Toby Hyde and Rob Brender talk with Andrew Beaton from the Wall Street Journal about the week in Mets, including the team's power surge, David Wright, the pitching staff, and development of Michael Conforto...
After years of bullpen meltdowns, the Mets now find themselves with the top-ranked staff of relievers in baseball, according to FanGraphs.com.
Their collective 2.67 ERA is solid, but their unusually high batting average on balls in play, combined with a high rate of soft contact, suggests it will only get better...
As a group, they have been extremely good in both limiting home runs (3rd in MLB) and striking batters out (2nd in MLB), though their walk rate is still middle-of-the-pack. Given their ability to pound the strike zone and generate swings on pitches outside the zone, though, the walk rate should improve somewhat. One thing it's very nice to see is that they aren't pitching many innings - their 60 2/3 IP places them 21st in the league. That keeps the pen fresh and increases the likelihood that they will be able to sustain effectiveness across the season.
So far, the MVP of the Mets bullpen would have to be a tossup between Robles and Henderson. Robles has struck out 13 batters in his 9 innings pitched so far without giving up a home run. He's walked 3, the main blemish to his strong start, but at just 25 years old, he has time to work on that tendency. Henderson is also walking too many, but he's striking out hitters at an even higher rate than Robles and allowed just 6 hits so far. His journey back to the majors has been a long one and at age 33 there's a good chance his performance won't last, but right now he's bringing a steady veteran presence to an otherwise young group of pitchers.
Both of the Mets lefties are impressing thus far as well. Bastardo is striking out over a third of the batters he sees and his 2.89 ERA is inflated by some uneven luck in home runs. Blevins, more of a lefty specialist, also has a higher ERA than his pitching would suggest, with two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings pitched. His ability to limit baserunners is excellent - he's had just 3 all season. The Mets are lucky to have two effective lefties in the bullpen (with 2 more solid options waiting in Las Vegas), which should allow them to rest both and not fall into the trap of relying heavily on one arm.
Familia, projected to be one of the top closers in the game, hasn't been his normal dominant self for much of the season, plagued by early-April velocity issues. But thinking of his 2.45 ERA as not-yet-dominant shows just how good he can be, and if his last few appearances are any indication, he's looking back on track and throwing the kind of filthy high heat that took him to the next level in 2015. And with 7 saves under his belt already, he has a good chance to top the team single-season record, which he currently holds.
It's a long season and all of these pitchers are dealing with a small sample size, but so far the Mets have had the luxury of a relief squad that inspires confidence instead of anxiety. The success has been spread among many different arms, allowing Collins the ability to mix-and-match for different hitters and different situations. Combined with a top-flight staff of starters, there aren't a lot of batters out there looking forward to coming to Queens.
Tags: Maggie Wiggin
1) Mark Simon: "The unlikeliest source of major power this side of Trevor Story is New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker. How's he doing it?" Read more at ESPN.com.
2) Marc Carig: Yoenis Cespedes said his pinch-hit home Tuesday was one of biggest moments in his career. Read more in Newsday.
3) Mike Puma: "David Wright never needs an excuse to ask to be in the Mets' lineup, but delivering Tuesday's go-ahead hit may have provided the perfect cover. Terry Collins originally had considered giving Wright a night off Wednesday, but that idea was scrapped after a brief conversation with the Mets captain." Read more in the NY Post.
4) Mark Simon: "Hard-hit balls are Michael Conforto's legacy, dating back to his days as a Little Leaguer, scholastic star and college All-American at Oregon State, so it's not really that surprising that he's atop the leaderboard for hard-hit rate near the end of the first month of the season." Read more at ESPN.com.
5) Mike Vaccarro: "The Mets aren't going to apologize for the National League, OK? Neither are the Nationals. Neither are the Cubs. Neither are any of the haves who will spend all summer massacring have-nots. ... Again, the Mets needn't apologize for this." Read more in the NY Post.
The projected standings at FanGraphs put the Mets on pace to win 93 games this season, which would be incredible. Of course, they have the Nationals winning 92 and the Cubs winning 98. In short, they project the Mets, Cubs and Dodgers to win their respective divisions, while the Nationals and Giants will win the Wild Card. And, I think this is probably a good bet, but it's mostly because of how bad the Phillies and Braves are, and how ultra competitive things will be in the NL Central. There are five, maybe six teams in the NL that are essentially tanking and two of them are in the East.
Of course, the Mets still have to win these games. Nothing is a given just because we *think* the Braves and Phillies will be bad. Frankly, the Phillies looked pretty good when playing the Mets, so I'd be careful of them. That said, the combination of playing 38 games against these two teams, plus having such a deep and dominant starting rotation, should make attaining 93 wins easier than it might be playing in a different division or league.
Tags: David Wright , Yoenis Cespedes
Neil Walker tied a Mets record set by Dave Kingman, Carlos Delgado and John Buck by hitting his ninth home run in April during Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Reds.
"I don't know what to tell you," said Walker, smiling in disbelief. "Maybe it's my age. Maybe I'm carrying more weight in my body. I mean, I'm not, but I really don't know. Maybe I've hit the peak of where I physically can be, but I don't feel any different. I'm not approaching my at-bats any different. I'm just trying to be aggressive, especially with fastballs, and stay on them and hit strikes."
Walker's nine home runs are tied for the most in baseball.
He has never hit more than 23 or fewer than 12 home runs in a season.
"A change of scenery can make a lot of difference," Terry Collins said of his second baseman, who was acquired from the Pirates for Jon Niese this past winter. "Here he is in the middle of a lineup with huge expectations. I just think right now, he's swinging great. He's seeing the ball good. He's putting good swings on certain pitches, and doing damage."
Walker is a very good baseball player who's in the middle of an amazing hot streak. Enjoy it because it won't last forever, and he'd be the first to admit it. The fact is, for whatever reason, he's doing everything right at the plate. Clearly, he is seeing the ball well and making great decisions right now. I mean, every swing is perfect, at strikes and with authority. He's totally locked in. There is really nothing more to say.
Walker hit just 16 home runs last season. This year, he already has nine... in April. It's worth noting he's playing very well in the field as well. He made a dangerous error but then made a nice play not long after to make up for it. He's had a terrific start to the season, which is always helpful when beginning a career in New York -- especially when replacing a fan favorite.
Murphy who? Zobrist what? Nice work, Sandy. So far, so good...
Matt Harvey struck out a season-high seven batters, tossed 102 pitches and let up just two runs and seven hits in six innings against the Reds on Wednesday at Citi Field.
"This is the best, I think, he's thrown all year," Terry Collins said after the game. "I thought his stuff was better tonight. I thought the ball came out of his hand much better, much cleaner tonight ... It's nice to see the velocity up."
Collins has said Harvey has been working on his mechanics with pitching coach Dan Warthen for the past few weeks to try to correct his early-season struggles.
"I think it's about staying back and letting my arm out, and Dan and I have been working hard to figure out what's been going on, and we're moving in the right direction," Harvey explained. "I was able to stay in my mechanics a little bit better and kind of attack the hitters like I normally would."
In five starts this season, Harvey, 27, is 2-3 with a 4.76 ERA through 28 innings, during which he has struck out 21 batters.
"We all expect great things out of these young guys, because they're so good, so talented," Collins said. "But, we've got to have real patience with them. .... I think he's making strides."
In the third inning, with the bases loaded, two outs and the Mets up a run, Harvey threw a 96-mph fastball down in the strike zone. It was the perfect pitch for the moment, which was ripped up the middle. Thankfully, Neil Walker made a nice, diving stab directly behind second base to catch the ball in flight and end the inning.
Later in the game, with one out, a one run lead and runners on first and second, he dropped a a first-pitch slider down in the zone that was hit right at the shortstop for an inning-ending double play. His final pitch of the night was a 97 mph fastball the next inning for a strikeout.
"Harvey's Harvey. He's a competitor on the mound," catcher Kevin Plawecki said. "To kind of bounce back and make some key pitches and pitch the way he did was definitely good to see."
Those three moments speak to how he used his arsenal so well Wednesday. He threw inside, he stood up taller in his delivery from the stretch, he backed off his slider as the game went on, he kept the Reds off balance and pitched a really nice game. It wasn't a dominant, Batman-saved-the-day, shut-down performance, but it didn't have to be. Instead, he used his noggin, managed his innings well and outlasted the competition. It wasn't a great start, but it was a step in the right direction.
Tags: Matt Harvey , Matthew Cerrone
Matt Harvey allowed two runs in six innings and Neil Walker hit his ninth home run of the season as the Mets beat the Reds, 5-2, at Citi Field to complete a three-game sweep >> Read more
Yoenis Cespedes wasn't in the lineup on Wednesday, but should be able to return Friday >> Read more
As part of an upcoming SNY.TV video feature, Noah Syndergaard dressed up like Thor and hung out in Manhattan >> See the photos
Matt Cerrone isn't worried about the early-season struggles of Harvey >> Read more
What's on tap for Thursday, April 27
The Mets are off on Thursday.
Steven Matz (5.40 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) gets the start as the Mets open up a three-game series with the Giants and Jake Peavy (6.86 ERA, 1.76 WHIP) at Citi Field on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET on SNY.
For every Mets home run hit at Citi Field® this season, Citi will show their appreciation to an NYC community partner with a $2,000 donation. Thanks to a home run from Neil Walker in yesterday's home game against the Reds, Citi is donating another $2,000 to an NYC community partner.
