Deadline Preview

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31


The Baseball Tonight crew breaks down what needs to happen and what will happen before the trade deadline.

Minors 7.30.14: Conforto 3-for-3, 2 RBIs

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
EL PASO 8, LAS VEGAS 5: Starter Logan Verrett surrendered four runs in six innings, including homers to Tyler Greene, Cody Decker and Taylor Lindsey. Trailing 7-1, the 51s posted a four-run eighth that included a three-run double by Allan Dykstra. Box

NEW HAMPSHIRE 7, BINGHAMTON 2: Starter Greg Peavey allowed four first-inning runs, including a two-run homer to Matt Newman, en route to his first Eastern League loss since April 14. Peavey (8-2) followed with five straight scoreless innings. The B-Mets clawed within 4-1 in the second against Casey Lawrence. T.J. Rivera doubled, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Jayce Boyd's sacrifice fly. In the sixth, Brian Burgamy walked and stole second base. After a pair of strikeouts, Darrell Ceciliani produced an RBI double as Binghamton moved within two runs. The Fisher Cats pulled away from there, though. Hansel Robles and Jack Leathersich combined to handle the final three innings. They surrendered a total of three runs -- all unearned -- on a four-error night for the B-Mets. Box

ST. LUCIE 4, DUNEDIN 3: Michael Fulmer tossed six scoreless innings and Eudy Pina went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Pina's two-run double in the sixth staked St. Lucie to a 4-0 lead. Dunedin pulled within a run with a three-run eighth against Beck Wheeler. T.J. Chism inherited the tying run on second base and, after issuing a walk, coaxed an inning-ending groundout. Chism then tossed a perfect ninth for his fourth save. The intended second game was canceled because rules prohibit three doubleheaders in a seven-day span. Box

KINGSPORT 8, DANVILLE 3: Wuilmer Becerra had a two-run triple and Eudor Garcia followed with an RBI double in a five-run first inning. Box

BROOKLYN 9, AUBURN 4: 2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto finished 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and two RBIs and the Cyclones jumped on Auburn with a seven-run second inning. Tyler Moore began that outburst with a walk and advanced on a wild pitch. Auburn starter James Bourque then plunked Will Fulmer. Joe Tuschak followed with an RBI double. Anthony Chavez had a run-scoring infield single. Chavez ultimately scored on a successful double steal as Amed Rosario swiped second. Conforto's RBI single made it 5-0. A balk during Moore’s second at-bat of the inning plated another run. Moore's RBI double made it 7-0. Box

GCL CARDINALS 10, GCL METS 1: Dash Winningham's ninth-inning solo homer accounted for the lone Mets run. Starter Jose Celas surrendered five runs on seven hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. Box

Compiled with team reports

For Mets, light at end of tunnel appears

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
NEW YORK -- Apparently there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

After two collapses and five consecutive losing seasons, things are starting to look up for the New York Mets.

The Amazin's still are a modest 52-56 with one-third of the season remaining.

Courtesy Brian SullivanTime to lose the paper bag. Things are looking up for the Mets.
Yet they have won 14 of their past 21 games. And with Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell poised to return from Tommy John surgery next season, with the emergence of young arms such as Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia, and with solid recent contributions from Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud, the Mets may only be a shortstop and a left fielder away from legitimate contention.

That’s a far cry from how it looked early in the season, when Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth comprised the back end of the bullpen, Ike Davis versus Duda had yet to be resolved, deGrom had yet to debut and d'Arnaud struggled so mightily he eventually ended up with Triple-A Las Vegas.

“These guys have competed all year,” manager Terry Collins said after the Mets' 11-2 rubber-game win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday. “Always you’re being evaluated, regardless of what anybody says, on wins and losses. Again, we aren’t happy with the fact we don’t have more wins. But all we can do is compete. All you can do is go out there and play nine innings as hard as you can play and then tip your hat and get ready for tomorrow. And that’s the way we’ve approached it.”

Wheeler did not have his sharpest control Wednesday, but he nonetheless limited the Phillies to two runs in 6 2/3 innings.

“We’re a good team right now, I feel,” Wheeler said. “We’re just a couple of swings or outs away from turning the corner. I feel like we’re a whole different team from the beginning of the season, honestly -- with the bats, with the pitching all around.”

Said David Wright: “We’ve dug ourselves a hole, obviously, so we’ve got to find our way out of it. I’ve been impressed mostly with the consistency that this team has played with the last month or three weeks or however long it’s been, where we’re not going through such streaks where you’re hot for a week, cold for a week, hot for a week, cold for a week.

