Series preview: Mets at Dodgers

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
2:37
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Getty ImagesThe Mets face Dan Haren, Zack Greinke and Kevin Correia this weekend at Dodger Stadium.
METS (60-68, fourth place/NL East) vs. LOS ANGELES DODGERS (71-57*, first place/NL West)

Friday: LHP Jonathon Niese (7-8, 3.50) vs. RHP Dan Haren (10-10, 4.59), 10:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.87) vs. RHP Zack Greinke (12-8, 2.75), 9:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (11-10, 3.85) vs. RHP Kevin Correia (2-0, 4.09), 4:10 p.m. ET

* L.A. plays Thursday vs. Padres

Dodgers short hops

Zack Greinke, originally scheduled to start Thursday against the San Diego Padres, instead faces the Mets on Saturday with two extra days of rest. Greinke’s elbow has been cranky. He does not expect to be 100 percent for the remainder of the season. If Greinke gets through the season without the issue worsening and Hyun-Jin Ryu (right hip strain) returns from the DL without ill effects, L.A. is well-positioned for the postseason with a rotation that also includes Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw originally was due to face the Mets on Friday, but moved up a day in place of Greinke.

• Left fielder Carl Crawford is hitting .485 (16-for-33) with one homer and six RBIs in 10 games (eight starts) since Aug. 10. Crawford’s surge has buried Andre Ethier on the bench. Ethier has started four games since July 22.


Richard MacksonYasiel Puig moved to center field in late July.


Yasiel Puig shifted from right field to center field in late July. Matt Kemp began the season in center field, but the Dodgers were underwhelmed by his defense. Ethier and Scott Van Slyke subsequently lacked range there.

• Ex-Met Justin Turner (.309, 3 HR, 27 RBIs) has started four straight games at third base with Juan Uribe sidelined after reinjuring his right hamstring. Turner is hitting .341 (15-for-44) with four RBIs in 16 games (11 starts) in August. For the season, Turner has a 2.7 WAR. Only Puig’s 4.1 WAR is better among Dodgers position players.

• Free-agent-to-be Hanley Ramirez landed on the disabled list Aug. 9 with a right oblique strain. Miguel Rojas originally filled in for Ramirez at shortstop, but is 2-for-his-last-17. Cuban-born rookie Erisbel Arruebarrena, who is projected to succeed Ramirez next season, has started the past two games at shortstop.

Arruebarrena recently served a five-game suspension while with Triple-A Albuquerque for inciting a massive bench-clearing brawl against Reno, the top affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had a slow trot around the bases after a homer, then jawed with Reno’s catcher the following day.

Arruebarrena signed with the Dodgers in February for five years, $25 million.

• Leadoff hitter/second baseman Dee Gordon is hitless in his last 12 at-bats. He nonetheless has an NL-leading 57 steals, 11 ahead of runner-up Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds. The steal total ranks seventh for a single season in Dodgers history, trailing Maury Wills (104 in 1962 and 94 in 1965), Davey Lopes (77 in 1975, 63 in 1976 and 59 in 1974) and Juan Pierre (64 in 2007).

• First baseman Adrian Gonzalez's 83 RBIs rank second in the NL, trailing only Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton (89).

• The Dodgers lead the San Francisco Giants (66-58) by three games for the NL West lead.

Morning Briefing: L.A. luck; Sandy speaks

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
5:30
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NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets take a day off in California on Thursday, then get to work against the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend.

The Amazin’s get a reprieve of sorts, too.

Clayton Kershaw, originally due to start Friday’s series opener against the Mets, instead faces the San Diego Padres on normal rest on Thursday. So the Mets draw Dan Haren in the series opener, followed now by Zack Greinke on Saturday and Kevin Correia on Sunday.


Beck Diefenbach/Associated PressThe Mets get a reprieve in L.A. with Clayton Kershaw moved out of the series.


The L.A. shakeup allows Greinke two extra days of rest for a cranky right elbow that will not be 100 percent the remainder of the season.

Meanwhile, the Mets will activate a pair of starting pitchers for the series.

After Jonathon Niese starts the series opener, Jacob deGrom is due to be activated from the disabled list to pitch Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Bartolo Colon will be activated from bereavement leave for Sunday’s series finale. Colon then plans to return to the Dominican Republic for the funeral of his mother, who died Monday at age 63 after battling breast cancer.

The Mets ultimately will need to make as many as three roster moves -- for deGrom, Colon and, presumably, for Daisuke Matsuzaka early next homestand.

Matsuzaka, currently on the DL with right elbow inflammation, is due to make his third minor-league rehab start Thursday. He pitches for the Brooklyn Cyclones at 7 p.m. against the Staten Island Yankees at Coney Island.

The Mets have a number of potential maneuvers to clear as many as three spots. Gonzalez Germen, promoted when Colon went on bereavement leave, could return to Las Vegas. So could Rafael Montero, who otherwise would be working out of the bullpen with deGrom reentering the rotation. Perhaps the Mets also could find a DL candidate among some banged-up players.

Jenrry Mejia, who has a hernia and cranky calf, was unavailable Wednesday in Oakland because of tightness in his lower back on the right side, which is a recurring issue. Dana Eveland required a cortisone shot in his left elbow. And Kirk Nieuwenhuis was scratched from Wednesday’s lineup with neck discomfort.