Visit mets.com/citi to see this season's grand total to date.
Double-A: Binghamton Mets: Tyler Pill tossed eight scoreless innings, L.J. Mazzilli had a two-run double and Dom Smith went 2-for-4 with an RBI and extended his hitting streak to seven games >> Read more
Class A Advanced: St. Lucie Mets: Chris Flexen tossed 7 2/3 innings for his first Florida State League win. Amed Rosario had an RBI single and Champ Stuart hit a two-run home run. Rosario has 11 RBI in his last four games >> Read more.
Class A: Columbia Fireflies: P.J. Conlon allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings; David Thompson and Dash Winningham each had two RBI >> Read more
Neil Walker hit his ninth home run of the year and drove in a pair of runs to lead the Mets to a 5-2 win and three-game sweep of the Reds on Wednesday at Citi Field >> Read the full AP recap at SNY.TV.
In case you missed it
- New York has won six straight games and 11 of 13 overall.
- Walker's ninth home run tied the franchise record for most homers in the month of April. He joined Dave Kingman (1976), Carlos Delgado (2006) and John Buck (2013).
- Walker has gone deep eight times in his last 12 games and is tied for the Major League lead with Bryce Harper. He also had an RBI single in the first inning.
- Matt Harvey turned in his best overall performance of the season to earn the win. Although he allowed a leadoff home run to Zack Cozart, he settled in and allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk with a season-high seven strikeouts.
- Michael Conforto stroked a two-out, two-run double in the seventh inning to extend the Mets' lead to 5-2. The 23-year-old is hitting .378 with 10 extra-base hits and 10 RBIs in his last 12 games. Addison Reed picked up his first save of the year with a perfect ninth.
- Jeurys Familia was given the night off after pitching in three straight games.
- Harvey and three relievers combined for 12 strikeouts on Wednesday. Their pitchers have recorded double-digit strikeouts in 12 of their 20 games this season.
Anthony De Rosa: This was a sloppy game by both teams, and especially Joey Votto. The Reds are not a good team right now and Matt Harvey was unable to take advantage of that fact. He only gave up two runs and struck out seven but was not economical. And he was far from the dominant pitcher we expect him to be.
Harvey is clearly still working some things out. His pitch count was around 85 by the fifth inning, though he did manage to retire the Reds in the sixth without damage before making way for Jim Henderson, Hansel Robles and Addison Reed, who were all superb.
Neil Walker kept raking, making Sandy Alderson look like the genius he is. Michael Conforto ripped a beauty of a gapper to left center in the sixth to give the Mets a 5-2 cushion.
The Mets have now won six in a row and 11 of their last 13. The way they're playing you don't want them to take a break, but they will get a day off before facing another team in decline -- the Giants, this Friday.>> To follow Anthony on Twitter, click here.
- Terry Collins on Harvey's start: "I think it was pretty big. I thought his stuff was better tonight…I thought Matt threw the ball much better…When Matt's right, the command of his secondary stuff is the issue. When he wants to, he can throw it for a strike, when he doesn't want to he can throw it off the plate. When he's doing that, that's when I know he's back…This is the best I think, he's thrown all year."
- Harvey on his start: "I think it was big. I still didn't feel great all the time…but overall I was able to do it…I'm definitely happy about the results…but overall it was a good win for us."
- Harvey on his fastball velocity returning: "I think it's about staying back and letting my arm out. Dan [Warthen] and I have been working so hard the last couple of weeks to figure out what's been going on and we're moving in the right direction."
- Collins on Walker: "The change of scenery can make a lot of difference, once in a while…right now he's swinging great…Right now he's been a huge part of our offense."
News and notes
- The Mets extended their winning streak against the Reds to 11 and have defeated them in 15 of their last 17 meetings.
- New York entered this series with just five errors in their first 17 games. They committed four in the three games against the Reds, including two on Wednesday.
- The Mets' 30 home runs are the second-most in franchise history for the month of April. Only the 2006 Mets (33) hit more.
- Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson were both held out of the starting lineup. Granderson popped out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. Cespedes is expected to be back in the starting lineup on Friday night.
- Harvey has completed at least five innings in 25 straight starts.
The Mets (13-7) welcome the Giants (12-11) to Citi Field on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET on SNY. Steven Matz (2-1, 5.40 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander Jake Peavy (1-1, 6.86 ERA).
Tags: Curtis Granderson , Jeurys Familia , Matt Harvey , Michael Conforto , Steven Matz , Yoenis Cespedes
Yoenis Cespedes is not in the starting lineup for the fifth-straight game.
4:05 pm: Terry Collins said he expects Cespedes to back in the starting lineup Friday.
According to Collins, Cespedes said he was not ready to play a full game.
"He thinks he'll be ready Friday," Collins concluded.
He had his knee drained of fluid on Monday. He initially bruised his leg diving into the stands for a ball on April 13, then reaggravated the bruise when he slid into second with a double in Friday's game.
Alejandro de Aza will start in right field and hit leadoff. Juan Lagares will play center.
Cespedes was not in the starting lineup Tuesday. However, he emerged late in the game to hit a pinch-hit, game-tying three-run home run to help lead the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Reds.
"You just shake your head, special players do special things," manager Terry Collins said after the game. "With great ability, they just walk up and do things when you're not expecting it."
It was his first pinch-hit home run in his five-year career.
Earlier this week, Sandy Alderson said he did not expect Cespedes to end up on the disabled list.
Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
From what I can tell, Matt Harvey has no undisclosed injury and he's moved beyond the blood clot he had in his bladder at the end of spring training. In other words, he's fine, despite being 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA through his first four starts.
Harvey will make his fifth start of the year tonight as the Mets aim to complete a three-game sweep of the Reds at Citi Field.
In his last start, against the Braves in Atlanta, he allowed four runs and eight hits and just struck out just two batters with 101 pitches in five innings. He has yet to pitch into the seventh inning.
Earlier today, SNY.TV's Mike Vorkunov did an outstanding job outlining why the Mets should at least be concerned about what they're seeing from Matt >> Read Vork's post here.
That said, personally, I'm not worried. I truly believe he'll be fine. And, by the time the season is over, he will have made close to 30 starts and have an ERA in the low 3's.
In his last start, and all season, he looked brilliant early in the game, but struggled late and as soon as men get on base. In fact, opposing batters are hitting .200 against him with the bases empty this season, but .439 with runners on base.
For whatever reason, he looks tired to me, evident by how he is arching down when throwing from the stretch, which is leaving his pitches flat and up in the strike zone. Is 2015 finally catching up to him? Did the time off dealing with the blood clot delay how prepared he was for the start of the season? And, now he's struggling to get back on track? Is it a dead arm, which is common this time of year? Or, is he out of shape, making him winded late in games or in high-stress moments?
I believe he's simply having a slow start to his season. If I had to guess, I'd say it's a combination of the above, all of which is in his control to change. Harvey will keep getting the ball every five to six days, and he'll keep working through whatever it is that is giving him trouble when pitching out of the stretch. In time, he'll gain strength, something will click, and it will all come together, just as it always does for Matt, who has too much talent and intelligence to let this be permanent.
Tags: Matt Harvey , Matthew Cerrone
As part of an upcoming SNY.tv video feature, The Amazin' Life presented by Coca-Cola, Noah Syndergaard traveled from Asgard to Manhattan to tour the city as Thor.
Tags: Noah Syndergaard
Thanks to new technology, we can see the exit velocity of a ball off the bat of every player.
Here are the five hardest hit baseballs by five of the hardest-hitting Mets*:
- Lucas Duda - 114.85 MPH (double off Jerad Eickhoff, April 8)
- Michael Conforto - 111.83 MPH (groundout against Casey Kelly, April 22)
- Yoenis Cespedes - 110.98 MPH (lineout off Jerad Eickhoff, April 8)
- Curtis Granderson - 109.10 MPH (double off Jeremy Hellickson, April 20)
- Neil Walker - 108.16 MPH (home run off Ryan Weber, April 23)
*Certain players have his multiple balls very hard (Duda also has a 113.6 MPH exit velocity home run from April 19).
Tags: Curtis Granderson , Lucas Duda , Michael Conforto , Yoenis Cespedes
Matt Harvey will take the mound Wednesday night for the fifth time this year. The buildup to it has been suspenseful for the Mets because his first four outings have been a struggle -- so atypically Harvey that it's made little sense to this point. And nearly one month into this new season, the pitcher has produced the biggest question looming over the Mets so far: What, if anything, is wrong with Harvey?
This was supposed to be the smoother season, remember? In his second year back pitching after Tommy John surgery, Harvey was supposed to avoid all the pitfalls and headaches that pockmarked 2015. For some reason, he has been compared mostly to Adam Wainwright in his return from elbow surgery. Wainwright's ERA dropped by a full run in his second year back, so everything will be just fine for Harvey, right? It was a weird and botched logic and it's proving to be untrue so far.
Harvey has a 5.24 ERA after four starts this season. That alone is not troubling -- that number can be bumped up high by factors out of a pitcher's control and Harvey's .351 batting average on balls in play reflects some sense of misfortune. However, there are underlying numbers that are worrying. For instance, his command has gone awry and he's walking batters at nearly twice the rate he did in 2013.
Also, his strikeout rate has fallen dramatically. Last year, he struck out a quarter of the batters he faced. So far this year, he's striking out just one in seven. His whiff rate has tumbled. He's eliciting fewer swinging strikes and swings and misses than any season in his career. And his velocity is down, too -- from 96.6 mph last April to 95 mph now, according to Brooks Baseball.
