Vinny's suggested links and backpages for May 31

According to Michael Salfino of the Wall Street Journal, Johan Santana’s effectiveness since having his shoulder reconstructed has far exceeded other All-Star caliber pitchers who underwent similar procedures.

The Mets are thriving on contributions from Triple-A call-ups, Brendan Prunty writes in the Star Ledger.

In today’s Daily News, Mike Lupica says Mike Baxter is having a surprising season in front of his legendary high school coach Jack Curran, which is another great story out of Queens this season.

The Mets have honored members into their Hall of Fame from times that produced World Series appearances in 1969, 1973 and 1986. Now the club moves on to the next generation starting with John Franco, Marty Noble reports to MLB.com.

David Wright presents his bosses with a golden opportunity to act like the smart, decisive owners they want to be, Ken Davidoff writes in this report to the New York Post.

In the Wall Street Journal, Brian Costa explains how Mets officials have negotiated or bartered with fans to get milestone home runs back for players.

Lastly, here are today’s backpages…

Standings, Beat Reports & What's on Tap for Today

The Mets and Nationals lost last night, while the Phillies, Braves and Marlins won.

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To read more about last night’s loss, check out this post on MetsBlog, as well as beat reports from MLB.com, the Wall Street JournalStar-LedgerBergen Record, The LoHud, ESPNNewsday, the Daily News and New York Post.

Josh Thole is scheduled to catch Chris Young’s rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo today against Columbus. Thole was put on the disabled list in early May with a concussion. The buzz from Citi Field suggests he could return from DL tomorrow.

The Mets are off tonight. They resume the final part of their homestand Friday night with the start of a four-game series against the Cardinals, with Johan Santana (2-2, 2.75 ERA) taking on Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.45 ERA) at 7:10 PM.

Wilpon discusses Wright, teams play, minor league system

Prior to tonight’s game, Jeff Wilpon spoke with reporters and according to MetsBlog’s Vinny Cartiglia, stated there is no reason to rush the David Wright situation, saying:

“As Sandy said last night. He is under contract this year. We have an option for next year. There is no gun to anybody’s head. So, let it just play out. At the right time, Sandy and I will discuss it and it will move on.”

Wilpon went on to say that Wright is very special to him personally, the organization, the fan base, and the community. So, “Give it time. Let it play out. And, we will hopefully have a good conclusion.”

He also discussed the team’s play thus far, saying he is “happy.” Though it is not unexpected. “Listening to Sandy and the baseball guys. They thought we would have a competitive team. And that’s what they are showing.”

Wilpon also praised the Minor League system for being better than people had given it credit for, as well as the club’s depth; citing the fact the Mets are on their fourth string shortstop.  Wilpon went on to say a lot of different guys are contributing and “it’s great to see.”

Terry's comments on tonight's Mets loss to the Phillies

Terry Collins talked to reporters after tonight’s loss and had the following to say about:

Carlos Ruiz, and his game-tying two-run homerun in the eighth against BobbyParnell:

“That was the guy we knew who was sitting over there. We had the match up we wanted. We had Bobby ready for him. Bobby was going to face him no matter when he came in.”

Lucas Duda, who went 3 for 4, including two homeruns:

“Certainly off Cliff, it was a big swing for him. If we get him going, our lineup is going to change immensely…He’s been swinging at some first pitches. He’s worked very hard to make some adjustments in his swing, to get the bat out front, which we saw tonight. Hopefully it continues.”

The Mets bullpen, and their 5.39 ERA this season:

“What you might have seen tonight were guys that pitched three nights in a row. Tonight they made some pitches they wish they could get back. Had we’d been able to stayed tied, Frankie would have gotten in the game, to try and give us another chance. We let the one inning get away. There’s no question, we’ve got to make better pitches than that.”

Final Score: Phillies 10 Mets 6

The Mets (28-23) lost to the Phillies (27-25) by a score of 10-6 at Citi Field tonight, dropping the final game of the series.

[jbox color="gray"]The Least You Should Know:

  • Bobby Parnell allowed a game-tying two-run homerun to Carlos Ruiz in the eighth inning.
  • Ramon Ramirez did not record an out in the ninth inning, allowing three runs on  four hits.
  • Dillon Gee allowed two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out five.
  • Lucas Duda was 3-for-4, including his sixth and seventh homeruns of the season.
  • David Wright was 1-for-5, including an RBI double.
  • Scott Hairston hit his seventh double of the season.
  • Jon Rauch allowed the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
  • Chris Schwinden allowed two runs on on two hits in 2/3 of an inning.
  • The Mets were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

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For a complete box score and game recap, check out SNY.tv.

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Mike Nichols: Dillon Gee deserved better tonight as he pitched well, but suffered from a terrible defensive mistake by Andres Torres and Bobby Parnell failing to close out the seventh inning. Gee, who took a no-decision, has struggled early in the season keeping the leadoff hitter in each inning off base, but improved on that in this start. He was crisp, throwing the ball well and keeping the Phillies – other than Ty Wiggington – off balance until the seventh, when he was burned by Torres playing too shallow. Despite not getting the win, that’s three consecutive quality starts by Gee. With the fifth starter position in constant flux, it’s exactly what the Mets need out of the back end of the rotation from Gee.

