FIRST PITCH: And now we’ve come to the end of the road …
The Mets play Game No. 162 on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. -- 225 days after pitchers and catchers officially reported to Port St. Lucie, Florida, for spring training.
Believe it or not, there are things at stake despite the Mets’ elimination.
The Amazin’s cannot get a protected draft pick, meaning they will forfeit their first-round selection next June if they sign a free agent who receives a qualifying offer from his former team. Entering the final day, the Mets would draft 15th (including a compensation pick awarded to the Houston Astros for not signing this year’s first-rounder).
Bobby Abreu is expected to be in the lineup in his final major league game on Sunday.
On Friday, the 40-year-old Abreu announced his intention to retire. He has produced the third-most hits in major league history among Venezuelan-born players with 2,469, trailing only Omar Vizquel (2,877) and Luis Aparicio (2,677). He is fourth among his countrymen in homers with 288, behind Andres Galarraga (399), Miguel Cabrera (390) and Magglio Ordonez (294).
Bartolo Colon enters the season finale 3 2/3 innings shy of reaching the 200-inning plateau. Colon last logged that total in 2005, when he went 21-8 for the Los Angeles Angels en route to the AL Cy Young Award.
Colon (14-13, 4.08 ERA) opposes Astros right-hander Nick Tropeano (1-2, 3.78) in the finale.
Tropeano is a product of West Islip High School and Stony Brook University on Long Island. Seawolves coach Matt Senk will be among the horde of people at Citi Field supporting Tropeano, who was a fifth-round pick out of the university in 2011.
Sunday’s news reports:
• Lucas Duda produced a walk-off two-run homer off the right-field foul pole against Tony Sipp with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as the Mets beat the Astros, 2-1, Saturday. It was Duda’s first career game-ending homer and third career walk-off hit. His last came on May 28, 2013 against the great Mariano Rivera.
The Mets produced their 78th win, the most of the four-season Sandy Alderson/Terry Collins era.
• Kirk Nieuwenhuis' illness, which forced him to be scratched from Friday’s game, turned out to have some gravity. Nieuwenhuis was hospitalized overnight with an infection.
• Jonathon Niese is due to be examined by doctors on Monday after his latest bout with an accelerated heart rate.
• Tropeano’s family has chartered a bus for 56 relatives from the family’s home in West Islip to Citi Field, writes Will Sammon in Newsday. The attendees will include his 97-year-old grandfather, who broke a femur two years ago, and who attended as many as 100 of his games a year when he was younger. "We'll be loud," mother Debbie Tropeano told Sammon. "Everybody is so psyched and pumped, it's like they're the ones that are pitching. My husband will be nervous. I won't be nervous."
• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post offers nine reasons the Mets will be better in 2015.
• Read more about Abreu’s influence on Venezuelan players reaching the majors in Newsday.
BIRTHDAYS: Former reliever Mike DeJean turns 44.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Lucas Duda > Austin Mahone all day every day. #Mets
— Seth Noboa (@STheKid19) September 28, 2014
YOU’RE UP: What will the Mets’ record be in 2015?