Daily News: Bobby Valentine says Mets are in it to win it

Bobby Valentine believes the Mets may be the best team in baseball, he told Daily News reporter Mitch Abramson.

“I root for the Mets, totally. … They’re in it to win it and I don’t think there’s any reason they shouldn’t,” Valentine said >> Read more in  the Daily News.

MetsBlog Q&ACast with Bob Klapisch, presented by Citi

In this week’s MetsBlog Q&ACast, presented by Citi, Matthew Cerrone talks with Bergen Record reporter Bob Klapisch about the state of the Mets, the difference between July and August, and what to do with the bullpen down the stretch…

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Aug 16, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Bobby Parnell (39) reacts against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at Citi Field. The Pirates defeated the Mets 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Parnell could return as soon as Tuesday

Mets reliever Bobby Parnell threw batting practice at Citi Field before Sunday’s game and could be activated from the disabled list when he’s first eligible to return on Tuesday.

Parnell went on the disabled list on Aug. 18 with right shoulder tendinitis. This is his first season back from Tommy John surgery in early 2014.

“The ball’s coming out a lot better, a lot easier too,” Parnell said of pitching live batting practice (Aug. 30). “I didn’t feel like I was muscling it. The rest definitely helped.”

He has a 5.59 ERA in 23 games for the Mets this season and allowed six runs in his last two outings in a combined 2/3 of an inning.

According to multiple reports, Parnell had been given the choice to either go on the DL, be optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas or be designated for assignment. He chose the DL in hopes of returning to the team with whom he has spent his entire seven-year career.

“The goal is to get the New York Mets in the playoffs,” Parnell said. “That’s all I’m worried about.”

Aug 30, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) reacts after getting the final out of the game in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Citi Field. The Mets won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Familia adds splitter to 100-mph fastball; ‘Are you crazy,’ says Big Papi

Jeurys Familia recorded his 35th save on Sunday, recovering from back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, as the Mets bullpen hung on for a 5-4 win against the Red Sox.

With runners on first and second and nobody out, Familia struck out Alejandro de Aza and got Travis Shaw to ground into a fielder’s choice. He then struck out Mookie Betts with a 100 mph fastball, leaving the tying run on third.

“Nastiest pitcher in the world,” Brock Holt said.

“That Familia, man, throwing that splitter 95 miles an hour. Are you crazy?” David Ortiz added. “No one can hit that.”

Familia has a 1.67 ERA and has pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings since his poor performance on July 30 against the Padres, when he allowed two hits and a three-run home run to Justin Upton after a rain delay.

“When he came back from the period where he didn’t throw very good, and bounced right back and pitched as well as he has right now, he can handle it,” Terry Collins said after the game, speaking about Familia’s ability to continue as a dominant closer. “He’s a tough kid mentally. He’s going to be fine. … He’s one of the best in the game. This guy’s got 100 mph,  he’s got a great sinker, the split is starting to be more consistent for him, you see him starting to get hitters out with sliders. He’s starting to get a feel when not to throw a strike, when he can go off the plate. He’s learning on the job. He listens. He’s really, really good.’’

Familia has mostly used a fastball, sinker and slider, but with pitching coaches Dan Warthen and Ricky Bones, he recently developed a hard, mid-90s, split-finger fastball.

“Right now I have a lot of confidence in my splitter. I’ve been working on that for a long time. Now, I think it’s the time I have trust in the pitches,” Familia explained. “I have confidence to use it in the game.”

CerroneCircleAvatarMatthew Cerrone: I love that he had some adversity, and not only bounced back, but he listened to his coaches and added a new pitch to get him threw. On top of that, he’s totally owning the position. It’s easy to see at the end of a game. It used to be he’d get the final out, smile, maybe pump a fist and then go for a hand shake from his catcher. Now, adrenaline is pumped up, he’s intense, yelling in celebration and looking like a guy ready to handle what’s in store for him in the next five weeks… and hopefully more.

