Mets morning briefing 9.21.11

The Cardinals roared back with a six-run seventh inning against Josh Stinson, Tim Byrdak and D.J. Carrasco to beat the Mets, 11-6, and remain 2½ games behind the Atlanta Braves in the wild-card standings. Carlos Beltran's San Francisco Giants, by the way, lost to now-20-game-winner Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers to fall 4½ games back.

Wednesday's news reports:

Sandy Alderson all but acknowledged significant dimensions changes are coming to Citi Field in 2012. He suggested the wall in left field will not remain at 16 feet, whether the distance from home plate remains the same or a new fence is erected closer. The "Mo Zone" crevice in right field looks like a goner, too. "And others," an organization source said about expected alterations. "Nothing's finalized. They haven't got an architect."

Greg Rybarczyk, founder of hittrackeronline.com, did a study for ESPNNewYork.com earlier this season that showed Citi Field could become neutral for homers compared to other MLB ballparks by making the left-field wall 10 feet high and moving it in 10 feet and extending the fence that exists to the right of the "Mo Zone" across to where it meets the bullpen, at eight feet high. "The two changes to Citi Field that I analyzed would increase home runs by 22 percent (in left field) and 9 percent (in right field), or 31 percent overall," Rybarczyk said Tuesday. "This would make Citi Field essentially neutral for home runs, or possibly slightly favorable for home-run hitting, which is precisely what I think Alderson is looking for." Read that analysis here.

Read a transcript of Alderson's postgame conversation in the Star-Ledger and more in Newsday, the Times, Journal, Post and Daily News.

Gary Carter continues to battle cancerous brain tumors, but the fight has left him often depleted of energy. His white-blood-cell count remains too low to begin a second, higher-dosage round of chemotherapy, his daughter Kimmy Bloemers wrote in an online journal to which ESPNNewYork.com has been granted access.

• Alderson indicated during Tuesday night's telecast that the Mets will go outside the organization for their 2012 closer rather than use Bobby Parnell or another in-house option. That confirmed ESPNNewYork.com's own report. Read the extensive look at the Mets' closer situation and Alderson's views on the position here.

Wally Backman joined the Mets. Watch video of him discussing some of the Mets' Double-A pitching prospects here. While Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia rightfully get hype, Backman also sings the praises for Arizona Fall League-bound right-hander Collin McHugh.

• When Art Howe was hired by the Mets, he already had been so ridiculed by the media, he deadpanned at his introductory press conference, "Thanks for the roast." Paul DePodesta similarly never was accepted by the Los Angeles media and was treated roughly during his tenure as Dodgers GM. Yet DePodesta spoke with the Los Angeles Times about "Moneyball" the movie this week. And what initially seemed a positive piece on DePodesta did get in its fair share of jabs. Writes the L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke:

He clearly wasn't ready for the job, which lasted only two years before he was fired for essentially tearing the place apart. But I clearly wasn't ready for him, and never really gave him time to implement the baseball sabermetrics that I have since come to accept and understand. "The Dodgers have a new face, and it is dabbed in Clearasil," I wrote when he was hired. "The Dodgers have a new voice, and it speaks in megabytes." Yeah, I never really gave him much of a chance, I saw him as some robot enemy brought here to destroy our blue heaven. Watching him in the movie reminded me that he was, instead, nothing more sinister than a numbers cruncher who just couldn't equate with people.

DePodesta, whose name is not used in the movie at his request, tells Mike Puma in the Post: "I can't take it seriously. And I certainly can't take it personally. We'll see when I actually see it, but I'm determined not to take it too seriously. ... Just the whole idea of somebody else portraying me to the rest of the world was unnerving, for better or worse. They could have made me look like Superman (and) it still would be just sort of odd. That was something that sat in the back of my mind. I was asked and saw some different iterations of the script, and I realized the character that was in there wasn't even me. At that point I had to remind myself, 'It's a movie. It's fiction.'"

Jose Reyes went 1-for-4 with two walks Tuesday and is hitting .331. He is within a point of National League batting leader Ryan Braun, who is sitting at .332 after going 1-for-5 against the Cubs.

Jason Isringhausen still feels numbness in his right leg as the result of a herniated disc, but hopes to get on a mound in St. Louis and appear in a game during the final homestand. Izzy remains resolved to pitch in the majors in 2012.

Johan Santana is expected to pitch in instructional league games in Fort Myers, Fla., on Oct. 1 and Oct. 7.

Jason Bay missed Tuesday's game with an illness, but Angel Pagan returned after a one-game absence for a quadriceps issue. Read more on Bay from Steve Popper in the Record.

David Lennon in Newsday looks at the Mets' offensive approach. The Amazin's have left an MLB-high 1,204 runners on base.

Josh Thole tells Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger the biggest thing he learned this year. Said Thole: “It sounds bad, “but you really learn not to care what people say.” Thole says in a Daily News feature: "In spring training, I made too many unnecessary changes that now I know I didn't have to make. It took me two months to try to get back to my old self again. I was just trying new things out in blocking, receiving and throwing. If I had just trusted what I had, that would have been OK."

Mike Sielski in the Journal asks if the eliminated Mets have any obligations when playing playoff contenders such as the Cardinals or Braves to field a different lineup or take a different approach since there is a real impact of winning or losing for the opponent. Writes Sielski:

Sharon Stoll, the director of the Center for Ethical Theory and Honor in Competition and Sport at the University of Idaho, said that the Mets' primary obligation was to their fans, that Collins should play his most talented players each game because "when a fan buys a ticket and goes to the stadium, they want to see the best that the team has to offer. Maybe, I am too idealistic, but…the teams are there to entertain and be a business." Stoll went so far as to say that once a team is out of contention, improving its record should be a secondary consideration. But for the Mets, who were 73-80 entering Tuesday and have not had a winning season since 2008, there is value in playing to win and maintaining the perception that the team has overachieved this season, said general manager Sandy Alderson. "One of our goals for this year was to change the perspective on the franchise," Alderson said. "When you're out of it, you can go one of two directions. We don't want to go the wrong way."

Richard Sandomir in the Times notes SNY had an interesting choice of programming on Monday, the day Mariano Rivera became the all-time saves leader.

BIRTHDAYS: Joaquin Arias, the infielder the Mets acquired from the Texas Rangers for Jeff Francoeur last Aug. 31, turns 27. Arias hit .232 for Triple-A Omaha in the Kansas City Royals organization this season.