New York Mets

Steven Matz

Mets won’t use Steven Matz as a reliever

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As the Mets look ahead to their potential playoff rotation there’s been some speculation that rookie left-hander Steven Matz could be shifted to the bullpen, but manager Terry Collins shut down that notion.

Matz is due off the disabled list Tuesday after missing the past six weeks with a torn lat muscle and here’s what Collins told Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star Ledger about the possibility of a bullpen role down the stretch and/or into October:

You’re talking about a guy who’s had injury issues. To ask him to do something he hasn’t done before. To try to go warm up fast and get ready in a hurry–I’m not sure it’s fair to him.

Which makes sense, but here’s the thing: Matz made just two starts for the Mets before going on the disabled list and unless he’s absolutely lights-out as a starter in September they seem unlikely to trust him enough to be in the playoff rotation ahead of, say, veteran Jon Niese. In which case it would either be a bullpen role or no role for Matz in the playoffs, and “no role” would be a shame for a young pitcher with so much upside.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Jake Arrieta
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Cubs 2, Dodgers 0: The second no-hitter against the Dodgers in 10 days, this one courtesy of Jake Arrieta. The best part of this is that the final inning required him to strike out two past-their-prime former Phillies stars. No, wait, the best part of this was not having to listen to Curt Schilling weigh in on it as it was happening. Arrieta, for what it is worth, is now 17-6 with a 2.11 ERA on the year. The only two guys in the NL who have as good or better a shot at him for the Cy Young Award this year were watching this from the opposing team’s dugout. Our coverage of the no-no can be read here and here.

And yes, he’s wearing pajamas in this pic. Joe Maddon had one of his crazy-Joe Maddon getaway dressup days he’s famous for, which is why Arrieta had to give interviews about the biggest moment of his professional life while wearing longjohns with mustaches on them.

Blue Jays 9, Tigers 2: Four more homers for the Blue Jays including another one from the on-fire Edwin Encarnacion. That gives the Jays 184 homers on the year. That’s seven more than they had as a team all last year and it ain’t even September yet. Russell Martin after the game:

“If this isn’t the feel of a championship team, I don’t know what is. I feel like we’re great offensively, we’re great on defense, we’re pitching great, our bullpen has depth. I like what we have going right now.”

If the baseball was a 19th century melodrama, now would be the time someone would contract a case of dreaded consumption. Or maybe a dark figure would emerge from the Blue Jays’ collective past to bring shame upon them in the community, forcing them to retire to a dark room in their mansion as recluses.

Mets 5, Red Sox 4: The Mets avert a sweep. Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-3 with a walk and singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh. Juan Uribe had a big hit too. If you knew nothing else about the Mets season and I told you a year ago that Uribe and Cuddyer would be big Mets offensive weapons in the second half of 2015 you’d probably assume they were 23 games out of first place or something, yet here they are.

Indians 9, Angels 2: Abraham Almonte hit a grand slam and Josh Tomlin was solid, leading the Indians to their fifth straight win. The Angels, meanwhile, have dropped three in a row, are at .500 and stand three and a half out of the second wild card position. On any other team people would be talking about Mike Scioscia being fired after the season, but I’d sooner expect Arte Moreno to force a Mike Trout trade than to see that happen.

Rays 3, Royals 2: The Rays salvage one against K.C. thanks in part to Brandon Guyer and Kevin Kiermaier homers. That was the first win by Tampa Bay over the Royals in the seven games they’ve played them this season.

Yankees 20, Braves 6: Well that was an ugly slaughter. You may think that this bothers me, but nah. I’m all-in on the Braves tanking the rest of year. They’re only two and a half games “behind” in the race for the number one pick next year. Yes, there are four teams “ahead” of them and it’s always hard to “climb” over that many teams in the season’s final month, but I have “confidence” in this “baseball team.”

Nationals 7, Marlins 4: Jayson Werth homered and drove in three and the Nats came back after being down by three to in by three. Three three three three.

Padres 9, Phillies 4: James Shields got the win. It was his first road win since May. Hey, I wouldn’t want to leave San Diego if I lived there either, so it’s hard to blame him. Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Yangervis Solarte all hit homers as the Padres avoid a season sweep by the Phillies. Which would’ve been a somewhat more dubious proposition than the Rays being swept for the season by the Royals.

Rockies 5, Pirates 0: Jorge De La Rosa tossed six shutout innings and struck out seven. The Rockies scored their runs on a double, a triple and a two-run throwing error by Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton. That’s a homer, a single and a bases-loaded walk short of the dubious outing cycle.

White Sox 6, Mariners 5: The White Sox tied it in the ninth thanks in part to to a Brad Miller throwing error and than walked it off in the eleventh inning with a Tyler Saladino RBI single. David Robertson tossed two scoreless innings in relief and got the win. That’ll be the upper right hand story in the Closer Newsletter this week. Subscribers will be thrilled with that tale of transgression, adventure and the limits of human endurance.

