The Mets survived several comeback bids by the Detroit Tigers and won, 16-9, Wednesday at Comerica Park to improve to 4-1 on their trip against American League division leaders. The Mets have now scored 52 runs during their four-game winning streak, a franchise record for a four-game stretch. Of course, Justin Verlander looms in Thursday's matinee series finale.
Thursday's news reports:
• Post columnist Mike Vaccaro wonders how much it's going to cost to re-sign Jose Reyes. His conclusion:
For the Mets, we’ll start here: Six years, $126 million. Slightly higher average value than (Carl) Crawford, one less year, a nod to a legs-driven player. For the Mets, it means a $10 million raise over Reyes’ current deal, offset nicely by the disappearance of $36.5 million worth of Luis Castillo/Oliver Perez/Carlos Beltran -- and nearly matching the $11.5 million the Mets are paying Frankie Rodriguez this year (we’ll put K-Rod’s $17 million vesting issue in that vacuum, for now). That’s a cool $21 million a year, which still only would place him fourth (behind A-Rod, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Johan Santana) on the yearly salary scale of New York baseball players. If that’s not enough? Well, that’s more motivation for the Mets to find viable ownership again so they can play varsity ball again.
• With two out in the ninth, the Tigers used a position player as the pitcher for the first time in 11 years, since Shane Halter took the mound on Oct. 1, 2000. This time, Don Kelly retired Scott Hairston on a fly ball to center. During the pitching change, Hairston had jokingly asked hitting coach Dave Hudgens about Kelly's pitching repertoire. "He has a good swing," Hudgens deadpanned. Read game stories in the Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Post, Daily News and Newsday.
• Brian Costa of The Wall Street Journal looks at how close Verlander came to being a Met. Verlander went second overall to the Tigers out of Old Dominion in 2004. The Mets, with the third pick, then drafted Philip Humber, whom they used to acquire Johan Santana from the Twins. Writes Costa:
Verlander said he didn't recall meeting anyone from the Mets in 2004. But he knew New York was a potential landing spot for him. "I remember my agent calling me right before the draft and saying, 'The Mets want you bad,'" he said. So did the Tigers, though. Detroit considered taking two other pitchers, Jeff Niemann and Jered Weaver, along with shortstop Stephen Drew. But Greg Smith, the Tigers' scouting director at the time, was convinced Verlander was the best prospect, even though the San Diego Padres showed little interest in taking him with the first pick.
Verlander added: "Sometimes I think about how it would be different if San Diego (which had the first pick) took me, or the Mets. If it was San Diego, I probably would have been traded by now."
As for what might have been his future with the Mets, Verlander said: "I don't know. That's an interesting one."
• The manager took responsibility for inserting Tim Byrdak when he had not been warming up. Byrdak served up a homer to Andy Dirks, then spiked a baseball into the ground.
• Willie Harris traveled to New York on Wednesday after his wife went into labor only five months into her pregnancy, according to Collins. Harris was placed on leave, which lasts one to three days. Lefty-hitting Fernando Martinez was summoned from Buffalo.
• David Wright started swinging a bat in a pool Wednesday, and should advance to hitting off a tee Thursday. Collins expected the third baseman in rehab games in a week, with an eye toward returning immediately after the All-Star break.
• David Waldstein of the Times takes one more look at the Mets' grand slam drought, which ended at 299 games after Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran had slams in consecutive innings. GM Sandy Alderson texted this to Waldstein regarding the 18 unanswered slams by opponents until Tuesday: "Baseball is an incredibly unpredictable game, which is why we are so fascinated by its possibilities and so daunted by its apparent randomness.”
BIRTHDAY: Ex-outfielder Ron Swoboda turns 67. Swoboda made the key catch in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 1969 World Series. Sometimes forgotten is that Swoboda had the game-winning hit in the eighth inning of the clinching Game 5, helping the Mets to a 5-3 victory and a 4-1 series win over the Orioles. A Louisiana native, Swoboda has been a commentator on Triple-A New Orleans broadcasts. The Zephyrs are currently a Marlins affiliate. -Mark Simon