Jul 6, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares  (12) reacts after he was hit by a pitch from San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Chris Heston (not pictured) in the eighth inning of their MLB baseball game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Collins on Lagares: ‘I haven’t given up on Juan’

Mets OF Juan Lagares will have a reduced role with the Mets after they acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes, but manager Terry Collins said the players who hit will find themselves in the lineup.

Collins said earlier this week that Lagares, who’s hitting .251 with three home runs and 26 RBIs this season, will face lefties, while Cespedes will be in the lineup vs. righties.

Cespedes’ batting average vs. lefties (.183) pales in comparison to his numbers vs. right-handed pitchers (.318).

Lagares has started just two of the last six games in a reduced role, coming in as a defensive replacement late in games. Before that, he had started 17 of the previous 18 games.

“I know he is upset,” manager Terry Collins said. “I talked to him more in last month. He knows what he has to do.”

The Mets acquired Cespedes, who went .293 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs with the Tigers, on Friday, which Collins hopes will be the big bat that sparks the Mets lineup down the stretch.

“Now we got some help,” said Collins, whose team ranks at the bottom of the National League in runs scored.

Collins said Cespedes is a versatile fielder, so he can play center while Curtis Granderson plays a corner outfield spot.

New York also added Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to the lineup, and have rookie Michael Conforto available, adding depth to a lineup that once featured two players batting under .200 hitting fourth and fifth.

While Lagares has recently seen less playing time, Collins is adamant that the hottest hitters will regularly be in the lineup.

“I haven’t given up on Juan, but we made the decision we have to score runs,” Collins said. “If they’re gonna hit, they’re gonna play. … We have to score some runs.”


Game 105: Mets vs. Nationals

Noah Syndergaard (5-5, 2.70 ERA) and the New York Mets (54-50) go for the series sweep and virtual tie for first place in the NL East when they face Jordan Zimmerman (8-6, 3.36 ERA) and the Washington Nationals (54-48) Sunday at 8:08 p.m. at Citi Field.

Nationals Mets
1. Yunel Escobar (R) 3B 1. Curtis Granderson (L) RF
2. Anthony Rendon (R) 2B 2. Daniel Murphy (L) 2B
3. Bryce Harper (L) RF 3. Yoenis Cespedes (R) CF
4. Ryan Zimmerman (R) 1B 4. Lucas Duda (L) 1B
5. Jayson Werth (R) LF 5. Juan Uribe (R) 3B
6. Ian Desmond (R) SS 6. Kelly Johnson (L) RF
7. Jose Lobaton (S) C 7. Kevin Plawecki (R) C
8. Michael Taylor (R) CF 8. Noah Syndergaard (R) P
9. Jordan Zimmerman (R) P 9. Ruben Tejada (R) SS

Syndergaard Notes: Syndergaard is coming off eight shutout innings vs. the Padres on July 28. … He gave up five hits, five walks and one run in five innings vs. the Nationals on July 22. … He is 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA over his last six starts.

Zimmerman Notes: Zimmerman is winless in his last three starts, going 0-1 with a 4.24 ERA in that span. … He faced the Mets on July 22, giving up three runs in seven innings in a no-decision. … While Zimmerman has a 2.53 ERA in 12 home games, he has a 4.65 ERA in nine starts on the road this year.

Mets Notes: The Mets rank last in the National League with 368 runs scored. … Their bullpen has the third-best ERA in the National League at 2.94. … Lucas Duda is batting .375 with eight home runs and 10 RBIs over his last seven games.

Nationals Notes: The Nationals lead NL East teams in run differential at +31. … They have lost six of their last nine games, including the first two games of the series. … Ian Desmond is in the middle of a 1-for-16 slump.

Jul 25, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) and first base coach Tom Goodwin (26) during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Mets recall Conforto, place Nieuwenhuis on DL

The Mets recalled OF Michael Conforto one day after optioning him to the minors and placed OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the 15-day disabled list with a neck injury.

Nieuwenhuis, who was hitting .317 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in his second stint with the Mets, has a pinched nerve in his neck (Aug. 1).

“It was bad enough that he can’t play,” manager Terry Collins said. “He got a shot two days ago. After 48 hours … he wasn’t able to do it.”

Conforto was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for OF Yoenis Cespedes, whom the Mets acquired on Friday’s trade deadline.

The Mets promoted the 22-year-old Conforto, their top hitting prospect, directly from Double-A Binghamton earlier in July. He went 4 for 19 with three RBIs in six games in the majors (Aug. 1).