Brewers 4, Reds 1: Wily Peralta pitched seven strong innings. Of course these days your aunt Tilly could pitch seven strong innings against the Reds. Do people have aunt Tillys anymore? Did they ever?

Twins 7, Astros 5: Ervin Santana struck out ten Astros in seven shutout innings and got the win even though his bullpen tried to sabotage him in the ninth, allowing a five-run Astros rally. Eduardo Nunez and Miguel Sano homered. Sano is hitting .287/.398/.591 on the year with 13 homers in only 49 games. That’s something like a 42 homer pace for a full season. Sano is 22-years-old.

Rangers 6, Orioles 0:Derek Holland is giving the Rangers exactly what they need as they push for the wild card. Here he struck out 11 in a three-hit complete game shutout. Baltimore is now closer to Boston and Detroit in the AL standings than they are to the second wild card.

Cardinals 7, Giants 5: Brandon Moss, Matt Carpenter and Mark Reynolds all hit homers as the Giants drop two of three to the Cardinals. A lot of people are talking about how the Dodgers are a struggling mess, and they sort of are, but the Giants aren’t exactly taking advantage of it.

Athletics 7, Diamondbacks 4: Marcus Semien hit a two-run bases loaded single with two outs in the top of the 11th. Pat Venditte, the switch-pitcher, got his first ever major league win.

Video: David Ortiz hits 494th career homer, passing Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff

David Ortiz
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David Ortiz gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning when he ripped a Noah Syndergaard fastball over the right field fence at Citi Field on Sunday afternoon. It’s his 28th home run of the season and the 494th of his career. That moves him into sole possession of 27th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, ahead of Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff at 493.

The odds are against Ortiz moving any further up the list before the end of the season, as he’d need a torrid September to do so. Next up is Eddie Murray at 504 and Gary Sheffield at 509.

Curtis Granderson thinks the moon landing was faked

Curtis Granderson
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Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson sat down for a question-and-answer session with Steve Serby of the New York Post. A lot of the questions had to do with his feelings about the first-place Mets, now 72-58 after Sunday’s win against the Red Sox.

But there was response which stood out among the others:

Q: You’re one of the most polished, politically correct athletes I’ve ever dealt with. Now say something controversial.

A: Let’s see … I can probably go with … I had this conversation with people — if we landed on the moon, how come we’ve never been back? I think there might be some conspiracy stuff to that.

Q: You do?

A: We haven’t been back, it’s been [43] years, technology’s all gotten better, and I’ve actually looked that one up a little bit and saw something on the NASA website and it said something that that space shuttle that was made back then is no longer made any more. They’re making one now, but it costs $30 billion to be able to go there. And we’re constantly coming back, you always hear of spaceships landing: oh, so-and-so just got back from its mission … where’d they go, you know? No one else in the world has ever been, so…

Really makes you think.

(A tip of the ballcap to Buzzfeed’s Lindsey Adler for bringing this to my attention.)

Report: Mets claim Marc Rzepczynski on revocable waivers

MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 06: Marc Rzepczynski #45 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 06, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Padres left-hander Marc Rzepczynski is the reliever who was claimed off revocable waivers by the Mets. It’s unclear how long the two sides have to complete a deal.

Rzepczynski was just acquired from the Indians last month. The 29-year-old owns a mediocre 4.88 ERA in 60 appearances this season, but he has 33 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings and the highest ground ball rate of his career. With his history of keeping left-handed batters in check, you can see why the Mets would consider taking a chance on him. He’s making $2.4 million this season and will be arbitration-eligible for the fourth and final time this winter.

3:10 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the Mets have put in a waiver claim on a reliever. The team with the reliever can either let him go to the Mets, negotiate a trade, or pull him back off waivers.

2:59 p.m. ET: MLB’s waiver trade deadline is coming up on Tuesday and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the first-place Mets are “making progress” on acquiring a reliever.

While it’s no sure thing that a deal will ultimately come together, Rubin hears that the Mets are having “tangible talks.” The team has already added Tyler Clippard and Eric O’Flaherty in separate deals with the Athletics over the past month. While Clippard has settled in as the primary set-up man for closer Jeurys Familia, O’Flaherty has allowed 10 runs on 13 hits and one walk over six innings with his new club. The Mets have gotten next to nothing out of the likes of Jenrry Mejia, Jerry Blevins, Bobby Parnell, and Vic Black this season, so the bridge to the late innings is a bit shaky at the moment.

Acquiring a left-handed specialist would be ideal, but it will be interesting to see if a quality arm makes it to them through waivers. There’s incentive for other teams to put in a claim first, either out of legitimate need or to block.