This all makes sense when looking at Harvey's contact rate, which has jumped from 15th lowest in 2015 to 29th highest this year. To put it plainly, Harvey is simply more hittable this year >> Read more
"Still a work in progress," Harvey told reporters after his last start. "Parts of the game, obviously, felt better and felt like I was releasing the ball the way I should be. Other times, it was not that way."/p>
The biggest question lingering is if the troubles will last? Ask manager Terry Collins if he's worried about his star and he provides a laconic reply: "No, not yet."
The easiest correlation to make for Harvey is that the burdens of 2015 are finally hitting him. He pitched 216 innings last year -- surging past his career-high by September. Did the throaty forewarnings from his agent have merit? Has 2015 contributed to his start this year?
"I think a lot of that has to do with the workload he had last year, but the workload he had last year was attributed to the postseason," Collins told SNY.TV. "Again, one of the things you have to understand is the player comes into play here. As we know, Matt is a guy who said, 'I'm pitching in the postseason.' When we got there, we weren't sure if it was one series or three series. It turned out to be three series and he pitched great in all three of them. Now, for the first time in your whole life, instead of having three and a half months to rest up, you've got two-and-a-half months to rest up."
"There's a difference," Collins continued. "You gotta have a little patience and we do. That's the hard part with Matt. He thinks it should never happen. Well, I'll tell you - and the greatest pitchers in the game will tell you - it'll happen. We gotta have some patience. At the same time, we gotta continue to run him out there, continue to regain some things that he's changed a little bit. I've got all the confidence in the world that we'll see the Matt Harvey we know."
Of course, this could all just be April gloom that dissipates by May. Harvey has had month-long dips in his career before and because they didn't happen right when the season began, they did not bring the same type of worry or scrutiny. And his 3.64 FIP, which is a better predictive tool than ERA, portends better days ahead.
But assumptions are just hypotheses at this point in the season. Assuming that Harvey's struggles are just minor blips and not a foreshadowing of a year-long issue - because of his track record - is a logical tact. But, saying he'll be fine just because others have pitched well in their second-year after Tommy John isn't logical at all. For all of Wainwright's success, there is Francisco Liriano -- whose ERA jumped by nearly two runs in his second year back -- or Chris Carpenter -- whose ERA jumped by a run.
For now, the Mets are just hoping that Harvey returns to the ace of old, which will borne out on the mound soon enough, starting tonight.
New York Mets third baseman and captain David Wright hit the game-winning single in a come-from-behind 4-3 win against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday at Citi Field.
"It stinks getting ready for the game, but I enjoy playing the game, so it's worth it," Wright said. "It's no fun doing the preparation for the preparation, but if I want to play and give myself the best chance to be healthy, you've got to do what you've got to do."
After Yoenis Cespedes tied the game with a pinch-hit home run, Curtis Granderson followed with a one-out triple. Asdrubal Cabrera struck out to bring up Wright, who hit a line drive to left field off Reds reliever Tony Cingrani to give the Meta the lead.
Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia would not relinquish.
"I just wanted to go up there, forget about the mechanics, forget about the timing and just try to compete, just find a way to battle, to put the fat part of the bat on the ball," Wright said. "I was fortunate. It wasn't the prettiest of things, but it got the job done."
Wright, 33, is batting just .239 with a .338 on-base percentage, two home runs, seven doubles and five RBIs, playing in 16 of the team's 19 games.
"I'm very satisfied that I've put in the work to be able to play, I'm proud of that," Wright said. "If something happens with the back, it's going to happen. I'm doing everything I can to prevent it. When I put my head on the pillow at night, I say, 'You know what? I did everything I could to prepare to play and to try to keep my back healthy.' Hopefully that's the case, knock on wood. But if not, there's nothing else I can do."
I honestly don't know what to make of Wright at the moment. I appreciate his hard work and I'm impressed by how well he, his doctors and manager Terry Collins are communicating about his health and preparation. However, with all due respect to last night's big hit, which was great, he hasn't looked very good at the plate. He's been striking out so much and not hitting with much authority. Of course, it's only April, it's been cold, and once the weather gets warm and he gets more used to the grind of the season, it's reasonable to think he'll get in to a more of a rhythm and the results will follow ... right? Or, is this the new David Wright?
I realize he'll never again be the dominant, All-Star third baseman he was a few years ago. It's natural to see a decline in production as a player gets older. That's normal. However, his current dip is drastic.
The way it stands, Wright gets to the ballpark around 2 p.m. every day, five hours before the game begins. He has an extensive, personalized, individual pregame routine he must do just to get ready for the full-team pregame routine. I've never heard him complain about it. He accepts the reality around him, especially since he let retirement creep in to his mind early last summer. All of this, and yet he entered the seventh inning 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position.
Is the answer more days off? He says he feels good.
Is it to keep playing? He says he's doing his best, as is.
But at what point is just a 1-2 WAR player at third who makes $20 million a year a problem? Is it next month? Is it next year? Or, is it already happening? I don't have the answer. All I know is that I'm a huge fan of his, and I'd love nothing more than to see him catch fire and erase any doubt about the state of his career. I appreciate and respect what he's done for the organization and hope his reality can soon meet the needs of the team around him. Otherwise, life for Wright is going to get very awkward.
Tags: David Wright , Matthew Cerrone
In his first at-bat in four days, Yoenis Cespedes hit a pinch-hit, game-tying three-run home run in the seventh inning to help lead the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.
After Reds starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan had shut down the Mets for six innings, Cespedes, who had his knee drained of fluid just 72 hours ago, hit Finnegan's first pitch 110 mph to the top of the wall, which was eventually ruled a home run that tied the game.
"You just shake your head, special players do special things," manager Terry Collins said after the game. "With great ability, they just walk up and do things when you're not expecting it."
It was his first pinch-hit home run in his five-year career.
In the fifth inning, Collins said he checked with hitting coach Kevin Long to see if Cespedes might be capable of an appearance. According to Long, Cespedes had already been taking swings in the indoor batting cage. However, when Collins called for him two innings later, Cespedes was not there.
"All I kept hearing was, 'He's coming, he's coming, he's coming,'" Collins said.
To kill time, Collins instead sent Lucas Duda to the top of the dugout. Reds manager Bryan Price then made a trip to the mound, after which Cespedes emerged from the tunnel still taping his wrists.
"He has a flair for the dramatic," Wright said, smiling, talking to reporters after the game. "It was like out of a movie scene."
Cespedes left the clubhouse immediately after the game. He did not speak with reporters.
Tags: David Wright , Yoenis Cespedes
Yoenis Cespedes hit a game-tying pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning and David Wright drove in the go-ahead run later in the inning as the Mets beat the Reds, 4-3, at Citi Field >> Read more
Travis d'Arnaud was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a right rotator cuff strain >> Read more
Zack Wheeler has resumed his throwing program as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery >> Read more
Expectations are rightfully high for Noah Syndergaard >> Read more
What's on tap for Wednesday, April 27
Matt Harvey (5.24 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) gets the start as the Mets wrap up their three-game series with the Reds and Jon Moscot (5.06 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field on SNY.
For every Mets home run hit at Citi Field® this season, Citi will show their appreciation to an NYC community partner with a $2,000 donation. Thanks to a home run from Yoenis Cespedes in yesterday's home game against the Reds, Citi is donating another $2,000 to an NYC community partner.
Visit mets.com/citi to see this season's grand total to date.
Tags: David Wright , Matt Harvey , Noah Syndergaard , Travis d'Arnaud , Yoenis Cespedes
Triple-A: Las Vegas 51s: Gabriel Ynoa allowed two runs and five hits, T.J. Rivera was 3-for-4 with solo homer and Ty Kelly went 3-for-3 with two RBI as Las Vegas beat Albuquerque, 7-2 >> Read more.
Double-A: Binghamton Mets: Dom Smith put the B-Mets on top with an RBI single in the eighth and the Binghamton Mets took down the Portland Sea Dogs, 3-2, Tuesday night at NYSEG Stadium >> Read more.
Class A Advanced: St. Lucie Mets: Amed Rosario went 3 for 5 and drove in four runs as the St. Lucie Mets thumped the Charlotte Stone Crabs 10-5 on Tuesday at Charlotte Sports Park >> Read more.
Class A: Columbia Fireflies: The Fireflies' bats surged Tuesday night to route Lexington, 13-2, at Spirit Communications Park. Columbia (11-8) mashed eleven hits, including three home runs. J.C. Rodriguez clubbed the first long ball of the night over the right-field wall in the bottom of the second. It was Rodriguez's second home run of the season >> Read more.
Yoenis Cespedes clubbed a pinch hit, three-run homer in the seventh to tie the game and David Wright singled home the game-winner three batters later to give the Mets a thrilling, 4-3 win over the Reds on Tuesday at Citi Field. >> Read the full AP recap at SNY.TV.
- Bartolo Colon allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings with four strikeouts. He remains tied with Pedro Martinez for the second-most wins among Dominican-born pitchers.
- Cespedes' pinch hit home run was the first of his career.
- Curtis Granderson extended his hitting streak to seven games with a sixth-inning single. He tripled following Cespedes' home run and scored the game-winning run on Wright's single in the seventh.
- Michael Conforto went 2-for-4 with a double in his first career start from the cleanup spot. He leads the Mets with a .344 batting average and eight doubles.
- Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save of the year and third in three days.
Brian Mangan: Entering play tonight, the Mets had scored first in 12 games in a row. That streak ended, but as Gary Cohen pointed out, the Mets scored last, and that is what mattered.
The unsung heroes of the game -- as Cespedes will rightfully get much of the spotlight for his heroics -- were the members of the Mets bullpen, who gave the team four scoreless innings to keep things close. Logan Verrett notched two scoreless innings, Addison Reed struck out two of the three batters he faced, and Jeurys Familia sealed the deal with one strikeout in a quiet ninth. Together, they bailed out a shaky start by Bartolo Colon.
As a unit, the Mets bullpen has been fantastic so far, with a collective 2.86 ERA and 2.05 FIP. And it looks to be sustainable, as they've been striking guys out (second in MLB in K/9 at 10.96), limiting walks (11th in MLB at 2.86) and inducing soft contact (fifth in MLB). Add it together, and the Mets bullpen is ranked first in WAR this season. They've been even better recently, allowing only five runs over their last 24 innings (1.87 ERA).
Oh, and according to @CitiFieldHR, that Cespedes home run was 111 mph off the bat, the sixth fastest in the statcast era (2015 to present) >> To read more of Brian's work, check out The Read Zone.
- Terry Collins on Cespedes: "You gotta be special... You gotta believe in yourself. And he does… You just shake your head. Special people do special things."
- Collins on Wright: "Great players do unbelievable things."
- Wright on the win: "A game that we turned into something that looked like one of those games we were gonna lose…It went from one of those games when we didn't have a lot going for us to within a couple of minutes to all of sudden we have some things cooking, with guys on base and Ces coming up."
News and notes
- The Mets have now won 10 straight games against the Reds dating back to 2014.
- Colon became the second pitcher this season to pitch 3,000 career innings (C.C. Sabathia). After tossing five frames more on Tuesday, he has thrown 3004 1/3 innings.
- The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, marking the first time in 13 games the Mets had not scored the first run of the game. It was also the first time New York had trailed at any point in a game since an 11-inning, walk-off loss to Philadelphia on April 20.
- Travis d'Arnaud was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game after an MRI revealed a strained right rotator cuff. Rene Rivera was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to take his roster spot.
The Mets (12-7) will go for the sweep of the Reds (9-12) at Citi Field on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET on SNY. Matt Harvey (1-3, 5.24 ERA) gets the call for New York opposite Cincinnati right-hander Jon Moscot (0-1, 5.06 ERA).
The Mets send Bartolo Colon to the mound against the Reds at Citi Field at 7 p.m.
Follow the game live here...
|Zack Cozart, SS||Curtis Granderson, RF|
|Tyler Holt, RF||Asdrubal Cabrera, SS|
|Joey Votto, 1B||David Wright, 3B|
|Eugenio Suarez, 3B||Michael Conforto, LF|
|Adam Duzall, LF||Neil Walker, 2B|
|Tucker Barnhart, C||Wilmer Flores, 1B|
|Ivan De Jesus 2B||Juan Lagares, CF|
|Brandon Finnegan, LHP||Kevin Plawecki, C|
|Billy Hamilton, CF||Bartolo Colon, RHP|
When and Where: 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field. The game is on SNY.
Who's Pitching for the Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.89). Colon will move into sole possession of second place on the all-time Dominican-born wins list, passing Pedro Martinez, with his next victory. He has posted 22 wins since the 2014 All-Star game, the 13th-most in MLB over that span.
Who's Pitching for the Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (1-1, 3.74). Finnegan got shelled last time out, allowing five earned runs over four innings as his Reds were no-hit by Jake Arrieta. Only Adrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes and Alejando De Aza have faced Finnegan, with De Aza getting the only hit in eight combined plate appearances.
Tags: Bartolo Colon
Mets RHP Zack Wheeler resumed his throwing program Tuesday for the first time since having a minor procedure on his right forearm in early April.
The procedure was to remove a suture knot in his forearm, which was related to the Tommy John surgery he had in eraly 2014.
Sandy Alderson told reporters earlier in the month that Wheeler's return to the majors is not expected to be delayed by the procedure.
The 25-year-old Wheeler has said he's been told he'll be able to rejoin the Mets after July 1.
He had a 3.54 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while striking out 187 batters in 185 1/3 innings (32 starts) in 2014.
Tags: Zack Wheeler
OF Yoenis Cespedes will be out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight day.
He had fluid drained from his knee by doctors in New York on Monday, Terry Collins told reporters.
"There are bruises you get and there's a lot swelling," Collins said, noting that the fluid being drained will hopefully reduce the swelling in the outfielder's knee. "He probably needs tonight, and then we'll see how he feels."
Sandy Alderson told reporters that Cespedes only had his knee drained, he did not have an MRI. Alderson added that, at this time, he does not see Cespedes going on the DL >> Click for more
Cespedes, who initially bruised his leg diving into the stands for a ball on April 13, reaggravated the bruise when he slid into second with a double in Friday's game. He was removed from the game in the eighth inning.
"He's a little better," said manager Terry Collins, who would not say if Cespedes will return to the lineup Monday. "I can't go there until we have the doctors look at it. So, it's in the trainers' hands right now."
In 59 at-bats this season, Cespedes is hitting .288 with a .364 on-base percentage, five home runs and 14 RBIs.
Tags: Juan Lagares , Yoenis Cespedes
Travis d'Arnaud has been put on the disabled list with a rotator cuff strain, the team announced Monday.
3:27 pm: "It's very unfortunate," d'Arnaud told reporters. "But, it's all part of the game. People get hurt."
2:30 pm: Triple-A C Rene Rivera has been added to the 25-man roster. He replaces d'Arnaud, who was put on the disabled list with a rotator cuff strain.
Matthew Cerrone : I'm starting to feel bad for d'Arnaud, who seems to always be injured or returning from injury. In the last few years, he's torn ligaments in his knee, he had a herniated disc, a broken foot, all sorts of bruises, a hyperextended left elbow and now he's dealing with a rotator cuff issue. "D'Arnaud is almost out of new body parts to injure," Maggie Wiggin wrote on Twitter, and she's right. He started slow this season, now this. Hopefully, like last year, he'll rehab, get right and return on fire...
D'Arnaud left Monday's game after the seventh inning with shoulder discomfort.
"I felt it bark up, so I decided to say something," d'Armaud said after the game. "We'll find out more about what's going on with it [Tuesday]."
According to manager Terry Collins, the pain is a result of throwing, though he could not identify a singular play that caused the injury.
"He's got a bad shoulder from throwing," said Collins, who first learned of the injury during Monday's game. "That's what we're concerned about. Any time you talk about a shoulder problem with a catcher, that's a problem."
It's possible d'Arnaud ends up on the disabled list, Collins explained.
Tags: Kevin Plawecki , Travis d'Arnaud
Noah Syndergaard opened eyes during Game 3 of last year's World Series with his purpose pitch to Royals leadoff hitter, Alcides Escobar, and with his bold comments after the game.
"That right there is why he's going to win the Cy Young one day," Michael Cuddyer told me after the game.
That's quite a prediction, especially from a 15-year veteran who is not prone to hyperbole.
A few weeks ago, with Syndergaard set to make his 2016 season debut against those same Royals, I followed up with Cuddyer.
What exactly was it about that one pitch that foretold so much, I asked him.
"The first pitch of that game was not meant to hit or hurt anyone," he explained. "He threw it exactly where he wanted. That is the little thing that separates him. Not only was he not scared of the moment, but he was able to execute a pitch, that he knew would be scrutinized, in a game of the highest magnitude with only a handful of big league starts under his belt."
It was Syndergaard's 27th big league start, and it spoke volumes. For what it's worth, last night's start (number 31) may have said even more. Syndergaard struck out nine Reds and walked no one. He departed the game after six and two-thirds innings in a position to earn the win. It's an outing 95 percent of major league starting pitchers would sign up for, without hesitation, on a nightly basis. Yet, Syndergaard wasn't satisfied...
"I definitely didn't feel very comfortable out on the mound with my delivery," he told us. "It's kind of frustrating, just one of those days. I've got to come back tomorrow, work on things and get ready for Sunday."
Terry Collins agreed, saying, "I didn't think he was as sharp command-wise as he has been lately."
Nine strikeouts. Zero walks. Three earned runs, which could have easily been two. He pitched into the seventh inning. "Frustrating." "Not as sharp." This is how high expectations have already become for Syndergaard -- and rightfully so. When he made his major league debut in May last year, Syndergaard had a powerful four-seam fastball, a curveball that his own manager deemed a "hook from hell," and a plus changeup. A few weeks later, he added a devastating sinker to his arsenal.
This off-season he perfected an overwhelming slider. All five pitches are thrown at eye-popping velocities. The speed of his pitches is what stands out to most people. His control is what makes his catcher giddy.
"He can throw any pitch, anywhere, in any count," Kevin Plawecki said.
Asked if there's another hurler in the league with that command of a five "plus-pitch" arsenal, Travis d'Arnaud simply answered, "No."
When questioned how a hitter can approach an at-bat against Syndergaard, both catchers gave the exact same answer: "You just have to go up there, guess and hope you're right."
This is why seven hits, three earned runs and a no-decision - even if it is accompanied by nine strikeouts and no walks - is considered by Syndergaard as an "off-night." The fact that he embraces it is what makes last night so important. For the great ones, good is never good enough.
