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Friday, August 31, 2012

Mets News and Notes: Second Series, In Philly, Niese, Wright's Sacrifice, Turner, Familia, Binghamton

Mets News and Notes:

The Mets won their second consecutive series, taking two of three from the Phillies. Their five-game winning streak in Philadelphia was snapped with Wednesday's loss. It was the longest single-season win streak by the Mets in Philadelphia since they won five straight in 1972.

The Mets finished the Philadelphia portion of the season series with a 7-2 record at Citizens Bank Park. That fell one win shy of matching their most in a season in the City of Brotherly Love. In 1972, the Mets went 8-1 at Veterans Stadium, the Phillies' former home.

Yesterday Mets Pitcher Jon Niese was charged with three runs in six innings while trying to overcome the flu.

"Right now I pretty much just have a cough," Niese said. "I'm just hacking up some stuff. I really didn't feel like I had much energy out there today. I just battled through it. I had to execute pitches when I needed to. You know going in that you're not going to have it, but it's one of those things where you've got to get it done."

David Wright's sacrifice fly in Tuesday's win gave him 58 for his career, tying Ed Kranepool's club record.

It was the seventh time in his career that Wright tied a game with a sacrifice fly, tying Lee Mazzilli for the most-game-tying sacrifice flies in Mets history. He already has the most go-ahead sacrifice flies with 18, one more Kranepool.

Preview: Game 132 - Mets at Marlins - Dickey Looks to beat the Fish

New York Mets (61-70) at Miami Marlins (59-72) 7:10 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
R. Dickey (R) 26 16-4 2.766.08-33.108/25HOUW7.0511-120.03.15
N. Eovaldi (R) 16 4-9 4.545.01-43.748/24@LADL3.0761-214.25.52

Veteran right-hander R.A. Dickey tries to gain a share of the National League lead in victories tonight when the New York Mets visit the Miami Marlins for the opener of a three-game series at Marlins Park.

Dickey earned victory No. 16 in his last start on Aug. 25 against Houston after scattering five hits and allowing a single run in seven innings in a 3-1 defeat of the Astros.

The 37-year-old from Nashville is second in the league in wins, trailing Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto, who earned his 17th triumph of 2012 earlier this week.

Dickey last faced the Marlins on Aug. 9 in New York and was a 6-1 winner following a complete-game gem in which he struck out 10, walked none and allowed five hits and a single run.

He's 8-3 in 13 road starts this season with a 3.10 earned run average in 87 innings.

Miami opposes him with 22-year-old righty Nathan Eovaldi, who starts for the seventh time since joining the Marlins earlier this season.

The Houston native was drafted by the Dodgers in 2008 and reached the majors with them last season, going 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 appearances - including six starts.

He was 1-6 in 10 starts with them to start 2012, then headed east to Miami in the July 25 deal that sent Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers.

Recap: Game 131 - Mets at Phillies - Mets See the light and lose 3-2

Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, Pa.)
N.Y. Mets (61-70)110000000271
Philadelphia (62-69) «00111000x3120
W: K. Kendrick (8-9) L: J. Niese (10-8)
S: J. Papelbon (30)
HR: NYM - M. Baxter (2),S. Hairston (15)   PHI - None

Kevin Frandsen contributed an RBI single among four hits and scored the go-ahead run as the Philadelphia Phillies avoided a three-game sweep with a 3-2 win against the New York Mets .

Ty Wigginton knocked in a run for the Phillies, who had dropped five in a row at Citizens Bank Park to the Mets, including the first two installments of this three-game set.

Kyle Kendrick (8-9) continued his terrific play of late, tossing 7 2/3 effective innings to win his fourth straight start. The Philadelphia right- hander gave up home runs to two of the first six batters he faced, but scattered only five more hits during his outing.

"Give the team a chance to win and I was able to do that," Kendrick said.

Jon Niese (10-8) allowed three runs on nine hits over six innings for New York, which had its winning streak snapped at four games.

"He threw the ball fine," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He had the flu three days ago, so I thought he pitched very well."

In the third, Frandsen plated Jimmy Rollins, who had reached on a two-out double and was later benched after not hustling on a dropped popup.

Wigginton tied the game with a double in the fourth and Ryan Howard's sac fly put the Phillies on top in the fifth.

Frandsen had led off the fifth with a double and was moved to third by a Chase Utley groundout.

Rollins was pulled after committing a pair of mistakes in the sixth. With Kendrick on third and one out, Rollins failed to run hard on a popup that Niese failed to catch. He wound up stealing second base, but was then caught in a rundown on a grounder and tagged out.

