And then there were two: Collins, Melvin appear to be finalists for the Mets job

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With Clint Hurdle looking more and more like he’s destined for Pittsburgh, it’s being reported that the Mets have narrowed their managerial search down to two men: Terry Collins and Bob Melvin.

While Jose Oquendo is on Sandy Alderson’s interview schedule, the New York Times is saying that he’s not “a serious contender.”  Same with AAA manager Ken Oberkfell. Which saddens me a bit, because (a) I liked Oquendo as a player, probably more than I should ever have liked a utility guy; and (b) with Ken Oberkfell being a former Brave, I could revive the conspiracy theory that Atlanta has been sending deep cover agents to infiltrate and ruin the Mets for years. Agent Glavine did such a good job, I’m sure that Agent Oberkfell could too.

But the saddest news in all of this is the apparent end of Wally Backman’s candidacy. Not for the Mets — I continue to believe that he wouldn’t be the best choice — but for the bloggers. I mean, I could easily have gotten another half dozen posts out of all of this, and no it appears that the party is over.

Marcus Stroman loses no-hit bid in the seventh inning of WBC final against Puerto Rico

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
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Update (11:57 PM ET): And it’s over. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive double down the left field line off of Stroman, ending the no-hitter. Manager Jim Leyland immediately removed Stroman from the game.

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U.S. starter Marcus Stroman has held Puerto Rico hitless through six innings thus far in the World Baseball Classic final. The Blue Jays’ right-hander has held the opposition to just one base runner — a walk — with three strikeouts on 68 pitches.

WBC rules limit a pitcher to throwing a maximum of 95 pitches in the Championship Round, so Stroman has 27 pitches left with which to play. If he hits the limit during the at-bat, he can continue throwing to the completion of that at-bat. Needless to say, though, Stroman won’t be finishing his potential no-no.

The U.S. has given four runs of support to Stroman. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Then, in the fifth, Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen both provided RBI singles. Update: The U.S. tacked on three more in the top of the seventh when Brandon Crawford drove in two with a bases-loaded single and Giancarlo Stanton followed up with an RBI single.

We’ll keep you updated as Stroman and any pitchers that follow him attempt to complete the no-hitter. Shairon Martis is the only player to throw a no-hitter in WBC history. However, the game ended after seven innings due to the mercy rule, or as it’s known now, the “early termination” rule.

Video: Ian Kinsler homers in WBC final, rounds bases solemnly

Harry How/Getty Images
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Ian Kinsler found himself in hot water on Wednesday evening when he criticized the way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play baseball. It is his hope that kids watching the World Baseball Classic decide to emulate the emotionless way players from the U.S. play baseball as opposed to the exciting, cheerful way players from other countries tend to play the game.

Needless to say, Kinsler’s comments didn’t sit well with many people, but he has the most recent laugh. Kinsler broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning of Wednesday night’s WBC final against Puerto Rico, slugging a two-run home run to left-center field at Dodger Stadium off of Seth Lugo.

Kinsler, of course, rounded the bases solemnly which is sure to highlight just how cool and exciting the game of baseball is to international viewers.