Morning Briefing: Wheels up vs. Pad squad


FIRST PITCH: In the opening game against the San Diego Padres, the Mets bounced back from getting swept at Dodger Stadium.

Now, Jonathon Niese (4-6, 4.45 ERA) attempts to up the winning streak to two games when he opposes right-hander Ian Kennedy (4-8, 4.97) at 10:10 p.m. ET today at Petco Park.

Friday’s news reports:

Zack Wheeler struck out a career-high 12 in six innings and Marlon Byrd delivered a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth as the Mets beat the Padres, 4-1, Thursday. Juan Lagares, despite going 0-for-4, contributed big time by throwing out a runner at the plate. Gonzalez Germen tossed two scoreless relief innings to notch his first major league save.

On Wheeler, ESPN Stats & Information writes:

Wheeler is the first Mets rookie with at least 12 strikeouts in a start since Dwight Gooden struck out 16 on Sept. 17, 1984. One key to Wheeler’s success was utilizing his slider. He only allowed one hit off that pitch. He threw 32 sliders, 22 for strikes, and recorded five strikeouts (all career highs).

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

• Rafael Montero tossed seven dominating innings as Las Vegas beat New Orleans, 3-2. Binghamton sliced its magic number to two to clinch its first playoff berth since 2004. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Terry Collins approved of the soon-to-be-instituted instant-replay expansion, but did offer two potential pitfalls: Games may be lengthened because teams could stall until they decide whether to challenge a play. And second basemen may become more vulnerable turning double plays because there will be no phantom tags of the base. Read more in the Times.

LaTroy Hawkins remained unavailable a day after getting struck in the groin with a one-hop comebacker at Dodger Stadium. Hawkins said he will not wear a cup in the future. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.

Wilmer Flores is wearing a protective boot during the day on his twisted right ankle, but is not expected to land on the disabled list, Collins said. Flores did not appear in Thursday’s game, a day after pinch-hitting at Dodger Stadium. Read more in Newsday.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal reviews the impending Baby Buck birth. John Buck and wife Brooke have selected the name Bently for their third child. Buck homered in the ninth inning Thursday. It snapped a 15-game drought without an extra-base hit and 25-game drought without a homer. He now has 15 homers, the most by a Mets catcher since Mike Piazza had 19 in 2005.

• The Brooklyn Cyclones will have a unity day at MCU Park in Coney Island on Monday, the Daily News reports. The event comes after the defacement of a statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.

Scott Rice enjoyed pitching at Dodger Stadium, against the organization for which he formerly toiled in the minors, writes Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger.

BIRTHDAYS: Rick Reed turns 49. … Ronny Cedeno is 39. … Mike Jorgensen turns 65.


YOU’RE UP: Can Zack Wheeler be better than Matt Harvey?