Thursday’s news reports:

• Sandy Alderson joined Seth Everett on WOR, reminiscing about his days in Oakland and also commenting about the state of the Mets. (Listen here.)

On the team’s offensive funk (Wednesday notwithstanding), the GM said: “It’s been pretty much across the board, starting with the top of our lineup all the way through. When you only get three or four hits a night, there’s a collective issue. We’ve got some young players in the lineup who we’ve got to give some time, but I think it’s been a collective thing. I do believe that offensively we will get better. The question is how much better.”

Addressing David Wright's subpar production, Alderson added: “First of all, no player is ever going to be at the top of his game consistently throughout a season, or over ‘X’ number of seasons. And part of dealing with the adversity is how it’s handled. David handles it very well. We certainly recognize this is a collective thing.”

On the evaluation process for Matt den Dekker and Wilmer Flores, Alderson said: “The one thing that we have to do is be patient and not reach those judgments prematurely.”

And on how Terry Collins will be judged, Alderson said: “It’s more than wins and losses. It’s how the team approaches each game and how it conducts itself over the course of an entire season. All those things are important.”

Eric Campbell and Lucas Duda homered in a five-run second inning against Jeff Samardzija and the Mets survived a pair of errors by Daniel Murphy en route to an 8-5 win against Oakland on Wednesday.

Zack Wheeler (9-8) allowed four runs (two earned). He was pulled after 5 2/3 innings and 103 pitches as the Mets kept him on a tight pitch limit after he threw 120 his previous outing. Wheeler improved to 6-0 with a 2.12 ERA in his past 10 starts and climbed above .500 for the first time this season.

With Mejia unavailable, Jeurys Familia produced a five-out save. Familia inherited the bases loaded in the eighth from Vic Black and walked in a run, but otherwise kept the A’s in check.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Journal and at MLB.com.

• Read more on Colon’s temporary return for Sunday’s start in the Daily News and Newsday.

• Read more on Eveland’s “tennis elbow” and cortisone injection in the Star-Ledger.

• Matt Bowman allowed one run in seven innings but suffered a hard-luck loss as New Orleans beat Las Vegas, 4-0. Behind three RBIs from Dustin Lawley, Binghamton trimmed its magic number to clinch an Eastern League playoff berth to one with an 8-5 win at Erie. Read the full minor-league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Felix Millan turns 71 today. ... John Stearns is 63.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: How should the Mets clear spots for deGrom, Colon and Matsuzaka?

Minors 8.20.14: B-Mets' magic number to 1

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
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NEW ORLEANS 4, LAS VEGAS 0: Matt Bowman allowed one run on four hits and a walk while striking out nine in seven innings but departed trailing 1-0. The lone run he surrendered came on a two-out RBI single in the first inning by Mark Canha. Ryan Reid surrendered three ninth-inning runs. Josh Satin grounded into a fourth-inning triple play. Box

BINGHAMTON 8, ERIE 5: Dustin Lawley drove in three runs as the B-Mets trimmed their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to one. Dilson Herrera had a solo homer in the first

lastname
Lawley
against Josh Turley for his ninth homer as a B-Met. It was his 12th long ball overall this season, setting a career high. Erie's Steven Moya responded in the second by lining his league-leading 33rd homer to even the score against Gabriel Ynoa. Binghamton broke the 1-all tie with a two-out rally in the fourth. Darrell Ceciliani and T.J. Rivera singled. Lawley, 1-for-his-last 21, followed with a two-run triple. Ynoa cruised following Moya’s homer until and getting into a sixth-inning jam. With two outs, Devon Travis singled and Dean Green walked, bringing Moya to the plate. However, Ynoa struck out Erie’s slugger to end the threat and preserve Binghamton’s 3-1 lead. The B-Mets extended their lead against the SeaWolves bullpen in the seventh. Kyle Johnson tripled and scored on Jayce Boyd's single. Ceciliani capped the inning with an RBI single. Binghamton took an 8-1 lead in the eighth after opening the frame with three consecutive doubles. Lawley and Juan Centeno drove in runs with doubles. A throwing error by Francisco Martinez brought home Binghamton’s third run of the frame. Green had a two-run triple in the eighth against Randy Fontanez and Aaron Westlake had a two-run homer against Cody Satterwhite in the ninth. Ynoa (3-1) allowed one run on five hits while striking out four in seven innings. Box

ST. LUCIE 6, CHARLOTTE 2: The Mets scored five runs in the seventh inning to erased a 2-1 deficit. Gilbert Gomez scored from third to tie the score on catcher Luke Bailey’s passed ball. Maikis De La Cruz then laced a double against Zach Cooper to score Jeff McNeil and Gavin Cecchini to put the Mets up 4-2. L.J. Mazzilli tripled to plate De La Cruz. Phillip Evans collected his third single of the game to bring in Mazzilli and complete the scoring. Mets starter Matt Koch tossed a season-high seven innings. He allowed six hits and two runs. Koch did not walk a batter and tied his season high with six strikeouts. The only runs the Crabs scored came on Tyler Goeddel’s two-run homer in the second. After Goeddel singled in the fourth, Koch retired 12 of the next 13 batters, including the last seven in a row to complete his night. Paul Sewald recorded the final six outs in a non-save situation. Sewald struck out four of the final five batters. Mazzilli went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to seven games. He is now 14-for-29 in his last seven games. Evans went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Box

