FIRST PITCH: The Mets did not cool off during the break.
Now winners of nine of their past 11, they have climbed to four games under .500.
Saturday’s news reports:
• Travis d'Arnaud continued his solid production since returning from Las Vegas. Playing at the site of his major league debut last August, the rookie catcher finished 3-for-5 and drove in the tiebreaking run against Joaquin Benoit in the ninth as the Mets beat the Padres, 5-4, Friday at Petco Park. The Mets gained a game on the Washington Nationals, but remained seven games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves.
• Sandy Alderson said pregame that not much had transpired so far in terms of trade conversations with other teams. The GM also indicated that he did not intend to rent a player who would be a free agent at season’s end. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.
• Jenrry Mejia pulled a Mark Messier and guaranteed to SNY the Mets are making the playoffs … or something like that.
“We’re gonna make it because we believe in ourselves,” Mejia told the network, via the Post. “We’ll be ready, and we’re gonna make the playoffs. We’re gonna be there.”
• Daisuke Matsuaka is headed to the bullpen, although the Mets do not intend to use him there Saturday or Sunday. They first want to be 100 percent sure Jonathon Niese will be able to come off the disabled list on Monday to face the Seattle Mariners. Niese threw a bullpen session Friday at Petco Park and pronounced himself ready for that assignment in Seattle. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday, Record and Daily News.
• Top prospect Noah Syndergaard returned from a save in the All-Star Game and proceeded to allow seven runs in five innings on Thursday for Las Vegas at Salt Lake. Syndergaard now has a 5.74 ERA in 17 Pacific Coast League starts.
He told Jared Diamond in the Journal that most of his issues have been mental, including paying too much attention to the Super 2 deadline. "I was thinking about that almost constantly," Syndergaard said.
Pitch selection, and an overreliance on fastballs, also has been an issue. "I've had a hard time knowing what to throw in certain situations," said Syndergaard, whose fastball comfortably hit 98 mph Thursday.
• Jay Schreiber in the Times notes that the last time the Mets finished with a winning record and the Yankees with a losing record was back in 1990. Could it happen again?
• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger lists six surprising stats for the Mets, including Ruben Tejada possessing the third-highest OBP among major league shortstops and the Mets leading the NL in home runs since June 17.
• Anthony Seratelli had a three-run homer and Cory Mazzoni earned the win in his Triple-A debut as Las Vegas held on against Salt Lake, 7-6. Robert Gsellman had a 10-strikeout game on his 21st birthday as Savannah beat Lexington, 5-1. Taylor Teagarden’s rehab assignment shifted to St. Lucie, which lost to Brevard County, 4-3. 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini was pulled from that game for an apparent disciplinary reason. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• First-round pick Michael Conforto is due to make his professional debut Saturday for the Cyclones as the designated hitter. Brooklyn hosts Williamsport at 6 p.m.
• Benjamin Hoffman in the Times writes that San Diego may end up with the worst offense in major league history.
• Nick Forrester in the Daily News profiles Cyclones GM Steve Cohen.
• From the bloggers …Faith and Fear made it through the All-Star break, but just barely.
BIRTHDAYS: Rick Ankiel turns 35. ... Preston Wilson is 40. ... David Segui turns 48.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Another win!!! @NYMLifeSentence #ExtendSandyAlderson #YaGottaBelieve #mets pic.twitter.com/pe1FVNW1b8
— Scott (@Pilam76) July 19, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets finish with a better record than the Yankees?