Angel Pagan almost misses an at bat while on the john

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Gentlemen: start your references to this being a microcosm for the Mets’ season … now!

Angel Pagan was due up in the fifth inning of last night’s Mets-Phillies game and … was nowhere to be found.  Seems that nature called. I like the way Andy Martino put it in the Daily News: “Turns out, the center fielder felt a rumble at the end of the fourth. It arrived suddenly, and with great force.” Mmmm, vivid!

Here’s Terry Collins’ version of it:

“(Pagan) came in, sitting on the bench, and all of a sudden didn’t feel good and went to the bathroom,” the manager said. “Didn’t even have time to tell me he was sick.”

Pagan finally made it to bat, grounded out and then was pulled from the game by Collins.  Because while there’s no law that says you can’t get a case of Montezuma’s revenge during a ballgame, you had darn well better tell your manager about it when it happens.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.