By Anthony Dicomo and Joe Frisaro
MLB.com |@JoeFrisaro |
MIAMI -- After repeatedly stranding runners, the Mets finally broke through with four runs in the eighth inning on Tuesday night. With two outs, Eric Campbell delivered a pinch-hit RBI single, Juan Lagares laced a two-run triple and Curtis Granderson tacked on a run-scoring double off Mike Dunn that propelled New York to a 5-1 win over Miami at Marlins Park.
That made it five straight wins for the Mets, allowing them to maintain a one-game lead in the National League East.
MIAMI -- Suddenly in legitimate playoff contention, the Mets are attempting to patch every last hole on their roster. To that end, they traded for a lefty relief specialist late Tuesday night, acquiring Eric O'Flaherty and cash from the A's for a player to be named or cash.
O'Flaherty, 30, had a 5.91 ERA in 25 games for the A's, but he was holding left-handed batters to a .186 average and a .495 OPS. Unlike Alex Torres, whom the Mets designated for assignment to make room on the roster, O'Flaherty gives the Mets the type of classic left-on-left specialist they have lacked since Jerry Blevins hit the disabled list April 21.
MIAMI -- David Wright's timeline is starting to come into focus. Wright took full batting practice Tuesday in the first of five consecutive days of rigorous baseball workouts, his first such stretch since being diagnosed with spinal stenosis in May. If all goes well, Wright could debut in Minor League rehab games as soon as early next week.
"At this point, I just want to get in the lineup," Wright said. "I want to be part of the fun."
MIAMI -- Eleven times over their first 96 games, the Mets were shut out, the last such example coming July 23. Two days later, after welcoming Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe into their clubhouse, they scored 15 runs. Less than a week after that, the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes, who has done little but smash baseballs since.
The Mets, it seems, aren't in the business of laying down anymore, as they proved in Tuesday night's 5-1 win over the Marlins. Manager Terry Collins swears their entire mindset has changed; whereas the Mets used to fret over whether they would score, they now wonder only when their next outburst will come.
MIAMI -- The electric atmosphere that has swept up Mets fans in recent days has apparently had a comparable effect on outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. While the newest Met is unlikely to stay with the team after this season, due in part to his unorthodox contract structure, it's a prospect he says he would nonetheless relish.
"This is something I can't control," Cespedes said through an interpreter Tuesday, one day after tying a franchise record with three doubles in a 12-1 rout of the Marlins. "I don't know what the front office is thinking about. But with what I see so far, I would love for everything to work out and stay as a Met for a long, long time, because I like the atmosphere."
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey will try to solve his issues against the Marlins on Wednesday night when he opposes David Phelps in the series finale at Marlins Park.
In six career starts vs. the Marlins, Harvey is 1-2 with a 4.14 ERA -- the fourth-highest ERA he has against any opponent. The ace has allowed 42 hits and 17 earned runs in 37 innings against Miami -- surrendering four earned runs in three of the six starts.
MIAMI -- While his players and coaches will spend Thursday's off-day relaxing around Tampa Bay, Mets manager Terry Collins plans to work. Collins will make the two-hour drive north from Marlins Park to the team's Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., with plans to "challenge" rehabbing pitcher Rafael Montero.
Montero has been on the disabled list since April 29 with what, at the time, the Mets labeled right rotator cuff inflammation. But team doctors have never identified an injury in multiple examinations since, and a spokesman said Thursday that there is no current diagnosis.
MIAMI -- The Mets may have settled into their South Florida hotel around 4:30 a.m. ET on Monday, but their bats were wide awake come game time. Michael Conforto blasted a three-run homer, his first career shot, and Yoenis Cespedes added three doubles and four RBIs in a 12-1 rout over Miami at Marlins Park.
After sweeping the Nationals at Citi Field, including a 5-2 win on Sunday night, the Mets stayed hot in the series opener, providing Bartolo Colon, who allowed one run over eight innings, with plenty of run support on a night New York moved into sole possession of first in the National League East for the first time since June 19. The Mets win was coupled with the Nationals' 6-4 loss to the D-backs to break the tie atop the division, after several clubhouse veterans addressed the clubhouse pregame to warn against a letdown.
McGraw, Berra and the Wall Ball helped fuel Amazin' run to World Series
By Marty Noble
The Mets' improbable weekend sweep of the Nationals and their steamroller victory over the Marlins on Monday night have made them a first-place team in the National League East and prompted their constituency to believe all things are possible. Those with Mets memories that reach back to before last Thursday have a restored sense of: "It can be done if we just believe." Since that dreadful rain-soaked loss against the Padres, believe has become the primary word in the vocabulary of Mets partisans. Indeed, believehas displacedpitchas the operative verb in their thoughts.
