FIRST PITCH: After a desperately needed 7-6 win against the Miami Marlins that snapped a six-game losing streak, the Mets spend an off-day in Atlanta today before a weekend series against the first-place Braves.
The scheduled pitching matchups:
“It’s always nice to win before a day off. The day off seems to be better,” Terry Collins said after Wednesday's win. “It seems like everybody is a little more relaxed. Again, we’ve got to get ourselves ready. We’re going into Atlanta. Obviously they’re playing awfully well. So we’ve got to get ready. But I think today’s a big step forward for us.”
Thursday’s news reports:
• Jordany Valdespin delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer to give the Mets the lead in the sixth and Bobby Parnell breezed through the ninth inning a day after being passed over for the closing responsibility. Valdespin now has six pinch-hit homers since the start of the 2012 season. No other major leaguer has more than three in that span. His six pinch-hit homers already rank second on the Mets' all-time list, tied with Ed Kranepool, Rusty Staub and Scott Hairston and two shy of Mark Carreon’s franchise-record eight.
Dillon Gee was credited with the win despite allowing four runs in five innings. Left fielder Lucas Duda committed a costly error in the seventh that accounted for the final two Marlins runs, but said the ball that skipped by him took a bad hop. David Wright, still getting treatment for a stiff neck, homered and scored three times during a 3-for-5 afternoon.
• Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post says it is not the time to fire Collins. Writes Vaccaro:
You may not buy what the GM is selling. But unless you plan on being miserable all summer, it is at least helpful to concede that however you feel about Sandy Alderson’s Plan, it is the only one the Mets have now. There are pieces already here, some of them succeeding, some struggling. There are the pieces on the way. There is the pledge from on high that there will be looser purse strings next offseason, an oath they’d better be ready to follow through on.
It doesn’t mean you should blindly accept the daily dose of bad baseball you were given the last week. The Plan may not work, but it hasn’t yet failed. Collins may not be the guy who gets to see if it blossoms or wilts. There may yet come a time to cast him aside. Just not yet. Just not now.
Writes Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com on Collins:
His Mets bosses not only didn't extend him past lame-duck status, they haven't said a word one about his situation. Word going around is that Mets GM Sandy Alderson has deep concerns about the way the team has finished the past couple years, never mind that the overall talent is less than stellar and the Mets have been ending things poorly for years.
The Mets wound up winning 77 and 74 games in Collins' first two seasons at the helm, and that's at least as many as they should have won considering their talent. No one thought they underachieved, except maybe a boss or two.
Collins wouldn't be human if he didn't understand the situation, or maybe occasionally even think about his situation. But if he does, he doesn't let on that it does. And most important, he won't let it affect him. His priorities are straight, which is why the Mets should keep him around past this season.
In many ways, the new Collins is the perfect fit. He retains the right resume, with decades of player development in his past. Plus, to his repertoire he's added patience, the most vital trait for a current Mets manager.
• Princeton product Matt Bowman became the first Savannah pitcher to complete eight innings this season and Kevin Plawecki went 3-for-5 to lift his average to .402 as Savannah beat Kannapolis, 6-3. Read the full minor league recap here.
BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander Joe Crawford, who pitched 46 1/3 innings for the Mets in his lone major league season in 1997, is 43.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
after today, Terry needs to move #JV1 as everyday player, I don't care what position on the outfield #Mets #LessCowgill #LessBaxter
— Francisco Sarceño (@Frank_Guate) May 2, 2013
YOU’RE UP: What level of responsibility does Terry Collins have for the Mets’ 11-15 record?