Aug 30, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer (23) hits a single in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Cuddyer makes up for error with big hit in win over Red Sox

Michael Cuddyer redeemed himself – after allowing the game-tying run to score in the top of the seventh inning – by hitting a go-ahead single in the bottom of the inning to lead the Mets to a 5-4 win over the Red Sox at Citi Field on Sunday.

Cuddyer lined a 2-0 fastball from Heath Hembree in to left field, scoring Daniel Murphy without a throw to break a 4-4 tie.

“He’s an outstanding player and he’s a pro, and that’s why we got him,” manager Terry Collins said. “We brought him in here to be that kind of a player. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

With the Mets up 4-3 in the top half, Mookie Betts blooped a high pop-up down the left-field line. Cuddyer initially didn’t get a good read on the ball and it landed just fair inside the line, allowing Jackie Bradley Jr. to score and Betts to reach third on the tying triple.

“It was a ball I couldn’t get to,” Cuddyer said. “It dropped.”

Cuddyer is hitting .375 since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 11 with a .423 on-base percentage and .583 slugging percentage. He is 13-for-26 during his last nine games. He said he doesn’t blame his knee injury for his earlier struggles.

“Definitely it was a factor, but it wasn’t the reason I was struggling or whatever the case was,” Cuddyer said. “And it’s not the reason I’ve gotten some hits the last few days. But it’s part of it. There’s no question about that. It feels good. I’m able to plant on it. It’s stronger.”


In case you missed it this past weekend, presented by Citi

The Mets lost two of three games to the Red Sox over the weekend at Citi Field, winning 5-4 on Sunday to salvage the series finale. The Nationals took two of three from the Marlins and now the Mets by 5 1/2 games in the NL East…

The Mets acquired RH reliever Addison Reed from the D-backs in exchange for minor league pitchers Miller Diaz and Matt Koch. To make room for Reed  on the roster, they Logan Verrett to Triple-A Las Vegas. Reed will join the Mets on Monday.

The Mets will call up Eric Campbell, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Young Jr. and Kevin Plawecki when active rosters expand Tuesday to include any player on the 40-man roster.

Steven Matz will make one more rehab start for Triple-A Las Vegas on August 31 and be activated from the disabled list on September 1. Matz will work strictly as a starting pitcher when he rejoins the Mets, Terry Collins said.

Lucas Duda, on the disabled list since August 22 due to a back injury, has not yet started swinging a bat, Collins said this past weekend.

The Mets claimed Padres LHP Marc Rzepczynski off waivers on Saturday, but a deal was not reached between the two clubs.

What’s on tap for Monday, August 31

The Mets open a three-game series against the Phillies on Monday at Citi Field at 7:10 p.m. ET on SNY.

Bartolo Colon (11-11, 4.65 ERA) gets the start for the Mets. He’ll be opposed by Jerad Eickhoff (1-1, 2.25 ERA) for the Phillies.

For every Mets home run hit at Citi Field® this season, Citi will show their appreciation to an NYC community partner with a $2,000 donation. Visit mets.com/citi to see this season’s grand total to date.

Aug 5, 2015; Miami, FL, USA;  New York Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki in the eighth inning of a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. The Mets won 8-6. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Mets call up Campbell, Nieuwenhuis, Eric Young Jr. and Plawecki

The Mets will call up Eric CampbellKirk NieuwenhuisEric Young Jr. and Kevin Plawecki when the active roster expands to 40 players on Tuesday.

Campbell, who was hitting .179 with three home runs and 19 RBIs in 61 games, has played 43 games at third base.

Nieuwenhuis, who has a .203 average, three home runs and 12 RBIs with the Mets, and Young Jr., who was acquired on Aug. 22, give the Mets added depth in the outfield.

Plawecki, 24, was hitting .228 with two home runs and 21 RBIs this season. The Mets, who have currently used Travis d’Arnaud and Anthony Recker as catchers, were 31-27 when Plawecki started behind the plate.

Noah Syndergaard has a 2.29 ERA in 12 starts with Plawecki as his battery partner, whereas in with other catchers, he has a 5.15 ERA.