Mejia (1-0, 1.50 ERA) opposes right-hander David Hale (0-0, 0.00) in the series finale.
Thursday’s news reports:
• Zack Wheeler, returning to the scene of his big-league debut, allowed four runs in five innings and suffered his first career defeat in four decisions against the Atlanta Braves. A ninth-inning comeback fell short and the Mets lost, 4-3, Wednesday. Ervin Santana deserved some credit for tossing eight scoreless innings, but the Mets collectively are hitting .190 through eight games. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Journal and at MLB.com.
• Freddie Freeman produced a two-run single in the fifth to cap the scoring against Wheeler and now has 37 RBIs in 38 games over the past three seasons against the Mets, making him the new Chipper Jones, ESPN Stats & Info’s Mark Simon writes.
• John Lannan, who continues to struggle, preauthorized a demotion to Triple-A the first 45 days of the season even though his MLB service time offered him protection against getting dispatched to the minors.
• Noah Syndergaard allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings with Triple-A Las Vegas. Princeton product Matt Bowman earned the win in his Double-A debut. St. Lucie snapped a four-game losing skid as well as a 23-inning scoreless drought with a 5-2 win against Jupiter. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal notes the Mets have a difficult early schedule. Writes Diamond:
The Mets' opponents in their first 22 games this season posted a combined winning percentage of .552 in 2013. The stretch includes six games against the National League East champion Atlanta Braves (96-66), four against the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals (97-65) and three against the NL wild card-winning Cincinnati Reds (90-72).
Only this weekend’s road series against the Los Angeles Angels (78-84) seems to offer the Mets some semblance of a break.
Since the league expanded to 30 teams in 1998, only 10 teams have endured a more grueling 22-game gauntlet to open a season than the 2014 Mets, using this measure.
• The Braves accidentally lit an American flag on fire during Tuesday’s Hank Aaron pregame ceremony, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.
BIRTHDAYS: 2012 fourth-round pick Branden Kaupe turns 20. ... Fellow farmhand Edioglis Villasmil is 22.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Out of hospital. Thanks again for everyone's prayers and well-wishes. Time to get in rehab mode. Will be back on field in near future!
— Frank J. Viola, Jr. (@FrankViola16) April 9, 2014
YOU’RE UP: What can be done to address the Mets’ hitting woes?