Live Blog From Citi Field: John Franco Hall Of Fame Induction
Andres Torres had a big night offensively, but he credited the pitching staff for their stellar performances lately. “Pitching is a big key for winning games, and all our pitchers are terrific.”
He thinks tonight was his best offensive game as a Met. He’s not focused on being in first place right now, since it’s still so early.
Torres was a home run shy of the cycle. I asked him if he was hoping for an at-bat in the bottom of the eighth inning for a chance to do it. He has never hit for a cycle at any level in his career.
“Never been close. I was trying to get a swing but that (Hairston double play) happened.”
He was more excited though that the team won the game.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis was asked if he deserves to be here, especially with Jason Bay scheduled to return from the DL. “You have ups and downs during the season. You try to keep as even keel as possible.”
He said it’s “pretty cool” that the Mets will start tomorrow tied for first place in the NL East.
He hit his home run on an 0-2 cutter.
Jon Niese post-game
Niese felt he felt good out there tonight. Last start, he said he tried to throw the ball too hard. Today, he took it nice and easy.
He’s not concerned at all about his elevated heart rate.
After two straight shutouts, Niese didn’t concern himself with trying to throw another. “I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on me. I went out there with mindset of just a quality start.”
He said he has learned a ton from fellow lefty Johan Santana. Niese said he charts the game on tv. “I see how he (Santana) sets up hitters and how he reads hitters mid-swing.”
Post-game Terry Collins
“I think that’s the best I’ve see him (Niese) throw the ball in a while. He used his curveball very effectively. He threw it for strikes. He threw it out of the zone.”
Niese apparently had an elevated heart rate on the bench and that was why Collins came out to the mound in the fifth inning. It has happened to Niese a few times before.
Collins was with the Dodgers organization when they drafted John Franco. “He’s been a great friend of mine for many years. It’s certainly a well deserved honor. He was a great pitcher.”
On Andres Torres: “When Andres gets on base, he scores. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Collins expects to put Jason Bay in the lineup when he returns. “We’ll have some fun decisions here as we head down the road with who should play and who should rest.”
There’s been an infectious feeling amongst the starting pitchers. “You want guys when they are pitching good to compete with each other. Tomorrow, I want Dillon (Gee) to stand up and say, ‘I’m going to do that same thing.’”
“This is the best atmosphere in a clubhouse that I’ve been around in a long time.”
METS WIN!!!! 6-1. Mets take three straight from the Cards. Will try for a four-game sweep tomorrow at noon.
Jon Niese improves to 4-2 on the year.
The scoreless streak is over, but the wins keep piling up.
The Mets are now tied for first place in the NL East.
I will head down for post-game interviews and then return to the press box to transcribe some quotes. Stay tuned for the coverage.
And it comes down to Beltran…
Holliday goes fishing for the second out.
Oh boy. Error by David Wright.
Either way, Mets have 22 wins this season against teams with an above .500 winning percentage, which is the most in the NL.
Now they just have to beat the teams that are under .500.
One out in the ninth.
No cycle tonight for Torres (assuming of course that Frank Francisco protects the five-run lead). But a great overall night for Andres.
My bad, I spoke too soon. Hairston hits into the 6-4-3 double play. Captain Kirk will have to keep it going.
I thought it was guaranteed before that Torres would have at least one more at-bat. I was wrong. Mets need at least one baserunner…
And there it it. Thole walks. Scott Hairston is the pinch hitter. Assuming there’s no double play, Torres will bat in this inning in search of a cycle. Will need the long ball.
Jason Motte entering the game for the Cards.
Byrdak starts a new scoreless inning streak at 0.1 innings.
Tonight’s attendance: 23,559
Just showed clips on big screen of the no-hitter. Still in awe about that. And I only had to wait 23 years to see it. I can only imagine what fans since 1962 must have felt.
Then again, I wasn’t around in 1986 so I envy all the Mets fans who got to see that.
And there it goes…
Elvin Ramirez gives up an RBI single that snaps the Mets scoreless streak at 25 innings.
Tim Byrdak comes in.
Ramirez has a good arm on him.
This is almost as stressful as the no-hitter was in keeping the scoreless streak alive. Ramirez strikeouts Adams for the second out.
Seems fine. Matt Adams pinch hitting here for the Cards. Runner on second, one out.
And then gets drilled with a Yadi Molina line drive. Coaches, trainers and entire infield crowding around him. Will attempt a few throws.
Welcome to the big leagues Elvin Ramirez. David Freese singles up the middle.
Elvin Ramirez enters the game for the Mets and will make his Major League debut. Keep the streak going Elvin.
We head to the top of the eighth.
What a terrible swing there from Ike. He might benefit from being sent down. Bay comes back to the outfield and Duda moves to first. Bay and Hairston split time with Kirk and Torres.
A very emphatic “Yankees Suck!” chant just resonated through the ballpark.
