Mets morning briefing 9.21.12

Jeremy Hefner was knocked out of Thursday's game without recording an out in what became an eight-run first inning and the Mets were swept in embarrassing fashion before a sparse crowd at Citi Field with a 16-1 defeat against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets, who officially were eliminated from postseason contention, got a postgame chewing out from manager Terry Collins. He deferred questions about whether the team had quit to the players, who denied it.

The Mets now try to avoid last place in the NL East when they play host to the Miami Marlins this weekend. The Amazin's enter the weekend a half-game up. Jon Niese (11-9, 3.46 ERA) opposes right-hander Jacob Turner (1-2, 3.75) at 7:10 tonight.

Friday's news reports:

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Ryan Howard circles the bases Thursday after homering against Josh Edgin for a second straight day.

• The Mets used 10 pitchers in Thursday's loss, a franchise record for a nine-inning game. Philadelphia had not swept the Mets in a three-game series in Queens since Sept. 14-16, 2007 -- when Jimmy Rollins' "team to beat" prognostication began to be achieved. The official attendance was announced at a season-low 20,100 tickets sold, although no more than a few thousand appeared to actually have attended last night's game. The Mets failed to exceed three runs for the 16th straight home game, two shy of matching the 1915 Yankees' major league record.

R.A. Dickey told Mike Puma in the Post: “If you think we’re just a piece away, then you are fooling yourself. We’ve got to do a lot of things better.”

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

• Left-hander reliever Josh Edgin, who surrendered a homer to Ryan Howard for the second straight day, is being shut down for the season. That was resolved before Edgin allowed Thursday's ninth-inning grand slam to Howard in the series finale. While his overall innings count is comparable to 2011, Edgin has made 26 more appearances than a year ago. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Dickey, who is sitting at 18 wins, will face Miami on Saturday rather than Sunday. Dickey and pitching coach Dan Warthen made the suggestion to Collins. It will allow Dickey to pitch next Thursday's home finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates rather than the follow night at Turner Field against the Atlanta Braves, against whom the knuckleballer has struggled. Overall, Dickey has three starts remaining. Read more in Newsday.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Keith Hernandez's mustache is going, going ... almost gone.

Keith Hernandez’s signature mustache will be shaved off in an event before next Thursday’s home finale. "I can always grow it back," Hernandez told Neil Best in Newsday. "It doesn't take very long if I don't like it. … It just looked noticeable that I'm gray and this is my true color and that's probably one of the reasons why -- just to shave it off and see how it looks. I am completely gray now. I look like Charley Weaver on ' Hollywood Squares.'" Schick will sponsor the event and donate money to the Jacqueline Hernandez Adult Day Care Center at Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn. The center is named after Hernandez’s mother. Read more in the Times and Daily News.

Adam Loewen went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI as Canada beat Great Britain, 11-1, in a World Baseball Classic qualifier Thursday in Regensburg, Germany. Check the boxscore here.

• The Marlins have some tumult, too. Bob Nightengale in USA Today reported Marlins president Larry Beinfest will be fired. Writes Nightengale:

The Marlins are planning to fire president and team architect Larry Beinfest, perhaps as soon as next week, according to two high-ranking executives with knowledge of the move but not permitted to speak publicly because the final decision will be made by owner Jeffrey Loria. Beinfest would be replaced by Dan Jennings, the Marlins assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel.

• Mets general counsel David Cohen has a Q&A at Law.com. One exchange:

Q: What are some issues that can arise during a game?

Cohen: "Most people probably think that if someone gets hit by a foul ball or if there's a slip and fall, they call the legal department, but that's not what we do. Issues that might arise include unauthorized or 'ambush' marketing going on somewhere in the stadium.

Jeurys Familia will get late-inning work down the stretch.

• There was no need for Frank Francisco on Thursday night, but he apparently was unavailable anyway with elbow tendinitis. On the closer’s body of work this season, Collins said pregame: “I’d have to say for the majority of the year, he pitched pretty good.” Writes Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger:

That is debatable. Francisco, 32, possesses a bloated 5.53 ERA. He’s still striking out more than a batter per inning (47 in 42⅓ innings), but he’s allowing runners on a base at a greater rate than ever before. His 1.606 walks plus hits per inning is a career-high. But Collins can recall moments of brilliance plucked from the wreckage. He mentioned Francisco’s strong, three-batter stint last weekend against the Brewers. “Look at the game in Milwaukee,” Collins said. “He was lights out. All three of his pitches were working, and command was there. The next day, he couldn’t open and close his hand.” Francisco stopped short of calling the season frustrating, but, he said, “it’s been tough. Every time I fail, I try to find a way to get up and keep fighting. But it’s tough.”

• Niese, who aims for his 12th win tonight, which would achieve a new career high, largely has had a positive season. Writes Mike Kerwick in the Record:

His ERA almost is a full point lower (3.46) than it was last season (4.40). He has thrown more innings in 2012 (177) than in any other season of his major league career. His WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) has dipped from 1.41 to 1.18. And yet with only a few starts remaining -- including tonight’s against the Miami Marlins -- Niese is not sure how to evaluate his first 28 starts. He is not disappointed. But he is not happy either. “I feel like it was just an OK season,” Niese said before the Mets’ 16-1 loss to the Phillies on Thursday night at Citi Field. “With the six-man [rotation] at the end of the year, it kind of shortened the innings a little bit. I would have liked to have gotten to the 200-innings mark. Obviously with the mix-up with the rotation, that didn’t allow us to do it.”

TRIVIA: In what slot in the batting order has Jose Reyes started the most this season?

Thursday's answer: Behind Chipper Jones (49), Howard has the most homers against the Mets among active players. Thursday's slam was his 34th career long ball against the Mets.