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Morning Links: July 24, 2012

Here are this morning’s Mets links:

  • The Mets imploded in the 10th innin last night, losing 8-2 to the Nationals to drop to 47-49. Chris Young pitched well and Ike Davis tied it up late, but Pedro Beato got rocked in the top of the tenth. (Post, Box Score)
  • Sandy Alderson told reporters before yesterday’s game that they would not be major buyers at the trade deadline. The only moves the Mets would make are ones that would help them in 2013 and beyond. (ESPN New York)
  • In order to make room for Matt Harvey on the roster, the Mets have to send someone to Triple-A Buffalo. Bob Klapisch reports it will be the struggling Lucas Duda that gets sent down. (@BobKlap)
  • Frank Francisco will begin his rehab assignment today in Brooklyn. Francisco threw two bullpen sessions this weekend. (ESPN New York)
  • The Braves made a big move yesterday by agreeing to a deal that would send Ryan Dempster to Atlanta. There is only one obstacle in the way of the deal now: Dempster’s approval. (@MLBBowman)
  • The Marlins also made a blockbuster deal yesterday. They dealt Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers in return for Jacob Turner and two other prospects. (@Pgammo)
  • The Mets battle the Nationals tonight at Citi Field as R.A. Dickey faces off against Gio Gonzalez. First pitch is at 7:10. (MLB.com Preview)

Series Preview: Mets Get Another Shot At Nationals

Tonight at 7:10, the Mets take on the Nationals in the first game of a three-game series at Citi Field.

This may be the last chance for the Mets. If they can’t take this series, it will be very, very hard for them to get out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves.

The last time the Mets played the Nationals just last week, they lost two of three. The two losses were both of the one-run variety. They lost the first game 4-3 after a comeback attempt in the ninth inning fell just short. Then the next night, they lost it in the tenth on a wild pitch by Pedro Beato with the bases loaded. Luckily, R.A. Dickey and David Wright were there to save the day in the getaway game. Wright hit two home runs and Dickey allowed four runs in 7.1 innings en route to a 9-5 win.

Despite the promising sign at the end of the last Nationals series, they have continued to falter. They were swept by the Dodgers at Citi Field to fall below .500 for the first time all season. That makes this series so critical for the Mets.

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Monday 7:10

Chris Young (2-4, 4.11 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (7-6, 2.35 ERA)

Game 2- Tuesday 7:10

R.A. Dickey (13-1, 2.84 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (12-5, 3.32 ERA)

Game 3 Wednesday 12:10

Jeremy Hefner (1-3, 5.85 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (10-4, 2.85 ERA)

Notes:

  • Ian Desmond is heading to the DL with an oblique injury. Desmond has been the the biggest offensive threat for the Nationals this season, hitting 17 home runs and driving in 53. He was batting .286 with a .825 OPS. He also has 15 stolen bases. He could be out for well over a month.
  • The Mets don’t get any breaks with the pitching matchups in this series. They are forced to face Washington’s three best pitchers. This is going to be a very tough series…
  • Daniel Murphy is on fire. He has his average up above .300 once again after going 4-for-5 last night. Since June 26, Murphy is hitting .440.
  • The Mets have a 6.36 ERA since the All-Star break.

Series Preview: Mets Take On Washington In Critical Series

The Mets begin a three-game series with the Nationals, one that has major playoff implications for New York, tonight at 7:05 in Washington.

The Mets, currently coming off a horrendous three-game sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, desperately need a series win here. Not only do they need wins mentally, but this series is very important for the Mets playoff chances. If they blow it here in Washington and are swept, they may fall too far behind to ever catch up in the division. Plus, with the way some of the Wild Card contenders are playing right now, the Mets could find themselves in a hole there as well.

The Nationals come into this series 18-13since last meeting the Mets before the long stretch of interleague play began. Their lineup has been suspect this season, but have caught fire recently, in part thanks to Ian Desmond. Desmond, 26, is having the best power season of his career. Over his past 31 games, Desmond has nine home runs and 26 RBI. He is also second on the Nationals in stolen bases with 13 on the season. Desmond has been an overall threat that the Mets will have to look out for.

On the pitching side, the Nationals have continued to dominate. They are still tops in the majors in ERA, WHIP, batting average against, and quality starts, among others. Luckily for the Mets, they won’t have to face Stephen Strasburgh, who will go against Atlanta on Friday. However, they will still have to face some tough opposing pitchers for the Nats and it will certainly be a tough series for the Mets to take.

Game 1- Tonight 7:05

Jonathon Niese (7-4, 3.73 ERA) vs. Ross Detwiler (4-3, 3.43 ERA)

Game 2- Wednesday 7:05

Chris Young (2-3, 4.28 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (6-6, 2.48 ERA)

Game 3- Thursday 12:35

R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.66 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (12-4, 2.93 ERA)

Notes:

  • Jason Bay will return to the Mets today after suffering a concussion on June 15 against the Reds. Bay has only played in 22 games this season.
  • While it’s the Washington rotation that gets the attention, the bullpen isn;t too shabby either. They  have a top ten bullpen, led by Tyler Clippard, who has 14 saves this year and a 1.83 ERA.
  • Gio Gonzalez pitched very well to start the season, but has only been decent lately. The lefty has a 4.11 ERA over his past eight starts, compared to a 2.04 mark the rest of the season.
  • Bryce Harper has struggled of late. Over his last 25 games, Harper is hitting just .229 with one home run and six RBI.
  • Ian Desmond suffered an oblique injury in this weekend’s series against the Marlins, but will probably be ready to go for this series.
Apr 4

Quick Thoughts: The Niese Deal

I just wanted to quickly let my thoughts on the Jonathon Niese deal be known. For those who are unaware, Niese today agreed to a five-year, $25

million deal, with club options for 2017 and 2018 which could raise the total value of the deal to $46 million. Niese went 11-11 last season with a 4.40 ERA.

I am a huge fan of this deal. Niese is a solid lefty with potential. His numbers don’t look great, (unless you look at the sabermetrics) but he doesn’t exactly have the best supporting cast. Many have compared Niese to the likes of Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals. Gonzalez has better classical numbers, but Niese fares well with the advanced statistics.

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”300” caption=”(Courtesy of Rant Sports)”][/caption]

I also like this deal because it essentially puts Niese under team control for seven years. He would become a free agent after 2015 when his arbitration ends, but now at minimum, he will hit the market in 2016, and possibly 2018 if the options are picked up. If he blossoms into a very good pitcher, the Mets won’t have to worry about paying $13 million in arbitration because he is now on a set figure. The Rays may have started a trend last year when they locked up prospect Matt Moore to a long-term deal for a very low price tag.

One last positive that came from this deal was the Mets proving they are financially sound. We all had a decent understanding of what we thought were the Mets finances, and many thought this deal, or one like it would happen, but it’s still relieving. The Mets wouldn’t make this deal if they didn’t believe they could pay it. It’s a good PR move all around.

Hopefully this deal will be worthwhile for the Mets. Who knows? Maybe Jonathon Niese becomes a number one starter. That would be fantastic. Even if Niese only marginally improves, the Mets made a great move in locking up  a young pitcher.