The New York Mets got what they hoped for Friday night in David Wright’s return, but remain wanting with Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Backed by Wright’s first-inning homer, the Mets gave Matsuzaka a 5-0 lead, but he gave up four runs in the fourth inning. Never mind two of the runs were unearned, but a pitcher’s job is to pitch out of trouble.
Matsuzaka not only didn’t escape trouble, but with three walks and four hits in six innings, he contributed to his own demise.
WRIGHT: Welcome back. (MLB)
Those are not acceptable numbers, and his performance doesn’t even define a No. 5 starter. Aaron Harang has pitched well enough to warrant a spring training invite, but Matsuzaka has not.
Yes, he pitched six innings, and yes, the Mets came away with a victory, but it was a stressful outing and they can’t afford having their bullpen drained once every fifth day.
As for Wright, who played for the first time in seven weeks, he came out of the night sore, but confident: “I want to be able to just flow and react, and I’m not quite there yet as far as the rhythm of the game and that kind of explosiveness that I feel I had before I got hurt.’’
Prior to the game, Wright said he wanted to play in eight of the Mets’ last ten games.
GEE GOES TODAY: Nobody thought it would happen in April, but Dillon Gee will lead the Mets with victories this season. He goes after his 12th victory today and will get another start Thursday against Milwaukee at Citi Field.
Gee’s season turned around with a 12-strikeout game, May 30, at Yankee Stadium.
It was as if switch was flipped.
“I started pitching with more command,’’ Gee said.
HAWKINS GOES FOR MILESTONE: LaTroy Hawkins has 99 career saves, 11 of them coming this season when he assumed the closer role when Bobby Parnell was injured.
At 40, Hawkins still throws in the mid-90s, but more to the point, he still knows how to pitch. Hawkins has been a positive influence in the bullpen and the Mets should bring him back.
They could do far worse.
FLORES TO PLAY SECOND: Wilmer Flores might get more starts at second base in the remaining nine games.
For several years, the Mets struggled to find a position for Daniel Murphy. Ironically, they appear to be trying to replace him with Flores, a player, like Murphy, who had trouble finding a position.
WINTER BALL METS: The Mets are seeking to find winter ball teams for Lucas Duda and Matt den Dekker, both of whom lost at-bats this summer because of injuries.
Duda would get time at first base, a further indication the Mets appear to be moving away from Ike Davis.
As for den Dekker, he could earn a spot next spring if he can hit.
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