ROME 6, SAVANNAH 3: Starter Octavio Acosta allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. Matt Oberste went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in the loss. Box

GREENEVILLE 7, KINGSPORT 4: Andrew Church allowed six runs (four earned) in 4 2/3 innings. Zach Mathieu went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs for the K-Mets. Box

STATEN ISLAND 14, BROOKLYN 4: Scarlyn Reyes surrendered six runs (three earned) in 3 1/3 innings. Adrian Abreu went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Brooklyn committed six errors, leading to 11 unearned runs. The staff also walked nine batters. Box

GCL METS 4, GCL CARDINALS 0: Dash Winningham had an RBI single and Hengelbert Rojas followed with a run-scoring double as the Mets broke a scoreless tie in the eighth. Raphael Ramirez added a two-run triple in the ninth. Tyler Badamo and Adonis Uceta combined on a five-hit shutout. Box

Compiled with team reports

Mets hope to bring offense to L.A.

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
8:31
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The hope now is that there will be some offensive carryover into the weekend.

The New York Mets went off for 10 hits in their 8-5 win against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, and looking forward, the thought process was the same for everyone in the clubhouse from the manager to the players.

[+] EnlargeLucas Duda
Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsLucas Duda's three-run home run helped the Mets beat the Athletics in Oakland.
“It felt good and hopefully we can keep it going,” said Lucas Duda, whose three-run home run in the third inning was the game’s big shot. “It’s something to build on and something to go into L.A. feeling good about.”

With a night game on Tuesday and an early afternoon start on the West Coast on Wednesday, the Mets did little pregame work. Some players hit in the cage while others took it easy. That laid-back approach might have taken minds off the recent offensive and win-column struggles.

“It might have helped that we took it easy before the game,” Collins said.

The Mets seemed most pleased with their ability to string hits together, especially with two outs. Four of the runs were knocked in with two outs, three of them on Duda’s home run in a five-run third.

“Hopefully this is the start of something for the final six weeks,” Collins said. “We’ll find out Friday.”

Colon starts Sunday: Bartolo Colon will take his scheduled turn in the rotation Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mets announced after Wednesday’s game.

Colon is on the bereavement list following the death of his mother. The right-hander went to the Dominican Republic to be with his family and will return to the island for her funeral after his start in Los Angeles.

Mejia bothered by back: Collins did not know one of his relievers, right-hander Jenrry Mejia, was unavailable until right around first pitch Wednesday. Bullpen coach Ricky Bones informed him that Mejia wasn’t available and Collins initially thought he had a sore arm. He came to find out it was tight back that was bothering Mejia.

Mejia said the back started to bother him Tuesday, a day after he made his fourth appearance in five days. With the day off Thursday, Mejia said he feels like that will be enough rest to be ready for the weekend series against the Dodgers.

Missing the ace: The Mets got a bit of good news heading into their next series. The Dodgers announced they are pushing up Clayton Kershaw, who was supposed to pitch Friday, into Thursday’s start, causing him to miss the Mets altogether.

Instead the Dodgers will throw Dan Haren on Friday, followed by Zack Greinke and his balky elbow on Saturday.

Mets End Losing Skid

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
7:26
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video

The Mets topped the A's 8-5 to snap their three-game losing streak.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 8, A's 5

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
7:05
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- When it finally came, you figured the outpour would be huge.

Relatively speaking -- relative to the New York Mets, of course -- it was epic.

The offense exploded for 10 hits, two of them home runs, in an 8-5 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday at O.Co. Coliseum. It was the Mets’ third victory in their past nine games and the first time they had scored at least eight runs in a game since July 30.

This next series will tell if this is just a blip on the radar or if the offense is starting to progress from historically bad to just bad, or even decent. They are expected to face Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Friday, but even he has been susceptible to the scuffles lately. And by scuffles we are talking about giving up three runs over nine innings. And by lately we mean just in his most recent start.

Zack Wheeler went 5 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs and two unearned runs against Oakland. He missed his 10th consecutive quality start by one out.

Since falling to 2-7 on June 14, Wheeler has won seven of his past eight decisions and six in a row to get over the .500 mark (9-8). Those six straight wins tie Bartolo Colon for the team high in consecutive victories this season.

Bring him on: Apparently it doesn’t matter if Jeff Samardzija is an up-and-comer or an All-Star; the Mets are willing and able to tag him for runs.

Samardzija was rocked for seven runs, all earned, over 3 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits, two of them home runs.

Over Samardzija’s career, first with the Chicago Cubs and now with Oakland, he has appeared against the Mets nine times. In those 21 2/3 innings he has allowed 20 hits, 10 walks and four home runs. The Mets have gotten him for 23 earned runs, an ERA of 9.56, Samardzija’s highest career mark against any team he has thrown at least 10 innings against.

Hey, Duda: Lucas Duda continues to be a bright spot for the offense, hitting his 23rd home run on Wednesday to tie him with Marlon Byrd for fourth most in the National League. It was Duda’s ninth homer since the All-Star break, the second most in the league behind Giancarlo Stanton's 11.