The former National League MVP was replaced by Michael Martinez at shortstop to begin the seventh inning.

New York threatened in the eighth inning as Kendrick gave up consecutive two- out singles. Raul Valdes, though, needed one pitch to retire Ike Davis on a 3-1 grounder.

Jonathan Papelbon tossed a scoreless ninth for his 30th save of the season.

Mike Baxter crushed Kendrick's second pitch of the game for his first career leadoff homer. Scott Hairston went deep in the second.

Game Notes

Kendrick notched his first home win against the Mets since September 13, 2009. He had dropped five straight decisions ... The Phillies wrapped up a 10-game homestand with a 6-4 mark ... Philadelphia catcher Steve Lerud went 1-for-4 in his major league debut ... Phillies infielder Hector Luna was outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency ... The Mets posted a 7-2 record in Philadelphia this season.

Box Score:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mets News and Notes: Citizen Bank Park, Harvey, Shoppach, Quick Pitch, Cecchini, Nimmo, Bye-Bye Buffalo, First basemen Homers

Mets News and Notes:

The Mets are now 7-1 at Citizens Bank Park this season. And they already have clinched their third series win in Philadelphia in 2012. The only other season in which the Amazin's won three series of three-plus games in the City of Brotherly Love came in 1989.

Collins acknowledged pregame that Harvey is expected to be shut down before the end of the season due to an innings limit. Including Wednesday's workload and his minor league duty, Harvey has now logged 152 1/3 innings. Sandy Alderson previously suggested Harvey may be capped in the 165- to 170-inning range, although a team insider said the total may get to 175.

Kelly Shoppach started the past two games, although Collins said Josh Thole now would catch through Saturday, with Shoppach's next opportunity Sunday in Miami against southpaw Mark Buehrle. The manager said Shoppach needs to play enough so the Mets can gauge if he's a match for 2013. Thole is 0-for-21 over his past seven starts. “We’re going to see more righties than lefties,” Collins said. “I want to give Kelly a shot. We brought him here to find out if it’s going to be a fit. So I think he needs some playing time to find that out.”

The Mets entered Wednesday averaging just 20.4 seconds between pitches, according to FanGraphs, the fastest pace in the majors. Their starting pitchers have been particularly brisk, averaging 19.4 seconds between pitches, more than half a second faster than any other team. There is, of course, no trophy for working the fastest. And speed is not a prerequisite for success. But Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen strongly discourages pitchers from dawdling on the mound.

Today's Mets Starting Lineup vs Phillies - Game 131

Do I Need to say more!
Today's Mets Starting Lineup vs Phillies - Game 131:
  1. Mike Baxter, rf
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2b
  3. David Wright, 3b
  4. Ike Davis, 1b
  5. Lucas Duda, lf
  6. Scott Hairston, cf
  7. Ronny Cedeno, ss
  8. Josh Thole, c
  9. Jonathon Niese, lhp

Preview: Game 131 - Mets at Phillies - Mets Look For Sweep

New York Mets (61-69) at Philadelphia Phillies (61-69) 1:05 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
J. Niese (L) 25 10-7 3.515.25-33.108/24HOUL7.0632-122.11.61
K. Kendrick (R) 18 7-9 4.125.13-64.768/24WSHW6.2423-021.20.83

The New York Mets simply own the Philadelphia Phillies this season, and will shoot for a three-game sweep when the two NL East rivals collide this afternoon from Citizens Bank Park.

The Mets are 10-4 against the Phillies this season and have taken the first two installments of this series, including last night's 3-2 victory. Lucas Duda put the visitors ahead for good with a two-run homer in the top of the third inning and starting pitcher Matt Harvey had an RBI single.

Harvey also allowed both runs in 6 1/3 innings for the win, and four relievers kept the Phillies off the board the rest of the way. Frank Francisco fanned a pair of batters in the ninth inning for his 22nd save.

"He has extraordinary stuff," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Harvey. "He kept the damage down and pitched very well."

New York, which squeezed out a 9-5, 10-inning win on Tuesday, has won four in a row overall and is unbeaten (2-0) so far on a nine-game road trip through Philadelphia, Miami and St. Louis. Last night's win for the Mets marked the first time they have prevailed in at least seven games in Philadelphia since 1972, when they won eight of nine at Veterans Stadium.

