FIRST PITCH: The Mets’ tragic number for postseason elimination is down to five. The Amazin’s trail the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second wild-card spot by eight games with 11 to play.
Even reaching .500 is slipping away. The Mets (72-79) must going 9-2 the rest of the way to avoid a sixth straight losing season. If they again finish below .500, they will match the Houston Astros for MLB’s longest active streak of losing seasons -- six straight.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• Jacob deGrom matched a modern-day major league record by striking out the first eight batters he faced, but Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia could not hold a lead in the eighth and the Mets lost to the Marlins, 6-5, Monday. DeGrom, who had a no-decision, finished with a career-high 13 strikeouts.
• Matt Harvey's 2014 throwing program is in the books. Harvey put on one final show at Citi Field on Monday afternoon, throwing a simulated game on the main mound. He regularly touched 95 mph despite not quite throwing 100 percent. He used all of his pitches except the slider. Sandy Alderson expects Harvey to be on the same program as other starting pitchers during spring training. Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and Record.
• Alderson and Terry Collins are due to meet in Atlanta this weekend to discuss Collins’ future as well as plan for 2015. Both are expected to return.
Writes columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post on the topic:
Alderson and Collins have overseen a mostly janitorial period with these Mets (72-79), one during which the Wilpons and Saul Katz have slashed payroll at a record-setting pace. Inaction and inertia have largely defined this time, so much so that it often felt difficult to evaluate these two men given how handcuffed they were by their superiors.
Yet with four years nearly in the books, we finally know Alderson’s and Collins’ strengths and weaknesses. And therefore the Mets should know how both men need to improve for this franchise to make its much-desired leap to bona fide contention.
For Alderson, it’s about filling out the roster and sweeping away the silliness. For Collins, it’s about maximizing that roster and embracing Citi Field.
• The Mets presented Sterling Awards to Steven Matz as the organization’s top pitcher and Dilson Herrera as the organization’s top position player. They also gave out awards during a pregame ceremony for the top performers at each level of the minors.
Long Island’s Matz spoke with media Monday afternoon about flirting with a no-hitter in Binghamton’s Eastern League championship clincher. Arizona Fall League-bound Matt Reynolds said he understood the September call-up snub. Alderson said Brandon Nimmo is a “lot more man” than a year ago. Kevin Plawecki said batterymate Noah Syndergaard’s numbers did not tell the whole story at Las Vegas. Plawecki also said his vertigo has not resurfaced.
• Vic Black was diagnosed with a mild rotator-cuff strain in his right shoulder. He will refrain from throwing for five to six days. While he is not officially shut down for the season, Black may not appear again in 2014. Read more in the Post and Newsday.
• Jared Diamond in the Journal prints the opening two rounds of the Mets’ fantasy-football draft. The Dillon Gee/bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello team took Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy first overall. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles went second overall to Harvey and strength coach Jim Malone.
• Harvey was named among New York's most stylish by Us Weekly.
• From the bloggers … Faith and Fear reflects on witnessing pitching history.
BIRTHDAYS: Orel Hershiser turns 56. ... Desi Relaford is 41. ... Chris (Animal) Carter is 32.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Mr. Met has grown his hair out in honor of @Mets NL ROY candidate, Jacob deGrom pic.twitter.com/A3EudrdAvM
— Matt Dunn (@MattDunnSNY) September 15, 2014
YOU’RE UP: Does reaching .500 matter for the Mets?