Duda’s three RBIs in the game gave him 69 for the season, extending his career high and tying him for eighth in the league.

Back on track: After getting a day off Tuesday because of a cold streak that saw him go 3-for-his-previous-24, Daniel Murphy came back to the lineup refreshed. He went 2-for-4 for his 45th multihit game, good for second in the league. His 154 hits are the most in the NL and third most in the majors.

Murphy is also second in the NL with a .327 average on the road.

What’s next: After an off-day Thursday, the Mets go south to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers and their major league best pitching staff. Kershaw is slated to go in the opener for the Dodgers against Jonathon Niese, but the Mets might not see him if the Dodgers go through with some rotation shuffling.

'Beat-up' Lagares gets day off

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
3:17
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- It is the second half of August, which means just about every guy in every clubhouse in professional baseball is “beat up” -- including Mets center fielder Juan Lagares.

"Beat up" is how manager Terry Collins classified Lagares on Wednesday morning before announcing he was giving him the day off, but that didn’t keep Lagares’ play from being a focal point of conversation before the game against the Oakland A's.

Part of the reason Lagares is getting a breather? He is 3-for-28 (.107) in his past nine games, but Collins is seeing slight improvements, such as a 10-pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk in the third inning Tuesday night. Lagares, who batted leadoff, worked the count into his favor at 3-1 before fouling off five consecutive pitches and then coaxing the pass to first base.

Lagares fouled off a total of nine pitches in his four plate appearances, not counting a foul-tip strikeout. He also saw 26 total pitches, the highest number for any player on either team Tuesday.

“He had that one absolutely great at-bat,” Collins said. “That was a tremendous at-bat. That’s what you want to see, that kind of stuff. You want to fight off balls you can’t hit and make [the pitcher] work. Everybody saw it and knows what’s going on.”

Lagares has 772 major league plate appearances, so a touch over what would constitute a full season. He has 137 of those from the leadoff spot, where he has been relatively productive with a .319 on-base percentage. Collins has recognized that trend and said before Tuesday’s game that he could eventually see Lagares as an everyday leadoff man with Curtis Granderson dropping to the second spot. The idea being that if Lagares can up his OBP, it would give the left-handed-hitting Granderson a hole to pull the ball through on the right side.

Of course this is all dependent on whether Lagares can develop into the kind of hitter who consistently puts pressure on a pitcher and defense with his ability to handle the bat. Because of how inept the Mets’ offense has been, these final six weeks of the regular season could be his job interview for that spot in the order.

“He’s going to get it. He’s going to be a good player,” Collins said. “We ask a lot of Juan Lagares for a guy who basically has one full year in the big leagues, but it’s because other guys aren't getting it done. So then you have to look at someone else.”

Applying the brakes: The Mets are the league’s worst-scoring team in August, have the fewest hits, the lowest OBP, slugging percentage and OPS for the month, and have stolen just six bases during the dog days.

While the offense looks for signs of life, Collins said being aggressive on the bases for the sake of being aggressive is not the answer and is more likely to kill rallies than spark them. This is because the Mets lack an instinctive base stealer.

“My experience being around all those baserunners: Guys who want to run, they’ll run. They’re looking to run,” Collins said. “When you put the steal on and guys are iffy, they always come up with reasons why they didn't get a good jump. That’s a bad feeling.”

The team doesn't have seasoned base stealers, meaning guys who might have the necessary instincts don't have the polish to be prolific just yet. And just because a guy is fast doesn't mean he can rack up big steal numbers. Even Granderson has never stolen more than 26 bases in a season.

“I’m a huge believer in baserunning, but sometimes the guys getting on aren't the guys you can run,” Collins said.

“A lot of it [is instinctive]. Jeff Bagwell was the best I’ve ever been around. He stole 31 bases one year. I’ve seen this guy get three steps and the pitcher is still holding the ball. He would just get great jumps.”

Lagares is a guy who could maybe become a steal threat, but he still doesn’t know how to read pitchers well enough, according to Collins, comparing his lack of experience to the Los Angeles Dodgers' concerns with Yasiel Puig on the bases.

Colon bereavement update: The Mets know when Bartolo Colon will return to the rotation, but Collins was not ready to share that information publicly before Wednesday’s game. Colon’s next turn would come Sunday against the Dodgers.

Injury news: Left-hander Dana Eveland is unavailable against Oakland because of tendinitis in his elbow, or what he referred to as “tennis elbow.” Eveland said he’s always had soreness there for much of his career, and he’s pitched through it this season, but it finally became too much to deal with, and the medical staff gave him a cortisone shot.

Eveland will play catch Thursday and plans to throw a bullpen before Friday’s game to determine his availability.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was scheduled to start in right field, but the stiff neck that shut him down Tuesday was still too painful to keep him in the lineup Wednesday. Matt den Dekker replaced Lagares in center, while Eric Campbell was inserted at DH, and Granderson shifted from DH to right field in place of Nieuwenhuis.

Wednesday's Mets-A's lineups

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
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Here are the lineups as the Mets conclude a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics at 3:35 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis (neck) is in the lineup, while Juan Lagares rests. Nieuwenhuis, placed in the lineup, was scratched with a continued neck issue.

