Mets Merized Online Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:26:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Duda Was Scratched Due To Soreness Thu, 29 Sep 2016 01:26:06 +0000 MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

First baseman Lucas Duda was a late scratch from Wednesday’s lineup due to soreness, according to a report by Marc Carig of Newsday. He was replaced at first base by James Loney.

Duda, 30, missed four months of the season with a stress fracture in his back and has been eased back slowly since rejoining the team.

He had a bases clearing double on Tuesday and has gone 5-for-15 with four doubles and four walks since returning from the disabled list.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Marlins, 7:10 PM Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:38:50 +0000 seth lugo 2

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 • 7:10 p.m.
Marlins Park • Miami, FL
RHP Seth Lugo (4-2, 2.61) vs. RHP José Ureña (4-8, 5.95)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM


Last night’s win was punctuated by a positive offensive performance, including a homer from Jay Bruce, a monster shot from Cespedes, and a bases clearing double for Duda. Both the Giants and the Cardinals won last night so the race remains tight.

On August 19, the Mets were 60-62 and stood 5.5 games out of the first Wild Card behind four teams. That day, Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera returned from the Disabled List. The team has gone 24-12 since and leads Wild Card race.

Mets Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes – 3B
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
  4. Curtis Granderson – CF
  5. Jay Bruce – RF
  6. T.J. Rivera – 2B
  7. Lucas Duda – 1B
  8. Rene Rivera – C
  9. Seth Lugo – RHP

Marlins Lineup 

  1. Dee Gordon – 2B
  2. Marcell Ozuna – LF
  3. Martin Prado – 3B
  4. Christian Yelich – CF
  5. Giancarlo Stanton – RF
  6. Justin Bour – 1B
  7. Jeff Mathis – C
  8. Adeiny Hechavarria – SS
  9. Jose Urena – RHP

Seth Lugo gets the nod for the Amazin’s. He is 4-2 this season over 16 games, 7 starts, over 58.2 innings with a 2.61 ERA. He’s coming off of his first start allowing 3 ER since August 19th. In his last start against the Marlins, he allowed 2 ER over 6.0 innings. The Marlins have the following numbers against Lugo:

  • Ozuna 0-2
  • Prado 2-4, 2B
  • Realmuto 1-4
  • Yelich 1-4, HR
  • Gordon 1-3, 2B
  • Hechavarria 1-2
  • Scruggs 1-3

Jose Urena is 4-8 over 27 games and 11 starts pitching 78.2 innings with a 5.95 ERA. His last two starts have been rough allowing 12 ER over 5.0 innings (coming after 8.2 innings of shutout baseball against the Dodgers). His two starts against the Mets this year have been good, holding the Mets to 2 ER over 12.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Jose:

  • Granderson 1-7
  • K Johnson 0-6
  • Loney 0-5
  • Reyes 3-6, 3B
  • Conforto 3-4, 2B
  • Cespedes 0-4
  • Flores 1-4, HR
  • Bruce 1-3, HR

Let’s Go Mets!

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Tebow Homers on First Pro Pitch Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:32:40 +0000 tim-tebow

On the first ever pitch (91 MPH fastball) Tim Tebow saw in a professional game, he hit a solo home run off St. Louis Cardinals prospect John Kilichowski.


The left-handed Kilichowski was the Cardinals’ 2016 11th round pick out of Vanderbilt. He made nine starts and two relief appearances this year between the Midwest League and the New York-Penn League.

Overall, Kilichowski was 2-4 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. It should be noted that in his short minor league career, lefties were hitting .438 off Kilichowski.

In Tebow’s following two at-bats, he grounded into a double play and grounded out to the shortstop. So far, he is 1-4 on the day while playing left field.

On Monday, Tebow took all his teammates out to dinner, and then a movie on Tuesday after their workout.

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Colon Dealing With a Tendon Injury in Foot Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:43:28 +0000 bartolo-colon-2

With Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz all needing season ending surgery, Zack Wheeler needing to be shut down after a number of setbacks during his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery, and Noah Syndergaard dealing with bone spurs in his elbow, everyone has joked about how it was the 43 year old Bartolo Colon who has made it through the season healthy.  Well, the joke is now on Mets fans.

After Colon’s terrible poor 2.1 inning seven earned outing against the Marlins on Monday, Terry Collins announced that Colon has been dealing with a tendon issue in his right foot, which is the foot he pushes off of when he pitches on the mound.  Collins said Colon suffered the injury within the past two weeks while he was running the bases.

Based on Collins’ timeline, the injury most likely occurred during the September 10th game against the Braves. In that game, Colon grounded into two double plays and was lifted after six innings despite only having thrown 87 pitches. The last time Colon was actually a baserunner was in the August 26th game against the Phillies where he was 2-3 at the plate with a double scoring two runs.

Beginning with Colon’s start immediately after the August 26th start until the start prior to the one against the Marlins, Colon was 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA and a 0.888 WHIP while averaging over 6.1 innings per start.  If the tendon has been affecting him, it seems his last start against the Marlins was the first time it had an impact on his performance.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise the Mets announced Colon will be able to pitch this Saturday against the Phillies.