“It seems like we’ve been going out there winning series against some quality teams. Hopefully that continues, because that’s what it takes. You can’t just get hot for a couple of weeks and try to ride that. You’ve got to consistently get better as a team, and we’re doing that.”

The non-waiver trading deadline nonetheless is expected to pass at 4 p.m. Thursday without any action from the Mets.

“Guys understand the deadline, and you just go about your business and get ready for the game,” Wright said. “There’s no talk of it. There’s no real thought of it.”

Said Daniel Murphy, feigning ignorance: “What is it, tomorrow? I’ll be hanging out with my son and my wife tomorrow. I’ll be fine.”

Matt Harvey to mound next week

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey has the go-ahead to get on a mound next week for the first time

since undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 22, 2013.

Harvey had wanted to be on a mound in June, but did not have organization permission.

It's clear Harvey will not pitch in the majors this season. Still, it's possible Harvey will pitch briefly in the fall instructional league, which spans late September and early October in Florida.

Mets Blow Out Phillies

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30


Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda each homered in the Mets' 11-2 win over the Phillies.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 11, Phillies 2

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
NEW YORK -- It's safe to say the Philadelphia Phillies are no longer the team to beat.

Zack Wheeler continued to make the case he is becoming an elite pitcher and Daniel Murphy launched a three-run homer as the Mets beat the Phillies, 11-2, in Wednesday’s rubber game at Citi Field.

Officially two-thirds of the way through the season, the Mets are 52-56.

Wheeler was in position to match a franchise record until Jimmy Rollins launched a pinch-hit homer to lead off the seventh that pulled Philadelphia with 4-2. With the long ball, Wheeler’s streak of limiting opponents to one earned run while completing at least six innings ended at five straight games -- one shy of matching the franchise record.

Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Zack Wheeler allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
His final line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

Four Mets pitchers have made six straight starts logging at least six innings and surrendering no more than one earned run in each outing: R.A. Dickey (2012), David Cone (1988), Nolan Ryan (1971) and Jerry Koosman (1969).

Wheeler improved to 6-8 with a 3.60 ERA.

He entered the outing with the most pitches per batter of any qualified NL starter (4.11). Consistent with that statistic, his pitch count swelled early Wednesday, rising to 45 after two innings and 60 after three innings. But Wheeler ultimately worked into the seventh inning before departing with his pitch count at 112.

Until Rollins’ homer, Wheeler limited the Phillies to a two-out RBI double in the fifth by Ryan Howard, which opened the game’s scoring.

Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick had taken a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth, when his outing unraveled.

After Juan Lagares and Ruben Tejada singled and Wheeler bunted them ahead, Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases with one out. Kendrick issued a wild pitch that evened the score. Murphy then deposited an opposite-field homer over the left-field wall for a 4-1 lead.

Kathy Willens/Associated PressDaniel Murphy's three-run homer staked the Mets to a 4-1 lead.
Murphy had gone 94 at-bats since his last homer, on July 1 against Atlanta’s Mike Minor.

Tejada finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and an intentional walk. He snapped an 0-for-13 drought. Lagares finished 3-for-5.

Bruised and battered: Dana Eveland, struck in the left elbow in the series opener and forced to depart, struggled two days later in his return to the mound. Taking over for Wheeler with two outs and none on in the seventh to face the lefty-hitting Chase Utley, Eveland issued a walk.

Utley then swiped second base after getting a huge jump. He advanced to third base on a passed ball. Eveland then plunked the lefty-hitting Howard with a pitch and departed.

Jeurys Familia bailed out Eveland and maintained the Mets’ 4-2 lead by coaxing a groundout from ex-Met Marlon Byrd.

Passing fancy: Travis d'Arnaud was charged with his 10th passed ball. That matches Colorado's Wilin Rosario for the major league lead.

Career year: Lucas Duda produced his 58th, 59th and 60th RBIs, surpassing his 2012 total (57) for a new career high. After an intentional walk to David Wright in the seventh, Duda staked the Mets to a 5-2 lead with an opposite-field RBI single against Mario Hollands. Duda added a two-run homer in the eighth against Phillippe Aumont. Duda has five homers in his past eight games.

Take that deGrom! Familia ended up batting against Justin De Fratus in what became a five-run seventh during which the Mets sent 10 batters to the plate. He delivered a run-scoring single for his first career RBI. He is 2-for-2 this season and 2-for-3 overall at the plate as a major leaguer. Familia’s other hit came May 28 against Pittsburgh’s Bryan Morris while notching a five-out save.