The Mets look for another win in the City of Brotherly Love with Jonathon Niese on the mound Thursday. Niese is 2-0 with a 2.55 earned run average in four starts against the Phillies this season and last faced them in an 11-1 victory on July 3, when he fired eight innings of one-run ball.

Happy Recap: Game 130 - Mets at Phillies - Mets show life, Win 3rd in a Row 3-2

Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, Pa.)
N.Y. Mets (61-69) «012000000381
Philadelphia (61-69)110000000260
W: M. Harvey (3-3) L: T. Cloyd (0-1)
S: F. Francisco (22)
HR: NYM - L. Duda (13)   PHI - None

Lucas Duda hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the third inning, and the New York Mets escaped with a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the second edition of a three-game set.

Matt Harvey (3-3) lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and two runs, fanning six with two walks. He also contributed an RBI single for the Mets, winners of four straight games.

"He has extraordinary stuff," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Harvey. "He kept the damage down and pitched very well."

Frank Francisco tossed a scoreless ninth for his 22nd save as New York improved to 7-1 this season in Philadelphia.

Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins drove in the runs for the Phillies, who have lost two in a row after sweeping Washington over the weekend.

Tyler Cloyd (0-1) acquitted himself well in his major-league debut, but lost after being charged for seven hits and three runs over six full frames.

"I thought he did fine, kept the ball down, had good location," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He gave us a chance to win the game. He looked in control and his command was good."

Cloyd, who was recalled from Triple-A after going 12-1 with a 2.35 earned run average in 22 starts there, took the hill in place of Cole Hamels. The veteran lefty was felled by stomach issues.

Down 2-1, the visitors got a one-out single from Ike Davis before Duda deposited a pitch deep into the right-field seats near the foul pole for a 3-2 edge.

Harvey, who tied the game with a second-inning single, didn't run into trouble until the fifth. With two on and one out, he escaped the jam as Chase Utley lined to right and Howard lined out to deep left.

Josh Edgin finished off the seventh, then Robert Carson and Jon Rauch took care of the eighth. Francisco retired the side in order in the final frame.

Pierre's leadoff single in the home first turned into the game's first run after he advanced to third on an Utley hit and scored on Howard's fly to left.

After the Mets tied the game in the second, Rollins knocked in Kevin Frandsen with a two-out double in the home half.

Game Notes

The win marks the first time the Mets have won at least seven games in Philadelphia since 1972, when they won eight of nine at Veterans Stadium ... Prior to the game, the Phils placed pitcher Vance Worley on the 15-day DL and announced that he will undergo surgery for bone chips in his pitching elbow within the next 10 days.

Box Score:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Zack Wheeler Dominates, Gets first AAA Win

Zack Wheeler showed the Mets organization why he is considered a top prospect on Sunday. After going a combined 0-2, with a 4.71 ERA in four starts in Buffalo, Wheeler stepped up on Sunday. He tossed a 7 inning, 3 hit gem against the Rochester Red Wings in the first game of a double header. Add two walks and seven strikeouts into the mix, and Wheeler had himself quite a night. It was clear that Wheeler had command of his fastball. When a guy can hit the upper 90's like he can, it's also nice to have an effective off-speed pitch.

I think Wheeler is finally starting to figure things out in Triple-A, and unless Wheeler is astonishing in spring training next year, he will likely start the season in Triple-A. Going into next year, Wheeler will already have experience pitching for the Bisons, and I expect him to dominate next year. If he does dominate like I think he will, it will only be a matter of time before he is called up to Queens.

Preview: Game 130 - Mets at Phillies - Harvey vs Cloyd

New York Mets (60-69) at Philadelphia Phillies (61-68) 7:05 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
M. Harvey (R) 6 2-3 2.756.02-23.008/22COLND6.0311-119.21.83
T. Cloyd (-) 0 0-0 0.000.00-00.00---ND0.0000-00.00.00

A pair of highly-touted rookies square off on Wednesday when the New York Mets return to Citizens Bank Park for the middle game of a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Mets start first-year righty Matt Harvey, a 23-year-old Connecticut native making the seventh start of his initial big-league stint, while the Phillies turn to right-hander Tyler Cloyd, who will make his big league debut in place of an ailing Cole Hamels.

Harvey, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder, tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-1 defeat of Arizona in his debut on July 26, then dropped three straight starts to San Francisco, San Diego and Atlanta between July 31-Aug. 10.

He scored a second win at Cincinnati on Aug. 18 and got a no-decision in an Aug. 22 meeting with Colorado while combining to allow seven hits and two runs across 13 2/3 innings of work.

