Jul 19

Reyes, Beltran return to Mets’ lineup, but for how long?

Jose Reyes is back in the lineup tonight against St. Louis, with Ruben Tejada being optioned to Buffalo. No surprise in the names, but with how Reyes has responded to injuries, I thought they might have dragged this out another day or two as a precaution.

Carlos Beltran is also back in to give another audition to prospective suitors before the July 31 deadline. Atlanta is one of the teams reportedly interested, but unless there’s another team involved would the Mets trade directly with the Braves on this big a deal?

That would also include the Phillies, whom I would be shocked to see get Beltran from the Mets. Other teams with reported interest, who have the resources to deal, are Boston, Detroit, Texas and San Francisco, and that’s the group where I see him going.

Reportedly, Pittsburgh and Cleveland have a desire for a bat, but I don’t think they have the prospects to swing such a trade.

Beltran, who has been out with the flu, returns tonight against St. Louis.

Here’s tonight’s order:

Jose Reyes, SS

Justin Turner, 2B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Daniel Murphy, 3B

Angel Pagan, CF

Jason Bay, LF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Ronny Paulino, C

Dillon Gee, RP


Jul 19

Today in Mets History: Aggie losses heartbreaker to Braves.

The 1985 season was all about “missing it by that much,’’ and this game on that date was no exception.

Atlanta’s Zane Smith outdueled the Mets’ Rick Aguilera in a 1-0 shutout at Shea Stadium. Smith and Hall of Fame closer Bruce Sutter combined to give up three hits.

The Braves got to Aguilera in the seventh on a walk to Dale Murphy, and back-to-back singles by Bob Horner and Terry Harper.

With the loss the Mets fell a game-and-a-half behind St. Louis in the NL East.


Jul 18

Today in Mets’ History: This year looking like last summer.

Mets got this break during collapse.

The Mets are entering a strangely familiar territory.

Last year the prevailing midseason issue after the break was whether Jerry Manuel could take control of his team and guide them either into the postseason, or to at least make a wild-card run.

It didn’t happen. On this date last season, the Mets broke a three-game losing streak coming out of the All-Star break with a series-salvaging 4-3 victory at San Francisco in 10 innings.

The game featured an atrocious call by plate umpire Phil Cuzzi that swiped a victory from the Giants. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Cuzzi called out Travis Ishikawa at the plate, saying he slide under Henry Blanco’s tag.

Replays proved otherwise, but most damning was Blanco’s comments: “He was safe all the way. Everybody was surprised when he was called out.’’


With the victory, the Mets moved to 49-43, five games behind in the National East. Not bad on the surface, but the Mets were in the midst of losing seven of nine games, and would go on to lose six of their next eight, all on the road.

This season, the Mets dropped two of three coming out of the break to Philadelphia, and overall have dropped five of their last seven games.

The Mets close out July with a make-up game tonight at Citi Field, followed by three home games with St. Louis. Then they are on the road to Florida for three, Cincinnati for three and Washington for three.

Even with the positive news about Jose Reyes’ rehab game tonight, the Mets are in for an interesting couple of weeks until the trade deadline.

Last year they unraveled, but they had little to give up as nobody wanted Oliver Perez or Luis Castillo. This season there are more attractive things on the Mets’ rosters for contenders.

Carlos Beltran is currently the big prize. He’s healthy, playing well and has adjusted to a new team. The Mets could bring a prospect or two in return, more, if they extend a negotiating window to the team in attempt to land Beltran long term. Of course, Beltran’s agent is Scott Boras, and his preference in similar situations is to play the open market.

Boras is not likely to do anything to help the Mets, who will not receive compensatory draft picks if he leaves as a FA.

Reyes, who hopes to play tomorrow, is also available, but the Mets would like to keep him, and will do so unless they are bowled over. If that were to happen, the team would want a chance to negotiate with Reyes long term. The Mets will get more of a package in this situation rather than if they sell him to a team as a rental.

The Mets have several other players teams could covet in support or bullpen roles, including: Angel Pagan, Scott Hairston, Tim Byrdak, Jason Isringhausen, and tonight’s starter, Chris Capuano.

Here’s tonight’s lineup behind Capuano:

Angel Pagan, CF

Willie Harris, 2B

Daniel Murphy, 3B

Scott Hairston, RF

Lucas Duda, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

Chris Capuano, LP


Jul 17

Today in Mets’ History: Big rally against Braves.

The Atlanta Braves didn’t always have a stranglehold on the Mets. On this date in 1973, Rusty Staub and John Milner each hit two-run homers as the Mets scored seven runs in the ninth inning in a dramatic 8-7 comeback victory at Atlanta.

Tug McGraw started and went six innings for the Mets, with Buzz Capra getting the win.


The Mets, who would play in the World Series that year, improved to 39-50 with the victory in sixth place in the NL East.




Jul 16

Niese continues to shine; Hairston comes through.

The more he pitches, the better he gets. Even if he doesn’t know how to grow a beard, he’s showing he knows how to pitch.

NIESE: Getting better and better.

Without Johan Santana, the Mets don’t have an ace, but the closest they have is Jonathan Niese, who won his ninth game Saturday in an 11-2 rout of the Phillies.

Entering the season, it was thought Mike Pelfrey would continue to develop, but this has been a disappointing season for him. Conversely, Niese is making big strides, and beating the Phillies with seven strong innings was one of them.

Also a storyline was Scott Hairston, who homered and drove in five runs in an audition for the right field job in case the Mets deal Carlos Beltran, as they are likely to do.

Hairston was a late starter after Beltran came down with flu like symptoms. Beltran could sit again Sunday. Manager Terry Collins gave Hairston notice as soon as he got to the park, and unlike Jerry Manuel, didn’t wait until game time to make a decision. Hairston said that’s key for a role player.

“I found out I was in the lineup right away. It gave me a couple of hours to prepare,’’ Hairston said. “I’ve played in this role for the last few years. It’s a very difficult role. I rely on that experience.’’

While Beltran said he wants to play out his career with the Mets, it is expected the team will trade him as this is the final year of his contract, one that doesn’t offer arbitration which would give them compensatory draft picks.