Morning Briefing: Bring on L.A.


FIRST PITCH: The Mets will miss Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke during a three-game series at Dodger Stadium. They nonetheless face a supreme challenge.

L.A. is 37-8 since June 22 and has turned a 9½-game deficit in the NL West into a 7½-game lead.

The Dodgers are unbeaten in their past 15 series (11-0-4).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only five other teams since divisional play began in 1969 have turned a 9½-game deficit into a division lead in a 30-or-fewer-day span: the 1995 Seattle Mariners (25 days), the 1993 Boston Red Sox (24), the 1990 Mets (22), the 1982 Dodgers (12) and the ’69 Mets (26).

Jenrry Mejia (1-1, 1.96 ERA) opposes right-hander Ricky Nolasco (8-9, 3.65) in today’s 10:10 p.m. ET series opener at Dodger Stadium.

Read the series preview here.

Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports

Jeremy Hefner is either headed to the minors or the DL.

Monday’s news reports:

Jeremy Hefner is off the major league roster. The question: Is he headed to Triple-A Las Vegas or to the major league DL? The answer will depend upon the result of a medical exam. Hefner said he has been dealing with progressively worse elbow discomfort throughout the season. He will be examined today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. The Mets will revert to a five-man rotation. Sandy Alderson suggested Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler still should be able to nearly complete the season before hitting innings caps.

Read more in the Post, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger and MLB.com.

Jonathon Niese allowed four runs in six innings and felt pain-free in his return from the disabled list. The Mets scored four unearned runs in the first inning and later received a three-run homer from pinch hitter Andrew Brown in a 9-5 rubber-game win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday at Chase Field.

Wilmer Flores produced his first big-league homer, in the ninth inning against ex-Met Heath Bell. Flores now has an RBI in five straight games. His nine RBIs match Mike Jacobs in 2005 for the most in franchise history through six career games. The bulk of Jacobs’ damage was done via homer, also in Arizona.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and MLB.com.

• Terry Collins sees Flores manning a corner position, not playing second base, long term. Still, the manager plans to get Flores limited action at second base during what remains of the season.

Michael Salfino in the Journal tries to translate what Flores’ statistics in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League mean as far as potential major league production. Writes Salfino:

So Flores's .321 average, playing mostly there in the PCL, translates to only .253 if he had instead been playing this year for the Mets in the majors, according to Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball. Boddy bases these translations on historical data that calculates league and ballpark effects. Similarly, Flores's .531 slugging average in Vegas is "worth" only .406 for the Mets in Queens.

• Dwight Gooden has been evicted from his New Jersey mansion, TMZ reported. Writes the web site:

According to court docs, obtained by TMZ, Dwight and his family moved into the home back in September 2011 ... and agreed to pay $4,500 per month in rent. But things went south in March -- when Dwight's wife got a restraining order against the former NY Mets pitcher following a domestic dispute, forcing Doc to move out.

• Cory Vaughn produced four RBIs as Binghamton beat Erie, 6-1. Kyle Johnson had a walk-off homer in the 12th as St. Lucie beat Palm Beach, 9-8. Brooklyn gave up a Little League homer on a bunt. Read the full minor league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Mr. Koo, who once doubled against Randy Johnson and scored with a weighted ball in his warm-up jacket’s pocket, turns 44.


YOU’RE UP: Will the Met snap the Dodgers 15-series unbeaten streak?