Not in your house: Center fielder Ben Revere leaped at the wall to take away a potential homer from Duda to open the bottom of the fourth.

What’s next: Mets players get a day off Thursday, but Sandy Alderson will continue to work the phones until the non-waiver trade deadline at 4 p.m. The Mets resume play Friday. Jonathon Niese (5-6, 3.23 ERA) opposes San Francisco Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (5-8, 4.45) in the opener of a four-game series at Citi Field.

Farm report: Undrafted Rivera ascends

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
NEW YORK -- T.J. Rivera last regularly started at shortstop during his freshman year in college, while he played for ex-Met Mackey Sasser at Wallace-Dothan Community College in Alabama.

However, once Matt Reynolds earned a promotion to Las Vegas in mid-June, and with Wilfredo Tovar having not yet returned to Double-A following surgery to repair a thumb ligament, Rivera at least temporarily has been restored to the position he also played at Lehman High School in the Bronx as a teenager.

Rivera, 25, is hitting .340 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 27 games with Binghamton. He spent the first half at St. Lucie, hitting .341 with four homers and 47 RBIs in 252 at-bats.

Courtesy of New York MetsT.J. Rivera

Overall, his .341 season average leads the organization, narrowly ahead of Reynolds’ .337.

“With Reynolds going up to Triple-A, we didn’t have a shortstop,” B-Mets manager Pedro Lopez said. “Talking to [director of player development] Dicky [Scott], I felt like it was a good opportunity for T.J. to basically go out and play short on a daily basis. He’s done a good job.”

Said Rivera: “It’s awesome. I haven’t played there in a while. When I first signed, I played a little bit of it. But after that, last year I played maybe one or two games when Reynolds didn’t play. It’s been a great experience. It’s a great position if you can play it -- a lot of opportunities open up for you. I’m really just trying to go out there and make every routine play I can to help the team and the pitchers.”

Rivera has earned his way to Double-A, perhaps more so than most farmhands. He went undrafted as a senior as he finished his college career at Troy University in Alabama. He still doesn’t know how the Mets found him, although he believes Sasser, his JUCO coach, must have put in a good word. Rivera signed with the Mets a week after the draft in 2011.

“It was weird,” Rivera said. “My senior year I p1ayed my whole year and didn’t really talk to any scouts or anything like that. I don’t know if they had seen me in junior college or they had been watching me at Troy. It was the week after and I got a call. It was out of the blue.”

For Rivera ultimately to reach the majors would be a big-time accomplishment.

According to MLB data, there were 853 players on Opening Day rosters -- either active or on the DL or restricted list. Of those, 650 were drafted and 188 were foreign-born and not subject to the draft. That leaves only 15 other players. Of those, MLB identified 10 who were eligible for the draft and went unselected: Heath Bell, Chris Colabello, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Hanigan, Elliot Johnson, Daniel Nava, Matt Shoemaker, Joe Thatcher, Dale Thayer and Ian Thomas.

Bell was an undrafted Mets signee who debuted with the Amazin’s.

Assistant GM John Ricco could only recall one Mets signee since Bell to reach the majors: right-hander Robert Manuel, who went to the Reds in a 2006 trade for Dave Williams and made his major league debut with Cincinnati in ’09.

“It’s nice that I’m showing that people that aren’t drafted can still have a chance as long as you prove yourself. I still have a lot more to prove, which I know,” Rivera said. “It’s awesome that I’m doing something like that. But either way -- if I was drafted high or not -- it’s a great experience. Hopefully I’m opening eyes for other people that aren’t drafted. We still have an opportunity to come out and play, just like anybody else does.”

Rivera by no means is a power hitter. He cleared the left-field wall once in batting practice at Trenton on Friday and expressed surprise that he accomplished it. If he reaches the majors, it probably would be as a versatile infielder. He has some minor-league experience at first and third, although the bulk of his work has been at second base and now shortstop.

“I like to stick to the gaps,” Rivera said. “When I try to do too much, my swing goes downhill. I try to keep low line drives and keep the ball in the gap and try to get on base. Once in a while I’m able to get them out.”

Said Lopez: “He’s patient, but at the same time he’s aggressive. He’s got pretty good plate discipline. Not to say he doesn’t swing at pitches out of the strike zone, because they all do. That’s the reason why they’re here. But he’s got a solid approach and he’s got a good understanding of the strike zone.”

