First baseman first Met to hit 9 blasts in 8 games; Grandy, Murphy also go deep
By Joe Trezza
NEW YORK -- It's tough remembering, especially after Sunday's triumphant, ear-splitting night at Citi Field, just how serious the silence that surrounded this place was days ago. Try, and maybe it's possible to recall Clayton Kershaw's carving of a now unrecognizable lineup July 23, when this homestand started. Or the emptiness of Thursday, when just hundreds witnessed a devastating loss to the Padres, the crowd withered down by two rain delays.
Those were the few low lights of a transformative homestand, and they were far from the mind Sunday, when Curtis Granderson sent a third-inning Jordan Zimmermann pitch soaring toward the right-field seats. They were pushed further back a pitch later, when Daniel Murphy followed with a laser into the Pepsi Porch. And they were stomped away for good after three more pitches when Lucas Duda's two-run shot punctuated New York's 5-2 series-sweeping win over Washington and earned the Mets a share of first place in the National League East.
Man they call Thor strikes out nine Nationals over eight stellar innings
By Alden Woods
NEW YORK -- To portray Noah Syndergaard's ever-more-popular "Thor" moniker, the Mets have a graphic they like to flash on the center-field video board after important strikeouts.
In it, Syndergaard's face is superimposed onto the comic-book god's body. Lightning flashes from his hammer as an expressionless Syndergaard stares into the abyss. It's unclear whose flowing blond hair is used.
The tying game: Mets deliver Citi's slickest sweep
By Bill Ladson and Joe Trezza
NEW YORK -- The Mets' first three-homer inning since 2007 sent Citi Field into possibly the biggest ruckus in its history, shooting New York into a virtual tie for first place with a 5-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday night to complete a three-game sweep. Back-to-back third-inning homers from Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy sparked an electric atmosphere at the Queens ballpark, where the fans have thirsted for a playoff team since its inception in 2009. The crowd of 35,374 sure felt it finally had the makings of one after Lucas Duda followed Murphy two batters later with his ninth homer in eight games -- a two-run shot that punctuated a season-defining homestand and gave winning pitcher Noah Syndergaard insurance runs to work with.
"We're excited," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We know we have 50-something [games] to go and have to play those guys six more times, but this is a huge weekend for us. In the scope of things, this was a great homestand for the way we finished it."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Mets fans had waited a long time for a moment like this. And so on Sunday night they did it up right. They had their ballpark rocking with emotion and craziness. They brought back the thunderous cheers that were once the norm for this franchise. At various times they simply stood and screamed, almost all 35,374 of them. At least it sounded that way. Remember when it was always like this around the Mets?
Bartolo Colon will take on the Marlins for the fourth time this season as the upstart Mets -- coming off a series sweep of the Nationals that forged a tie atop the National League East between New York and Washington -- begin a three-game set in Miami on Monday night. They'll try to continue their good fortune against Marlins righty Tom Koehler, who is 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA in two starts against New York this season.
Colon is 2-1 against Miami in 2015, beating the Marlins twice at Citi Field (14 innings, four runs combined) while losing at Marlins Park (6 2/3 innings, four earned runs). He's coming off a rough start on Wednesday in which he allowed six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Padres.
NEW YORK -- Even though studies have been done that debunk the strategy, Mets manger Terry Collins said on Sunday night that the club hierarchy intends to restrict the innings of New York's top three young starting pitchers even if the Mets make the playoffs.
Mets manager Collins likes the versatility he has with all his outfielders
By Alden Woods
NEW YORK -- At this point in his career, Curtis Granderson doesn't care where in the outfield he plays. He's just making sure to check the lineup before jogging out to his habitual spot in right field.
It's no longer a given that Granderson will have a "9" penciled beside his name on every lineup card. The Mets' trades for outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Kelly Johnson have led manager Terry Collins to consider fiddling with his outfield combinations to create better day-to-day matchups.
NEW YORK -- On Sunday, just one day after optioning him to Triple-A Las Vegas, the Mets recalled Michael Conforto and placed Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the 15-day disabled list.
Nieuwenhuis did not play in the past three games as he attempted to ease the discomfort of a pinched nerve in his neck. When a cortisone shot proved ineffective, the Mets placed him on the DL and filled his spot on the 25-man roster with Conforto.
NEW YORK -- Though he refuses to look into his "crystal ball" to come to conclusions about his young pitchers, Mets manager Terry Collins did admit he hopes for an early September return for Steven Matz. When the Mets are confident in the health of Matz's left lat muscle, they plan to once again elongate their rotation.
