Apr 06

Mets Game Thread: Duda Puts Mets Ahead (6th)

The Mets got to Max Scherzer for two runs in the sixth. Scherzer retired the first two hitters, and then walked Curtis Granderson for the second time. After shortstop Ian Desmond dropped David Wright’s pop-up in short right-center, Lucas Duda ripped a two-run single for the lead.

Colon continued to deal in the sixth. He gave up a single to Bryce Harper (who had also homered in the fourth) and walked Ryan Zimmerman, but got Wilson Ramos for his eighth strikeout to end the inning.

Score: Mets 2, Nationals 1.

Apr 06

Mets Game Thread: Colon Escapes Trouble In First

Part of the reasoning to start Bartolo Colon on Opening Day is he has the experience to not let the moment get the best of him. After the Nationals put two runners on with a hit and a Daniel Murphy throwing error, he responded by striking out two and getting an inning-ending groundout.

Score:  Mets 0, Nationals 0

Mar 31

Mets Matters: Niese Sharp And Other Good Things

A lot of good things happened to the Mets in today’s 2-0 victory over Washington.

* Jon Niese, who is facing a pivotal season in his career, threw six scoreless innings.

* The Mets have been searching all spring for a left specialist, and Jerry Blevins, acquired Monday from the Nationals for outfielder Matt den Dekker, struck out Bryce Harper.

mets-matters logo* Ruben Tejada, whom the Mets apparently don’t want to use at second base, had his 12th RBI of the spring in 19 games.

* John Mayberry Jr., earmarked for a bench role, had three hits, including his fourth homer. He’s batting .426 in spring training.

* The Mets, now 18-11 including 5-1 against the Nationals, have won 12 of their last 15 games.

* Lucas Duda had his fourth straight hit against left-handed pitching with a single against Gio Gonzalez.

* Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin threw 1.2 scoreless innings to earn the save.

ALVAREZ OPTIONED: Less than 24 hours after picking up lefty relievers Blevins and Alex Torres, Dario Alvarez was optioned to the minor league camp.

He appeared in ten games this spring and compiled a 4.91 ERA.

The plan is for him to open the season at Triple-A Las Vegas.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets host St. Louis with Bartolo Colon (0-2, 7.71 ERA) going against Carlos Martinez.

Mar 31

Niese Facing Pivotal Season

Jon Niese continued the Mets’ run of strong starting pitching with six scoreless innings Tuesday against St. Louis. The Mets haven’t said where, but Niese will likely be slotted fourth in their rotation, meaning he’ll pitch in the second series at Atlanta.

Niese, who gave up four hits and struck out three in a 2-0 victory over the Nationals, had been trying to correct a striding flaw in his mechanics. He noticed his landing (right) leg was not falling directly toward the plate, but toward first base. Consequently, Niese has been throwing across his body, which placed stress on his left shoulder causing it to tire. Such a strain could cause damage to the shoulder, perhaps leading to surgery.

NIESE: Big year for him. (AP)

NIESE: Big year for him. (AP)

“I’ve been working on my mechanics in between starts and in the bullpen,” Niese told reporters. “It feels good now. It makes my arm feel a lot stronger, and with a little bit better command as well.

“I’m striding probably a foot further toward home plate. It’s good. I’m using my legs, using my body to do the pitching instead of just trying to muscle it up there with my arm.”

This is a pivotal season for Niese, who has two years remaining on a five-year, $25.27-million contract. Niese was a hot commodity then as a young, hard-throwing left-hander with a manageable contract.

However, since a 13-9 season in 30 starts (190.1 innings) in 2012, Niese’s stock has nosedived. He’s gone 17-18 and made only 54 of a potential 68 starts.

In their growing disenchantment, the Mets tried to trade Niese over the winter, but their asking price was too high. Niese could also be expendable this winter, especially if Steven Matz is brought up and shows potential.

The Mets gambled, and to date lost on Niese. But, he’s only 28 so there’s still time for him to cash his potential check.

ON DECK: Mets Matters: Today’s notebook.