After sweeping the Phillies, then an off-day in Miami that apparently included Tim Byrdak and Bobby Parnell going fishing, the Mets open a weekend series at Jose Reyes' new home, month-old Marlins Park. The Marlins have won eight of their past nine, despite ex-Met Heath Bell's struggles leading to him being deposed from the closer role. Read the series preview here.
Friday's news reports:
• Tonight's game will be the 8,000th in the regular season in franchise history. And, barring the highly, highly improbable from Johan Santana, it will be the 8,000th game without a no-hitter in franchise history. Tom Seaver came closest. He carried a no-hit bid for 8 2/3 innings at Wrigley Field on Sept. 24, 1975 against the Chicago Cubs -- although the Mets never scored in that 11-inning loss anyway. Seaver, in 1969, also had a perfect game against the Cubs for 8 1/3 innings at Shea Stadium. The only other major league club without a no-hitter is the San Diego Padres, who launched in 1969, seven years after the Amazin's.
Brian Costa in the Journal takes a deeper look. He speaks with Dirk Lammers, who started the web site nonohitters.com in 2008 to track the Mets' futility. "I thought when I started it, they were probably on the verge of it," Lammers told Costa. "I did not expect it to go five years. But of course, I don't think the team expected it to go 50." Costa reports there have been 252 no-hitters in the majors since 1876 -- and 131 since the Mets debuted in 1962. Seven pitchers who have represented the Mets have gone on to throw one elsewhere, most recently former first-round pick Philip Humber with the Chicago White Sox on April 12. The Mets have 35 one-hitters.
Regarding his near-miss in '69, Seaver tells Costa: "My wife was in tears. I said, 'What are you crying for? I just pitched a one-hit shutout. I didn't walk anybody. I struck out 10. Come on.' She said, 'You lost your perfect game.'" The Journal notes the next milestone will be 8,945 games without a no-hitter, which is the longest drought in MLB history, by the Phillies from 1906 to 1964.
• Chris Young tossed five scoreless innings for Class A St. Lucie in his first official minor league game since undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder last May 16. Young will make a handful of minor league starts before likely taking over the rotation spot currently occupied by Miguel Batista. Young has the first of two contract outs on June 1 if he remains in the minors at that point, so that date logically should be close to when Young arrives in the majors.
Ronny Cedeno went 0-for-4 in that same Florida State League game at Brevard County while playing a full game at shortstop. Terry Collins originally expected Cedeno to be activated for Friday's start against Mark Buehrle in Miami, but the manager amended that remark on Wednesday to suggest that he would like to see Cedeno succeed against higher-level minor league pitching before activating him from the DL. Cedeno has been out since an April 20 cameo because of a muscle strain on his left side. Collins has stated Cedeno will be the regular shortstop while Ruben Tejada is on the DL. The manager added that Jordany Valdespin is likely to head to Triple-A Buffalo when Cedeno is activated.
• Zack Wheeler picked up a win in his return from the disabled list with Double-A Binghamton, while Domingo Tapia and Marcos Camarena combined to take a no-hit bid with low-A Savannah into the seventh inning. Read Thursday's full minor league recap here.
• Ike Davis, whose average remains at .179, has shown signs of breaking out of the season-long funk. He launched a lengthy three-run homer against Jose Contreras in the eighth inning on Wednesday. “I’m a good baseball player," Davis told the Daily News. "I know I am. If I thought this was the best I could do, then I would tell you that: ‘This is the best I can do.’ And then this wouldn’t be as frustrating. ... This is obviously not the way I wanted the year to go, but you have to have perspective: I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m here.”
GM Sandy Alderson tells Andrew Keh in the Times regarding Davis: "I’m sure he’s not happy with the first month-plus of the season, and certainly we have expected more. But, at the same time, we know it’s in there. We’ve just had to be a little bit patient.” Writes Keh:
Dave Hudgens, the team’s hitting coach, has seen Davis become more serious while he has tackled his recent shortcomings. The slump, Hudgens said, like any other, has been the product of a confluence of factors, each one exacerbating the next. Davis possesses a swing with a considerable amount of preparatory movement and, more than most of his teammates, he relies on rhythm. According to Hudgens, Davis has been allowing his body to rush out ahead of his hands. As his struggles have continued, he has become prone to chasing pitches out of the strike zone. Hudgens said that in recent days, the two had changed the position of Davis’ hands, moving them slightly higher, and that he had encouraged Davis to slow down and focus on driving balls to the middle of the field.
• Anthony Rieber in Newsday looks at the high rate of left-handed starting pitching the Mets have seen. Buehrle on Friday will be the 15th southpaw the Mets have faced in 32 games. The Mets -- who have a lefty-heavy lineup -- are 6-8 against southpaw starters and 12-5 against righty starters so far this season. "We've seen a stretch that usually doesn't happen," Davis told Rieber. "I think it helps. The more you see them, the more you're comfortable with them. That's it, really. The more you see them, the better chance you have of recognizing pitches and stuff."
• Mike Puma in the Post cites reasons for the Mets being five games over .500 for the first time in two years. Writes Puma:
The Mets already have 11 comeback victories in 2012 -- their highest total in franchise history after 31 games. That statistic is a testament to the bad bullpens they have faced -- see the Phillies and Diamondbacks -- and the fact their own relievers haven’t been nearly as bad as the numbers suggest. Though the Mets’ 4.42 bullpen ERA ranks 14th in the NL, that number is skewed by a brutal weekend at Colorado in which team relievers allowed 16 earned runs over two games. Overall, the Mets’ bullpen has been respectable, with Jon Rauch, Bobby Parnell and Tim Byrdak leading the charge. And they’ve been much better at home. They have a winning record in all three of their homestands this season -- something they did just three times all of last season.
• Mike Kerwick in the Record notes the improbable success is coming minus starters, from Mike Pelfrey to Jason Bay, Josh Thole and Ruben Tejada."It’s human nature to feel bad for these guys," Collins told Kerwick. "First of all, [they’re] terrific people. You hate to see them out of your lineup. They’re great teammates, both of them [Tejada and Thole]. But in our game, you’ve got to move forward. They’re not here, so you’ve got to make sure the guys that are here play in those spots, help the club win. … We can’t sit back and say, ‘We’ll just wait for those guys to come back. That doesn’t happen up here.’"
TRIVIA: Against which pitcher did Reyes have his first hit as a Marlin at Citi Field?
Thursday's answer: There have been 26 inside-the-park homers in franchise history. Two Mets have a pair -- Darryl Strawberry (off Bruce Sutter in 1984 and Jose Rijo in 1989) and Angel Pagan (off Pedro Martinez in 2009 and Livan Hernandez in 2010).