It's too early to declare what Syndergaard will or won't become, because so much can happen between now and the end of his career. However, the more we see and hear from him, the more it's clear that he has the stuff, the temperament and the desire to reach incredibley rare heights. Will he? That is to be determined, but it's sure going to be fun to watch him try.
Tags: Kevin Plawecki , Michael Cuddyer , Noah Syndergaard , Travis d'Arnaud
Bartolo Colon's first Opening Day was in 1997... Where were you?
Tags: Bartolo Colon
1) Ken Davidoff: "If [Monday] represents Noah Syndergaard's worst, in his fourth start of the season? Then true greatness awaits him. ... Even on a night like this, the big right-hander commanded the ballpark with every pitch he threw." Read more in the New York Post.
2) David Lennon: "Fortunately for the Mets, a slightly-off Syndergaard still is impressive, and a 98- or 99-mph fastball sufficed until he had a better feel for his breaking pitches - especially his slider - later on." Read more in Newsday.
3) Joel Sherman: "The 15-day DL is absurd and old-fashioned - here's how to fix it." Read more.
4) Andrew Beaton: "There's a question every manager hopes he never has to address: Who is your team's emergency position-player pitcher?" Read more in the Wall Street Journal.
5) Bob Klapisch: "By the eighth inning there was no doubt who'd been anointed mayor of Flushing, as the chant of "NE-IL WAL-KER" thundered down from the upper deck like a monsoon. The new second baseman, less than a month into his Mets career, had just crushed a massive two-run home run, the impact of which could be felt throughout the organization." Read more in the Bergen Record.
Walker has been nothing short of a revelation since joining the Mets. His 8 home runs already equal half his total in 2015 and he leads the team by a healthy margin. The biggest surprise is that 3 of them have come against left-handed pitching, which he has struggled against in the past. He's spoken about changing his approach against lefties by dropping the toe tap and the results so far have suggested this is successful. But (and this is a big but), we're looking at just 11 plate appearances against lefties all season. 3 home runs in any 11 plate appearances is impressive, but it's hard to say how much it will stick going forward. Baseball players are creatures of habit and frequently return to less-than-productive tendencies. Kevin Long's job this season is to keep him focused on this new approach in the hope that the results will continue in the long term. Will he regress from his 72-home run pace? Of course he will, but he's showing himself to be a legitimate power threat in an already deep lineup.
In the field, he's generally living up to his moderate expectations. It's certainly a pleasant change of pace to see his sure hands and good instincts in the middle of the diamond (paired with the same from Cabrera) - he's bobbled just one play and has avoided the bizarre mental mistakes that plagued his predecessor. His range, as always, is somewhat limited, but he gets the most out of it by moving well and diving readily. He's no Gold Glover, but he's the steady presence the Mets sorely need.
On a night when Noah Syndergaard reminded us that he is still a mere mortal and not a pitcher built by robotics, it was the latest indication yet of the ground he has covered in his still-nascent Major League career. In the span of a year, the 23-year-old has so quickly changed the prism through which he is viewed and judged that it is somewhat startling.
Against the Reds, in his fourth start of the 2016 season, Syndergaard allowed three runs in 6 ⅔ innings and struck out nine. His heat-seeking missile of a fastball sat at 98 mph. And he did not produce a single Vine of some poor batter trying to actually hit a slider that breaks past the plate at 92.
This, for Syndergaard, is somehow just tenable. A middle-of-the-road performance in a year that's begun with a 1.69 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 26 ⅔ innings.
"Hopefully next time will be like my first three starts," he lamented afterwards.
Consider how far he has come in a little less than a year >> Click here to read more
When he made his debut last May, he was still a work in process. There were questions about his maturity and preparedness for the majors. Since then he has shown a cunning that's largely unmatched on the Mets' talented staff. On the mound, he can be overpowering and puckish -- see the first pitch fastball at Alcides Escobar in the World Series -- all at the same time.
Syndergaard's penchant for quick adaptation is largely unrivaled. He added a two-seam fastball in a bullpen session last year. His changeup has been fine-tuned.
"I think what he's done in the last -- if you go back just 12 months or even less -- is pretty remarkable," Sandy Alderson said. "Not just his performance on the mound but his growth as an individual, his maturation. His emergence as a personality. There's so many things that have gone on in his life the last six or seven months, all of which, I think, have contributed to his performance on the mound. So it's been fun to watch."
This is coming from the usually stoic general manager. For Alderson, expectations and comparisons to perception are usually anathema to his philosophical views of the sport -- at least publicly. But even he cannot help but juxtapose the Syndergaard that appeared in Wrigley Field last May -- jittery at times -- with the one that dominates now.
Experience is a driving factor, of course. But it is not often that pitchers make such leaps in such a short period of time.
"The way he's feeling, the way he's throwing, he's taken it to a new level where he thinks he can throw every pitch for a strike," manager Terry Collins said. "He now knows that there are certain times he's going to throw something out of the strike zone and still guys gotta be ready to hit it. He's grown a lot. He's certainly put his name at the top of the list of guys who have risen to be a star in this league."
Syndergaard is not just the sum of his statistics. That he leads all starters in swinging strike percentage and can hurl his changeup at a harder velocity than 43 starters this year zip their fastball is surely impressive. Yet, so is his quick taking to the enduring spotlight of semi-stardom in New York. Matt Harvey has found himself hounded by attention and responded grouchily at times. Jacob deGrom has not really sought it. Jeurys Familia and Steven Matz have not really progressed to that level of fame yet.
Syndergaard, however, is clearly comfortable. An ascension that matches his on the mound.
"What's unusual about Noah is that it's come so early in his career and it's come from so many different threads to combine in a way," Alderson said. "It's not just the fastball, it's the command, it's the breaking ball, it's the changeup, it's the presence on the mound, it's his personality off the field, his embracing it. So many different things that have converged to make him what it is today. There's been so much of that development along so many different lines."
The intrigue with Syndergaard is that there are still untested waters for him. He is, in some ways, pushing the upper bounds of what we have seen from a pitcher. There have been starters before that threw hard, but not this hard. That hit 98 mph, but never averaged it over the course of a season and 30-some starts as Syndergaard may just do. He besieges hitters with velocity in ways only seen by Aroldis Chapman and dominant relievers of his ilk.
Surely, Syndergaard is not a finished specimen, and there are still miscues he makes and that can be exploited, but it's the wonder of just what his ceiling is that is compelling enough. And that's the biggest difference a year has made for him. Last May, he was a prototype pitching prospect, now there is something unique.
Tags: Jacob deGrom , Jeurys Familia , Matt Harvey , Noah Syndergaard , Steven Matz
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Though Noah Syndergaard picked up a no-decision on Monday, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds, he said he did not feel comfortable on the mound.
"I didn't feel very comfortable with my delivery," Syndergaard, who struck out nine batters, said after the game. "You're going to go out there every once in a while and you're not going to have your best stuff. You've got to go out there and grind it out and put your team in the best possible situation to win a ballgame."
It had been a full seven days since Syndergaard's last start, which manager Terry Collins believes may have affected his performance.
In four starts this season, Syndergaard is 2-0 with 1.69 ERA through 26 2/3 innings, during which he has struck out 38 batters.
"Early in the game, the game just dragged along (for him), it seemed like," Collins explained.
The Reds stole five bases against Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud on Monday night.
"I don't know a lot of great big pitchers who are real quick to the plate," Collins said. "Those real tall guys, there's a lot of action, there's a lot of movement."
Syndergaard has always had an issue with keeping guys from stealing second base. It's a nature of his delivery, height and catcher, who is not great at throwing guys out.
The fact is, Syndergaard is slower to the plate than the average pitcher. He also doesn't throw over to first base very much. The opposition knows this, so the Reds took huge leads against him. Combine his delivery and d'Arnaud's arm, and a quick team like the Reds will get a bunch of stolen bases. It's going to happen.
I know Collins, Dan Warthen and Tom Goodwin have been working to improve this aspect of the game for all their pitchers, but it's of extra importance for Syndergaard. Thankfully, he has the potential to strike the next three guys out, so he can always minimize the damage on his own.
Tags: Noah Syndergaard , Travis d'Arnaud
New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker continued his hot start to the season by going 2 for 4 with a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning as the Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-3, on Monday.
"That was really awesome and made me feel very much at home," Walker said. "It's good to be a part of this. I'm having a lot of fun. This is a great team. There's a lot of talent here. But more than that we're playing good baseball; that's the most important thing.''
After Noah Syndergaard and Antonio Bastardo allowed the game-tying run to score in the top of the seventh inning, Walker hit JC Ramirez's 0-2 slider over the right-center field fence to break the 3-3 tie.
"Some of the balls he's hit in the other parks, they're home run parks," manager Terry Collins said. "We don't play in one, but he continued to do it here. I hope he keeps doing it. I hope he stays red hot. He's a good in spot in the lineup to produce runs because those guys have been getting on base ahead of him."
Walker only trails the Nationals' Bryce Harper in home runs in the majors. He is hitting .301 with a .630 slugging percentage, eight home runs and 14 runs batted in through 18 games this season. He hit 16 home runs all of last season and his career-high is 23 (2014).
"You have your stretches where you get hot and get a lot of base hits or drive the ball -- doubles and so on and so forth," Walker said. "Obviously, never like this, home run-wise. Like I've said, I tend to hit a fair amount of fly balls. Maybe those extra push-ups in the offseason are helping."