Harvey has permitted a .186 opposition batting average in 36 combined innings.

Cloyd, meanwhile, was just named the International League's Pitcher of the Year on Tuesday, going 12-1 with a league-leading 2.35 ERA for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Happy Recap: Game 129 - Mets at Phillies - Mets Beat Phillies 9-5

Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, Pa.)
N.Y. Mets (60-69) «10021001049141
Philadelphia (61-68)4000100000560

W: B. Parnell (4-3) L: B. Rosenberg (0-2)
HR: NYM - M. Baxter (1),K. Shoppach (7)   PHI - R. Howard (9),C. Utley (9)

Ike Davis hit a go-ahead RBI double during a four-run 10th inning and the New York Mets came back to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-5, in the opener of a three-game series.

Davis, who hit a walkoff homer against the Houston Astros on Sunday, drove in David Wright with a double to the left-field gap against B.J. Rosenberg (0-2).

Lucas Duda followed with an RBI single before Kelly Shoppach helped send the Mets to their third consecutive win with a towering homer into the seats in left field.

"They're gonna play it out," Mets manager Terry Collins said of his club's effort. "There's guys playing for jobs, there's guys playing for careers and there's still a lot of fight."

Bobby Parnell (4-3) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory.

Shoppach added a game-tying double in the eighth inning off Antonio Bastardo. The shallow line drive scored Wright, who led off with a walk against Josh Lindblom, and ended a season-best 15 2/3 scoreless innings by the Philadelphia bullpen.

The Phillies, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the National League East-leading Washington Nationals, wasted a first-inning grand slam from Ryan Howard and a homer from Chase Utley.

"(Rosenberg) is new," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He hasn't been out there that much. He's got a good arm but at the same time he needs experience in the big leagues."

Chris Young got the start for the Mets and allowed five runs on four hits with three walks over 4 1/3 innings. He was removed after Utley gave the Phillies a 5-4 lead with his ninth homer of the season.

Vance Worley countered with 4 1/3 innings for the Phillies and gave up four runs on nine hits. The righty hasn't won a game since Aug. 1 and has not reached 100 pitches in any of his last seven starts.

New York opened the game with three straight singles -- by Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy and Wright -- for a 1-0 lead.

Howard's first-inning blast was preceded by a pair of walks and a hit batsman. The former NL MVP then turned on a 1-2 fastball and sent it into the seats in right-center field, marking his 11th career grand slam and first of the season.

In the fourth, Duda led off with a single and two batters later Mike Baxter deposited his first homer of the year into the right-field stands, making it 4-3.

Wright's sacrifice fly in the fifth drove Worley from the game and scored Tejada, who led off with a ground-rule double and moved up on Murphy's base hit.

Game Notes

The Mets improved to 6-1 at Citizens Bank Park this season. They lead the season-series, 9-4 ... Worley threw 60 pitches. He is 0-3 over his last seven home starts.

Box Score:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Preview: Game 129 - Mets at Phillies - Young vs Worley

New York Mets (59-69) at Philadelphia Phillies (61-67) 7:05 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
C. Young (R) 14 3-7 4.335.13-34.228/21COLL7.0520-217.04.76
V. Worley (R) 22 6-9 4.065.22-55.008/22CINL6.0820-216.05.63

Young righty Vance Worley meets the New York Mets for the ninth time in his 53rd big-league appearance tonight when the Philadelphia Phillies host them in game one of a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park.

A 24-year-old from Sacramento, Worley was selected in the third round of the 2008 draft and reached the majors two years later in 2010, going 1-1 in five appearances with a 1.38 earned run average.

He upped his appearances to 25 - 21 starts - with the Phillies in 2011 and won 11 of 14 decisions, and is approaching his career mark for outings with 22 through his most recent start on Aug. 22.

He dropped a 3-2 verdict to Cincinnati in that start, allowing two runs on eight hits in six innings.

Worley hasn't won since Aug. 1 in Washington, when he allowed two unearned runs in seven innings of a 3-2 victory.

He last faced the Mets on July 3 in New York and was ripped for six runs on 10 hits in just four innings of an 11-1 defeat.

In 12 starts at home this year, he's 2-5 with a 5.00 ERA.

New York sends journeyman Chris Young to the mound for his 15th start of 2012, the most starts he's made since 2009.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mets Short Notes: Hairston Claimed, Murphy's Shoulder

Mets Short Notes:

Scott Hairston has been claimed via the waiver process, Jon Heyman reports.