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Explaining Fernando Salas’ Dominance Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:48:54 +0000 addison reed

Last season, on the eve of September, Sandy Alderson went out and obtained Addison Reed from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Up until that point in the season, Reed was having a poor year that included a demotion to AAA. In his 38 appearances with the Diamondbacks, he was 2-2 with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP while only striking out 7.5 batters per nine innings.

When Reed joined the Mets, he became a much different pitcher. In his 17 September appearances, he was 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA, a 1.043 WHIP, and a 10.0 K/9. With that, Reed locked down the seventh inning on a Mets team and bullpen that would go all the way to the World Series.

Fernando Salas could be this year’s version of Addison Reed.

Like Reed, Alderson went out and got Salas right before the waiver trade deadline. Similar to Reed, Alderson pounced on a reliever with a good track record, had some closing experience, and was having a down year.

In Salas’ 58 appearances with the Angels, he was 3-6 with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.260 WHIP. Now, he had been pitching better in August, but he still had a 3.48 ERA for the month. That’s a nice reliever to have, but that’s not the lockdown seventh inning reliever a team with World Series aspirations needs.

Well, like Reed the year before, Salas has become a better pitcher with the Mets. In his 14 appearances with the Mets, Salas has a sterling 1.88 ERA and a 0.628 WHIP. He has gone from striking out 7.2 batters per nine innings to striking out 9.4 batters per nine innings with the Mets. Salas is maintaining this high level with the Mets despite his throwing the fifth most innings in all of baseball in the month of September.

What is interesting about Salas’ turnaround is that his stuff hasn’t changed all that much from the Angels to the Mets. He is getting slightly more movement, but it’s not so appreciable that he would become a completely different pitcher. He still rarely uses his slider, and he uses his changeup as an out pitch. Looking at these numbers, you would expect a regression. However, there is something different Salas is doing that is not indicated here that gives you hope this tremendous stretch is for real. He’s throwing strikes.

Salas went from walking 3.0 batters per nine innings this year with the Angels to not walking anyone with the Mets. The reason is Salas is throwing more strikes. He’s getting into the games, establishing his fastball quickly, and he is pounding the zone.

travis darnaud 2

A large part of this is Salas making a concerted effort to throw more strikes. Another part of the reason is the difference between the Mets catchers and the Angels catchers. Again, Travis d’Arnaud has shown himself to be one of the better pitch framers in all of baseball. Rene Rivera is also having a better season in that respect than he has had in year’s past.

As for the Angels catchers Carlos Perez and Jeff Bandy, they have not been good pitch framers at all this season. The difference between the two sets of catchers is a big one. It is the difference between falling behind early in the count allowing you to set up a batter for a strikeout to trying to get a pitch over so you don’t issue a free pass. It is the difference between a called strike three and a batter getting a free pass.

Overall, Salas has been the beneficiary of the Mets catchers exceptional pitch framing. The Mets have been the beneficiaries of Salas’ pitching. With him, the Mets have a pitcher that has allowed them to ease off the overworked Reed and Jeurys Familia down the stretch. With him, the Mets have a terrific 7-8-9 trio to close out important games.

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Syndergaard Pitched Like an Ace Tuesday Night Wed, 28 Sep 2016 12:30:38 +0000 noah-syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard returned to the Mets rotation Tuesday night and pitched like an ace, helping lead the Mets to a 12-1 rout of the Miami Marlins.

Syndergaard pitched six innings Tuesday while allowing just one run on five hits while walking none and striking out eight.

“I’m always looking forward to the big games, the great atmosphere,” Syndergaard said. “A lot of pressure, I feel like I thrive in those kind of scenarios.” (NY Post)

Thor improved his record to 14-9 on the season as his ERA stands at 2.60 with a WHIP of 1.15. Manager, Terry Collins advised after Tuesday’s win that his ace is still slated to pitch in Sunday’s regular season finale as of now.

“He is still going to pitch the last game [Sunday] right now, and if we need it he’s the guy,” Collins said. “I’m feeling really confident the way he threw tonight that if we need that game he will give us a good one.”

Original Report – Sep 28

As we enter the final five games of the New York Mets regular season, Noah Syndergaard will return Tuesday to get the team back on track in the Wild Card race.

Syndergaard missed his previous start due to a battle with strep throat this past weekend. He has also been said to be dealing with a bone spur throughout the season.

Overall on the season, Thor has been great, pitching to a 13-9 record with an ERA of 2.63 ERA and a WHIP of 1.16. He has accumulated 210 strikeouts in 177.2 innings pitched, dominating opposing batters.

He will currently be lined up to pitch in the final game of the season in Philadelphia on Sunday. However, in the event the Mets clinch a playoff spot before that, Terry Collins said Monday that Syndergaard will be skipped this weekend so he can start the Wild Card game on Oct. 5.

In other words, the only way Syndergaard starts Sunday is if the Mets season is still on the line or if home field advantage was still at stake, though nothing is etched in stone.

“I don’t know,” Terry Collins said. “That’s legitimately a real good question. As I said, you’ve got to get in first, and right now if we get in, we’ll figure out something else.”

It all starts with Tuesday, an important game for a team who cannot afford to lost consecutive games. They luckily got help from Cincinnati Monday night, as they obliterated the Cardinals by a score of 15-2.

Syndergaard must put forth a quality start as Bartolo Colon had a rough night on the mound Monday, pitching just 2.1 innings. All eyes will be on Noah tonight as the Mets control their own destiny with just five games to play.