Mets
Curtis Granderson, dh rf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Matt den Dekker, cf
Eric Campbell, dh
Wilmer Flores, ss
Nieuwenhuis, rf Eric Young Jr., lf

Zack Wheeler, rhp

Athletics
Coco Crisp, dh
John Jaso, c
Stephen Vogt, 1b
Brandon Moss, lf
Josh Reddick, rf
Alberto Callaspo, 3b
Sam Fuld, cf
Andy Parrino, ss
Eric Sogard, 2b

Jeff Samardzija, rhp

Dana Eveland received a cortisone shot in his pitching elbow and is unavailable.

Farm report: L.I.'s Matz lengthening starts

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
10:03
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Steven Matz is averaging six innings a start this season, a full inning more than in 2013. And if there is one accomplishment that has pleased the 23-year-old left-hander beyond any other, it is the improvement in the length of his outings.

“If you’re going deeper into games, you’re more efficient with your pitches,” said Matz, a native of Stony Brook, Long Island. “And a lot of stuff comes along with going deeper into games. It will get you more wins and you’re keeping your team in the game longer.”

Matz is a combined 9-8 with a 2.27 ERA in 22 starts between Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton. He has struck out 115 and walked 35 in 130 2/3 innings. Since joining the B-Mets, he has a 3.79-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That is the best of his career at any level.


Courtesy of New York MetsSteven Matz


“I’m throwing my two-seamer a lot more this year, and also my curveball has gotten a lot better,” Matz said. “I’m able to throw it for some strikes and am able to locate it down when I’m ahead of hitters.”

At first glance, it looks like Matz is a candidate for an early shutdown because of an innings cap. His regular-season innings total already exceeds last season by 24 1/3. However, Paul DePodesta offered a reminder that Matz started a pair of postseason games with low-A Savannah last season. Therefore, he should have enough innings left to participate through the B-Mets’ playoff run.

Binghamton’s magic number to clinch is down to two entering Wednesday’s series finale at Erie.

“We are managing him, but we don't expect to shut him down,” DePodesta said.

Said Matz: “I’m feeling good. I’ve got really no complaints.”

Matz was the Mets’ top pick (second round) in 2009 out of Ward Melville High School. He lost nearly two full years at the start of his career because of a lengthy recovery from Tommy John surgery. Not until 2012 did he pitch in his first official minor-league game.

So Matz can empathize with Jeremy Hefner’s recent major setback in an attempted return from the procedure as well as Matt Harvey’s eagerness to get into games.

“I had so many complications with mine, and I was actually told I needed a second Tommy John at one point. It turned out my elbow wasn’t really matured yet and the new ligament wasn’t really matured yet and it looked like maybe a tear or whatever. So I do understand what he’s going through,” Matz said about Hefner. “I feel for him.”

One positive byproduct of the promotion to Double-A is Matz’s family and friends on Long Island now can watch his games more frequently than when he pitched in the South. Matz has lived in past offseasons with his family in Stony Brook, although he is not sure about his living arrangements for this upcoming offseason.

In past offseasons, he has trained at a Garden City, Long Island, facility with a group that includes Jose Reyes, Pedro Beato, Adam Ottavino and Mets farmhand Cam Maron, who is from Hicksville.

“Usually that’s my go-to place,” Matz said.

Organization leaders

Average: Jairo Perez, GCL Mets, .358; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .348; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .338; Matt den Dekker, Vegas, .334; John Mora, Brooklyn, .318; Jean Rodriguez, Kingsport, .317; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, .316; Enmanuel Zabala, GCL Mets, .308; Kevin Plawecki, Vegas, .307; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .300.

Homers: Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 23; Dustin Lawley, Binghamton, 20; Andrew Brown, Vegas, 19; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 16; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 15.

RBIs: Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 75; L.J. Mazzilli, St. Lucie, 74; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 73; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, 69; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, 64.

Steals: Champ Stuart, Savannah, 24; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 23; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, 22; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, 17; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 16.

ERA: Marcos Molina, Brooklyn, 1.58; Corey Oswalt, Brooklyn, 2.26; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 2.27; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 2.34; John Gant, Savannah, 2.59; Matt Bowman, Binghamton, 2.87; Kevin McGowan, St. Lucie, 3.76; Tyler Pill, Binghamton, 4.00; Ricky Knapp, Savannah, 4.02; Andrew Church, Kingsport, 4.17.

Wins: Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 11; Dario Alvarez, Binghamton, 10; Gabriel Ynoa, Binghamton, 10; John Gant, Savannah, 10; Logan Verrett, Vegas, 10.

Saves: Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 15; Akeel Morris, Savannah, 15; Cody Satterwhite, Binghamton, 14; Shane Bay, Brooklyn, 13.

Strikeouts: Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 127; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 115; John Gant, Savannah, 111; Tyler Pill, Binghamton, 110.

Short hops

• With Brooklyn in a playoff position if its season ended today, the Mets now plan to keep first-round pick Michael Conforto as well as shortstop prospect Amed Rosario with the Cyclones through the postseason. If Brooklyn fades, promotions to Savannah would appear likely. Conforto is hitting .311 with two homers, 14 RBIs and three steals and has a .405 on-base percentage in 29 New York-Penn League games. Rosario, 18, is hitting .286/.335/.377 and has seven steals in 60 games.