And any time belief or faith is spoken in the same sentence as the Mets, a link to the "Ya Gotta Believe" NL champions of 1973 comes out of hiding. Our brains bring forth images of George Theodore, George Stone, George Thomas Seaver, Yogi, the Wall Ball, Tug McGraw and the three-word phrase that fueled the team's borderline preposterous run to the NL championship.
MIAMI -- When the Mets traded for Yoenis Cespedes with 13 minutes to spare at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the hope was that, ultimately, his blend of power offense and outfield defense would buoy the Mets to first place.
It's just that few imagined it happening so fast. Cespedes' franchise record-tying three doubles paced the Mets' 15-hit attack in a 12-1 rout of the Marlins on Monday, moving the Mets into sole possession of first place for the first time since June 19.
MIAMI -- Michael Conforto isn't even supposed to be here with the Mets. He watched Saturday's game from a Queens hotel room, ready to board a flight back to Las Vegas the next day. But Conforto is still here, still in the Majors, and is making the most of every last kernel of sand in his big league hourglass.
In his first game appearance since a one-day quasi-demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, Conforto hit his first career homer -- a monstrous, three-run blast to center field that Statcast™ projected to land 435 feet away, with an exit velocity of 112 mph. The home run was Conforto's first hit since a 4-for-4 game on July 25 against the Dodgers, snapping an 0-for-12 stretch at the plate and providing the first three runs in the Mets' 12-1 rout of the Marlins on Monday.
Left-handed-hitting, right-handed-throwing Michael Conforto attended Redmond (Wash.) High School. He compiled a career batting average of .363 as a shortstop. Conforto hit .400 as a senior. He also was a highly acclaimed and valued member of the football team.
An accomplished hitter, Conforto earned recognition as a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy while attending Oregon State University. The Mets selected him in the first round of the 2014 Draft, with the 10th overall pick.
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
MIAMI -- They'll talk about his career-high-tying sixth hit of the season, a single up the middle in the seventh inning of a blowout, because Bartolo Colon's tricks with the bat are always fun around the water cooler. But this was a serious start for Colon. And it was his pitching that made the most significant impact.
Colon fired eight innings of one-run ball in the Mets' 12-1 rout of the Marlins on Monday, at least temporarily quieting the growing chorus of skepticism surrounding his rotation status.
MIAMI -- The Mets have not written in ink how they will lengthen their rotation over the final two months of the season, whether it's using regular spot starters, reverting to a six-man rotation or some combination of the two. Much of that will depend upon Bartolo Colon's performance and Steven Matz's health down the stretch.
What the Mets have all but guaranteed, however, is that they will not shut down any healthy starters if they make it to October, as the Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg in 2012.
MIAMI -- Like so many fans throughout the New York area and beyond, Zack Wheeler sat in front of a television on the afternoon of July 31, scrolling through his Twitter feed. Wheeler had already been traded once from the Mets and watched it fall through, and had already placed a phone call to Mets general manager Sandy Alderson relating his desire to stay. All there was left to do was wait.
"I still didn't know," Wheeler said Monday, making the short drive from his rehab headquarters at Port St. Lucie, Fla. to visit teammates in Miami. "Once they said we traded for [Yoenis] Cespedes, I didn't know if I was in the trade or anything like that. I was trying to find out if I was a guy getting traded."
MIAMI -- Mets rookie Steven Matz took his first tangible step toward a return from the disabled list on Monday, playing catch at the team's rehab facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Matz had not thrown since landing on the disabled list July 10 with a partial tear of his left lat muscle.
"Very positive," was how manager Terry Collins described the throwing session. "No problems. I saw him the other day and he felt great, couldn't wait to get back out and play catch, which he did today. So that's a good step."
MIAMI -- Fresh off one of the most memorable homestands in recent franchise history, a pair of Mets split National League Player of the Week honors. First baseman Lucas Duda and starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard shared the nod for pacing the Mets on both sides of the field.
Mets made key moves to contend, but will Nationals' talent prevail?
By Paul Hagen
And the race is on.
By completing a sweep of the Nationals on Sunday night at Citi Field, the Mets moved into a virtual tie for first place in the National League East. The fan base has been energized not only by finding its team in contention going into August but also by the acquisition of a much-needed bat, Yoenis Cespedes, from the Tigers.
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?
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.