On the disabled list since July 9, Matz will meet with doctors Monday to determine if he can resume throwing. If he can, Matz will start a process that New York envisions ending with him providing valuable innings down the stretch, where winning could prove as much a concern as the Mets conserving their young starters.
NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda was not the only player Terry Collins put "on notice" last week, when the Mets' acquisitions of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe finally gave their manager depth. He was just one of many struggling Mets who stood to lose playing time, considering his .166 batting average and .549 OPS in his most recent 45 games.
But when Collins gathered those players together and gave them his ultimatum, Duda may have absorbed the message quicker and more completely than anyone else.
NEW YORK -- Halfway through his second round of batting practice with the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes launched a home run several rows deep into the left-center-field seats -- a place where Major League Baseball players don't typically hit baseballs. Instantly, he validated the hopes of manager Terry Collins, who was sitting in the dugout at the time, laughing and joking in a grand old mood. And that was before Cespedes drew an intentional walk in the game itself, adding fuel to the Mets' go-ahead rally in a 3-2 win over the Nationals on Saturday.
Two days earlier, Collins had spoken to his mentor Jim Leyland, who knew Cespedes from Detroit and lauded his abilities. So when Collins found out Friday, mere minutes before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, that his team had acquired Cespedes, he could hardly contain his emotion.
NEW YORK -- A billboard greeted fans coming off the Grand Central Parkway on Saturday, trumpeting Yoenis Cespedes' arrival in Queens. But it was an old face, Lucas Duda, who almost single-handedly lifted the Mets to a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Nationals, moving New York within a game of first place in the National League East.
Before the second-largest regular-season crowd in Citi Field history, Duda hit a pair of solo homers to make up a two-run deficit, then laced a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth. He now has eight home runs in his last seven games, including two off Nationals starter Joe Ross.
NEW YORK -- In the few private moments provided during Wilmer Flores' very public week, the infielder and trending topic tried to disappear. Tough to do with your face -- swelled with tears, pinched in pain and now already memed to death -- penciled into every sports show A block from Corona, N.Y., to California, just for falling beneath the weight of the world. But Flores did his best Wednesday night, the only way he knew how. After contacting his parents, to tell them no, he hadn't been traded, a click of the right finger shut off his phone.
NEW YORK -- Mets third baseman David Wright continues to make tangible progress rehabbing from the spinal condition that has sidelined him since April. Wright will travel to Miami with the Mets on Sunday night, then drive to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Thursday with an eye toward beginning a Minor League rehab assignment shortly thereafter.
Wright, 32, has not played since April 14 due to a hamstring injury and his subsequent spinal stenosis diagnosis. He was batting .333 in eight games prior to that.
NEW YORK -- Every emotion a human being is capable of feeling, teammate Michael Cuddyer said, Wilmer Flores must have felt. It was all so plain to see: There was Flores on Wednesday night, baring his soul before thousands in attendance and the millions watching every other way, tears streaming down his face because he thought he had been traded. There was Flores, undoubtedly flashing back to the day he signed at 16 years old, his eyes turning to a dugout full of teammates and friends.
Forty-eight hours later, there was Flores sweating out the non-waiver Trade Deadline -- "He had to wonder if it was his last day in the clubhouse," manager Terry Collins said -- and taking the field. His field, Citi Field. Then there was Flores hitting a walk-off home run in the 12th inning of the Mets' 2-1 win over the Nationals, somehow outshining their season-changing acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes.
NEW YORK -- Two days after their first attempt to acquire an impact outfielder evaporated, the Mets beat Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline by a matter of minutes in a deal with the Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes.
Detroit received Minor League pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa in the trade, which puts Cespedes in the Mets' employ for the next two months. In his first year with the Tigers after a trade from the Red Sox last December, Cespedes is hitting .293 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs in 102 games. He will be a free agent after the season, and due to the unique nature of his contract, cannot be extended a qualifying offer.
NEW YORK -- Two days after Wilmer Flores became a national sensation for his bare emotion, openly weeping on the infield dirt because he thought he had been traded, Flores' walk-off homer lifted the Mets to a 2-1, 12-inning win over the Nationals on Friday night.
A spirited Citi Field crowd of 36,164 gave Flores standing ovations for his defensive work in the first inning and his RBI single in the fourth, then serenaded him as he rounded the bases in the 12th. The win moved the Mets within two games of the first-place Nationals in the National League East.
