Jon Niese (8-9, 3.80 ERA) gets the start as the Mets (70-56) oppose Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.67 ERA) and the Phillies (50-77) at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. on SNY in the finale of a four-game series.
|1. Curtis Granderson RF
||1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
|2. Yoenis Cespedes CF
||2. Andres Blanco 3B
|3. Daniel Murphy 1B
||3. Odubel Herrera CF
|4. David Wright 3B
||4. Jeff Francoeur RF
|5. Kelly Johnson 2B
||5. Aaron Altherr LF
|6. Travis d’Arnaud C
||6. Darin Ruf 1B
|7. Michael Conforto LF
||7. Carlos Ruiz C
|8. Ruben Tejada SS
||8. Freddy Galvis SS
|9. Jon Niese LHP
||9. Aaron Harang RHP
Niese Notes: Dating back to July, Niese is 5-1 with a 3.65 ERA. 12 of Niese’s last 14 starts have been quality starts, and the Mets have gone 6-3 over Niese’s last nine starts.
Harang Notes: Has allowed 20 earned runs over his last four starts (22 innings).
Mets Notes: Have won six games in a row — scoring 64 runs over that span — and are 17-6 in August. The Mets are 17-9 on the road since July 1, after going 11-26 on the road from April through June. Travis d’Arnaud has three straight multi-hit games and has four home runs in his last 12 games.
Phillies Notes: Are in last place in the NL East and have gone 4-6 over their last 10 games. Philadelphia’s run differential (-160) is the worst in baseball.
In the latest episode of #AskSNY, SNY.TV’s Rob Brender answers questions about re-signing Yoenis Cespedes, the animosity between the Mets and Phillies, and how Terry Collins will solve his 7th-inning, bullpen problem…
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Mets LH reliever Eric O’Flaherty allowed three runs during the eighth inning on Wednesday against the Phillies.
He has given up 10 runs in 5 2/3 innings since being acquired from the A’s earlier this month.
“He’s got to make some consistent pitches, but the stuff’s coming,” manager Terry Collins said said after Wednesday’s win. “We’ve got to get it shored up.”
Matthew Cerrone: Well, that’s an understatement, Terry. I remember watching a playoff opportunity evaporate once before, almost exclusively because of a terrible bullpen. And I don’t want to see it happen again.
Thankfully, the Mets have better options and tools this time around. I just think they need to start tinkering, promoting guys, and trying stuff out to discover what works and what doesn’t. The 6.5-game lead, plus their offense and starting rotation, can allow them to treat the bullpen as if it’s April and May — not August. It will allow them some rope to get their house in order. This way, when the end of September (and hopefully October) roll around, they’ll have a read of the four guys (in addition to Jeurys Familia and Tyler Clippard) who can carry them to the finish line…
In either case, I don’t see O’Flaherty being part of the solution, unless TC decides to give him a chance ONLY pitching against left-handed batters, which is where he’s had success in the past. Otherwise, he’s pretty much useless. Frankly, since joining the Mets, he’s been pretty useless against lefties as well, but I’d be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt given his track record before New York. Frankly, he was probably doomed the minute the Mets jinxed him with the dreaded No. 44.
The Mets re-acquired OF Eric Young, Jr. from the Braves this past weekend.
He had been hitting .248 with 23 stolen bases in 67 games for Atlanta’s Triple-A affiliate.
In a post to SportsBlog.com, Young says he is excited to be coming back to the Mets (Aug. 26, 2015).
“It’s a reminder about why it’s important to leave on a good note,” writes Young, who left the Mets for the Braves as a free agent this past winter. “When they heard the news, most of the coaching staff, and pretty much everybody that was there when I was there, reached out to me. I knew I had good relationships with my Mets teammates before I left, but now that I’m coming back, and everybody is excited, it feels great. … I would like to think that I’ll be getting called up soon. I’m ready for this last month. I don’t know how they are going to form that particular roster, but first we have to get to the playoffs and then worry about that. I’m just excited to be here and help.”
Matthew Cerrone: This is an important acquisition, because the Mets lack someone on the bench who can come in late during a game and steal a base. Young can do it. So, I think it’s very possible he gets called up in September. And if the Mets are fortunate enough to hold on and make the playoffs, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on the roster. Because, again, in a postseason series, when it becomes a smaller, tighter game, the ability to steal and move a runner along — especially late in games — becomes super important.
David Wright did not play Wednesday after starting his first two games back from the disabled list.
Manager Terry Collins said he plans to have Wright in Thursday’s starting lineup against the Phillies, as well as have him start the two games after that, which are at home against the Red Sox.
“We are making progress. He feels good today and that is a good sign,” Collins said on Wednesday. “One thing I don’t want to do is kill this guy right out of the gate.”
Wright’s next day off will likely be Sunday, according to Collins.
“I am really happy the bat speed is there. He’s moving good, but again as I said before, you can see him adjusting to the level of play here, the speed of the game up here,” Collins said. “I think he’s gonna be fine.”
Wright is 2-for-9 since returning to the Mets, though he’s hitless in his last seven at-bats. He’s also been charged with two errors in the field.
The Mets have a .556 winning percentage, which puts them on pace to win 90 games this season.
Terry Collins admitted to reporters Wednesday that in June he didn’t think 90 wins would be possible.
“With the way some of the things were going, we certainly didn’t think that,” Collins said. “But, we’re not looking at that. We’re looking at trying to win our division and play good baseball for the next month.”
The Mets have a 6.5 lead over the Nationals, who are just 12-18 the last 30 games, during which the Mets are 21-9.
“I really don’t care,” Bryce Harper told the New York Times about the Mets current six-game winning streak (Aug. 26. 2015). “If we don’t win, it really doesn’t matter. We’ve just got to keep winning ballgames. If something happens and we don’t make it, it’s part of the game. We’ve just got to keep playing hard and play till the end.”
RHP Erik Goeddel, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and C Kevin Plawecki are expected to be among the players the Mets add when rosters expand to 40 on September 1, Sandy Alderson told Mike Puma of the New York Post (Aug. 26. 2015).
Nieuwenhuis and Plawecki are currently with Triple-A Las Vegas, while Goeddel – who hasn’t pitched for the Mets since June 11 due to injury – is rehabbing with Double-A Binghamton.
Plawecki started the majority of the time with the Mets during both of Travis d’Arnaud‘s disabled list stints, hitting .228 with a .283 OBP and .296 SL, including two home runs and 17 RBI in 62 games.
Double-A LHP Josh Smoker is not expected to be promoted, according to Alderson.
Matthew Cerrone: Goeddel, Kirk and Plawecki make total sense. I’m willing to bet Dario Alvarez and Eric Young Jr. will be promoted too, and maybe Bobby Parnell. However, I’m surprised there is no mention of Dillon Gee and Vic Black, mostly because they’re veterans, they’ve played a role in this team’s success and it would be nice to see them share in what’s going on now, but also because they solve two needs, which is a spot starter and another bullpen arm. Who knows, maybe that will eventually change?
That said, there is no much room for Smoker, so I guess it makes sense to leave him off. He’s not on the 40-man roster, so that essentially seals his fate. But, he hasn’t pitched very well to left-handed hitters, depite him being a left-handed reliever. So, I don’t know what his role would be, even if he was currently on the 40-man. Instead, it makes sense to leave him where he is, though I do believe he’ll be a big topic of conversation next spring…