Organization leaders

Average: T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .341; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .337; Wuilmer Becerra, Kingsport, .330; Matt den Dekker, Vegas, .326; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, .320; John Mora, GCL Mets, .318; Kevin Plawecki, Vegas, .314; Enmanuel Zabala, GCL Mets, .306; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, .304; Josh Satin, Vegas, .304.

Homers: Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 18; Dustin Lawley, Binghamton, 18; Andrew Brown, Vegas, 17; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 14; Wimer Flores, Vegas, 13.

RBIs: Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 62; L.J. Mazzilli, St. Lucie, 62; Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 60; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, 60; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 57.

Steals: Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 22; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, 21; Champ Stuart, Savannah, 17; Jeff McNeil, St. Lucie, 16; Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 14.

ERA: Martires Arias, Kingsport, 0.50; Marcos Molina, Brooklyn, 1.30; Octavio Acosta, Brooklyn, 2.14; Corey Oswalt, Brooklyn, 2.56; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 2.60; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 2.63; John Gant, Savannah, 2.72; Kevin McGowan, St. Lucie, 2.86; Darin Gorski, Vegas, 3.33; Matt Bowman, Binghamton, 3.35.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Binghamton, 10; John Gant, Savannah, 10; Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 9.

Saves: Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 13; Robert Coles, St. Lucie, 12; Randy Fontanez, Binghamton, 10; Akeel Morris, Savannah, 10; Cody Satterwhite, Binghamton, 10.

Strikeouts: Darin Gorski, Vegas, 105; Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 100; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 99; Tyler Pill, Binghamton, 96; Dario Alvarez, Savannah, 95.

Short hops

• First-round pick Michael Conforto lost a 10-game hitting streak to begin his career when he went 0-for-3 with a walk in Brooklyn’s 4-1 win at Lowell on Tuesday. Conforto’s streak was the longest to start a professional career as a Cyclone since former first-round pick Ike Davis began his career with a 15-game hitting streak in 2008.

Conforto nonetheless is hitting .366 with four RBIs in 41 at-bats in the New York-Penn League. No promotion is imminent for the Oregon State product, but Conforto should finish his first season at a higher level -- potentially Savannah, which will be playoff-bound after winning the first half.

• Mets prospects will be assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League along with players from the Yankees, Phillies, Pirates and Giants. Jeff Bannister from Pittsburgh’s organization will manage the club. The Mets do not have a representative on the coaching staff, but Binghamton trainer Debra Iwanow will work with the AFL club.

• St. Lucie shortstop Gavin Cecchini went 3-for-6 Monday and ignited a 12th-inning rally. His Florida State League average climbed 16 points in one day, but still remains only .195 in 35 games since a promotion from Savannah.

• Binghamton first baseman Jayce Boyd, a Florida State product, had a .246 average on July 6. Since then, he leads the Eastern League with a .396 (21-for-53) average.

• Brooklyn’s Jhoan Ureña had his second 13-game hitting streak of the season snapped Monday. He became the second player in Cyclones history to have a pair of double-digit-game hitting streaks in the same season. The other: Angel Pagan in 2001, the inaugural season of the Cyclones.

• Binghamton second baseman Dilson Herrera, who was acquired from the Pirates last August, has hit safely in 29 of 35 games since a promotion to Binghamton. The production includes 12 multi-hit games. He also has produced 32 RBIs in 35 games.

• Princeton product Matt Bowman rejoined Binghamton after a spot start with Las Vegas in which he took a scoreless effort into the eighth inning.

John Lannan has joined Las Vegas after a seven-week absence from the organization, then a ramping-up process in the Florida State League.

• Tovar currently is playing with St. Lucie as he works back from a ligament tear that required surgery.

Jeremy Hefner will continue pitching with St. Lucie for at least one more start as he works back from Tommy John surgery performed last August.

Wednesday's Mets-Phillies lineups

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
NEW YORK -- Here are the lineups for Wednesday's 12:10 p.m. rubber game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

Curtis Granderson, rf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Chris Young, lf
Juan Lagares, cf
Ruben Tejada, ss
Zack Wheeler, rhp

Ben Revere, cf
Grady Sizemore, lf
Chase Utley, 2b
Ryan Howard, 1b
Marlon Byrd, rf
Cody Asche, 3b
Wil Nieves, c
Andres Blanco, ss
Kyle Kendrick, rhp

Mets remain quiet as deadline nears

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
NEW YORK -- With Thursday's 4 p.m.non-waiver trade deadline rapidly approaching, team insiders tell that it is very likely no activity occurs involving the Mets.

At this point, the lone subtraction the Mets could still make appears to be Bartolo Colon. And a source indicated there is nothing that suggests a deal will occur.