ESPNNewYork.com reported Sunday that Hairston and Andres Torres had been placed on waivers. Hairston being claimed was expected. 

The claim does not necessarily mean Hairston will be traded. It means the Mets can only trade Hairston to that undisclosed team.

In fact, Ken Rosenthal reported an unidentified team did put in a claim for Hairston with no intention to trade for him -- just to block a team with a better record from having the right to trade for him.

An MRI of Daniel Murphy's right shoulder revealed no issue and the second baseman has been cleared to continue playing, the team announced.

The team is calling the injury rotator cuff tightness.

Murphy injured himself on an eighth-inning swing and left Sunday's game. While Murphy downplayed the issue as a spasm and tightness, Terry Collins said Murphy felt a pop and the team initially labeled it a strain in the back of the shoulder.

Initially concerned about a potential DL trip for Murphy, the Mets delayed Jordany Valdespin departing New York for Triple-A Buffalo.

Mets Minor League Pitching Leaders

Mets Minor League Pitching Leaders


Mets Minor League Batting Leaders

Mets Minor League Batting Leaders

2Den DekkerBUF141

4Den DekkerBUF17
2Den DekkerBUF75

Mets News and Notes: Collins, Expected payroll, Signing Dickey/Wright, Gee, Slumping Murphy, Valdespin, Wheeler, Second-half Swoon

Mets News and Notes:

A source tells Mike Puma in the Post there is "no chance" Terry Collins will be fired after the season.

Sandy Alderson said he expected the 2013 payroll to be in the vicinity of $100 million -- comparable to this season -- although he again maintained during a Q&A with season-ticket holders Sunday that he has yet to get a firm figure from ownership.

"I have not talked to Fred [Wilpon] or anyone else about where that payroll is going to be, but I’m hopeful we’ll be in the same range if not somewhat higher," Alderson said. "But I can’t confirm that at this point. What I look at is what our needs are and how we fill those needs. And there’s no question that being able to add to the payroll is an important part of being able to address those. So is the willingness to make trades, trade prospects, bring players in from outside -- so lots of things to take into account.

"I wish I could tell you exactly where we’re going to be. You can probably sense where my sentiments would be. It’s something we have to address, various scenarios. We’ll see exactly where we land. It’s an important point, an important question, and I wish I could give you a better answer at this point. But I expect to be able to give you a better answer in the next few weeks -- well, before I have to spend it, anyway." 

The GM expressed his intent to re-sign David Wright and R.A. Dickey, although that also was his official position with regards to Jose Reyes. Wright and Dickey are under control for next season through team options. Wright has indicated he is uninterested in negotiating during the 2013 season -- with Dickey less resolute on that subject. Essentially, the Mets have this offseason to try to negotiate an extension with Wright or he may be testing free agency.

“I fully expect that David Wright and R.A. Dickey will be here not only next year, but long term," Alderson said. "As you all know, we have options on both those players, and it’s not our intention to simply rely on those options and go into next season and deal with their free agency after 2013. We’re going to deal with it up front while we still have a little bit of room to maneuver. But we’re committed to trying to bring those two back. I hope they’ll both be back, and I’m excited about the possibilities they will be."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Recap: Game 128 - Astros at Mets - Ike's pair of homers beats Astros 2-1

Citi Field (Flushing, NY)
Houston (40-88)000000001160
N.Y. Mets (59-69) «000100001240
W: B. Parnell (3-3) L: W. Lopez (5-2)
HR: HOU - None   NYM - I. Davis (23),I. Davis (24)

Ike Davis hit a pair of homers, including the game-winning blast in the ninth, and the New York Mets edged the Houston Astros, 2-1, in the finale of a three-game set at Citi Field.

The Mets led 1-0 entering the ninth, but Houston was able to tie it up when Marwin Gonzalez doubled to left field to score Jose Altuve. Altuve hit a pinch-hit single then stole second before Gonzalez sent one down the left field line. Lucas Duda made a sliding attempt but couldn't hold on, allowing Altuve to score easily.

Ben Francisco followed with a single to left but Gonzalez was cut down at the plate after Duda delivered a strike and Kelly Shoppach blocked the plate.

Bobby Parnell (3-3) picked up the win after recording the final two outs in the ninth.

Box Score:

Mets News and Notes: Dickey, Turner, Duda, Hairston and Torres on Waivers

Duda is back
Mets News and Notes:

With more than a month left in the season, Dickey needs four more wins to become the team's first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990. Dickey limited Houston to one run on five hits and one walk in seven innings. The knuckleballer is scheduled to go for win No. 17 Friday in Miami.