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Mets Minors Breakout Player of the Year: Thomas Szapucki Wed, 28 Sep 2016 12:05:00 +0000 Photo: Allen Greene, Kingsport Mets

Photo: Allen Greene, Kingsport Mets

Here at MMO/MMN, we have selected Thomas Szapucki as the 2016 breakout player of the year. We had already chosen David Roseboom our Reliever of the Year and Amed Rosario as Player of the Year.

Thomas Szapucki was born in New Jersey but his family moved down to Florida when he was young. He graduated from William Dwyer HS in West Palm Beach, FL. His senior year season, he went 5-2  with a 0.78 ERA across 53.1 IP with 89 K’s.

These numbers along with impressive stuff, got him drafted in the 5th round of 2015 draft. After putting up poor numbers last year in his first pro season(15.43 ERA in 2.1 IP) in a very small sample size, Szapucki wasn’t on many radar screens coming into the 2016 campaign.

This year, he was simply lights out across two levels, playing for the Kingsport Mets and the Brooklyn Cyclones. He started the season with the Kingsport Mets and instantly became the team’s ace. Szapucki was able to miss a lot of bats this year with his fastball sitting in the mid 90’s and a slider with great movement. With Kingsport, he had a 0.62 ERA across 29 IP with 47 K’s while allowing only 16 hits. As a result, the young lefty lefty was named the Mets Sterling Award winner for the Kingsport Mets.

After conquering the Appalachian League, he was promoted to Brooklyn where he continued to perform well. He had an ERA of 2.35 across 23 IP with 39 K’s. His ability to strikeout batters this year was nothing short of phenomenal. Across both leagues Szapucki was 4-3 with a 1.38 ERA across 52 IP with 86 K’s, a WHIP of 0.88 and held opponents to a .145 average between the Cyclones and the Kingsport Mets.

He had five games with double digit strikeouts including his last three starts of the year for the Cyclones which set a new team record. His season was so impressive, he had other teams asking about him at the trade deadline. Unfortunately, his season was cut short in mid-August due to severe back stiffness. The organization decided to take a cautious approach with the young flamethrower.

Photo: Ed Delany

Photo: Ed Delany

It was not an easy decision to select Szapucki as other players in the system also had breakout seasons. With that in mind, we have selected Tomas Nido as honorable mention. After struggling at the plate for most of his minor league career, Nido turned things around this year setting career highs in hits and home runs. He also set a career low in K percentage with 11.9%, a drop-off of from last year’s 25.7%.

The Florida State League, which he led in batting average, is notoriously known for being tough on hitters due to many of the deep baseball parks, as well as the competition from college players, who were selected in the top rounds.

Tomas Nido finished the year batting .320 with seven home runs, 46 RBI, and a OPS of .816. One thing that people never questioned about Nido was his defense, something he has prided himself on since Day 1. He continued his great defense behind the dish wielding a .987 fielding percentage and he threw out over 40% base runners attempting to steal a base.

This impressive season netted him the Mets Sterling Award for the St. Lucie Mets and the FSL batting title. Nido was drafted in the 8th round of 2012 draft out of Orangewood Christian School in Florida. As a result, he will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter and the Mets would be prudent to add this guy to the 40-man roster.

Other names discussed were Binghamton Mets infielder Phillip Evans, GCL Mets catcher/first baseman Carlos Sanchez and right-handed starter Andrew Church.

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Bruce and Duda Make Presence Felt with Big Nights Wed, 28 Sep 2016 11:00:10 +0000 jay bruce

Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda put together great nights at the plate in Tuesday’s 12-1 victory over Miami, as both look to be back in a big way.

With just four games left in the regular season, Bruce and Duda flexed some muscle Tuesday night. Bruce was 2-for-5 on the night with a game changing two-run bomb and two RBI.

“I think we got back to business as usual a little bit,” Bruce said. (Newsday)

Bruce has started to show signs of coming around, and is looking more like the player the team believed they were trading for. Over his last seven games, he has hit to a .316/.316/.684 slash line with two homers and three RBI. It could not be a better time for him to come up big.

As Bruce comes around, the return of Duda has shown some immediate impact to the lineup. Lucas was 2-for-3 on the night with a bases clearing three-run double and two walks.

“It’s nice to contribute and I’m glad we’re winning,” Duda said. “I think the more that I play, the more comfortable I get.”

Since his return from the Disabled List on September 18, Duda has hit to a .333/.474/.467 slash line with four RBI. He has looked good at the plate so far, lengthening an already strong lineup.

With Tuesday’s win, the Mets kept their Wild Card lead of a half game over San Francisco and a one and a half game lead over St. Louis. The Cardinals and Giants both kept pace with the Mets Tuesday night with respective victories.

The season continues to tick down with just four games remaining for the Mets as their magic number falls to four as well.

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Mets Bounce Back To Rock Fish 12-1 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 02:32:33 +0000 noah-syndergaard

After an emotional evening last night, the Mets (84-74) bounced back to defeat the Miami Marlins (78-79) by a score of 12-1 tonight at Marlins Park. The Cardinals are winning against the Reds tonight, and the Giants just started so we will have to wait for the wild card standings later on tonight.