Tags: Michael Conforto , Noah Syndergaard
Neil Walker, Lucas Duda, and Michael Conforto homered, and Noah Syndergaard allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings while striking out nine as the Mets beat the Reds, 5-3 >> Read more
Travis d'Arnaud left Monday's game after the seventh inning due to right shoulder discomfort, and Terry Collins wouldn't rule out a potential disabled list stint >> Read more
Yoenis Cespedes had his knee drained and remains day-to-day >> Read more
The Mets have been pleased with Josh Edgin's progress as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery >> Read more
Matt Cerrone wondered how things would've been different had the Mets acquired Carlos Gomez last July >> Read more
What's on tap for Tuesday, April 26
Bartolo Colon (2.89 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) gets the start as the Mets continue their three-game series with the Reds and Brandon Finnegan (3.74 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field on SNY.
For every Mets home run hit at Citi Field® this season, Citi will show their appreciation to an NYC community partner with a $2,000 donation. Thanks to home runs from Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda, and Neil Walker in yesterday's home game against the Reds, Citi is donating another $6,000 to an NYC community partner.
Visit mets.com/citi to see this season's grand total to date.
Tags: Josh Edgin , Lucas Duda , Michael Conforto , Noah Syndergaard , Travis d'Arnaud , Yoenis Cespedes
Triple-A: Las Vegas 51s: Johnny Monell delivered a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th as the 51s defeated the Albuquerque Isotopes, 6-5, at Cashman Field >> Read more.
Double-A: Binghamton Mets: The Binghamton Mets recorded double-digit hits for the third time in their last four games and defeated the Erie SeaWolves, 6-2, snapping a six-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon at NYSEG Stadium. Phillip Evans recorded his first career Double-A hit, a single in the fifth >> Read more.
The St. Lucie Mets and Columbia Fireflies were both off on Monday.
Neil Walker hit a tie-breaking home run in the bottom of the seventh, one of three homers on the night for the Mets, who defeated the Reds, 5-3 on Monday at Citi Field. >> Read the full AP recap at SNY.TV.
- Walker's two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh snapped a 3-3 tie and gave him a team-leading eight home runs for the season. It's the most home runs he has ever hit in a single month.
- Noah Syndergaard deserved a better fate on Monday, but his bullpen could not pick him up in the seventh inning. The right-hander was charged with three runs in 6 2/3 innings, with the last run scoring after he had left the game with a runner on first a 3-2 lead. Although not a truly dominating performance, Syndergaard struck out nine without walking a batter.
- Michael Conforto continued his hot hitting, going 3 for 3 with a walk and three runs scored. He fell just a triple short of the cycle. Since moving into the third spot in the lineup 10 games ago, the 23-year-old is batting .378 with 10 runs scored, five doubles, four home runs and eight RBIs.
- Lucas Duda hit his fourth home run of the year and first at home. With three more home runs on Monday, the Mets have hit 26 as a team in their last 11 games.
- Travis d'Arnaud was replaced at catcher by Kevin Plawecki in the top of the eighth inning due to a sore shoulder.
Matthew Cerrone: What's gotten in to Walker, who is second in the major leagues with eight home runs? He's being so patient and clobbering the opposing pitcher's mistakes. I have no idea what his relationship was like with his hitting coach in Pittsburgh, but he clearly has a good thing going with Kevin Long, who helped him be more patient batting left-handed, while changing his batting stance from the right side. He's looked terrific.
I'm running out of ways to praise Syndergaard. There were points tonight when he wasn't at his best, but he dug deep and ended his outing getting out of a jam with some amazing off-speed pitches. He looked to be out of sync to start the game, but to see him regroup and fight says a lot about where his career is going.
- Terry Collins on Syndergaard: "He's not fun - he's not fun to hit, He's taking this, the way he's feeling, to a new level where his confidence is soaring. He's grown a lot, but he's certainly put his name at the top of the list of guys who have risen to be a star in this league."
- Walker on his home run and the crowd reaction: "That was really awesome and it made me feel very much at home. It's good to be part of this. I'm having a lot of fun."
- Collins on d'Arnaud's shoulder: "Any time you're talking about a shoulder problem with a catcher, it's concerning."
News and Notes
- The Mets won all seven meetings against the Reds in 2015 and have won a franchise-record nine straight dating back to 2014. New York is 14-2 in its last 16 meetings against Cincinnati.
- New York has scored first in a franchise-record 12 straight games. The Mets are 9-3 in that span.
- Walker's eight home runs tied Jeff Kent (1994) for the most homers hit by a second baseman in April. The Mets' record for most home runs in April is nine, done three times, most recently by John Buck (2013).
- Syndergaard's 38 strikeouts equaled Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez for the most strikeouts by a Mets pitcher through the first four starts of a season. Through 26 2/3 innings, Sydergaard has struck out 38 batters and walked only four.
- Yoenis Cespedes missed his third straight game on Monday due to lingering soreness and swelling in his right leg as a result of diving into the stands back on April 13. He had his knee drained earlier in the afternoon and is listed as day-to-day.
- David Wright struck out in his first two at-bats on Monday, giving him 26 strikeouts through his first 63 at-bats this season.
The Mets (11-7) and Reds (9-11) will meet again at Citi Field on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET on SNY. Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.89 ERA) will start for New York against Cincinnati left-hander Brandon Finnegan (1-1, 3.74 ERA).
The Mets begin a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds Monday night at Citi Field.
Follow the game live here...
|Zack Cozart, SS||Curtis Granderson, RF|
|Eugenio Suarez, 3B||David Wright, 3B|
|Joey Votto, 1B||Michael Conforto, LF|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||Lucas Duda, 1B|
|Devin Mesoraco, C||Neil Walker, 2B|
|Adam Duvall, RF||Asdrubal Cabrera, SS|
|Scott Schebler, LF||Alejandro De Aza, CF|
|Raisel Iglesias, RHP||Travis d'Arnaud, C|
|Billy Hamilton, CF||Noah Syndergaard, RHP|
When and Where: 7:10 p.m. on SNY from Citi Field.
Who's Pitching for the Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 0.90 ERA) has given up two runs in 20 innings over his first three starts of 2016. Syndergaard is the first major league pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2005 to allow one run or fewer, while striking out at least eight batters, in each of his first three starts of a season
Who's Pitching for the Reds: RHP Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 3.09 ERA) lasted six and two-thirds innings against the Rockies in his last start, giving up two earned runs on six hits while striking out eight.
Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 0.90 ERA) will start tonight for the Mets against the Reds.
Due to Thursday's off day and Jacob deGrom's return to the rotation Sunday, it will be a full week between starts for Syndergaard, who has a 2.62 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 65 innings when pitching with six or more days rest.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Syndergaard is the first major league pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2005 to allow one run or fewer - and strike out at least eight batters - in each of his first three starts of a season.
His eight strikeouts in each of his last seven starts is the longest such streak by a Mets starter since R.A. Dickey's seven through May and June, 2012.
After his latest outing last Monday, during which Syndergaard allowed one run and struck out eight batters, David Wright compared his teammate to a video-game creation.
"When you used to play video games as a kid, if you build the player that you want to build, put all the abilities up to like max 10, he's that guy," Wright explained.
No one on the Reds has an extra-base hit against Syndergaard. Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Eugenio Suarez are a combined 3 for 19 (all singles), while Joey Votto, Tucker Barnhart, Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton are 0 for 15.
Tags: Noah Syndergaard
Mets officials have been encouraged by left-handed reliever Josh Edgin's rehab appearances with St. Lucie, ESPN.com's Adam Rubin reported this past weekend.
Edgin, who had Tommy John surgery in early 2014, is 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 115 relief innings for the Mets during his career.
According to Rubin, Edgin is likely to remain with St. Lucie rather than move to a higher level.
He is eligible to return from the disabled list May 8, at which point he is expected to rejoin the Mets.
However, "if there's no obvious spot available in the bullpen, it's not a slam dunk," Rubin writes.
Tags: Josh Edgin
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In 17 games this season, Astros OF Carlos Gomez is hitting .197 with no home runs, two stolen bases and a .484 OPS.
"He's had a lot of leg injuries and I think it's started to catch up with him," an American League scout recently told John Perrotto. "He doesn't steal many bases anymore and he doesn't move as well as he used to in the outfield. I'm not ready to totally write him off, but he definitely slipped last year and he's been worse this year."
Last July, the Mets and Brewers agreed to a trade that would have brought Gomez to the Mets.
Sandy Alderson said he backed out of the trade due to concerns about Gomez's medical report.
However, a Milwaukee report later surfaced suggesting the Mets canceled the deal due to financial reasons.
"It's very simple, our doctors felt the health risk was too great," Alderson told Mike Vorkunov in late July. "Houston's doctors apparently feel otherwise. That's it."
In the wake of not acquiring Gomez, the Mets instead traded pitching prospect Michael Fulmer to Detroit for Yoenis Cespedes, who eventually resigned with the Mets this past winter.
It's funny how things work out, isn't it? I was ecstatic when I thought the Mets were getting one-and-a-half years of Gomez for Wilmer Flores and a rehabbing Zack Wheeler. The deal fell through and, like everyone else, I panicked, fearful that Alderson would be unable to recover.
Thankfully, I was wrong. I was really, really wrong. Instead, the kept Flores, kept Wheeler, and ended up with at least a year-and-a-half of Cespedes. Meanwhile, Gomez is a mess, clearly battling injuries and Houston is struggling.