Justin Turner snapped a 263 at-bat homerless stretch with a home run in Saturday's win. His last home run had come on Aug. 6, 2011, when he hit two against Atlanta. The utility player is now hitting .281 in just 139 at-bats on the season after registering 435 at-bats last season for the Mets.

Outfielder Lucas Duda will rejoin the Mets Sunday after spending more than a month with Triple-A Buffalo. Manager Terry Collins said he expects Duda to play left field and some first base for the remainder of the season. Duda is hitting .241 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs this season in the majors.

 The Mets have placed Scott Hairston and Andres Torres on waivers, a major league source told ESPNNewYork.com.

Today's Mets Starting Lineup vs Astros - Game 128

Today's Mets Starting Lineup vs Astros - Game 128:
  1. Andres Torres, cf
  2. Daniel Murphy, 2b
  3. David Wright, 3b
  4. Ike Davis, 1b
  5. Lucas Duda, lf
  6. Ruben Tejada, ss
  7. Mike Baxter, rf
  8. Kelly Shoppach, c
  9. Jeremy Hefner, rhp

Preview: Game 128 - Astros at Mets - Harrell vs Hefner

Houston Astros (40-87) at New York Mets (58-69) 1:10 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
L. Harrell (R) 25 10-9 4.045.24-75.408/21@STLL5.0861-218.04.50
J. Hefner (R) 7 2-5 5.115.11-25.978/19@WSHL5.0850-110.25.91

Rookie right-hander Jeremy Hefner makes his first career appearance against the Houston Astros today when the New York Mets host them in the finale of a three-game weekend series at Citi Field.

It's the last time the Astros and Mets will meet as National League opponents with Houston's impending move to the American League next season.

They've faced each other 566 times in the regular season since 1962, with the Astros holding a 308-257 lead. The teams also met in the 1986 National League Championship Series - a six-game classic won by the Mets en route to the World Series title against Boston.

Hefner, who was seven months old when that NLCS took place, makes the eighth start of a big-league career that began with three innings of scoreless three- hit ball against the San Francisco Giants on April 23.

He's mixed seven starts in with 12 relief appearances along the way while allowing 76 hits and 37 runs in 61 2/3 innings with 10 walks and 36 strikeouts.

In his last outing, at Washington on Aug. 19, he was touched for five runs on eight hits in five innings of a 5-2 loss. His last win came Aug. 4 in San Diego, when he gave up a single run on five hits in six innings.

Happy Recap: Game 127 - Astros at Mets - Mets WIN, Dickey Gets 16th WIN

Citi Field (Flushing, NY)
Houston (40-87)000000100150
N.Y. Mets (58-69) «00010101x380
W: R. Dickey (16-4) L: F. Abad (0-1)
S: F. Francisco (21)
HR: HOU - None   NYM - J. Turner (1)

R.A. Dickey tossed seven innings of one-run ball and added an RBI single to lead the New York Mets past the Houston Astros, 3-1, in the middle test of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Dickey (16-4) scattered five hits and a walk after retiring the first 10 batters he faced. Frank Francisco worked a perfect ninth to record his 21st save of the season.

Justin Turner homered for New York, which scored more than two runs for the first time in eight games to snap a season-high tying six-game losing streak.

Fernando Abad (0-1) allowed one run on four hits and four walks over four innings in his first major league start for the Astros, who have dropped eight of their last nine.

"My whole family was here," Abad said. "I wanted to throw five innings and get a win, but that's part of the game."

After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning and stranding a runner on second in the third, the Mets were able to break through in the fourth when Ronny Cedeno hit a leadoff single, moved to second on Jason Bay's walk, advanced to third on a double-play grounder to short by Josh Thole and came home on Dickey's infield single.

On the play, Abad and catcher Jason Castro ran into each other while trying to field the dribbler to the right side of the infield, allowing Dickey to reach first and Cedeno to cross the plate.

The Astros threatened in the fifth inning by loading the bases with one out on three straight singles by Castro, Brandon Barnes and Brian Bogusevic, but pinch-hitter Steve Pearce followed by grounding into an inning-ending double play to keep it a 1-0 game.

New York then added to its lead in the sixth inning with Turner's leadoff blast over the left-field wall.

"I've been struggling with balls on the inner half all season long, so it felt nice to finally get the barrel out and square one up," Turner said about his home run.