Kevin Plawecki made his first appearance of the season at first base last weekend with Las Vegas. DePodesta said Plawecki will only see “very limited” time at the position this season, in order to get him at-bats when fellow catcher Taylor Teagarden also plays. Plawecki manned first base in 17 games last season with St. Lucie, but that mostly was designed to get him through his first full professional season without the rigors of catching every day down the stretch.

Plawecki has lifted his Pacific Coast League average 34 points in the past week -- to .271, thanks to five multi-hit games in his past seven games.

• Right-hander Michael Fulmer, he 44th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of high school in Oklahoma, was charged with six runs in 3 1/3 innings in his Double-A debut on Tuesday. Slowed by injuries early in his career, Fulmer had gone 6-10 with a 3.97 ERA and had a 1.50 WHIP in 19 starts with St. Lucie. Depending on the trickle-down from the major league club, beginning with Rafael Montero’s potential demotion, Fulmer may or may not remain at Double-A for the rest of the season.

• A pair of June draft picks playing with Brooklyn are done for the season because of knee injuries. Ninth-round pick Michael Katz, a first baseman/outfielder out of William & Mary, is expected to require surgery. Versatile position player Will Fulmer, a 22nd-round pick out of the University of Montevallo, also is not expected to return in 2014.

Morning Briefing: Seven hits!

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
7:17
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Seven hits!

The Mets’ string of games producing four hits or fewer ended at five straight on Tuesday -- tied for the longest streak in the majors since 1900.

The Amazin’s streak of facing aces will continue.

Zack Wheeler (8-8, 3.49 ERA) opposes former Chicago Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija (5-9, 2.96) in the finale of an abbreviated series in Oakland at 3:35 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Wheeler is 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA in his past nine starts.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee walked light-hitting No. 9 batter Eric Sogard with two outs in the fourth ahead of a three-run triple by Coco Crisp and Scott Kazmir and the A’s went on to beat the Mets, 6-2, Tuesday. Gee is now 0-5 with a 5.71 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break.


Ben Margot/Associated PressDillon Gee had a costly walk to Eric Sogard in a four-run fourth by the A's.


“I lost command of my breaking ball there for a couple of innings and it really hurt me,” Gee told reporters postgame.

Josh Reddick added a two-run homer in the eighth against Gonzalez Germen, who was called up while Bartolo Colon is on bereavement leave.

Travis d'Arnaud homered, but it was another quiet hitting day by the Mets, who had Daniel Murphy resting and Curtis Granderson in the No. 2 hole as part of Terry Collins’ lineup shakeup.

Oakland snapped a five-game losing streak.

The Mets (59-68) are nine games under .500 for the first time since July 7.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Jacob deGrom faced batters during a throwing session Tuesday in Oakland and has been declared ready to return from the disabled list on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. With deGrom poised to be activated, Rafael Montero could get bullpen action Wednesday against the A’s. The Mets won’t need to make a roster move until Saturday to clear space for deGrom. And if Colon isn’t activated until Sunday, Germen could go first. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

Jenrry Mejia “has expressed dismay to confidants in recent days about the fact he has been used lately in several non-save situations, but before the Mets faced the Athletics on Tuesday said he’s on the same wavelength with manager Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen,” Mike Puma writes in the Post.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was unavailable Tuesday because of a stiff neck.

• Danny Muno had a three-run homer as part of a three-hit night as Las Vegas beat Omaha, 10-4. Michael Fulmer allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings in his Double-A debut as Binghamton was shut out at Erie, 7-0. Victor Cruzado homered and drove in four runs in Savannah’s 11-3 win against Rome. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal contrasts the Mets and A’s, who have similar payrolls and disparate success. Writes Diamond:

As previously reported by the Journal, teams throughout history with a $100 million player taking up more than 20% of the payroll have a cumulative winning percentage of .455.

The A's don't have that problem. Their highest-paid player on opening day, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, was due $10.5 million this year, which represented around 12.8% of the payroll. Their three highest-paid players -- Cespedes, reliever Jim Johnson and starter Scott Kazmir -- made up 35.8% of the payroll. (Cespedes was traded to Boston for [Jon] Lester last month.)

• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger chronicles Kazimr’s path from prominence to independent ball and back to prominence.

• Marc Carig in Newsday speaks with Lucas Duda about his success at the plate.

From the bloggers …Blogging Mets wonders when and why run differential became so important.

BIRTHDAYS: St. Lucie reliever Robby Coles turns 23. ... Cory Sullivan is 35. ... Lance Broadway is 31.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What lineup change would you most like to see to inject some life in the offense?

Rapid Reaction: Athletics 6, Mets 2

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
1:18
AM ET


OAKLAND -- A glorious double down the left-field line in the seventh inning.

That hit delivered by Wilmer Flores will be a lost memory by the time October rolls around, especially since it came in a ho-hum 6-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics. But it kept the New York Mets from standing alone in the record books as the only team since 1900 to record four or fewer hits in six consecutive games in a single season. Flores’ knock was the fifth of the game for the Mets, halting that streak Tuesday night.

The offense seemed poised to put a stop to all this ineptitude early, tagging Oakland lefty Scott Kazmir for three hits in the first couple of innings. Then Kazmir settled in and allowed just one hit, albeit a home run to Travis d'Arnaud, over the next four frames before Ryan Cook replaced him and gave up the RBI double to Flores.