Frankly, I'm not confident the Mets get to playoffs - let alone the World Series - if the Gomez deal goes through. They needed Flores and Cespedes carried the Mets and ignited an incredible hot streak. Thank God for small miracles...
By the way, in hindsight, is there any doubt that Gomez's agent, Scott Boras, or someone at his firm, is the person who the told Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the Mets backed out because of money?
Boras and the Mets jab about finances all of the time. The last thing Scott wants is Alderson taking shots at his client's health. It looks bad for the player. So, to fight back, he points his finger at the easiest target: New York's spending. Of course, facts are facts.
The Mets ended up acquiring a more expensive player, then paid to keep him, all while Gomez's legs and hips continue to plague him. You be the judge.
Tags: Yoenis Cespedes
23-year-old rookie Michael Conforto is batting .296 with a .400 OBP, two HR, six doubles and 10 RBIs In 16 games and 65 plate appearances.
He's batting .324 with seven RBIs in nine games since moving from sixth to third in the batting order.
"He just has consistent at-bats day-in and day-out," Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said, according to ESPN.com. "He gets good pitches. He commands the strike zone. He doesn't waver from swinging at strikes. He uses the whole field. And he's able to recognize many different pitches. So all of those factors make him a pretty good hitter."
This past weekend in Atlanta, Conforto was 4-for-11 with two RBIs.
"I always go up there and just want to bring in a run for the team, and so I definitely look forward to those opportunities. I had two of them today, so that was great," Conforto said.
This is where this kid will be batting for the next decade, I hope. He just looks so comfortable and confident. Frankly, he always looks this way, but it's nice to see him continue this demeanor and success from the third spot in the order.
I'm so impressed with how he's adjusted to pitchers adjusting to him. As is usually the case with a young hitter, the league first tried challenging him with fastballs. Obviously, that wasn't going to work. Lately, they've been giving him a steady diet of off-speed pitches out of the zone, despite Yoenis Cespedes hitting behind him. No worries, though, because Conforto battles, works the count, and has kept hitting. They're pitching him with a ton of respect, and -- in turn -- he's reacting like a veteran. He's a special player...
By the way, Conforto is batting .298 against right-handed pitching, but also hitting .286 in eight plate appearances against left-handed pitchers... just saying...
Tags: Michael Conforto , Matthew Cerrone
New York Mets RHP Jacob deGrom was pleased after pitching for the first time in more than two weeks as the Mets finished a sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 3-2 win on Sunday at Turner Field.
Pitching for the first time since April 8, deGrom (2-0) allowed eight hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three batters. He threw 59 of 82 pitches for strikes and left after allowing a two-out infield single in the sixth inning.
"Everything feels physically fine," deGrom said. "I think getting back in a game was a little strange, you try to simulate that in Florida, but the actual game is a little different. It felt a little different out there today, but I was able to work through 5 2/3 [innings]."
deGrom battled through a minor lat injury and was placed on the family emergency list due to health complications involving his newborn.
"The last week or so there were some ups and downs," deGrom said. "But to get back out here and get back playing, it was exciting, and to get that win the first game back is nice to have."
deGrom escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the first inning by getting A.J. Pierzynski to pop out, and another jam in the fifth inning by getting Freddie Freeman to ground out. The reason he didn't finish the sixth inning was because manager Terry Collins set a limit of 85 pitches.
"I had a lot of guys with two strikes that I couldn't put away and kind of went to the curveball a little more than I usually do," deGrom said. "I feel that is my fourth-best pitch. I don't really know why I went to it. Other than that I am happy with the outcome."
deGrom is awesome. He's one of the most easy-going pitchers I've ever seen. I get the feeling he could wake up in the middle of the night, walk on the mound and give a quality start without stressing about it. He wasn't at his best Sunday, but that's to be expected given he hasn't made a start in nearly three weeks, every day of which was rather eventful for him in his personal life.
Nevertheless, despite having no command of his slider and hitting just 92 with his fastball, he hustled his way through a decent start and left with his team in the lead, which was more than enough on Sunday. Basically, without his best stuff, he managed the game well, especially when facing Freeman, Atlanta's best hitter, who went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts.
In the end, given the competition, this felt like a final spring training start for deGrom, which is probably just what he needed.
Tags: Jacob deGrom
The Mets swept the Braves in their three-game series in Atlanta over the weekend >> Read more
Yoenis Cespedes was out of the lineup on Saturday and Sunday after re-aggravating his bruised right leg during Friday's game >> Read more
Jacob deGrom, who returned on Sunday, was pleased with his first outing since April 8 >> Read more
Rafael Montero was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room on the roster for deGrom.
Steven Matz had a solid start on Saturday >> Read more
Terry Collins was a passenger in a taxi accident but managed all three games over the weekend >> Read more
What's on tap for Monday, April 25
Noah Syndergaard (0.90 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) gets the start as the Mets open a three-game series with the Reds and Raisel Iglesias (3.09 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field on SNY.
Tags: Jacob deGrom , Rafael Montero , Steven Matz , Yoenis Cespedes
Triple-A: Las Vegas 51s: In his return to Triple-A, Rafael Montero allowed two runs on six hits and two walks and struck out four in four innings, but the 51s lost, 6-5, to Albuquerque >> Read more.
Double-A: Binghamton Mets: The Binghamton Mets recorded double-digit hits for the third time in their last four games and defeated the Erie SeaWolves, 6-2, snapping a six-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon at NYSEG Stadium >> Read more.
Class A Advanced: St. Lucie Mets: Casey Delgado baffled the Bradenton Marauders over 7.2 innings as the St. Lucie Mets won Sunday's series finale 5-1 at Tradition Field >> Read more.
Class A: Columbia Fireflies: On a picture perfect day for baseball at Fluor Field, the Greenville Drive did everything right on Sunday and defeated the Columbia Fireflies 5-1 to snap a four-game losing skid >> Read more.
Tags: Rafael Montero
Michael Conforto drove in two runs and Jacob deGrom made a triumphant return as the Mets secured their first series sweep of the season, 3-2, over the Braves at Turner Field on Sunday. >> Read the full AP recap at SNY.TV.
In case you missed it...
- DeGrom allowed one run and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings to earn the victory in his first start since April 8.
- With a pitch count set at 85, the righthander was lifted after 82 pitches. His ERA against the Braves dropped to 1.89 in six career starts.
- Asdrubal Cabrera went 2-for-4 and is hitting .395 in his last 10 games.
- Curtis Granderson led off the game with a hit for the fourth straight day and scored on Conforto's sacrifice fly. He also scored in the sixth, his sixth run scored in the three games against Atlanta.
Conforto snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth with an RBI double. He hit .324 (11-for-34) with four doubles, two homers, seven runs scored and seven RBI on the road trip.
- Despite securing his fifth save in as many opportunities, Jeurys Familia has struggled to pitch clean innings in the early going. New York's closer has allowed 13 hits and four walks in just nine innings of work.
- The Mets scored in the first inning in seven of the nine games on their road trip and finished 7-2.
- New York hit .293 with 23 home runs and averaged six runs a game on the trip. They've won eight of 10 overall to move a season-high three games over. 500 (10-7).
- Terry Collins on the win: "It was a good, well-played game on the offensive side with the situational hitting."
- Collins on the road trip: "It's good to get on this road trip early and start playing consistently and start playing every day, like we're supposed to. I think it will really help us."
- DeGrom on his start and what he's gone through: "It was nice to be back out there. I was a little nervous but it was nice to be back out there…Everything feels fine."
- DeGrom on winning after the birth of his son: "It means a lot…Like I said, the last week or so, there were some ups and downs but I think to get back out here and get back playing, it was exciting and to get that win in the first game back was definitely nice to have."
- Conforto on the Mets' winning without home runs: "I think it's a good sign that you can manufacture runs…I think we knew that was going to be the case. We've been putting quality at-bats together and we just so happened to be hitting balls out of the ballpark
News & Notes…
- DeGrom continued to shine during day games, improving to 12-2 with a 1.31 ERA. Since making his big league debut on May 11, 2014, his 2.57 ERA is the fourth-lowest mark in baseball. Only Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta and Zack Greinke have lower ERAs in that span.
- New York has won seven straight games in Atlanta, their best streak since the team won seven in a row there in 1985-86.
- The Mets had 16 series sweeps of two or more games in 2015, including six on the road.
- Yoenis Cespedes was unavailable for the second straight day after aggravating a bruise on his right leg. It's not yet known if he will return in Monday's series opener against the Reds.
Rich Coutinho: This series and the entire road trip was a great illustration on how balanced this Mets team is and how that makes them tough to beat. Last year they won so many big games on the road in September and October and in 2016 they have won eight of their last 10 road games in a variety of ways. The long ball has gotten most of the media's attention but in reality the starting pitching was outstanding on this trip and the bullpen has shown the ability to give opposing offenses a multitude of different looks.
Offensively, I had to laugh when I heard people complaining the Mets were an all-or-nothing lineup because my feeling has always been homers are a good thing and when you out-homer the opposition you will win a vast majority of your games. And couple that with the pitchers this team possesses -- that is a formula championships have been built on for years. Still, Sunday might silence some of those "critics" as they got two sac flies and an RBI double. Sunday also showed this team is deep on the bench as David Wright, Travis d'Arnaud and Cespedes all had the day off, pushing Asdrubal Cabrera to the No. 2 spot in the order, where he got big hits in both innings the Mets scored.
