NEW YORK -- Look who’s alone atop the National League wild-card standings.
With a sweep of the Twins, coupled with the Giants and Cardinals splitting a four-game series, the New York Mets (80-69) lead San Francisco (79-70) by a game and St. Louis (78-71) by two games. The top two teams will meet in the wild-card game for the right to face the Chicago Cubs in a division series. Thirteen games remain in the regular season.
It was exactly one month ago that the Mets dropped a second straight game in San Francisco to fall two games under .500. Since then, the Mets are 20-7 and have moved a season-high 11 games over .500.
The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 12.
The Mets will honor their top minor league players in a pregame ceremony: Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario as players of the year, P.J. Conlon as pitcher of the year and individual-level winners T.J. Rivera (Las Vegas), Dominic Smith and Phillip Evans (Binghamton), Tomas Nido (St. Lucie), David Thompson (Columbia), Thomas Szapucki (Kingsport), Desmond Lindsay (Brooklyn), Carlos Sanchez (Gulf Coast League) and Raul Beracierta and Andres Gimenez (Dominican Summer League).
Plenty of attention also will be on the Mets’ complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Monday as Tim Tebow goes through his first workout of the instructional league beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Tebow will have a news conference at 1:30 p.m. ET. ESPN’s Pedro Gomez and Jerry Crasnick will be on hand.
MONDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
Michael Conforto had a two-run single in the first and Rivera added a solo homer in the third as the Mets completed a weekend sweep with a 3-2 win against the Twins on Sunday. The Mets rested Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, James Loney, Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce and nearly sat Yoenis Cespedes, too, but he talked his way into the lineup. Cespedes then departed after six innings with nausea and dizziness. Lucas Duda, who only was supposed to pinch hit for now, instead started at first base and went 0-for-2 in his first major league action since May 20. Juan Lagares, activated Friday, served as a defensive replacement in the ninth in his first game since surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. Gabriel Ynoa allowed one run and struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings in his first major league start. Erik Goeddel escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth after inheriting a pair of baserunners. Jerry Blevins recorded a four-out save. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.
Steven Matz is expected to join the Mets this week and could be ready to pitch later this week, potentially avoiding the need for Ynoa to get another start. Matz last pitched in a game on Aug. 14. He has been on the shelf with a shoulder impingement that irritated the rotator cuff. Matz threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Saturday in Port St. Lucie. Read more in Newsday and at NJ.com.
Wilmer Flores tried to swing a bat on Sunday and was unable because his right wrist continues to bother him. Flores suffered the injury on Sept. 10 and received a cortisone injection on Thursday.
Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post advocates starting Conforto over Bruce again on Monday. Bruce is hitting .181 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 138 at-bats since being acquired by the Mets. Read more on Conforto at MLB.com.
Neil Walker told reporters Sunday that no contract-extension discussions ever began with the Mets. Walker is now recovering from surgery for a herniated disk in his lower back, but is again around the team. Read more in the Daily News.
From the bloggers ... Mets Report salutes the makeshift rotation.
BIRTHDAYS: Randy Myers turns 54.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
@AdamRubinESPN Here's a tweet of actor and Mets fan Steve Hofstetter being insanely jealous.— Steve Hofstetter (@SteveHofstetter) September 19, 2016
YOU’RE UP: Are you at all curious about Tebow’s baseball skills?