NEW YORK --
FIRST PITCH: The New York Mets enter the All-Star break as contenders.
After sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks this past weekend and winning seven of their final nine first-half games, the Amazin’s own a 47-42 record. They are two games behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East and trail the Chicago Cubs by one game for the second wild-card slot.
“I think we feel good,” said Jacob deGrom, the team’s lone All-Star representative. “We’ve had some injuries that have hurt us, but we’ve had guys step in. I think we like where we’re at right now. We’re looking forward to getting some of those people back who got hurt and trying to make a run at this.”
Manager Terry Collins actually believes the Mets ought to have even a better record.
MONDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
During a season with no shortage of personal low points, Kirk Nieuwenhuis became the 10th player in franchise history to produce three homers in a game as the Mets beat the Diamondbacks, 5-3, on Sunday. The Mets produced nine homers against Arizona during the weekend, matching the franchise record for a three-game series. A nervous Jenrry Mejia retired the lone batter he faced in his first game since returning from an 80-game PED suspension. Juan Lagares departed the game with an inning remaining, but is satisfied his right calf issue is just a cramp. Taking a start originally intended for Steven Matz, Jonathon Niese allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings and earned his second straight win. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Journal, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.
Mets prospects Michael Conforto (2-for-2, outfield assist) and Brandon Nimmo (1-for-2, RBI) both had positive showings in Sunday’s Futures Game in Cincinnati. Conforto said that while he feels ready for the majors, he still is benefiting from more minor league development. Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.
All-Star manager Bruce Bochy will announce the NL starting pitcher on Monday. DeGrom, who indicated he would enjoy facing Mike Trout, ought to at least be a consideration for the start. Bochy added Clayton Kershaw to the squad on Sunday with Max Scherzer unavailable, resulting in another snub for Jeurys Familia. Read more on deGrom’s trip to the All-Star Game in the Post, Daily News and at NJ.com and MLB.com.
Noah Syndergaard will start the second-half opener at St. Louis. Bartolo Colon and Niese will pitch the other two games at Busch Stadium in some order. That sets up Matt Harvey and deGrom to face the Nationals in D.C. the following series.
Reliever Buddy Carlyle, who last appeared in the majors on May 11, likely will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair the labrum in a hip. Marc Carig in Newsday first reported the surgery.
Columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post salutes Nieuwenhuis’ day at the plate and Collins’ season as the manager.
Jared Diamond in the Journal assesses the Mets at midseason.
Read more on Niese in the Post.
Seth Lugo tossed five scoreless innings and Aderlin Rodriguez homered as Binghamton beat Portland, 3-0. Logan Taylor tossed six scoreless innings and Phillip Evans had a three-run double as St. Lucie blanked Lakeland, 4-0. Darwin Ramos allowed one run in six innings and Kingsport beat Bristol, 6-1. Read the full minor league recap here.
From the bloggers … Mets Report dissects whether the team is a buyer or seller.
BIRTHDAYS: Mike Fitzgerald turns 55. ... Jack Aker was born on this date in 1940.
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YOU’RE UP: Which pitcher should start the All-Star Game for the National League?