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Morning Briefing: Zack Wheeler Day arrives

DETROIT -- As difficult as it may be to believe, the New York Mets have gone a full month without winning back-to-back games.

And after Friday’s series-opening loss to the Detroit Tigers, the Mets find themselves nine games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East.

As for the wild-card standings, the Mets (56-53) trail the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins by two games for the second spot.

The Mets try to pick up the pieces on Saturday. Logan Verrett (3-6, 4.20) opposes left-hander Matt Boyd (2-2, 4.71) at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, in Port St. Lucie, Zack Wheeler will pitch in a game Saturday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2015. Wheeler is scheduled to log roughly two innings and 35 pitches for Class A St. Lucie against Bradenton at 6:30 p.m. ET.

SATURDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:

  • Kelly Johnson's two-run homer against Justin Verlander briefly gave the Mets the lead, but Noah Syndergaard gave it back the following half-inning as the Tigers beat the Mets, 4-3, Friday at Comerica Park. Syndergaard needed 112 pitches to complete six innings as high pitch counts continued to stymie him. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Rookie phenom Michael Fulmer reflected on the trade a year ago from the Mets to Detroit. Fulmer fondly recalled how Frank Viola helped developed him while in low-A Savannah. “Our organization and our scouts and player-development people should be proud of the Michael Fulmers of the world,” Terry Collins said. “Here’s a guy who got hurt, even though he’s a No. 1 pick, they build him back up. And now he’s doing what we would have hoped he would be doing for us.” Collins nonetheless labeled the trade a win-win. Read more in Newsday, the Record and at MLB.com.

  • Stefan Sabol had a game-tying homer and Stefan Sabol had a go-ahead sacrifice fly as Binghamton rallied for a 7-6 win against Hartford. David Thompson homered and St. Lucie beat Bradenton, 6-4. Joe Shaw retired 16 straight batters at one point as Columbia topped Rome, 5-1. Justin Dunn tossed three scoreless innings in Brooklyn’s 4-2 loss to Hudson Valley. Read the full minor-league recap here.

  • From the bloggers … Faith and Fear gets its hopes up yet again. ... Mets Report analyzes Syndergaard’s struggles.

BIRTHDAYS: Wilmer Flores turns 25. ... Victor Zambrano is 41. ... John Gant is 24. ... Michael Katz is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

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