Jason Bay

Mets come back off Mariano Rivera, beat Yankees in 10

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The Mets scored single runs in the ninth and 10th innings to beat the Yankees 3-2 and avoid a home sweep Sunday.

Already down Jose Reyes because of a hamstring strain, the Mets’ chances appeared to take another hit today when R.A. Dickey was forced from a 1-1 game after five innings due to tightness in his glute.  The Mets got two scoreless innings from rookie Pedro Beato, but they fell behind in the eighth after Jason Isringhausen gave up a run on a Curtis Granderson sac fly.

To come back from there, the Mets relied on what’s been their biggest offensive weapon this season: the base on balls.  The NL leaders in walks and OBP couldn’t push across a run after two David Robertson walks in the eighth, but they did capitalize on Mariano Rivera’s two-out walk of Jason Bay in the ninth.  Lucas Duda and Ronny Paulino both singled from there to tie up the game.

With the winning run on second, Ruben Tejada then hit a ball that went through shortstop Ramiro Pena for an error.  Fortunately, left fielder Brett Gardner was charging the entire time, and though his throw home was a bit wide of home plate, Russell Martin was able to haul it in and dive back across the plate in time to tag Duda and send the game into extras.

The Mets went on to win it in 10.  Scott Hairston walked to lead off the inning against Luis Ayala and was sacrificed to second.  After a HBP and a strikeout, Daniel Murphy hit a pretty routine grounder to short that Pena bobbled for his second error in two innings.  With the bases loaded, Bay drove a pitch into the gap in right-center to end the game.

Bay has now hit in six straight games.  He’s also driven in seven runs and walked six times during that span.

Francisco Rodriguez, pitching two innings for the first time this season, earned the win today.  The blown save was Rivera’s fourth of the year and first against the Mets since 1999.

The Yankees lost their seven-game winning streak, but they did end up 4-2 against the Mets this season.

Dexter Fowler: “I didn’t say anything wrong.”

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Dexter Fowler #81 poses for a portrait during St Louis Cardinals Photo Day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2017 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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New Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler was recently asked by ESPN’s Mark Saxon how President Trump’s efforts to institute a travel ban affected him and his family. Fowler’s wife is from Iran and Fowler said that he had reconsidered traveling with his daughter to Iran to visit her family. His wife’s sister also delayed her return from a business trip to Qatar as a result of Trump’s executive order. “It’s huge,” Fowler said. “Especially anytime you’re not able to see family, it’s unfortunate.”

Fowler’s statement was pretty bland as far as athletes wading into political waters go. He didn’t criticize Trump or conservatives, nor did he espouse support for liberals or Democrats. It was a simple statement that his life had been adversely impacted by an executive order.

The responses to Fowler’s comment were mostly awful. The @BestFansStLouis Twitter account highlighted this, as did Jeff Passan for Yahoo Sports and Will Leitch for Sports on Earth. Fans suggested that Fowler “shut up and play” because “nobody cares” and that Fowler is “property” of the Cardinals. The responses were so negative that Fowler tweeted about it:

Fowler, however, isn’t backing down. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:

“I didn’t say anything wrong,” Fowler said. “I think it was taken out of context [by other outlets]. I don’t think people read the article. I think people made their own [headlines]. The question was asked out of empathy to my family, and I appreciate that. If anybody is asking about my family, then I’m going to let them know that, ‘Yeah, obviously it affected my family. My wife is Iranian.’ … I think it’s kind of ignorant of people to just come at me like that and not read the article.”

[…]

“I’m always going to care for my family,” Fowler said. “And if a question is asked out of concern, I’m going to answer the question. And I’m going to answer it truthfully. It’s not to hurt anybody. It’s unfortunate that people think of things that way. I believe they’re sensitive. I’m not the sensitive one. I appreciate the ones that understood.”

Manager Mike Matheny has Fowler’s back. He said, “I think he handled it correctly. He was very clear that he was trying to make a statement about his family [and it] ended up becoming a political statement.”

Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, also expressed support for Fowler:

“Baseball players are a microcosm of society, and I was a grown man before I was a baseball player,” Clark said. “If I have a view, I should be willing to share it, while understanding what I’m a part of and what my responsibilities are. Any player understands that when they take a particular position, it may not be a popular one.

“There may be pushback. That shouldn’t be a reason not to have an opinion. In this instance, it’s a very personal one to Dex. I respect the commentators that responded. I respect their freedom to respond to it.”

Indeed, Fowler had every right to say what he said and it’s good to see that both his manager and the head of the MLBPA support him fully. It would have been easy and politically safe to allow Fowler to hang out to dry.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.