Mets morning briefing 4.12.11

Jon Niese looks to bounce back from a rough outing in Philly as the Mets look to avenge a sloppy 7-6 loss in the series opener to the Colorado Rockies.

Tuesday's news reports:

Jason Isringhausen said he was not consumed with the crowd reaction as he entered his first game for the Mets in nearly 12 years on Monday night. "I was just worried about not passing out before I got out there," Isringhausen quipped. Actually, the reception for Izzy, while positive, was difficult to isolate since the sparse crowd was doing the wave at the time. Anyway, Isringhausen stranded both inherited runners in the seventh, ending the frame by getting pinch-hitter Todd Helton on a flyout.

The Times' Tyler Kepner recalls the July 31, 1999 trade that sent Isringhausen to Oakland with Greg McMichael for Billy Taylor. He talks to now-Rockie Jason Giambi about the deal, and what it meant to Giambi's A's:

The Mets were contending for the playoffs, and Isringhausen had a 6.41 earned run average as he recovered from elbow surgery. Taylor seemed more of a sure thing, but he was even worse, with an 8.10 E.R.A. Meanwhile, Isringhausen thrived in Oakland. “His velocity was back up, and he had that big breaking ball,” said Colorado’s Jason Giambi, the Athletics’ best hitter at the time. “We knew we had that lights-out guy in the ninth.” Giambi continued: “It was one of the best trades we ever had. It made our team, because we could play with any team offensively and we had that big three in the rotation, but we just didn’t have that big guy to finish up the ballgame. This is a real closer, this is a real team. It put us on the map as a real ball club.”

Read more on Izzy's return in Newsday and the Star-Ledger.

• The Mets really did practice fundamentals in spring training, I wrote after watchng Monday's game. Daily News columnist John Harper has a similar take, writing:

The change in regimes came with a promise the Mets would play better fundamental baseball. Play the game the right way. And yet barely more than a week into the season, the Sandy Alderson-Terry Collins Mets look alarmingly like the Omar Minaya-Jerry Manuel Mets. Indeed, if I hadn't stood and watched Collins drill his players for hours at a time on the back fields of Port St. Lucie in February, I wouldn't believe it. Not after watching the Mets give away a game to the Rockies Monday night.

• Newsday writes the Mets are offering some fans 50 percent discounts on weekday game tickets in April. The newspaper reports:

Dave Howard, executive vice president for business, said it is a limited offer designed to "reward customers from last year and encourage them to come back to the ballpark and see the 2011 Mets." Weekday games in April, when the weather is cool and schools are in session, often are a difficult sell, and the Mets were expecting modest crowds for this week's four-game series against the Rockies. Are the Mets concerned the offer will anger fans who paid full price? "It's something we always have to balance and keep in mind," Howard said. "Because it's such a limited offer and select games only in April, we feel it's an appropriate balance."

David Lennon in Newsday reviews Mike Pelfrey's latest performance (5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP). In fairness, Ryota Igarashi allowed two inherited runners to score and the earlier two runs were set up by misplays from Willie Harris and Jose Reyes. Writes Lennon:

Mike Pelfrey's only real crime this season is that he is not Johan Santana. It just took everyone a week or so to face that hard reality, and what that means for the Mets going forward. The simple act of jamming Pelfrey in the No. 1 spot, as Santana's replacement, was not going to magically transform him into an ace. And at this point, the Mets would be thrilled if this 6-7 pitcher could just be Mike Pelfrey again.

Brian Lewis also discusses Pelfrey's outing in the Post.

• Read game recaps from Monday's Mets loss in Newsday, the Denver Post, Post, Times, Record, Daily News and Star-Ledger.

• Post columnist Steve Serby refers to these days as "the dog days of April."

BIRTHDAYS: Reliever D.J. Carrasco turns 34. ... Former catcher Paul Lo Duca turns 39. ... Second baseman Danny Garcia, the first Brooklyn Cyclone to reach the Mets, turns 31.