The Mets are playing out the string at this point, but at least they’re keeping things interesting.
Matt Harvey limited the Reds to one run in 7 2/3 innings and struck out eight in the Mets’ 8-4 win on Thursday. He also had a two-run double off Homer Bailey in the contest.
Frank Francisco put a seemingly finished game into doubt in the ninth for the second time this week. On Sunday, he allowed two walks and a double to the only three Braves he faced. He entered with the bases loaded, so the end result was four runs scored in a game the Mets held on to win 6-5.
Tonight, Francisco entered an 8-1 game after gave up three runs before Jon Rauch again bailed him out. Thanks to Francisco, Rauch has picked up a pair of one-out saves this week.
Francisco also engaged in some odd behavior after the game, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Costa:
Anyway, back to Harvey. He had a remarkable seventh inning tonight, throwing just five pitches in the frame, yet giving up two hits and a run. Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and Xavier Paul all put the first pitch into play, with Phillips and Bruce coming away with doubles. The other three batters made outs.
Finally given ample run support for the first time in five major league starts, Harvey improved to 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA. He’s up to 34 strikeouts in 30 innings.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.