Noah Syndergaard returned from strep throat tonight to face the Marlins, and pitched well, firing six innings of one run ball, scattering five hits and struck out eight. Syndergaard improves to 14-9 on the season with a 2.60 ERA.

Fernando Salas pitched a lock down seventh, and Addison Reed pitched a clean eighth as a bridge to Jeurys Familia.

Familia came on with an 11 run lead, and sealed the win for the Amazin’s.



The Mets touched the Marlins up for 12 runs on 19 hits tonight in Miami. Seven different Mets had at least two hits tonight.

After the Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the first, Jay Bruce put the Mets in front, launching a two-run shot to right.

Yoenis Cespedes then doubled the score, launching his 31st homer of the year. 4-1 Mets.

In the eighth, the Mets blew the doors off the game, scoring five runs, three of which came on a base clearing double from Lucas Duda.

Just for good measure, the Mets put up a three spot in the ninth to make it 12-1.

Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson each had three RBI.

The Mets Magic Number to make the postseason is now four.


On deck:

Seth Lugo (4-2, 2.61 ERA) takes on Jose Urena (4-8, 5.95 ERA) for the rubber game tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

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MMO Game Thread: Mets vs Marlins, 7:10 PM Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:39:04 +0000 noah syndergaard

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 • 7:10 p.m.
Marlins Park • Miami, FL
RHP Noah Syndergaard (13-9, 2.63) vs. RHP Tom Koehler (9-12, 4.02)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

Last night was extremely emotional night for the Marlins as the Marlins were all introduced as #16 and both teams went out of the dugout for a moment of silence. The Marlins left a spot open for Fernandez and then signed the base of the mound. Then Dee Gordon took a pitch wearing Fernandez’s before going knocking a homer out of the park and breaking down rounding the bases. The Marlins ended the night back on the mound leaving their hats. The Cardinals lost as well and the Giants didn’t play so for the most part the Wild Card Race took a night off, as it should.

The Mets have won three of their last five games and are 14-8 in their last 22 contests. The Mets are 39-37 on the road this year and 10-5 in their last 15 road contests.

Noah Syndergaard enters tonight’s start with 210 strikeouts, the most by a Mets pitcher since R.A. Dickey struck out 230 batters in 2012. In two starts versus Miami this season, Syndergaard has struck out 21 batters in 14.0 innings of work.

Mets Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes – 3B
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
  4. Curtis Granderson – CF
  5. Jay Bruce – RF
  6. T.J. Rivera – 2B
  7. Lucas Duda – 1B
  8. Rene Rivera – C
  9. Noah Syndergaard – RHP

Marlins Lineup

  1. Dee Gordon – 2B
  2. Marcell Ozuna – LF
  3. Martin Prado – 3B
  4. Christian Yelich – CF
  5. Giancarlo Stanton – RF
  6. Justin Bour – 1B
  7. J.T. Realmuto – C
  8. Adeiny Hechavarria – SS
  9. Tom Koehler – RHP

Tonight Noah Syndergaard returns to the mound, missing a start due to strep throat over the weekend. On the season he is 13-9 over 30 games and 29 starts with 177.2 innings and 2.63 ERA. Syndergaard was on a great run of starts until his last start were he allowed 5 ER and 8 hits over 3.2 innings of work. He’s 1-0 over 2 starts against the Marlins this year allowing 3 ER over 14.0 innings. The Marlins have the following numbers against Thor:

  • Dietrich 3-7, 2B
  • Bour 2-6, 2B
  • Hechavarria 1-6
  • Ozuna 2-5, HR
  • Stanton 0-5
  • Yelich 2-6, 2B
  • Mathis 0-5

The Mets will face off with Tom Koehler tonight who is 9-12 over 31 starts and 170.0 innings with a 4.02 ERA. In his last three starts he’s 0-2over 14.0 innings allowing 10 runs, 9 earned. In his last start against the Mets he allowed 5 ER and 10 hits over 5.0 innings. The Mets have the following numbers against Koehler:

  • Duda 3-27, 2 2B
  • Granderson 7-29, 2 HR
  • Lagares 6-23, 3B
  • d’Arnaud 7-17, 2 2B, HR
  • Flores 6-18, 3 2B
  • Cespedes 6-17, 3 2B, 3B
  • Loney 3-12, 2B
  • Cabrera 5-10, 2 HR

Let’s Go Mets!

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Report: Matz To Undergo Elbow Surgery To Remove Bone Spurs Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:16:38 +0000 matz-degrom

Sources tell ESPN’s Adam Rubin that Steven Matz will have surgery to remove the bone spur in his pitching elbow.

No shoulder surgery will be required, although the impingement remains an issue that will be closely monitored. The Mets have estimated a three-month recovery time for the elbow surgery.

Obviously, his season is over.

Original Report – 11:00 AM

Manager Terry Collins all but made it official on Monday, telling reporters that LHP Steven Matz is “unlikely to pitch again this season” after visiting with team doctors in Manhattan.

Collins backpedaled a day after inferring the Long Island southpaw could pitch out of the bullpen this week, now saying that even if Matz does feel healthy enough to throw off a mound, it is unlikely he would contribute out of the bullpen.  ”I don’t think it’s fair to him or us to do it,” Collins said,

Matz, who last pitched on August 14, was 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts this season.

In addition to the shoulder impingement that has essentially wiped out the rest of his season, Matz has also pitched with a bone spur in his pitching elbow which will need surgery this winter.

