now lost eight of 10, and are 6-16 in the month of May. The Diamondbacks (20-31) remain in last place in the NL West.
Double trouble: The Mets had plenty of chances to score in this game, but hit into five double plays -- tying the franchise record for a nine-inning game. Chris Young hit into two of them, and also popped out to the catcher, dropping his batting average to .204.
Lucas Duda, after going 0-for-4 and stranding seven runners in Saturday's loss, went 0-for-4 again and stranded six more -- including hitting into a double play with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning. He is now batting .230.
Overall, the Mets were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position against Bronson Arroyo and three relievers. New York entered the day with the second-lowest team batting average in the National League (.233), ahead of only the San Diego Padres.
The bright side: Montero failed to earn his first major league victory on Sunday, but it was a mighty impressive no-decision.
The 23-year-old threw six innings, giving up just one run on two hits, with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
Montero became only the fourth pitcher in franchise history to record 10 or more strikeouts in one of the first three starts of his career. The last to do so was Matt Harvey, who fanned 11 in his major league debut on July 26, 2012.
The Diamondbacks' lone run against Montero scored on Chris Owings' solo home run in the top of the first inning. The only other hit was a third-inning single by Paul Goldschmidt.
Montero threw a career-high 113 pitches, and left with the game tied at 1. He remains 0-2, but his ERA dropped from 6.97 to 4.96. Montero has now received just two runs of support total in his first three starts for the Mets.
Wright stuff: Wright had two of the Mets' nine hits -- singles in the first and third innings. (He also reached base twice more, on an error by the Diamondbacks' shortstop, Owings, and a walk.)
It's the fourth multi-hit game in a row for Wright, who is 15-for-32 (.469) during his current eight-game hitting streak.
Murphy and Juan Centeno also had two hits in the game.
Unwelcome Ollie: Oliver Perez entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, replacing Arroyo, and the former Met was booed lustily. It was Perez's first appearance at Citi Field since his final one with the Mets, on the final day of the 2010 season -- remember, he came on in the 14th inning and gave up the winning run, hitting a batter and then walking the next three.
Perez went 1 1/3 scoreless innings this time around, giving up one hit, with two strikeouts, a walk and a hit batter.
What's next: The second game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of this one. Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-0, 2.14) will make his first start of the season for the Mets (after 14 relief appearances), as will fellow righty Zeke Spruill for the Diamondbacks (just called up from Triple-A).
The 23-year-old threw six innings, giving up just one run on two hits, with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
Montero became only the fourth pitcher in New York Mets history to record 10 or more strikeouts in one of the first three starts of his career. The last to do so was Matt Harvey, who fanned 11 in his major league debut on July 26, 2012.
The Arizona Diamondbacks' lone run against Montero scored on Chris Owings' solo home run in the top of the first inning. The only other hit was a third-inning single by Paul Goldschmidt.
Montero threw a career-high 113 pitches, and left with the game tied at 1.
William Perlman/USA TODAY SportsJacob deGrom makes his second major-league start on Wednesday night, against the Dodgers.
FIRST PITCH: Jacob deGrom aims to have a better encore to his major-league debut than Rafael Montero did Tuesday night.
DeGrom (0-1, 1.29 ERA), who took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning against the Yankees in his debut, makes his second major-league start Wednesday. He opposes Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-2, 3.00) in the 7:10 p.m. game. Ryu is returning from a disabled-list trip for shoulder inflammation.
Wednesday’s news reports:
• Montero surrendered five runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second major-league start and the Mets twice failed to score after loading the bases with one out as the Dodgers won, 9-4, Tuesday. The Mets (20-24) now occupy sole possession of last place in the National League East.
David Wright, who fouled off three full-count pitches from Josh Beckett, then grounded out to strand the bases loaded in the fifth. Wright said about that missed opportunity: “You’re hoping to get something that you can drive, and he just never gave in. I got to 3-2, got into a favorable count, and then cutter, curveball, curveball, curveball. That’s just him making good pitches, and pitches that I’m not expecting with 3-2 with the bases loaded.”
The game lasted four hours, eight minutes -- one minute shy of matching the franchise record for a nine-inning game.
