NEW YORK METS (57-57, third place/NL East) vs. SAN DIEGO PADRES (49-65, fourth place/NL West)
PADRES SHORT HOPS
Rookie center fielder Travis Jankowski is hitting .421 (16-for-38) with three doubles, 13 runs scored, six walks and eight stolen bases in his last 10 games. His 25 steals lead major league rookies. With ex-Met Antonio Bastardo on the mound in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Jankowski stole home. It marked the fourth time this season the Padres had swiped home -- twice by Jankowski as well as once apiece by Wil Myers and since-departed Melvin Upton Jr.
Recently signed Clayton Richard will start Sunday against the Mets. Richard had a 6.43 ERA in 25 relief appearances with the Chicago Cubs this season before getting released on Aug. 3. Richard also pitched for the Padres from 2009 through 2013. He has made two relief appearances since rejoining San Diego.
Paul Clemens was claimed off waivers from the Miami Marlins on June 28. He was forced to depart two starts ago because of lower-back tightness. He then was pulled from his last start after failing to run out a bunt attempt. Clemens also was forced to change to a generic No. 91 Padres jersey during his last start because there was so much pine tar on his issued jersey. San Diego manager Andy Green self-reported the issue to the umpiring crew and alerted them to the need for a uniform switch.
Since June 4, the Padres have traded James Shields to the White Sox, Fernando Rodney to the Marlins, Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox, Upton to the Blue Jays, Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea to the Marlins and Matt Kemp to the Braves. Rea subsequently was traded back to the Padres because of an elbow issue and will undergo Tommy John surgery. Hector Olivera, who was acquired from Atlanta in the Kemp deal to offset salary, was immediately dumped. He had a domestic-violence incident while with Atlanta. Jarred Cosart, a one-time highly touted prospect, was acquired in the second trade with the Marlins and will start Saturday against the Mets.
The Padres have won 132 straight games since July 2014 when leading after eight innings. That’s the longest active streak in the majors, two ahead of the Pirates. They also are the only team in the majors never to have tossed a no-hitter.
METS SHORT HOPS
Manager Terry Collins held a lengthy meeting with his players after the Mets were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday to drop to .500 for the first time since they were 7-7 on April 20.
While criticizing the hustle of his players in general on Wednesday, Collins was complimentary of Neil Walker. Walker is hitting .459 (17-for-37) during his current nine-game hitting streak.
The Mets surrendered 13 steals in three games against the Diamondbacks. That was the most steals ever allowed by the Mets in a three-game series, topping the 12 swiped by the Chicago Cubs in an April 17-19, 1990 series.
After debating other options, the Mets decided to stick with Logan Verrett in the rotation for Friday’s start. Verrett is 0-2 with a 5.61 ERA in six starts since taking over Matt Harvey’s rotation spot.
Jose Reyes (oblique) began a rehab assignment on Thursday night with the Brooklyn Cyclones. The club suggested Reyes would play three games for the New York-Penn League club.
Third baseman T.J. Rivera, a Bronx native who signed with the Mets after going undrafted, made his major league debut on Wednesday. His first hit came on a 10th-inning single against Daniel Hudson.