Many will look to to the bullpen as where this game turned, rightly so, but all eyes should turn to Torres. The fly ball by Brian Schneider was completely botched by Torres playing too shallow in centerfield. I’m not sure if playing shallow was by design from Tom Goodwin or Torres made the decision on his own. Regardless, it shouldn’t have happened and was the turning point that cost Gee and the Mets tonight.

However, the Mets bullpen shouldn’t go without any blame. It wasn’t pretty between Bobby Parnell, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and Chris Schwinden as noted above. The revamped bullpen continues to struggle and completely gel as a unit. I forsee the bullpen continuing to be a consistent weakness for this team on a nightly basis. However, I would expect Sandy Alderson will continue to evaluate and look for quality options inside and outside the organization to help the ball club in that area.

Good to see Lucas Duda being aggressive and doing some damage, as Terry Collins said he was looking for prior to the game. Duda – who has hit left-handed pitchers well this season, but lacking power against them – launched a two-run shot against the Cliff Lee in the sixth and a solo homerun off the left-handed Raul Valdes in the ninth.

After a tough loss, an off day tomorrow may just be what the doctor ordered. As they have done all season, I expect the Mets to be able to shake off this loss and Terry Collins to get the team prepared to come out sharp against the Cardinals on Friday.

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W.B. Mason Post Game Extra:

Johan Santana and Mets donate to Tuesday's Children

Prior to tonight’s game, Jeff Wilpon and Johan Santana announced a $10,000 donation to Tuesday’s Children in an effort to expand and enhance services and programs for Spanish-speaking members of the 9/11 community.

On hand for the announcement were Santana, Wilpon, and executive director of Tuesday’s Children Terry Sears, as well as 9/11 family members.

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“We have had a long and special relationship with Tuesday’s Children,” said Jeff Wilpon. “We are happy to team up with Johan as he continues the Mets tradition of reaching out to the 9/11 families.”

“For us. It’s an honor to help you,” Santana stated. “We know how important it is. Everything that you went through on 9/11.  We help kids in my country and we felt that it was important to do something here in New York.”

Ronny Cedeno to the DL; Mets recall Valdespin

The Mets have placed Ronny Cedeno on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf, retroactive to May 27.

Taking Cedeno’s place on the roster is Jordany Valdespin.

Valdespin has gone 2-20 (.100) with one home run and three RBI with the Mets this season. He has hit .279 (29-104) with four home runs and 15 RBI in 27 games for the Bisons.

Terry discusses call ups, patience, catcher, leadership and bullpen

Terry Collins spoke with the media earlier, stating he is very pleased with the play of team’s recent call ups and it is great to see each of them contribute at the Major League level, according to Matt Dunn of SNY.tv. 

Collins also praised the Minor League staff for getting those players prepared to perform well, as there is a lot of pressure on each player to do so.

He also discussed the team’s situational hitting and the discipline the team needs to show when runners are in scoring position. Players need to show patience and put the pressure on the pitcher instead of going after pitches they cannot hit, Collins said. He would like to see some of his players not take such a small approach in those situation, instead taking upon themselves to do “big damage.”

Collins has made no decision or discussed possible moves with Sandy Alderson regarding the catcher position when Josh Thole is ready to be activated from the disabled list. He is not looking ahead because he knows set backs can occur. Collins did however compliment Rob Johnson’s performance since being called up.

He also stated Johan Santana and David Wright are active leaders in the clubhouse, noting that Santana is more of a verbal leader than Wright, but Wright leads by example. Said the young guys on the team get prepared to play by following Wright’s lead.

In regards to the bullpen, Collins believes with seven options in the bullpen the team is set to ride guys who are performing well. Collins would like to see Chris Schwinden and Jack Egbert step up soon. He also said Frank Francisco had a turning point in Toronto when he was booed by 30,000 people. At the time Collins asked Francisco to mix up his pitch selection, which he believes has help his closer.

Finally, Collins indicated he will wait until the weekend before deciding if Jeremy Hefner will get the start against the Cardinals on Monday again.

Tonight's Mets/Phillies lineups at Citi Field (7:10 PM)

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New York Mets

1) Andres Torres CF
2) Daniel Murphy 2B
3) David Wright 3B
4) Scott Hairston LF
5) Vinny Rottino 1B
6) Lucas Duda RF
7) Rob Johnson C
8) Omar Quintanilla SS
9) Dillon Gee RHP

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Philadelphia Phillies

1) Jimmy Rollins SS
2) Juan Pierre LF
3) Hunter Pence RF
4) Ty Wigginton 1B
5) Shane Victorino CF
6) Placido Polanco 3B
7) Mike Fontenot 2B
8) Brian Schneider C
9) Cliff Lee LHP

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