Stay hot: d’Arnaud got a game off from squatting behind the plate, but it didn’t cool his recent hot streak. d’Arnaud, as a designated hitter, homered to the opposite field in the fourth inning -- quite the impressive feat when you’re standing on a playing surface that's about 20 feet below sea level -- to give him six extra-base hits, including four homers, in his last 12 games. He has seven home runs since being recalled from the minors on June 24.

Golly, Gee: Dillon Gee has been ineffective since the All-Star break, to say the least. With Tuesday’s loss he fell to 0-5 with a 5.71 ERA in the second part of the season, and his five straight losing decisions extend a career high. The team has lost six of his seven starts since the break.

Stranding alone: The Mets' bullpen stranded one runner Tuesday and has now stranded 130 of 163 inherited runners for an MLB-leading rate of 80 percent.

What’s next: The Mets face another Oakland All-Star pitcher, right-hander Jeff Samardzija (5-9, 2.96 ERA), on Wednesday at 3:35 p.m. ET. Samardzija is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in five starts at O.Co. Coliseum. Opposing him is Zack Wheeler, who has a five-game winning streak. Wheeler has a 2.09 ERA (12 earned runs in 51 2/3 innings) during that stretch that dates back to July 6.

Minors 8.19.14: Muno homer paces Vegas

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
11:14
PM ET
LAS VEGAS 10, OMAHA 4: Danny Muno had a three-run homer in a six-run second inning as the 51s took a commanding early lead. Josh Satin went 3-for-4 with a double, walk, RBI and run scored. Matt Reynolds and Muno also had three hits apiece. Vegas starter Cory Mazzoni allowed four runs in seven innings. Box

ERIE 7, BINGHAMTON 0: Michael Fulmer was charged with six runs on six hits in his Double-A debut. Fulmer (0-1) struck out one and walked three. The SeaWolves plated six

lastname
Fulmer
runs in the fourth and Wilsen Palacios tossed seven scoreless innings. Binghamton’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot sits at two. Erie jumped on Fulmer in the first. With Jason Krizan on second, Dean Green ripped an RBI double. Fulmer surrendered a single before retiring Corey Jones to limit the damage to one run. Steven Moya started Erie’s fourth inning with his league-leading 32nd homer. Fulmer followed by surrendering back-to-back singles. He then issued walks to Marcus Lemon and Jamie Johnson. The latter forced in a run and ended his night after 3 1/3 innings. Adam Kolarek entered and struggled to put out the fire. Jason Krizan greeted the lefty with a run-producing fielder’s choice. Devon Travis walked to reload the bases and Dean Green delivered a two-run single. Moya capped the six-run inning in which Erie batted around by lacing an RBI single. Binghamton’s only threat came in the third when Brian Burgamy singled. Brandon Nimmo attempted to score from second, but was gunned down by Johnson in center field. Hansel Robles contributed three scoreless relief innings. Box

CHARLOTTE 11, ST. LUCIE 8: Trailing 8-2, the Mets scored six eighth-inning runs to pull even. However, the Stone Crabs answered with three runs in the bottom half to retake the lead. Johnny Field scored the go-ahead run when St. Lucie reliever Beck Wheeler threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded. After Wheeler departed, Granden Goetzman hit a two-out, two-run single against Ryan Fraser. In the top of the eighth, L.J. Mazzilli and Cam Maron singled against Nick Sawyer. Gavin Cecchini and Jared King then drew consecutive four-pitch walks to force in Mazzilli and make it 8-3. Jose Molina entered and walked Phillip Evans, also on four pitches, to plate Maron. Gilbert Gomez followed with a two-run double and the Mets trailed 8-6. Eudy Pina delivered an RBI single to pull St. Lucie within a run. Molina then walked Jeff McNeil to load the bases. Ryan Garton was summoned to face Maikis De La Cruz with no outs and the bases loaded. He induced a 4-6-3 double play as Gomez scored the tying run. Garton got the Crabs out of further trouble when Mazzilli flied out to leave Pina on third base. Colton Reavis shut down the Mets in order in the ninth. Angel Cuan, who was demoted to St. Lucie from Binghamton, started for the Mets. He allowed three runs in four innings. Mazzilli and Pina had two-hit games. Maron extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Box

SAVANNAH 11, ROME 3: Victor Cruzado went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs. Yeixon Ruiz had a three-run homer in the second as the Gnats took a 5-0 lead. Rob Whalen allowed three runs (two earned) in 5 2/3 innings to improve to 8-1. Paul Paez followed with 3 1/3 no-hit relief innings to earn his first save. Box

GREENEVILLE 7, KINGSPORT 4: Starter Andrew Church allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings. Zach Mathieu went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in the loss. Box

NYPL NORTH 1, NYPL SOUTH 1: The New York-Penn League All-Star Game ended in a 1-all draw after nine innings at MCU Park in Coney Island. Among Cyclones representatives, Marcos Molina and Corey Oswalt tossed scoreless frames and Shane Bay recorded the final out of the top of the ninth. Amed Rosario, Jhoan Urena and Michael Bernal went a combined 0-for-5. Box

GCL METS 3, GCL CARDINALS 2: Jairo Perez had a run-scoring single and Dash Winningham followed with an RBI groundout in a two-run first. Perez also singled in the third to plate Raphael Ramirez and give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Kurtis Horne, the Mets' 31st-round pick in June out of British Columbia, tossed a scoreless relief inning to pick up his first professional win. Nabil Crismatt notched his first Gulf Coast League save. Box

Compiled with team reports

Collins shakes up lineup to start trip

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
8:40
PM ET
OAKLAND -- The Mets are headed to the West Coast with a chance to make modern-baseball history, although not the kind the Amazin’s would want publicized.