This road trip began with Conforto being moved to the third spot in the order which has helped on so many levels. It deepens the lineup as opposing pitchers have to now navigate a plethora of hitters who can hit the long ball. I believe that decision really helped the Mets get on the board first, which intensifies the pressure on the opposition and gives their great starting pitchers a tremendous advantage.
The other thing I took from this 7-2 road trip is the bullpen is a deep collection of personnel who can all get the tough outs in the seventh and eighth. Antonio Bastardo, Hansel Robles, Addison Reed, Jim Henderson and Jerry Blevins provide Terry Collins with a multitude of options leading up to Familia.
As for the Met closer, he is trying to get all of his pitches to work and struggling a bit with location but still makes the big pitches he needs to make with the game on the line. He will be fine and I do think his sinking fastball has gotten better in his past few appearances which is a positive sign.
All in all, at 10-7, that 2-5 start is long forgotten. As I said at the start of the trip, they would come home over .500 and never fall below it again in 2016. A big reason for that is this Mets team might just be the most balanced in the sport.
The Mets (10-7) return to Citi Field and face the Cincinnati Reds (9-10) on Monday at 7:10 p.m.on SNY. Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 0.90 ERA) kicks off the nine-game homestand for New York. Cincinnati counters with righthander Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 3.09) .
Toby Hyde and Rob Brender are joined by Yahoo Baseball Columnist Jeff Passan, who recently released his new book, "THE ARM: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports."
The conversation covers Tommy John surgery and the role it plays in baseball, specifically with the Mets young pitching staff. Later, Toby and Rob discuss the Mets home run barrage on the recent road trip.
The Mets go for a three-game sweep of the Braves Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.
Follow the game live here...
|Curtis Granderson, RF||Nick Markakis, RF|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||Daniel Castro, SS|
|Michael Conforto, LF||Freddie Freeman, 1B|
|Lucas Duda, 1B||Adonis Garcia, 3B|
|Neil Walker, 2B||A.J. Pierzynski, C|
|Wilmer Flores, 3B||Kelly Johnson, 2B|
|Kevin Plawecki, C||Jace Peterson, LF|
|Juan Lagares, CF||Mallex Smith, CF|
|Jacob deGrom, RHP||Aaron Blair, RHP|
When and Where: 1:35 p.m. on WPIX-TV from Turner Field.
Who's Pitching for the Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-0, 1.50 ERA) makes his first start since the Mets home-opening win over the Phillies April 8. He left that game after six innings with a sore right lat, then went on family leave for the birth of his son Jaxon.
Who's Pitching for the Braves: RHP Aaron Blair is making his major-league debut.
Tags: Jacob deGrom
In his second start of the season, Mets rookie LHP Steven Matz allowed two runs and nine hits, while striking out eight, in 6.1 innings, as the Mets beat the Braves, 8-2, in Atlanta on Saturday night.
"I saw him moving the ball around the zone," Mets manager Terry Collins said after the game. "Not just mixing it up, he located. He located very well tonight. There are a couple pitches he wanted back. He left a couple balls out."
Matz has pitched into the seventh inning during each of his last two starts, while allowing just two runs and 12 hits and striking out 17 batters in 13.1 innings.
"In the big leagues anyone can hit a fastball," said Matz, who was proud of how he mixed up his pitches Saturday. "I do like to pitch off my fastball, but being able to get those other pitches over for strikes gives them something else to think about."
The kid throws strikes, that's the key. And, with all due respect to his off-speed pitches, which are terrific, he's nothing without his fastball, which is mid 90s and locked in to Travis d'Arnaud's target. He hit the mitt almost every time. It's this command that lets him be so successful with his other pitches. It also lets them have different game plans and keep batters off balance. He's already good enough to be the ace of a third of the teams in the leagueIn time, when he begins to get better command of his curve ball, he's going to be sensational.
Tags: Steven Matz
The Mets (9-7) go for the series sweep against the Braves (4-13) at Turner Field on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on WPIX-TV.
Jacob deGrom (1-0, 1.50 ERA) makes his first start since April 8. The Braves will start Aaron Blair, who is making his major league debut.
Yoenis Cespedes will likely sit out Sunday afternoon, Terry Collins said. The bruise on his knee, which he got from jumping into the stands at Citi Field last week, is still sore and swollen.
Collins also said David Wright will get Sunday off, as well.
The Mets have won five of their last six games against the Phillies and Braves, which is what a team with postseason plans must do to fulfill its goal.
The offense has been a steamroller during the road trip, during which they've scored 6.4 runs a game, including 23 home runs in eight games. They're crazy hot and not dependent on any one guy. Last night, they did it without the home run, they got timely hits and ran the bases well, which is encouraging.
They struggled early in the year at Citi Field, where they'll begin begin play again tomorrow. I really want to see another strong win today, to carry momentum and good vibes from Atlanta on the plane to New York.
Steven Matz pitched into the seventh inning and the Mets pounded out 15 hits in their 8-2 win over the Braves on Saturday night at Turner Field. >> Read the full AP recap at SNY.TV.
Jacob deGrom told reporters Saturday his newborn son had a breathing issue that extended the baby's stay in the hospital and the right-hander's time away from the Mets >> Read more.
Yoenis Cespedes was unavailable for Saturday's game with a bruised right leg. Terry Collins believes Cespedes's absence could potentially be for more than one game.
Terry Collins was a passenger in a taxi cab accident in Atlanta on Thursday night, but was not seriously injured, Collins told reporters after Friday's night's game.
Tags: Curtis Granderson , Matt Harvey
Steven Matz pitched into the seventh inning and the Mets pounded out 15 hits in their 8-2 win over the Braves on Saturday night at Turner Field. >> Read the full AP recap at SNY.TV.
In case you missed it...
- Matz pitched into the seventh for the second straight start, tossing 6 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on nine hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out eight to earn the win. Since being tagged for seven runs in his first start, Matz has surrendered just two runs and two walks with 17 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings in his last two outings.
- Curtis Granderson, David Wright and Michael Conforto led New York from the top of the lineup collecting two hits apiece and combining for four runs, two RBI and two walks.
- Since opening the season 1-for-24, Granderson has hit .326 (14-for-43) with four home runs, eight RBI and 10 runs scored in 10 games.
- Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back homers, the fourth time in five games the Mets hit consecutive home runs and the 22nd and 23rd they've hit on this road trip. Their 25 home runs are tied with the Astros for the third-most in baseball.
- Walker's seven home runs are the most by a Mets second baseman in April since Jeff Kent went deep eight times that month in 1994.
- Juan Lagares got the start in center field for an ailing Yoenis Cespedes, who aggravated his leg bruise sliding into second on Friday. Although Lagares has appeared in 11 of New York's first 15 games, he's started just twice while compiling 15 plate appearances. He finished 2-for-5 with an RBI triple on Saturday.
- Wright on the Mets' offense: "From top to bottom we have guys that can not only produce but can put together good at-bats."
- Terry Collins on Walker and Cabrera: "[Getting big hits] is what he does…Cabrera is a very similar guy. You need those guys."
- Collins on Matz: "He was locating tonight…he pitched a very good game."
- Matz on his outing: "Focus. Just taking it pitch-by-pitch."
- Walker on his hot start: "I'm getting the barrel through the zone the way I want to, from both sides of the plate…. From our offense to our starting pitchers to our relievers, we have a very talented group here. I'm happy to play my part."
News & Notes…
- New York has won six straight in Atlanta for the first time since 1985-86.
- The Mets scored in the first inning again on Saturday and have done so in six of their eight games on this road trip. Dating back to their April 13 game against the Marlins, they are 7-2 and have led or been tied in 76 of 82 innings.
- Although his injury isn't serious, Cespedes' bruise from jumping into the stands at Citi Field last week is sore and swollen. He will sit out Sunday afternoon's series finale as well.
- Wright will get an off day Sunday.
- Rafael Montero was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas after Friday night's game, creating a roster spot for Jacob deGrom. Montero allowed three runs in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
- The Mets have hit 23 home runs in their last eight games, which according to Elias is the most home runs over any eight-game span in franchise history. The previous mark was 22 home runs over eight games from June 27-July 5, 2004.
- Walker hit his 100th career home run.
- Walker's seven home runs equal the most he's hit in a calendar month. He also had seven home runs in September 2013 and seven in July 2012. Dave Kingman (1976), Carlos Delgado (2006) and John Buck (2013) hold the club record with nine April home runs.
Tim Reilly: Another solid performance out of Matz on Saturday. Although he wasn't as dominant as his last outing, Matz was able to work his way out of trouble more often than not, which is always a positive sign to see out of a young starting pitcher.
Matz is at his best when he attacks hitters as a power pitcher, which Keith Hernandez harps on regularly in the booth, and he did that well on Saturday with his fastball. While his curveball is a terrific pitch, it seems to get him into trouble when he drops his arm angle down/slows up his motion, causing it to flatten out and become a very hittable pitch. When Matz is snapping that pitch from over the top, and at a higher velocity, it's one of the better curveballs from the left side in the game.
The victory secured a third straight series win. While the goal is always to win each series, for the Mets to become a great team this season they will have to complete sweeps against the likes of Atlanta.
Let's see if deGrom (welcome back!) can help finish the job Sunday.
The Mets (9-7) go for the series sweep against the Braves (4-13) from Turner Field on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on WPIX-TV. Jacob deGrom (1-0, 1.50 ERA) makes his first start since April 8 against Aaron Blair, who is making his major league debut, in a matchup of righthanders.