There is still an outside chance that Matz could impress in the instructional league, and return to the Mets as a relief pitcher later in the postseason.

“If he pitches in some games in St. Lucie and shows that he’s got the command of his stuff, and it’s legitimate, then you’ve got to think about it,” Collins said. “But, that’s down the road.”

It’s a bit shocking that four of our Fab Five have all gone down with varying degrees of arm or shoulder injuries after we had such high expectations back in April. Only Noah Syndergaard remains as the one healthy option heading into the final two series of the regular season and a potential post season. Pitchers Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom have each undergone season ending surgery.

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Nats All Star Catcher Wilson Ramos Out For Season With Torn ACL Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:05:52 +0000 wilson-ramos

Update: It’s a torn ACL for Wilson Ramos. He’s done for at least 6 months.

Over the past two weeks, the Washington Nationals have suffered a number of injuries to some of their core players, capped off by the potential loss of all-star catcher Wilson Ramos, who appeared to injure his right knee badly on Monday night.

The Nats await the results of an MRI but fear this could be a serious ACL or MCL injury that will likely wipe out the rest of this season and postseason.

Ramos, 29, who had to be helped off the field by trainers, is batting .307/.354/.497 with 22 homers and 80 RBI for the Nats this season. His loss would be devastating for the team.

”There’s always a level of concern when you lose a guy of that caliber,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. ”But that’s why we have the depth that we have. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you. We’ve just got to next man up.”

The Nationals have already been without the services of second baseman Daniel Murphy for the last eight games, as he remains out with a strained glute muscle. And reigning MVP Bryce Harper injured his thumb on an awkward head-first slide on Sunday. The Nats held their collective breaths until they learned Harper’s thumb was not broken.

The Nationals are playing it safe with them but both are expected to rejoin the lineup as soon as tonight.

“Murphy and Harper look like they are going to be okay for the playoffs. But Willie is a tough man to replace,” said Jayson Werth on Monday. “I hate that expression ‘snake bit,’ but that’s how it feels.”

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Marlins Agree To Three-Year Deal With Martin Prado Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:17:40 +0000 martin-prado

Clark Spenser of the Miami Herald reports that the Miami Marlins and third baseman Martin Prado have reached agreement on a three-year contract extension, according to several of his sources. The deal will reportedly pay Prado $40 million through 2019.

Prado, 32, is hitting .305/.360/.415 this season with 37 doubles, seven homers, 73 RBI and 68 runs scored. He has a 3.6 WAR and 112 OPS+ and set to be a free agent this offseason.

The Marlins acquired Prado and pitcher David Phelps in a 2014 deal with the Yankees in which they gave up Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and Domingo German.

An already weak free agent class for position players gets a little bit weaker with Prado off the market.

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That Smile Tue, 27 Sep 2016 16:25:29 +0000 jose-fernandez-3

I was sitting on a bus with 25 of my teammates. The young men who form the Ithaca College baseball team were on their way to Binghamton University to play our only scrimmage of the fall season. Joking around, talking about classes, playing music as usual… Until a voice cut through the exuberance like a hot knife through butter.

“Holy shit, Jose Fernandez died…”

I did not know which of my teammates uttered those words. I frantically opened Twitter on my phone, hoping it wouldn’t be true. A few taps later, my screen was filled with innumerable eulogies in 140 characters or less. That character limit was ironic, as they were used to describe someone whose unquantifiable character permeated Major League Baseball and its fans.

I am a 22 year-old pitcher. I love and respect the game of baseball and what it represents more than anything. At this moment, it has been just over two months since my second ACL reconstruction surgery in as many years. People ask me why I don’t just give up playing baseball altogether? If Jose Fernandez had known me, he would not have needed to ask me that question.

While I can’t throw 98 mph fastballs past major league hitters, there is one thing in particular that Mr. Fernandez and I share: An undeniable, unfaltering, wholehearted love for the game of baseball.

In an era of professional baseball so driven by money, Jose reminded us all that even at baseball’s very highest level of competition, it is still just baseball. A game that has stood the test of time, and is seen reflecting in the glossy eyes of aspiring players such as myself. A game played by tens of thousands of boys and girls of all ages across the world – A game.

As we sat on the bus traveling to play our game Sunday, we did our best to understand and soak in this terrible news. Our team is comprised of young Mets fans, Yankee fans, Red Sox fans, even some Orioles fans, all of whom loved Jose Fernandez, because he wasn’t just a Marlin. To me, a Mets fan, he wasn’t just the ace of a rival team. He was a man. He was his smile. He was his knee-buckling slider, his hugs in the dugout when he left a game. He transcended the definition of a pitcher, and he transcended the expectations of a baseball player.

This is just another reminder of how fragile life is. How one day I can be fooling a batter with a curveball, and the next day, well, who knows? When most people pass away, a message of “live life to the fullest” is spread. In this case, I want to heed that message, as well as take it a step further:

Enjoy baseball to the fullest, as Jose Fernandez did. It didn’t matter that he played for the Marlins, all that mattered to him was that he played. If you’re watching a game, remember that while you may be a Red Sox fan rooting against the Yankees or a Mets fan rooting against the Cardinals, you are watching baseball. Enjoy the game, no matter what the score is, or who is playing.