Sure enough, Scott Stapp from Creed sang God Bless America.
STRIKE THREE! Parnell survives a rough inning. The scoreless streak continues. 25 consecutive scoreless innings.
Parnell just hit 100 mph. But it was inside.
Dan Warthen out to talk to Parnell after the walk to Holliday. The dangerous Carlos Beltran coming to the plate.
Don’t want to count our chickens but the last defending World Series champions to be shut out for three straight games was the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers.
Captain Kirk has taken well to left field. Remember that whole debate about who should play center when Torres returns. Well, Torres has been great in center and Kirk has been great in left. Collins is a genius.
However, we will see how much of a genius he is when Jason Bay is eligible to return from the DL, which will likely be this week.
Scott Hairston is hitting well too, so Bay may be slowly eased back in. But with Mike Baxter now on the DL, the team will need another outfielder.
Mets have the worst bullpen ERA (5.45) in the league and the second most blown saves (10).
No pressure on you Bobby. Your team just has a streak of 24 scoreless innings going.
Like I said before, leadoff walks score 80 percent of the time, if not higher. Parnell walks Daniel DeScalso with the top of the Cards order coming up.
Bobby Parnell will be the first reliever attempting to keep the Mets scoreless inning streak alive here in the top of the seventh.
Torres is a homer away from the cycle. He should have at least one more chance this game.
Crowd not happy after that inside pitch to Wright.
Another big hit from Andres Torres! Mets lead 6-0. This is a team of destiny.
Kirk just set a new career high in RBI in a game with three.
Maickel Cleto in to pitch for St. Louis.
Kirk comes up big again. Single up the middle drives home Quintanilla. 4-0 Mets. Here comes a double switch.
Valdespin fails to get the bunt down and then pops up. Collins ain’t gonna be too happy about that. 3-0 is still a close game and you gotta do the little things right in those spots.
Niese’s day is done. Six innings, six hits, one walk, 10 strikeouts, 70 of his 96 pitches were strikes. That’s unreal.
Sidenote: I was in the dugout before with Scott Stapp from the band Creed. I think he’s singing God Bless America. He recorded one of those rallying Mets chants like Chris Rock and Kevin James do.
Another John Franco shot from his speech.
Mound visit from Mike Matheny. And he’s pulling Jake Westbrook. Lefty Sam Freeman coming in for the Cards.
Fantastic at-bat there from Josh Thole. Runners on first and second and nobody out for Valdespin. Do you bunt here? If so, why not leave in Niese to bunt?
Bobby Parnell warming up in the pen. Looks like Jordany Valdespin will hit for Niese.
80 percent of leadoff walks score. Omar Quintanilla just walked; let’s see if he scores.
That’s now 24 consecutive scoreless innings from Mets pitching. Notice: ALL FROM STARTING PITCHERS.
Great throw home by Andres Torres!!!! The streak is alive!!! Looked like a close there at home plate. Thole might have just got the tag on.
HUGE strikeout from Niese. Adrian Chambers who has struck out twice already today steps to the plate with two outs.
Beltran rips Niese’s 90th pitch into left field for a base hit. This might be his last inning of work. No activity as of now in the bullpen.
Great play there by Omar Quintanilla and good turn by Murph. Freese beat the throw though.
Davis hit that ball very well, but Citi Field is still too big.
It’s been announced in the press box that Dillon Gee will start tomorrow afternoon’s game for the Mets
No-Han t-shirts are available in the Mets team store. The drawback: $32. Wow, $32 for a t-shirt. The best way to have those prices drop is for another Met starter to throw a perfect game.
Five scoreless innings from Mr. Niese. It’s just been one great pitching performance after another. Keep in mind it’s not like the Mets pitchers are blanking the Astros (despite the Astros sweeping the Mets earlier this season). The Cardinals have one of the top offenses in the NL even without Albert Pujols.
Collins comes out to talk to Niese. That was weird. He just set a career high in strikeouts with nine.
If Niese continues this pace, the Mets bullpen will go four full days (including last Thursday’s off day) without much work. Even if Niese gets through seven, that would only be two innings. Is this good or bad for the pen? What do you think?
Yes, the bullpen hasn’t been great, but the only way for them to regain confidence is by getting on that mound and getting the job done.
David Wright before popping out to end the bottom of the fourth.
Cards trainers and coaches out to tend to Westbrook. He might have a sore neck after giving up that bomb.
Captain Kirk goes blastoff! He needed that shot. No. 3 on the season. And that was on an 0-2 pitch. Mets 3, Cardinals 0.
Jon Niese is 2-for-2. That ties Niese’s career high in hits in a game. Last time: September 2010 in Chicago.
We got a pitcher’s duel brewing here at Citi.
Gotta love Brooklyn boy Johnny Franco!
GOT HIM! And the streak continues!
Big Niese strikeout. Now must get out Westbrook.