Mets righty takes shutout into eighth, has walked just one in last two starts
By Jamal Collier
NEW YORK -- The Mets lined up their rotation after the All-Star break to make sure that their top three starters -- including Matt Harvey, who has said he relishes taking the mound in big games -- would get the opportunity to pitch in two crucial series against the Nationals, the team they are chasing in the National League East.
In front of a raucous crowd of 36,164 fans Friday night at Citi Field, Harvey delivered one of his best performances of the year. He was locked in from the start, stifling Washington's offense for 7 2/3 innings before Wilmer Flores' walk-off home run in the 12th gave New York a 2-1 victory.
Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Cespedes has already hit plenty of Citi Field HRs
By Michael Clair |
In 2013, Yoenis Cespedes arrived at Citi Field for the first time for the Home Run Derby. Not frightened by Citi Field's large outfield, not distracted by the delicious smells of Shake Shack and not even thrown off his game by the ghost-like apparition of Shea Stadium that appeared beyond the outfield fence, Cespedes blasted 17 home runs in the first round to go with 32 in total to walk away with the belt and title.
Cuddyer hopeful of coming off disabled list next week
By Alden Woods
NEW YORK -- The list of everyday Mets on the disabled list has been trimmed to two, and both players are optimistic about their returns. While Michael Cuddyer hopes he can return to the field next weekend in St. Petersburg, David Wright isn't willing to share his planned return date.
Wright has a day "circled on his calendar," but he's not ready to share it yet. The Mets third baseman has spent the past few days back in New York, working out and sitting in the dugout with his teammates during games, but he won't submit to the temptation to rush back.
NEW YORK -- The flow of non-waiver Trade Deadline talks -- more than half a dozen Mets executives crammed into a room -- was briefly interrupted Friday afternoon by the familiar ring of a phone. But this was no ordinary call from a general manager or reporter. This was from pitcher Zack Wheeler, whose name had popped into multiple talks over the past week -- including the Mets' ill-fated deal for then-Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez.
Wheeler told Mets general manager Sandy Alderson that he knew there was a chance he would be traded over the ensuing hours. But all things being equal, Wheeler impressed upon his boss, he'd like to stick around.
NEW YORK -- Last Thursday, the Mets called up outfield prospect Michael Conforto from Double-A Binghamton, a busy news day in a hectic season for New York. They followed that move on Friday with a trade for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. Johnson hit a home run on Saturday en route to a 15-run explosion. Uribe sent a walk-off single to the deepest reaches of center field on Sunday after the Mets spent their morning ridding the clubhouse weight room of a stray raccoon.
That was merely the beginning. On Monday, they traded for reliever Tyler Clippard, which proved significant on Tuesday, when Major League Baseball suspended Jenrry Mejia 162 games for a positive performance-enhancing drug test. On Wednesday, New York completed a trade for Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, only to back out afterWilmer Flores learned he was in the deal, weeping on the field as he absorbed the information.
NEW YORK -- Carlos Gomez or no, the Mets were two strikes away from a series win over the Padres on Thursday afternoon heading into this weekend's showdown with the first-place Nationals.
Then Justin Upton squeezed a go-ahead three-run homer into the seven-minute span between ninth-inning rain delays, leading the Padres to an 8-7 victory. Jeurys Familia blew his third save in three attempts for New York since the All-Star break, after going 27-for-29 in the first half.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
NEW YORK -- As Jeurys Familia stepped on the mound in the ninth inning on Thursday, a flash of lightning ripped through the sky above Citi Field. Many fans retreated to the concourses to avoid the rain and watch Familia try to finish off another save.
Familia has been one of the most dominant closers in the National League this season, and he looked the part right away, dispatching two batters with three pitches. Then the rain turned to a deluge and a subsequent 44-minute delay wrecked what looked destined to be a Mets win.
NEW YORK -- Another Mets pitcher expected to help the 2015 team will spend the rest of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich underwent the procedure Thursday in Manhattan, joining Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin as members of the Mets' 40-man roster to have Tommy John surgery this year. He should miss most of next season, in addition to this one.
NEW YORK -- Like everyone else, Zack Wheeler was watching Wednesday's game between the Mets and Padres when he first heard word leak that he had been traded to the Brewers. Wheeler called his agent, who confirmed that a deal was in place pending medical reviews.
"I've been through it before," Wheeler said Thursday in a telephone interview, referencing the July 2011 trade that initially sent him from the Giants to the Mets. "It's not the most fun thing, I guess you could say. A lot of stuff runs through your mind."