“It’s an issue with the league. It’s an issue with everybody,” Terry Collins said about the length of games. “There’s always those games, just like tonight, where we use a lot of pitchers trying to keep ourselves in the game and try to keep the game close. That eats up a lot of time also. But when you throw a lot of pitches like we did -- we walked six and hit a guy -- that’s going to make for long nights."
For L.A., Juan Uribe left the game in the ninth inning with a hamstring strain.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Stephen Drew signed with the Red Sox for $10 million for the remainder of the season, and Sandy Alderson said the Mets were not interested at that price.
Instead of spending money the Mets will continue to go along with Ruben Tejada, who was hitting .185 and Wilmer Flores, who is learning the position and started Tuesday night against the Dodgers and was hitting .200. The Mets did not view Drew as a player worth that kind of money.
The trade route remains a possibility with Seattle’s Nick Franklin still available or perhaps now that Tony La Russa is running the Diamondbacks the Mets will look to land Didi Gregorius.
No matter who plays shortstop, it’s going to be someone who does not cost a lot of money.
Hey, it’s only shortstop. Why do you need to spend money at shortstop, one of the most vital, if not the most vital position on the field?
Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday writes that the Mets will script out shortstop playing time between Tejada and Flores days ahead of time rather than react to who has a good or poor game the previous day. Read more on Tejada versus Flores in the Post and Journal.
Read more on Drew in Newsday.
• Matt Harvey wants to make five to seven major-league starts this season. Still, Alderson spoke cautiously Tuesday about Harvey’s ambitious hope to return 10 months after Tommy John surgery. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.
• Juan Lagares missed Tuesday’s game because he remained in the Dominican Republic following the death of a relative. Lagares is expected back for Wednesday’s game, so the Mets played a man short in the series opener rather than place Lagares on bereavement leave.
• On the health front:
Travis d’Arnaud continues to experience concussion symptoms when he exercises and is not ready to be activated from the disabled list.
Dillon Gee wants to make a rehab start before being activated from the DL, which means he is expected to miss at least three turns in the rotation. Gee plans to throw on Wednesday for the first time since suffering the lat-muscle strain.
Gonzalez Germen has an abscess and lingering flu-like symptoms and his rehab assignment has been aborted as he remains on the DL.
Bobby Parnell, who underwent Tommy John surgery on April 8, is at Citi Field this week. Parnell was examined by Mets doctors and got a positive initial review. He just had a brace removed.
Read more on players’ injury status in the Star-Ledger, Daily News and at MLB.com.
• DeGrom's college coach at Stetson tells John Harper in the Daily News that the right-hander was a natural to convert from shortstop to the mound. “He had a great arm and he could throw strikes with his eyes closed,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn told Harper. “We knew that from seeing him throw in some fall and intrasquad games, and we had to do something because our pitching wasn’t getting it done. But still ... I’ve never seen a guy go out there and have total command of the strike zone right away like he did without any real experience. That told me he might just have a future on the mound.”
• Justin Turner, back at Citi Field with the Dodgers, said he was shocked when the Mets non-tendered him on Dec. 2.
• Their precise motivation was unclear, but Lucas Duda as well as Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg both posed smiling while wearing Shake Shack T-shirts in photos tweeted Tuesday. That came a week after they each alleged the burger proprietor gave them food poisoning.
• Matt den Dekker had a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh as Las Vegas beat Fresno, 3-2. Michael Fulmer allowed one run in seven innings and St. Lucie beat Clearwater, 10-3. Dominic Smith had a tiebreaking RBI single to cap a two-run eighth and Savannah beat Charleston, 2-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear examines the last time Mets were “this many” games over or under .500, from 54 over in 1986 to 80 under in 1962.
BIRTHDAYS: Triple-A first baseman Allan Dykstra turns 27. ... Former reliever Tom Martin is 44.
TWEETS OF THE DAY:
YOU’RE UP: Should Matt Harvey pitch in the majors in 2014?
@AdamRubinESPN all Harvey is doing is setting a personal goal. Just like saying you think your team can win 90 games.— C_Haven (@chaven416) May 20, 2014