A team insider said the Mets have nothing brewing in terms of acquiring a shortstop.

There is one "intriguing" scenario in which the Mets could acquire an outfielder who would remain under control at least through 2015. But the source suggested that is even less likely to materialize than trading Colon. The source said it was too sensitive, and probably premature, to identify the player or team right now.

One plugged-in source told that if a deal were going to happen by Thursday at 4 p.m., something very likely would have been in a more significant stage by now. Still, the source did not want to 100 percent dismiss any activity materializing because teams could put together a deal in a matter of hours if they suddenly got motivated.

The bottom line, though: There is no evidence right now that a trade will materialize involving the Mets.

For Wheeler, Duda stats caught up to skills

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
Put your trust in the numbers, have a little patience and you’ll be rewarded.

That’s been the story of the season for both Wednesday’s starting pitcher, Zack Wheeler, and Lucas Duda, who should be back in the lineup at first base for the 12:10 p.m. start against Philadelphia.

[+] EnlargeZack Wheeler
AP Photo/John BazemoreZack Wheeler has been considerably better in his last 11 starts.
Wheeler was 1-5 with a 4.63 ERA through 10 outings, entering his start against the Phillies on May 29. He allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings in a 4-1 win that day. It began an 11-start run in which he has allowed no earned runs or one earned run eight times. He is 4-3 with a 2.78 ERA over that span. He has a 1.41 ERA in his last five starts, during which he has allowed one earned run in each outing.

Duda entered June 13 hitting .229 with a .740 OPS -- numbers that left Mets fans still wanting for Ike Davis at that point.

Duda went 2-for-4 with an RBI in a win over the San Diego Padres, starting a tear during which he has hit .305 with a 1.023 OPS and 10 homers in 131 at-bats.

In each case, there were reasons to think each would improve.

For Wheeler, his strikeout, walk and homers allowed combination (in sabermetric terms, his FIP -- Fielding Independent Pitching) fit the profile of a pitcher with an ERA about a run better than his actual 4.63.

In Duda’s case, he had shown consistency hitting the ball hard all season. And there was reason to expect better results when he hit the ball hard.

Wheeler’s keys
When Wheeler was going bad, we noted three issues hindering his performance -- the Mets' inability to get outs when he induced a groundball, his struggles against left-handed hitters, and his performance when the opponent had runners in scoring position.

All three have improved considerably over these last 11 starts (see chart).

Wheeler has also bettered his strikeout-to-walk rate, going from a pitcher with a 2-1 ratio to one with a 3-1 ratio. He has 68 strikeouts and 22 walks in his last 11 starts, while maintaining nearly an identical home-run rate.

In turn, the numbers have balanced themselves out. Wheeler’s seasonal ERA (3.64) and his FIP (3.47) are now a near-match.

Duda’s keys
Though Duda was hitting .229 through mid-June, he was hitting the ball hard.

The video scouting service we use charted Duda with a 23 percent hard-hit rate, based on how often he was getting what they defined as favorable velocity, distance, and sweet-spot contact.

Given that hard-hit balls result in hits for hitters about 70 percent of the time -- and 68 percent of the time over Duda’s previous three seasons -- almost every hitter around that rate had a considerably higher batting average than Duda. He was 25-for-44 (.568) when recording a hard-hit ball.

A couple of things have happened for Duda of late -- most notably that his line-drive rate has soared (along with a decline in his groundball rate). The fly balls have soared too. Duda has made the most of venues friendlier than Citi Field, with seven of his last 10 homers coming on the road. He also has found success in Flushing, with eight doubles in his last 48 at-bats there.

Meanwhile, his rate of hitting the ball hard has stayed consistent. In fact, his 24 percent rate in 2014 matches that of Troy Tulowitzki for best in the NL. We’ve put those numbers in the chart.

Looking ahead
The ZiPS projection system from ESPN Insider’s Dan Szymborski forecasts Wheeler to have a 3.57 ERA over his final 11 starts this season, to finish at 3.62.

That system also looks at Duda’s track record and doesn’t fully buy into this hot streak. It has him hitting .247 with seven homers in his last 48 games to finish the season at .256 with 25 homers.

In both cases, that might not be quite what the Mets fan is hoping for. But if you’re going to trust the numbers, you need to look at it both ways.

And look at this way: The finished product is pretty promising even if it tails off from its current hot run.

Morning Briefing: Aw-Phil defeat

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
FIRST PITCH: Since allowing six runs and lasting only two innings against the Oakland Athletics on June 25, Zack Wheeler has been on a tear.