Houston was able to get on the board in the seventh inning when Scott Moore was hit by a pitch to start the frame, advanced to third on a Tyler Greene single and raced home on a wild pitch.

Greene moved to second on the play, but following Barnes' one-out walk, Bogusevic put an end to the rally by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.

Scott Hairston singled and later scored on Bay's base hit to right field in the eighth to give the Mets a 3-1 advantage.

Game Notes

Abad had made 81 relief appearances in his career prior to Saturday's start ... Turner's home run was his first of the season and his first since he hit two against the Braves on Aug. 6, 2011 ... Dickey improved to 8-1 in 14 starts at Citi Field this season ... Houston leads the season series, 4-1 ... The last time the Mets were held to two or fewer runs in seven straight games was from Sept. 17-21, 1982.

Box Score:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mets News and Notes: Mets Mess, McHugh, Murphy, Wright

David Wright hits his 200th HR
Mets News and Notes:

The METS MESS (57-69) dropped to 12 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 2009 season at 70-92. They were hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position Friday, and are hitting .113 (8-for-71) in those situations over the past 10 days. Jonathon Niese suffered the latest tough loss for a Mets starting pitcher, despite limiting Houston to three run in seven innings. Niese has a 1.61 ERA over his past three starts.

With Miami's loss at Dodger Stadium, the Mets did remain a half-game out of the NL East basement. But the Mets have now lost six straight, matching their season high, and Terry Collins said he is at a loss for a solution.

The Mets are winless through five games of their homestand despite facing a pair of last-place teams -- the Colorado Rockies and Astros.

Collin McHugh became the roster casualty for the return of Jeremy Hefner from paternity leave. McHugh should make one start for Triple-A Buffalo while spending the required 10 days in the minors. He then is due to reenter the major league rotation. Collins reasoned that demoting McHugh made sense, despite the right-hander tossing seven scoreless innings in his major league debut, because the Mets did not need six starting pitchers with a team off-day Monday. Hefner is due to start Sunday.

Today's Mets Starting Lineup vs Astros - Game 127

Today's Mets Starting Lineup vs Astros - Game 127:

  1. Andres Torres, cf
  2. Ruben Tejada, ss
  3. David Wright, 3b
  4. Scott Hairston, rf
  5. Justin Turner, 1b
  6. Ronny CedeƱo, 2b
  7. Jason Bay, lf
  8. Josh Thole, c
  9. R.A. Dickey, rhp

Preview: Game 127 - Astros at Mets - Dickey goes for #16 against 'Stros

Houston Astros (40-86) at New York Mets (57-69) 1:10 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
F. Abad (L) 0 0-0 3.860.00-04.97---ND0.0000-02.10.00
R. Dickey (R) 25 15-4 2.826.07-12.558/20COLND7.0311-122.02.86

Dominican lefty Fernando Abad makes the first start of his major-league career Saturday when the Houston Astros face the New York Mets in game two of a three-game weekend series at Citi Field.

The 26-year-old has appeared in 81 games - all in relief - for the Astros since he was signed as an amateur free agent in 2002.

He debuted in the big leagues in 2010 and was 0-1 in 22 games with a 2.84 earned run average, then pitched 29 times the following season and carried a 7.32 ERA through 19 2/3 innings.

He's pitched 30 times this season with a 3.86 ERA while mixing in time at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he's started three times in 13 appearances while striking out 28 batters in 27 2/3 innings.

In seven career meetings with the Mets, he's recorded a hold while tossing 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out four.

The Mets start knuckleballing ace R.A. Dickey, who aims to end a two-start skid.

The 37-year-old Tennessee native tossed a complete game for a 6-1 win at Miami on Aug. 9 and has since gone 0-1 in two starts while allowing 13 hits and six runs in 13 innings.

Dickey has been stellar at home during a breakout 15-win season, going 7-1 in 13 games at Citi Field with a 2.55 ERA in 88 1/3 innings.

Recap: Game 126 - Astros at Mets - Mets Lose, Wright Hits 200th HR

Citi Field (Flushing, NY)
Houston (40-86) «020000100360
N.Y. Mets (57-69)000100000140
W: J. Lyles (3-10) L: J. Niese (10-7)
S: W. Lopez (2)
HR: HOU - T. Greene (7)   NYM - D. Wright (17)

Jordan Lyles tossed six effective innings and added an RBI double as the Houston Astros downed the New York Mets, 3-1, in the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Lyles (3-10) allowed one run on three hits and two walks to earn his first win since June 26, snapping a streak of six straight losing decisions. Wilton Lopez recorded the final four outs of the game to record his second save of the season.

