Morning Briefing: Mets back home


FIRST PITCH: There was a time this season when we were asking why the New York Mets couldn't hit at Citi Field.

Now we're asking why they can't hit at all.

The Mets return to Citi on Friday night for the opener of a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies, and the three big questions are how much new shortstop Wilmer Flores will play, how much of a difference he'll make -- and will the Mets ever score another run?

Of course they will. Perhaps they'll even do it Friday against the Phillies, who have the second highest team ERA in the National League (4.44, ahead of only Arizona). Right-hander Roberto Hernandez (2-1, 4.50) is the Phils' scheduled starter Friday.

Jenrry Mejia (3-0, 5.23), in some danger of losing his spot in the rotation, starts for the Mets.

Friday's news reports:

• Flores is here to play, according to the Post. Triple-A Las Vegas manager Wally Backman says Flores will hit, in the Daily News. He'd better hit, Marc Carig writes in Newsday, because his defense will be subpar.

• Mejia hates the idea that he'll be moved to the bullpen, he tells the Post.

• Who's to blame for what ails the Mets? Columnist Joel Sherman tries to figure it out in the Post, coming to the conclusion that much of the current team is still former general manager Omar Minaya's. But Sherman also wonders why Alderson and crew haven't been able to be more successful in adding to it. Meanwhile, Bill Madden in the Daily News thinks the Mets can still contend this year if Alderson and Co. fix the bullpen. And in the Record, columnist Bob Klapisch takes a shot at the Mets over the "True New Yorkers" email campaign.

• Are the Mets even capable of being better hitters? Mike Vorkunov in the Star Ledger says the numbers suggest they are. Anthony DiComo on MLB.com goes through the numbers to look at David Wright, in what DiComo calls the most bizarre slump of his career.

• Here's one number that is ugly, no matter how you look at it: Mets pitchers are 0 for 58 at the plate. Read more in the Record.

• After the Phillies, the Mets play the annual Subway Series with the Yankees, and that means Curtis Granderson will return to Yankee Stadium on Monday night. Will he be booed for his "true New Yorker" comments? He says people "took what I said in a way I never intended," according to the Daily News.

From the bloggers ... Blogging Mets thinks Sandy Alderson has been a failure as Mets GM.

BIRTHDAYS: Aaron Harang, who made four starts for the Mets last September (think they should've kept him?) turns 36 . . . Jerry Buchek, who finished his career with the 1967-68 Mets, is 72.


YOU'RE UP: Would you rather have the Mets' problems or the Phillies' problems?