To love baseball is to love Jose Fernandez. The Marlins will retire #16, and rightfully so. He must be remembered by everyone. Not only for his outstanding statistics, but for who he was, and how he played baseball: The right way.

My thoughts are with the Fernandez family, his friends, his teammates, and everyone whose heart sank upon hearing the news of his untimely death. It will take a lot to mend this wound, but the 108 stitches on a baseball should be a good start.

Rest in peace, Jose. I will always look up to you as a pitcher, as a baseball player, and as a person.

Follow me on Twitter @LBarer32



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Monday Night, Everyone Was A Marlins Fan Tue, 27 Sep 2016 12:30:34 +0000 marlins-caps-mound

“There’s no crying in baseball.” Is a motto that was tossed out the window Monday night in Miami.

When Jose Fernandez died in a horrific boat accident during the early hours of Sunday, the news rocked the baseball world.

How could someone with that much lust for the game of baseball – and life in general – be gone in such a tragedy?

Fernandez was larger than life, and when I received the notification from Twitter Sunday morning reporting what happened, my stomach was in knots and has been since.

The Mets had the undesirable task of having to open up a series in Miami Monday, in what would be the first game in a post Jose Fernandez era of Marlins baseball.

The Marlins paid homage to Fernandez with a pregame ceremony, followed by the two teams embracing each other on the field.

The Marlins all wore Fernandez’s jersey throughout the game with the number 16, a number that will be retired in honor of Miami’s young star.


Dee Gordon stepped into the dish batting right-handed to lead off the game and replicated Fernandez’s batting stance.

Gordon took a ball, switched to batting left-handed, and clubbed a home run over the right field fence.

Gordon jogged around the bases with a face full of tears, then embraced his teammates in the dugout in what was truly a heart wrenching experience.

“I was crying too. I had my head down, and when he was coming to home plate, tears were coming down his face and they were coming down mine too.” Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “I’m pretty sure the whole world felt that emotion.”

It doesn’t matter what team you root for on a daily basis. Monday night, everyone was a Miami Marlins fan.

That includes Mets fans who saw their team drop the first game of a three-game series to the Fish 7-3 during a tight wild card race.

It didn’t matter. Monday night, all eyes were on the field, not the scorecard.

The Marlins sealed the win, and just like they had done pregame, the team circled the mound where their all-star pitcher had tossed countless innings and wrapped their arms around each other.

Gone too soon, but never forgotten. You will be sorely missed, Jose Fernandez.


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Mets Magic Number Falls to 5 with Cardinals Loss Tue, 27 Sep 2016 11:00:44 +0000 bartolo-colon-3

The New York Mets fell to the Miami Marlins on Monday night by a score of 7-3 in one of the most emotional games you may have witnessed. Following the passing of star pitcher, Jose Fernandez, Miami began their healing process with last night’s game.

A night that included beautiful tributes to their ace, including an unbelievable lead-off home run from Dee Gordon. Players embraced prior to the game, with many struggling to play through the pain they felt inside. Manager, Terry Collins talked about the atmosphere of the game.

“It was a tough game to play,” Collins said. “The whole atmosphere was not baseball that we’re used to playing, especially here. I’m glad it’s over.” (NY Post)

With the Mets falling to the Marlins, the Giants now trail New York by a half game in the Wild Card race. San Francisco had their final day off of the season on Monday night. The Giants open up a series tonight at home against Colorado.

The St. Louis Cardinals though did have a game last night and were trounced by the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds defeated the Cards handily by a score of 15-2. With that loss, the Mets stay a game and a half ahead of St. Louis.

The Mets will look to get back on track tonight with RHP Noah Syndergaard (13-9, 2.63 ERA) making his return to the rotation. Thor will be opposed by Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (9-12, 4.02 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM ET.

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Mets Fall 7-3 To Marlins In Emotional Contest Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:12:06 +0000 dee-gordon-travis-darnaud

With all eyes on the game and few eyes on the score, the New York Mets (83-74) fell 7-3 to the Miami Marlins (78-78) on Monday night in South Beach. With the Giants off and the Cardinals losing to Cincinnati, the Mets lead San Francisco by half a game and St Louis by one game in the NL Wild Card race.

The night began with a pregame ceremony to honor late Marlins superstar José Fernandez, after which the two teams spontaneously embraced each other in the infield. Every Marlins player wore Fernandez’s jersey throughout the game.

Dee Gordon led off the bottom of the first for Miami, wearing Fernandez’s helmet and initially batting from the right side to honor his fallen best friend. After switching to his natural left side of the plate, Gordon drove a 2-0 pitch from Bartolo Colon over the wall for his first home run of the season, breaking down as he rounded the bases and embracing his teammates and coaches upon reaching the dugout.

The Marlins controlled the game from there, scoring four more runs in the 2nd inning and two in the 3rd to chase Bartolo early.


The Mets bullpen provided 5.2 scoreless innings in relief of Colon, with Gabriel Ynoa (1.2 innings), Rafael Montero (1), Erik Goeddel (1.2), Josh Edgin (0.1) and Jim Henderson (1) keeping the game within reason. New York scored two in the fifth on an Asdrubal Cabrera double that made it 7-2, but left the bases loaded in the sixth and managed only an RBI single from Lucas Duda the rest of the way, as Adam Conley (who pitched just three innings) and the Marlins bullpen held strong to finish off the 7-3 win.