Wheeler has allowed one earned run and completed at least six innings in each of his last five starts.

If Wheeler can duplicate that feat in Wednesday’s 12:10 p.m. rubber game against the Philadelphia Phillies, he will become the first Mets pitcher since R.A. Dickey in May/June 2012 to go six straight starts logging at least six innings and surrendering no more than one earned run in each outing.

Wheeler (5-8, 3.64 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87) in the series finale at Citi Field.

Wednesday’s news reports:

Cole Hamels tossed eight scoreless innings and Jimmy Rollins, Grady Sizemore and Chase Utley homered as the Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0, Tuesday. Dillon Gee was charged with five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, although the bulk of the damage came when Josh Edgin inherited the bases loaded from Gee and surrendered a grand slam to Utley.

Gee now has a 7.11 career ERA against the Phillies -- the highest mark against any team he has faced multiple times.

Gee also has an 8.10 ERA in three second-half starts. He suggested he was frustrated with Tuesday’s result because he felt like he improved from the previous two outings. He did not blame fatigue for his contribution to the seventh-inning meltdown, but said: “It seems like I haven’t thrown over 80 pitches in three months.”

Edgin said about Utley’s slam: “No offense to anyone here, but I left it right down the middle of the plate and put it out there for him to hit it. He did.”

Hamels has struggled during his career against the Mets, which now spans 30 starts. His scoreless effort Tuesday was his first against the Mets since his first-ever meeting against the club, on Aug. 14, 2006 as a rookie.

Read game recaps in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at

• Terry Collins is tiring of inquiries about why Wilmer Flores does not play more frequently. Read more in Newsday.

• With Sandy Alderson having joked on Monday that acquiring a player with a $20 million salary might lead to David Wright, Curtis Granderson and “22 dwarfs” on the roster, Zach Braziller in the Post compiled a list of the top money-themed jokes by the GM during his Mets tenure.

On the Daisuke Matsuzaka and Masahiro Tanaka signings, Alderson said in January: “We each signed Japanese pitchers this week. They’re paying $155 million and we’re paying our guy month to month.”

And who could forget the tweet that started it all from back on the eve of spring training in 2012? It read: “Will have to drive carefully on trip; Mets only reimburse for gas at a downhill rate. Will try to coast all the way to FL.”

• Columnist Anthony Rieber in Newsday suggests forgetting about Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Instead, he suggests the Mets’ winter activity will be far more relevant. Writes Rieber:

Because for the first time in a long time, we're starting to buy into the notion that the Mets are only a piece or two away from being a contender -- if the Wilpons can pony up the dough this winter to get a big-time shortstop and outfielder to complement the young players manager Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen have done a nice job developing this season.

Always the big question with the Mets, right? Dollars and sense. Are the Wilpons ready, willing and financially able to allow Alderson to make bold trades or free-agent signings?

• Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post enumerates reasons why the Mets can be competitive during the season’s final two months.

• Check out a sneak peak of the Citi Field scenes from Sharknado 2 here. It will be televised at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Syfy.

• Dilson Herrera had a solo homer in the eighth and walk-off sacrifice fly an inning later as Binghamton beat New Hampshire, 4-3. Rob Whalen is now 6-0 with a 1.65 ERA in the South Atlantic League after Savannah’s 8-3 win against Lexington. Casey Meisner earned his first win in 364 days as Brooklyn beat Lowell, 4-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Matt Harvey took batting practice Tuesday for the first time since Tommy John surgery.

• Marc Carig in Newsday writes that Jacob deGrom is making a case for NL Rookie of the Year.

• Will Sammon in Newsday discusses Juan Lagares' plate discipline.

BIRTHDAYS: Ex-Met Clint Hurdle, now manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, turns 57. ... Casey Stengel was born in 1890. ... Ellis Valentine was born on this date in 1954.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who is your least-favorite Phillie?

Gee feels better than result suggests

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
NEW YORK -- "Frustrated" and "confident" were Dillon Gee's most-used words after the New York Mets' 6-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday at Citi Field.

The right-hander remains searching for himself after getting charged with five earned runs and surrendering two home runs in his third straight loss.

“The most frustrating part is I thought I threw the ball a lot better than I had in the previous couple outings," Gee said. "The main result still isn’t there. It’s very frustrating.”

Gee’s groove has been interrupted. In his first start since a disabled-list stint for a strained right lat muscle, he fared well in seven innings against the Atlanta Braves on July 9, allowing one run while striking out four batters.

