July 2012

Mets on Matt Harvey’s debut

Terry Collins, Rob Johnson and Matt Harvey discuss the rookie’s electric debut:

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Andres Torres visits DC United

It’s been a good trip to Washington for the sports fans on the Mets. A day after Justin Turner, Jon Niese, Ike Davis and a dozen others watched the U.S. men’s basketball team take on Brazil in an exhibition, soccer fan Andres Torres attended the DC United’s practice in Washington. Here are some pictures from Torres’s trip, courtesy the United’s public relations staff:

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Wright discusses batting practice routine

Check out David Wright talking to MLB Network about his stance and pregame batting practice routine:

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Scenes from All-Star media day

Here are R.A. Dickey and David Wright at Monday’s All-Star media day at Arrowhead Stadium:

R.A. Dickey discusses Tony La Russa’s decision to start Matt Cain over him in the All-Star Game.

David Wright talks all things Mets, from Dickey to his own MVP-caliber first half.

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Phillies’ Ruiz talks Dickey, knuckleballs

With the news that R.A. Dickey will not start Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Kansas City came the revelation that Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz will be Dickey’s batterymate when he finally does enter. Here are Ruiz’s thoughts on baseball’s most enigmatic pitch:

Thoughts on catching the knuckleball?
“I don’t think I’ll have trouble. I can handle that. We are going to play long toss today and see how it moves. But I don’t think it’s going be a problem.”

Have you ever caught a knuckleballer before?
“I did in Triple-A. A kid named [Jared] Fernandez. … I remember a little bit.”

Have you talked to Dickey about it?
“Yeah, we talked on the bus. He said he has his own glove. I’m going to see it today.”

Can it give you an advantage the next time you face him?
“No man, he’s tough. If you’re catching, it’s okay. But if you hit, it’s the same thing. That ball is moving so much.”

Would you rather catch or it hit?
“Catch it. He has a good knuckleball. It moves a lot.”

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Photo roll: Wheeler, Flores represent Mets at Futures Game

Here’s the scene today in Kansas City, where third baseman Wilmer Flores and pitcher Zack Wheeler are representing the Mets at the Futures Game.

Wilmer Flores takes infield practice for the World Team

Flores is interviewed by members of the Spanish-speaking media

Zack Wheeler takes the field for US team batting practice

Wheeler sporting No. 45 for the US team

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Mets hit Papelbon again (and again and again)

The Mets’ furious rally against Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning Thursday was just the latest in a string of successes versus Papelbon dating back to 2009, when he was closing out games for the Red Sox. Remember these?

The date: May 23, 2009
The hero: Omir Santos
The situation: Coming off a disastrous trip to Los Angeles and battling injuries to key players including Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church and Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets found themselves trailing the Red Sox by a run in the ninth. But with a man on base, Santos hit a line drive off Papelbon that clanged off Fenway Park’s Green Monster for an apparent double. Umpires reviewed the play and minutes later, called it a homer. J.J. Putz mowed down the Sox in the bottom of the ninth to close out the victory.
The quote: “A lot of things were going through my mind. I knew I hit it well. If it was going to be the big hit of the game? I couldn’t even express how I was feeling at second base, waiting for the call.” –Santos

The date: May 7, 2012
The hero: Jordany Valdespin
The situation: Valdespin began his Mets career 0-for-6, looking overly aggressive and lost at the plate. But with two men on base in a tie game in the ninth, Valdespin walloped a Papelbon fastball into right-center field for a game-winning homer. After Frank Francisco closed out the Phillies in the ninth, Valdespin’s teammates soaked him with beer in a postgame celebration.
The quote: “He is an extremely talented young player. He’s just so athletic. I know that he’ll handle himself great. If he plays the way he’s been playing since he’s been here, and the way he’s handled himself, he’s got a chance to be here for a while.” –Mets manager Terry Collins

The date: July 5, 2012
The hero: David Wright
The situation: It may not actually be fair to call Wright the hero in this one. Ike Davis set up the winning rally by doubling off Papelbon to lead off the ninth, with the Mets trailing by a run. Then, with two outs, Valdespin, Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy all submitted tremendous at-bats, fouling off pitches and taking others for balls. After Papelbon plunked Valdespin and walked Tejada, Murphy hit a game-tying single off Papelbon’s glove. Wright then ended things with a bloop single to right.
The quote: “I had the worst at-bat out of everybody in that inning. More lucky than anything, but I was glad to get the opportunity because the guys in front of me had some incredible at-bats.” –Wright

In case you were wondering, Papelbon has now faced the Mets eight times in his career. The numbers: 0-3, 1 save, 2 blown saves, 7.0 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 9.00 ERA.

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Panda’s voting charge costs Wright

Here are the National League All-Star Game voting totals at third base, as they stood on June 26:

1. David Wright, NYM: 2,687,818
2. Pablo Sandoval, SFG: 2,223,269

Here are the final totals, after balloting closed on June 29:

1. Pablo Sandoval, SFG: 5,743,542
2. David Wright, NYM: 4,133,380

In other words, Sandoval picked up more than 3.5-million votes in the span of three days. That is why he is the NL starter at third base, despite being statistically inferior to Wright in every major offensive category.

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