The Mets need wins down the stretch, but it was hard to watch this game with that in mind.

Up Next: Noah Syndergaard will face Tom Koehler when the Mets face Miami on Tuesday at 7:10 in Miami.


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Monday, September 26, 2016 • 7:10 p.m.
Marlins Park • Miami, FL
RHP Bartolo Colon (14-7, 3.12) vs. LHP Adam Conley (8-6, 3.94)
SNY • WOR 710 AM • ESPN 1050 AM

The Mets beat the Phillies by an almost incomprehensible 17-0 as the Giants and Cardinals both lost. The Mets look to close in on the Wild Card as they start their last 6 games of the season.

Tonight will be an incredibly tough game in Miami. As you have undoubtedly heard by now, early Sunday morning, phenom pitcher Jose Fernandez passed away in a tragic boating accident. Jose Fernandez transcended pitching and baseball as an ambassador for the sport and demonstrating that baseball is supposed to be fun. His untimely passing has hit the baseball world hard.


The Miami Marlins will all wear No. 16 jerseys during tonight’s game in honor of pitcher Jose Fernandez.

Mets Lineup

  1. Jose Reyes – 3B
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – LF
  4. Curtis Granderson – CF
  5. T.J. Rivera – 2B
  6. Jay Bruce – RF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud – C
  8. Eric Campbell – 1B
  9. Bartolo Colon – RHP

Marlins Lineup

  1. Dee Gordon – 2B
  2. Marcell Ozuna – LF
  3. Martin Prado – 3B
  4. Christian Yelich – CF
  5. Giancarlo Stanton – RF
  6. Justin Bour – 1B
  7. J.T. Realmuto – C
  8. Adeiny Hechavarria – SS
  9. Adam Conley – LHP

Bartolo Colon will be on the mound for the Mets. He is 14-7 over 32 games and 31 starts with 184.1 innings of work and a 3.12 ERA. In the month of September he has made 4 starts and is 2-0 pitching 25.2 innings with a 1.75 ERA. In his last start against the Marlins, he held them to 2 runs, 1 earned, over 7.0 innings of work. The Marlins have the following numbers against Colon:

  • Cabrera 1-17, 2B
  • Granderson 4-13, 2 HR
  • De Aza 2-11, 2B
  • K Johnson 2-13, 3B
  • Reyes 5-12
  • Rivera 2-5, 2B, HR
  • Bruce 1-5, HR
  • Cespedes 2-3, 2B

Let’s Go Mets!


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Decisions, Decisions: Home Field and the Manic Magic Number Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:49:03 +0000 magicnumber

Terry Collins and his staff may have some interesting decisions to make this weekend regarding his pitching staff and how it sets up for a potential Wild Card Game next Wednesday night.   A lot has to do with the two team wildcard format, tie breaking procedures and how a magic number is calculated.

An important facet in this situation to understand is that a magic number, by definition, pertains to only two teams.  Therefore, the Mets have one magic number against the Giants (currently 5), and a completely separate one against the St. Louis Cardinals (currently 6).  After all, it is in essence, the combination of wins by the leading team and losses by the trailing team that make catching the leader mathematically impossible.  Many fans, tweeters, and intelligent folks are having issues understanding how any of this works in a three team field for two spots.  You are not alone, as the format can get a bit confusing.

How Come the Mets are Further Ahead of the Giants than the Cardinals?

Let’s look at the standings as they currently exist.  The Mets are one full game ahead of the Giants with both teams having six remaining games.  If the Mets go 3-3 on their final road trip, it would make sense to expect the Giants to tie the Mets with a 4-2 record, making up the necessary game and forcing some type of home field playoff.  Well, this is not the case with the two wildcard team format.  Teams that finish with the same record for the top spot (not the final spot, which will be addressed later) will default to head to head season series, which the Mets hold a 4-3 edge on.  In other words, that is tantamount to the Mets having a current two game advantage on the Giants.  The Giants would have to OVERTAKE the Mets in the standings, not just tie them.  So, in the above example, the Mets 3-3 record would task the Giants to have to go 5-1 to overtake the Mets in the Wildcard standings. Any combination of five Mets wins and Giants losses would secure home field for the Mets a Wild Card match-up against the Giants.

The above scenario is solely for the Mets Giants race for the top Wild Card spot.  The St. Louis Cardinals won the season series against the Mets.  As a result, they only have to draw even with the Mets in order to overtake them in the standings, again defaulting to the in season record between the two clubs.  As it currently stands, the Red Birds are 1.5 games back of the Mets for the Wildcard lead with seven games left to play.  The ‘extra game’ will be played Thursday, while the Mets are off.  As a result of the extra game to be played and the Cardinals holding the edge in the season series, the Mets magic number against this club is 6, or higher than the team that is ahead of them (The Giants) in the standings.  If the Cardinals go 3-4 in their final week, the Mets would need to go 3-3 to maintain their lead against them.  Anything less would give the Cardinals home field in any head to head match-up between the clubs if they are the two to qualify and the Giants go home.


How Could This Impact the Mets Rotation in Their Final Turn?

If you told me in April I would be writing about Noah Syndergaard‘s strep throat and how it will impact home-field advantage in a Wild Card game, I would have laughed.  But after this season, it is impossible to take anything off the table with this team.