After a 10-day layoff including the All-Star break, his ERA has climbed from 2.56 to 3.77 with three subpar starts.

The primary damage came after Gee walked off the mound with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, in his longest outing since the break. On a 2-2 count, Chase Utley belted his fifth career grand slam, this one on a fastball from Josh Edgin into the right-field porch.

“No offense to anyone here, but I left it right down the middle of the plate and put it out there for him to hit it. He did,” Edgin said.

The reliever welcomed a rematch in Wednesday’s series finale.

“I’d like to face him again. Let’s go tomorrow,” Edgin said. “If I execute my pitch there, who knows, he could’ve fouled it off. I could go slider. It could’ve gone either way and it went the totally wrong way it was supposed to.”

Had Utley been retired, Gee’s night would have ended with just two runs over 6 2/3 innings.

Gee has allowed five homers in three second-half starts.

Terry Collins still saw encouraging signs from Gee’s off-speed pitches.

“His curveball was real good tonight. His changeup was good when he needed it. He moved the ball around,” Collins said. “I thought he had some zip on his fastball when he wanted to go up. I thought he threw the ball good. It was a very positive evening.”

Gee threw more than 100 pitches for the first time since his May 4 start in Colorado.

“It seems like I haven’t thrown over 80 pitches in three months," Gee said. "I felt physically fine, but I have to start getting more pitches out there.”

The 28-year-old served up solo homers to Jimmy Rollins in the third and Grady Sizemore in the fourth.

“It's just frustrating, except for the most part I feel a lot better out there than how it looks,” Gee said. “I’m confident going forward that if I can maintain that the result should change.”

Cole Hamels was the opposite of Gee on the mound for the Phillies. The southpaw retired his final 13 batters and finished with eight strikeouts over eight scoreless innings. The last time he blanked the Mets was as a rookie on Aug. 14, 2006, when he also went eight innings and collected nine strikeouts.

“I bet I had four hitters come back and say the changeup is dynamic tonight, so he had it all working,” Collins said. “He’s so good. When he’s on, he’s tough to hit.”

Minors 7.29.14: Herrera lifts B-Mets

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
EL PASO 7, LAS VEGAS 5: Matt den Dekker went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, but relievers John Church and Miguel Socolovich combined to surrender four eighth-inning runs as El Paso broke a 3-all tie. Starter Cory Mazzoni allowed two runs in five innings. Kevin Plawecki had an RBI double and Matt Reynolds produced an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, but the comeback bid stalled when Allan Dysktra struck out. Box

BINGHAMTON 4, NEW HAMPSHIRE 3: Dilson Herrera's walk-off sacrifice fly capped a

two-run ninth inning. It marked the first time this season Binghamton won when trailing after eight innings. Darrell Ceciliani started the ninth-inning rally with a single against Gregory Infante. Ceciliani stole second and moved to third on a groundout. Travis Taijeron's bloop RBI single tied the score. After Kyle Johnson entered as a pinch runner, Xorge Carrillo walked and Brandon Nimmo singled to load the bases with one out. Herrera came through with the sacrifice fly to right field to plate Johnson. In the eighth inning, Herrera had homered against Tyler Ybarra to cut the B-Mets' deficit to 3-2. Chase Huchingson (2-1) tossed 1 1/3 scoreless relief innings to close out the game. B-Mets starter Tyler Pill allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five in 7 2/3 innings. He extended his unbeaten streak to 13 games. Box

DUNEDIN at ST. LUCIE: The teams will play a doubleheader Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

SAVANNAH 8, LEXINGTON 3: Rob Whalen improved to 6-0 with a 1.65 ERA in the South Atlantic League by limiting Lexington to two unearned runs on two hits, two walks and a hit batter in seven innings. Stefan Sabol had a bases-loaded triple in a four-run fourth as the Gnats took a 4-1 lead. Yeixon Ruiz finished 3-for-5 with a solo homer, two RBIs and two runs scored. Box

KINGSPORT 6, DANVILLE 2: Starter Martires Arias (4-0) tossed five scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and five walks. Eudor Garcia went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs. Box