We ask Mets fans…presented by Land Rover

In this edition of We Ask Mets Fans, presented by Land Rover, SNY.TV asks how many home runs will Lucas Duda hit this year?


We also asked Mets fans…

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Aug 1, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) steps out of the dugout for a game against the Washington Nationals  at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Cespedes makes presence felt in lineup during Mets debut

Newly acquired OF Yoenis Cespedes went hitless during an 0-for-3 debut with the Mets on Saturday night, but a key walk he took helped the Mets defeat the Nationals.

With one out and Curtis Granderson on second base in the eighth inning, Nationals manager Matt Williams opted to intentionally walk Cespedes, so LHP Matt Thornton could face lefty Lucas Duda. Four pitches later, Duda hit what proved to be the game-winning double.

“I didn’t think for a minute they were going to walk me,” Cespedes said to reporters after the game through a translator. “Who knows what would’ve happened if I would’ve actually gotten to take a swing? So if that was the best thing for the team, then I’m OK with it going that way.”

For 2015, Cespedes has a .291 average, .502 SLG, 18 home runs and 61 RBIs.

Andrew Battifarano Andrew Battifarano: Cespedes’ impact in last night’s game can’t be understated. His presence in the lineup alone essentially changed Saturday’s outcome.

He came into the game hitting just .183 against lefties, but the threat of his power must have played some sort of role in Williams pitching around him to face Duda. To think, just a few weeks ago, with a weak lineup, that probably never would have happened.

Almost as important as his power, Cespedes really provides the Mets lineup protection in the middle of the order. As was seen Saturday, that really helps out a hitter like Duda. In the few previous weeks, Duda saw a lot of pitches out of the strike zone and was forced to chase pitches he probably didn’t want to swing at. But with the middle of the order strengthened, the rest of the hitters should see more good pitches to hit.

Now with Cespedes, Duda, Curtis Granderson and the return of Travis d’Arnaud, all of a sudden, this lineup is taking on a new shape.

Jul 29, 2015; New York City, NY, USA;  New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda (21) is greeted after his third homer against th San Diego Padres in the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Duda’s hot streak paves way for win over Nats

Lucas Duda hit two home runs and capped off a rally with a game-winning double in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Nationals on Saturday night.

The double came after Nationals manager Matt Williams decided to intentionally walk OF Yoenis Cespedes to face Duda.

Duda has eight home runs during his last seven games, prior to which he was in an 18-for-117 skid.

He is the first player to have eight straight hits go for home runs since Marcus Thames of the Tigers in 2008, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“Listen, we’ve got to start producing some runs, or we’ve got to find somebody else,” Collins said he told Duda after the Mets acquired Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Braves. “I always thought he was going to have a good second half, but he’s taken it to heart. He’s a tremendous worker and wants to be good. He’s showing everybody what he can be.”

Duda is the first Met since 2008 to hit at least 20 home runs in consecutive seasons. For the season, Duda now has 20 home runs, 48 RBIs to go along with a .347 OBP and .481 SLG.


Cespedes and Granderson react after Mets win, 3-2, against Nationals


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Duda’s three RBIs propel Mets to come-from-behind win

Despite falling in an early 2-0 hole, Lucas Duda‘s three RBIs — and two home runs — helped the Mets rally to defeat the Nationals, 3-2.

With the score tied in the eighth inning, Duda ripped an opposite-field RBI double to drive in the winning run.

The win now puts the Mets (54-50) one game out of first place in the National League East.

Despite not having great command, Mets starter Jacob deGrom battled through six innings, allowing two runs on six hits, while striking out seven on a season-high 117 pitches.

DeGrom’s best stuff eluded him early, and the Nationals (54-48) jumped on the board in the first. Ian Desmond lined a broken-bat single just past the infield, scoring Washington’s first two runs in the opening inning.

After going hitless against starter Joe Ross through the first 3 2/3 innings, Duda singlehandedly put the Mets back in the game. He crushed a home run into the right-center field seats for New York’s first hit and run in fourth. And in the seventh, Duda did it again, this time with an opposite-field home run, his 20th of the year, to tie up the game.

Ross left the game after 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on four hits.

Bobby Parnell and Hansel Robles combined for scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Closer Jeurys Familia closed out the win for his 28th save of the year.

Newly acquired Met Yoenis Cespedes went 0-for-3 with a walk in his debut.

The Mets and Nationals will conclude their three-game series at Citi Field on Sunday night at 8:08 p.m. 

Noah Syndergaard (5-5, 2.70 ERA) gets the start for the Mets against Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-6, 3.36 ERA).