Noah was bumped from his start this past weekend due to his illness.  As a result, he is no longer lined up to pitch on Wednesday October 5th, the NL Wild Card Game.  In fact, being scheduled to pitch tomorrow, he is actually lined up to pitch on regular rest in the final game of the season in Philadelphia Sunday.  It would behoove the Mets to wrap up home-field by Saturday the latest, or they could be put in a precarious position before game 162.

If the Mets have clinched a wildcard berth by Sunday morning but have yet to secure home field, they will have to decide on whether or not to send Noah out on regular rest in order to get a home Wild Card ‘play-in’ game, or save him for a guaranteed post season start that may come on the road with their stud on extra rest.  Fans would rather see the game played in Flushing, but they would likely rather see Thor on the bump, regardless of where the game is.  Whats more? Colon is scheduled to pitch Saturday night in Philly, which would leave him on short rest the following Wednesday.

If the Mets postseason hopes come down to their final game, they would find themselves with neither Colon or Syndergaard on regular rest to pitch that play-in game.  The result? Allow Colon to pitch on three days rest, or, everyone’s consensus choice to pitch such a game in spring training, Robert Gsellman is your Wild Card game starter for the Mets.

The scenarios get much more murky if all three teams finish with the same record or a tie breaker game is necessary if two teams tie for the second Wild Card spot, which would lead to a Game 163, as non-competitive tie breaking procedures can not be utilized for a final playoff spot, but a head to head game.

How can this be avoided? Simple! The Mets Win the next six and make it all moot! Easy enough…

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A Tough Night Ahead As Mets and Marlins Mourn Jose Fernandez Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:15:49 +0000 fernandez-jersey

Sitting in Section 135, you get the opportunity to look into the Mets dugout.  While watching the game, I could only make out that the Mets had hung something up on the dugout wall.  As I would discover after the game, Yoenis Cespedes hung a Jose Fernandez Mets #16 jersey to honor his fellow countryman, defector, and baseball player:

His manager, Terry Collins was right there talking to his star while he hung something to honor a player who would die tragically at the age of 24.  It was just one of many Mets players who took time to express their grief over the loss on Twitter.

All over baseball, people mourned the loss of a unique talent and incredible young man that was gone too soon.  However, it was not just his talent that makes the loss that great.  After his death, you heard stories about how active he was in the community.  You saw how beloved he was by his teammates, competitors, and people who covered the game.  It was a rare sight to see Keith Hernandez break down as he did when he and Gary Cohen announced the news before the game.


Personally, I was left at a loss for words having heard all the stories of how he defected after multiple failed attempts and was thrown in a Cuban prison for a year at age 14. A year late, Fernandez jumped into those rough waters, and he used that strong right arm to save his mother’s life when she fell overboard. Upon hearing the news, many were left wondering where Fernandez’s savior was when that boat crashed.

As if this wasn’t tragic enough, there was learning the news that Fernandez was set to become a father.  Somewhere in Florida a child is going to be born that is never going to get to know their father.

With the shock and sudden loss, the Marlins cancelled yesterday’s game.  However, they will play tonight against the Mets.  They will play on a night that Fernandez was supposed to be taking the rubber against the veteran Bartolo Colon.

That’s the backdrop to tonight’s meeting between the Mets and the Marlins.  A once meaningful September game now seems devoid of its meaning without Fernandez.  On a night that he was supposed to don his number 16 jersey and take the mound, the Mets and Marlins are left hanging up his jersey in honor and remembrance of him.

“I know they’ll be very, very respectful,” Terry Collins explained. “This is one that hits you in the stomach. This kid’s 24 years old. He’s got a huge future ahead of him. His past is a story itself — how he got here, how he became successful, his love for the game, his love for Miami and the community, what he did down there for kids.”

“You can’t ever watch a Marlins game where you’re not looking over on the bench watching this guy have fun, even though he’s not playing that night. He stays on the bench. He’s cheering. He’s on the top step. His love for the game and what he meant to Miami, it’s got to be a hard day for them.”

“Our hearts and thoughts are with Jose’s family, teammates, his fans and everyone at the Marlins.”


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Robert Gsellman Shines in Best Outing Yet Mon, 26 Sep 2016 16:30:29 +0000 robert-gsellman

After a couple of rough performances by the starting rotation, Robert Gsellman stepped up and put on a great performance against the Philadelphia Phillies, helping his team to a 17-0 victory.

In the longest start of his short career, Gsellman pitched to seven shutout innings while allowing just three hits. He walked two batters on the day while striking out a career-high eight.

“It felt great to finally get past the sixth inning and go seven,” Gsellman said. “The bullpen has been pitching a lot so try to help them out today.” (NY Post)

Manager, Terry Collins wanted to push Gsellman and stretch him out a bit more as the Mets enter into what now is a six game season as they try to punch their ticket into the postseason.

“I thought it was really, really important to build him up to 100 pitches so whether he [throws] 70 or 75 pitches in a playoff game, it’s easier for him. I thought I’d get him a little deeper in the game as far as pitch count goes,” Collins said.

Gsellman has solidified himself as a steady option for the Mets in the rotation. Gsellman improved his record to 3-2 on the season with an ERA of 2.56 and a WHIP of 1.27.

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