BROOKLYN 4, LOWELL 1: Casey Meisner collected his first win in nearly a calendar year as the Cyclones (23-22) completed a three-game sweep and moved above .500 for the first

time since July 12. Meisner allowed one run on three hits and a walk while striking out six in five innings. Tomas Nido had a one-out single in the third and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Anthony Chavez followed with a shot down the first-base line that was too hot to handle and Nido scored for a 1-0 lead. With Chavez on second base due to the fielding error, Joe Tuschak doubled to push the advantage to 2-0. Tuschak had been sidelined with a hamstring injury since July 18. Lowell plated its lone run in the bottom half courtesy of Sam Travis' two-out RBI double. Meisner retired the final seven batters he faced to collect his first win since July 30, 2013, when he was pitching in the Gulf Coast League. In the sixth, Tuschak and Michael Conforto walked. Michael Bernal plated Tuschak with a single. Tyler Moore drove in Conforto with a single. Relievers Carlos Valdez and Brandon Welch combined to allow one baserunner in three innings. Shane Bay tossed a scoreless ninth for his ninth save. Conforto's 10-game hitting streak to begin his pro career was snapped. Box

GCL METS 8, GCL METS 5 (six innings): Dash Winnigham had a two-run double in a three-run first and the Mets never looked back en route to a rain-shortened win. Winningham added a third-inning sacrifice fly as the Mets took a 4-0 lead. Box

Compiled with team reports

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 6, Mets 0

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
NEW YORK -- Sell!

Cole Hamels tossed eight scoreless innings and Jimmy Rollins, Grady Sizemore and Chase Utley homered as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 6-0 on Tuesday at Citi Field.

The Mets dropped to 51-56.

Rollins broke a scoreless tie in the third with a solo shot against Dillon Gee. Sizemore’s homer, which he wrapped inside the right-field foul pole, came an inning later and was his first long ball in 14 games with the Phillies. After Gee departed with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Josh Edgin surrendered a grand slam to Utley.

Frank Franklin II/Associated PressGrady Sizemore circles the bases after a fourth-inning homer against Dillon Gee.

Among active MLB leaders in homers against the Mets, the top three are all Phillies now that Chipper Jones has retired. Ryan Howard has 40 career long balls against the Amazin’s, followed by Utley now with 32 and Rollins now with 29.

Hamels was making his 30th career start against the Mets. He produced his first scoreless effort since his first matchup with the Mets -- an eight-scoreless-inning performance as a rookie on Aug. 14, 2006.

The southpaw retired the final 13 batters he faced in a 109-pitch effort. He entered the start with a 7-14 record and 4.38 ERA in his career against the Mets.

Among active major league pitchers, only Tim Hudson has made more starts against the Mets. Now with the San Francisco Giants, Hudson is scheduled to make No. 32 on Monday, in the finale of a four-game series at Citi Field.

Gee (4-4, 3.77 ERA) suffered his third straight defeat. He has now been charged with 15 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings in three starts since the All-Star break.

His final line after Utley’s slam became: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 HR.

Gee has allowed five homers in the three second-half starts. He had allowed one homer in his previous six outings.

What’s next: The teams conclude their three-game series Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.64 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-10, 4.87) in the rubber game. Wheeler has allowed one earned run and completed at least six innings in each of his past five starts.

Collins tiring of Wilmer questions

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores starts at shortstop on Tuesday at Citi Field, and actually has started three of past six games at the position.

Aggressively asked why Flores is not the regular at the position over Ruben Tejada, Terry Collins lost his patience pregame.

Collins noted Flores only came up because the Mets wanted a hedge because Tejada was drilled in the helmet with a 94 mph fastball last Wednesday in Seattle. And Collins noted the Mets are playing just fine overall, even though it was noted to the manager that Tejada is slumping (4-for-38 over his last 14 games).

Here's the transcript:

Reporter: "When you take a look at Wilmer Flores, when he was up here in May, when he played in five consecutive games, he hit. When he plays every other game he doesn't hit. Is now the time to see what Flores can do on an everyday basis?"

Collins: "It all depends where you're going to play him."

Reporter: "You don't have confidence in him at shortstop?"

Collins: "No, no. I didn't say that. The other kid [Tejada] is playing pretty good. I don't know what games you've been watching, but we've been playing pretty good lately."

Reporter: "He's 3-for-29."

Collins: "We're playing pretty good lately. You know, Ike Davis wasn't hitting and we were winning games. So you pick and choose your spots. Wilmer came up because Ruben got beaned, so we were concerned about having a backup. So that's why he's here. There were no instructions to play him everyday. We're going to try to get him at-bats. That's why he's in there today."

Reporter: "What do you need to see from him to keep him in the lineup everyday?"

Collins: "Nothing from him. We've got to figure out if he is going to be the shortstop, or if the other guy is going to be the shortstop."



Bartolo Colon
10 3.88 106 141
BAD. Murphy .295
HRL. Duda 19
RBIL. Duda 60
RD. Murphy 62
OPSL. Duda .864
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 125