Tyler Greene homered and Brandon Barnes also knocked in a run for Houston, which halted a seven-game slide.

The win was the first for Astros interim manager Tony DeFranceso, who took over on Aug. 19 after Brad Mills was fired.

"I'm going to remember every one of those guys," DeFranceso said. "It's been good for our coaching staff. I know it's been tough on them, but we're sticking together on this."

Jon Niese (10-7) surrendered all three runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings as the Mets dropped their sixth consecutive game.

David Wright hit his 200th career home run to supply the offense for New York.

The Astros struck first in the second inning as Chris Snyder worked a two-out walk and rounded the bases on Barnes' double into the left-center field gap.

Lyles followed with a double to left field to plate Barnes for a 2-0 advantage.

New York had a chance to answer in the bottom of the second when Ike Davis walked to leadoff the frame and moved to third on Justin Turner's base hit, but Davis was thrown out at the plate while trying to score on a Jordany Valdespin grounder to first before Andres Torres hit into an inning-ending double play.

The Mets were able to cut into their deficit in the fourth inning with Wright's solo shot that just cleared the right-field wall and hit the base of the foul pole.

The play was reviewed, but the replay showed the ball stayed fair and the home run was upheld, giving Wright his 200th career homer.

"I'm proud that I've been able to be as consistent as I like to think I have been. I never would have thought that I would have been able to hit 200 home runs in the big leagues, so I am very proud of that," Wright said about his milestone home run.

New York would later strand a runner on second, and Houston regained its two- run cushion in the seventh inning with Greene's leadoff blast into the left- center field bleachers.

The Mets would not advance a runner past first base for the remainder of the game.

Game Notes

Niese fell to 1-3 in five career starts against the Astros ... Lyles improved to 1-6 in 10 road starts this season ... New York hit 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base.

Box Score:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Video: Checkout Knuckleball The Movie - 9/18/12

This is a movie by MLB Productions that stars Mets Pitcher R.A. Dickey

Collin McHugh Solid In MLB Debut

Mets' starting pitcher Collin McHugh made his MLB debut yesterday against the Colorado Rockies. He was very impressive, striking out nine batters over seven scoreless innings only allowing two hits and one walk.

The Mets' bats have been very sluggish since the All-Star Break, and it showed yesterday. McHugh got absolutely no run support at all. The Mets lost the game 1-0, Bobby Parnell took the loss while McHugh got a no decision. Even though the second half of the season has gone poorly for the Mets, there have been a couple of bright spots.

Matt Harvey has proved to be dominant at times, and is a lock for next years starting rotation. Now Collin McHugh is another arm to add into the mix of young pitchers for the Mets.

McHugh is only the third pitcher since 1900 to post those kinds of numbers in his big league debut. Nobody expected Collin McHugh to pitch this well in his first career start, but he came out firing. After allowing a leadoff double to Charlie Blackmon in the top of the first, McHugh worked his way out of a first inning jam.

After the first inning he only allowed a hit and a walk until he came out of the game after the 7th. Overall, I was very impressed with McHugh and if he continues to pitch the way he did yesterday, he will have a lot of success.

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Preview: Game 126 - Astros at Mets - Niese tries to end Mets skid

Houston Astros (39-86) at New York Mets (57-68) 7:10 PM ET
SeasonRd/HmLast StartLast 3 App
J. Lyles (R) 18 2-10 5.705.20-67.588/18ARIL4.0850-218.04.50
J. Niese (L) 24 10-6 3.495.25-33.868/18@WSHW7.1502-121.12.11

Lefty Jonathon Niese gets a chance to end a prolonged skid for the New York Mets on Friday when they open a three-game series with the Houston Astros at Citi Field.

The Mets have dropped five in a row since Niese's last start on Aug. 18, when he tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory in Washington.

Niese, 25, has won three of his last four outings to reach 10 wins on the season, toppling San Francisco, Atlanta and the Nationals - around a loss to Miami - while allowing a combined six runs in 28 1/3 innings.

The double-digit output is his second in three full-time seasons with the Mets, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2005 and started him three times as a youngster in 2008.

He won once that season and once more in 2009 before getting nine victories in 30 starts in 2010 and 11 times in 27 outings last season.

Niese is 1-2 in four career starts against the Astros.

He'll be opposed by 21-year-old Jordan Lyles, who's 0-6 in nine starts since his last victory.

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