The offense had failed to collect more than four hits in five consecutive games, a franchise record. The last big league team to match that kind of ineptitude? The 2002 Mets.

If the offense continues the streak Tuesday against Oakland All-Star Scott Kazmir, the Mets would be the first team since 1900 to have a single-season run of six games with four or fewer hits, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The drought was enough for manager Terry Collins to fiddle with his lineup to start the road trip. He gave second baseman Daniel Murphy the day off and pulled Curtis Granderson from the leadoff spot. Granderson was dropped to No. 2 and Juan Lagares was put at the top.

“We just thought we’d change it up a little,” Collins said. “It’s not like we’re mashing right now.”

Collins also said he could see Lagares as a long-term solution in the leadoff role as long as he can work the count more effectively, but that time might not be in the immediate future beyond Tuesday.

*It was expected that Murphy would get a day off here, and it made sense to take it against the lefty, Kazmir, rather than right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who has allowed three hits and a homer to Murphy in six career at-bats.

Murphy is 3-for-his-past-24 (.125) over six games.

“Murph needs a blow,” Collins said. “Dan and I talked about that a couple days ago. He wasn’t looking forward to it, but he knows he needs it.

“You can start to see when Dan’s swing gets a little long, he’s out of gas, because he knows how to hit. When he goes through these long stretches where he’s not swinging good, it’s because he’s tired.”

• Bench player Kirk Nieuwenhuis is likely unavailable Tuesday night because of a stiff neck.

DeGrom eyes Saturday after pen session

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
8:12
PM ET
OAKLAND -- Jacob deGrom is ready to start Saturday.

The rookie right-hander took the next step toward a return from the disabled list when he threw to hitters before Tuesday night’s game against the Oakland A’s. This followed a 20-pitch bullpen session Sunday, the same day he missed his second straight start because of rotator-cuff tendinitis.

As long as nothing freakish happens between now and Saturday night, deGrom will be the man against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It’s a nice step to throw with no problems,” deGrom said after his bullpen. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow and go from there. I think the goal is to start sometime this weekend.”

Terry Collins said Tuesday’s bullpen was all he needed to see to declare deGrom ready for Saturday, the first day the 26-year old is eligible to come off the DL.

“Right now he’s on schedule to pitch Saturday,” Collins said. “He threw absolutely great [Tuesday], so we’re hoping he’s going to pitch on Saturday.”

DeGrom has not reported any discomfort after sessions since he landed on the DL, and on Tuesday he threw “everything” in his tool box to assure himself and the Mets’ medical staff he was ready to take his next turn in the rotation.

Because deGrom missed his past two starts, it likely means he will be able to pitch through the end of the season and avoid being shut down because of an innings limit.

“I’m not sure how many innings I have left, but I think I can stay strong through the rest of the year,” deGrom said. “When it first happened, they said something about missing these two [starts], I should be able to pitch to the end of the year. Either way, I was going to have to miss a couple of starts.”

If deGrom does come off the DL Saturday, it could be rookie Rafael Montero who is sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas.

As for Bartolo Colon, who is on the bereavement list after traveling to the Dominican Republic for the death of his mother the past weekend, Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson did not know exactly when he would return to the Mets’ rotation. Sunday is his next scheduled start.

Tuesday's Mets-A's lineups

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
6:44
PM ET
Here are the lineups as the Mets face the Oakland Athletics at 10:05 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Ruben Tejada plays second base for the first time since Sept. 28, 2011 -- when Jose Reyes was the shortstop. Terry Collins has acknowledged Tejada profiles as a backup middle infielder, so the Mets appear to be taking a look at him for that role as Daniel Murphy gets a day off.

Collins recently had indicated that if Wilmer Flores and Tejada were in the lineup together, Flores would be the one playing second base. Instead, this will be Tejada's 100th career major league start at second base.
The Mets initially listed Tejada at second base and Flores at shortstop, then flipped them. Murphy is still off.

Mets
Juan Lagares, cf
Curtis Granderson, rf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, dh
Eric Campbell, lf
Flores, ss 2b
Tejada, 2b ss
Anthony Recker, c

Dillon Gee, rhp

Athletics
Coco Crisp, cf
John Jaso, dh
Josh Donaldson, 3b
Brandon Moss, lf
Stephen Vogt, 1b
Derek Norris, c
Josh Reddick, rf
Alberto Callaspo, 2b
Eric Sogard, ss

Scott Kazmir, lhp

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.299 9 52 70
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 23
RBIL. Duda 69
RD. Murphy 70
OPSL. Duda .841
WB. Colon 11
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.48
SOZ. Wheeler 148