Ike was off the base on that one. Same umpire (Adrian Johnson) who blew the Beltran fair or foul call. But he got this one right. Ike must have saw the runner crossing and came off early. Scoreless inning streak in serious jeopardy.
Not known for his speed, that was actually Molina’s fifth steal of the season.
Every time up, Yadier Molina is berated with a chorus of boo’s. Lines a single to left. The guy can flat out play.
It’s amazing how a guy like David Freese can go from being a relative unknown to a household name in a matter of games. Play well during the postseason and that’s what happens. Niese fans him here though.
John’s son J.J. Franco presented his father with his Hall of Fame plaque. J.J. was drafted by the Mets, but instead chose to attend Brown University on a baseball scholarship. He’s a second baseman.
Not necessarily boo’s for Ike Davis. But fans are very apathetic towards him.
This team may not score a lot of runs, but remember that pitching and defense win championships.
Beltran goes down swinging. Niese is through three without surrendering a run. Scoreless streak at 21.
Carlos Beltran started off the weekend getting applause, but now it’s mostly boo’s.
The members of the Mets Hall of Fame as well as Franco’s special guests.
ESPN just showed the clips of Terry Collins during Santana’s no-hitter. Nice!
Back-to-back hits with one out. Now up Torres who socked a double last time up.
Nice at-bat there from Niese. Fouled off some tough pitches and lined a single past Furcal.
Al Leiter was one of Franco’s former teammates on hand for the festivities. Leiter had great things to say about Franco and said everyone listened to the reliever when he was the captain.
Niese looking pretty good so far. Records a strikeout to retire the side. Keeps scoreless inning streak alive.
Photos from the ceremony
Niese just took a broken bat to the body. Appears fine.
The Department of Sanitation pep band performed before the ceremony. Franco’s dad of course was in the NYC Dept. of Sanitation, and that’s why Franco always wore the orange shirt under his uniform. He got a little emotional talking about it, but he thanked his dad for teaching him how to play the game.
Can’t leave the bases loaded with one out. Anyway, I will intersperse the live coverage with a recap of the John Franco Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was very well done.
Ike has to put the ball in play there. The slump continues. He looked good today in bp, but it has to translate into the game.
Murph delivers a single. Mets can break it open right here. Ike Davis can really break out of a slump in a big way with a clutch hit. A grand slam would be great, but a single would do.
Cards starter Jake Westbrook has induced eight double play grounders. He’s hoping for one here. But Murph may have different plans…
Duda comes through. Mets 1, Cardinals 0.
Nationals lost today so the Mets can pull into a tie for first place with a win. Get it started DUDA!
Mets have a .264 BA with runners in scoring position–third best in the NL.
Nice double from Andres Torres. Now let’s get him around.
I’m back and the Mets and Jon Niese are through the top of the first.
I’m heading down to the field to get a good spot for the John Franco ceremony. Be bacl later. Look for me behind home plate.
The tarp is coming off the field! There will be baseball tonight in Queens!
A few reporters were gathering outside the clubhouse, and HBO comedian Bill Maher was there wearing a Mets hat. He was mainly hanging out with Jeff Wilpon.
One of the other reporters noted that Maher recently purchased a minority share of the Mets and is now a partial owner. He said he’s been a Mets fan since he was young.
His first memory of the Mets was when his dad was reading the paper in 1961 and said that National League baseball was heading back to New York.
Maher said the purchase is a good investment, but he cannot disclose any terms of the agreement.
He said his role will simply to bring luck to the team. “Let’s be honest. They did not have a no-hitter for 50 years. I buy in and I come to town, and there’s a no-hitter. Draw your own conclusions.”
R.A. Dickey spoke with reporters after his stellar performance from yesterday.
He said he’s open to pitching on short rest for his next start. “If it helps Johan (Santana) get an extra day of rest, so be it.”
He said he can measure how well he thinks he can perform on a given day based on his bullpen session.
“If I am given the ball on short rest, you have to treat me like it’s my normal day,” Dickey said. “I don’t want to get cheated.”
In typical Dickey lexicon, he said that “prudence will be measured in retrospect” when handling the issue of an extra day. “If we end up winning a game and it goes well, then it was prudent.”
Check out Josh Thole taking some reps at first base.
John Franco is currently working for the Mets, and he’s enjoying what he’s doing.
He commented that a no-hitter can rejuvenate a franchise. “You want to go out there, and Jonathon (Niese) probably wants to go out there and keep that scoreless innings streak going. Hopefully he does.”
Franco said that this current team needs to be consistent, and they could do something special.
Pre-game interviews just concluded. The tarp is actually on the field right now, but the sun is shining here in Flushing.
There are a couple of key new developments surrounding the team, and I will try to highlight those before I head down to the field for the John Franco Hall of Fame ceremony.
About the Author: Jim Mancari
Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He recently earned a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Click my name to view my personal website.
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