The New York Mets (31-24) were certainly hoping for a series sweep of the reigning World Series Champion the St. Louis Cardinals (28-27) but the bullpen let the victory slip away by a final score of 5-4.
“We have got to keep playing, and executing,” said Mets manager Terry Collins of taking 3-out of-4 from the Cardinals. “We are going to D.C. next to take on the Nationals and we have got to pick it up and keep moving forward.”
On the game today Collins had this to say, “If we had executed one play we would have won, so we have to certainly play better than the way we did.”
Helping to lead the power surge for New York were Lucas Duda and Scott Hariston, who both homered in the loss. In spite of the bombs, it’d be an eight-inning homer of Jon Rauch which allowed the Cardinals to snap their season-long five-game losing streak on Monday.
Duda has now hit in five straight games (.368, 7-for-19) with four homers and nine RBI’s in this stretch. Hairston meanwhile continues to supply power for the Mets off the bench, hitting his second pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning.
“He has been getting the bat out front more than he was,” Collins said of the hot stretch that Duda has been on. “He is one of the hardest working guys on the club, and sometimes you over swing. Right now he is getting himself in a position to hit.”
Scott now has five pinch-hit homers in his Mets career, which is tied for fourth in franchise history. The veteran has a total of eight bombs off the bench in his career.
“He has done outstanding, and for a lot of these guys their preparation is incredible,” Collins said of the power surge. “Last year Scotty got off to a slow start and then got hot. This year he has watched his work load. Right now he is going up there and being aggressive and seeing the ball very well.”
Rauch dropped his fifth straight decision, the second-longest streak of his career, compiling an 8.53 ERA (12 earned runs/12.2 innings) while allowing 21 hits.
“Well I will tell you now that he has had tenderness (in his elbow), and we will have the doctors look at that,” said Collins. “Today he just kept the fastball up.”
On how long the tenderness has been going, Collins had this to say, “He said that he has been doing fine with it, the tenderness pops up from time to time. Today when he warmed-up and got on the mound it acted up again.”
Mets starter Dillon Gee continued the trend of fine starting pitching for New York, tossing 7.0 innings and striking out eight batters, but had to leave the game with the no-decision. Over the last 13 games for the club the starters have gone 9-1 with a 1.9 ERA (20 earned runs/90.1 innings) striking out a combined 96 batters, walking 20 and allowing three homers.
David Wright tied former teammate Jose Reyes for the most runs scored in franchise history with 735, when he came around to score in the seventh inning. Only two other players lead their team’s run scored leaderboard: Texas’ Michael Young (1,031) and Colorado’s Todd Helton (1,349).
The schedule does not get any easier for this team, as the guys will now head to Washington D.C. to take on the red-hot Nationals on Tuesday. New York announced a change to their rotation, as Jeremy Hefner is set to start on Wednesday, June 6 in the Nation’s Capital.
On the changes to the rotation and giving starter Johan Santana time off Collins had this to say, “The one thing that we talked about was that we knew that we were going to have to take a look at his (Santana’s) workload next start if we moved him.”
“We talked about different scenarios and the one that worked best was giving Johan a couple of days off,” Collins continued of how he decided to best use his ace next.
Hefner is schedule to be followed by R.A. Dickey on Thursday, Santana on Friday in the Bronx versus the Yankees and Dillon Gee and Jon Niese over the weekend. Though the team has not gotten any further results from Niese’s test from the rapid heartbeat he was feeling on Sunday.
Getting the start in Game One against the Nationals will be the returning Chris Young, who is making his first Major League start in over 14 months. In his last start Young picked up a no-decision in a 2-1 Mets victory in 14 innings against the Phillies.
Young was able to toss seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and three runs while striking out seven batters. A healthy Young will mean big things for the rotation, as he provides a top of the rotation type pitching to the team.
It will be no easy task for New York as they take on Washington starter Jordan Zimmerman (3-5, 2.80 ERA), who hasn’t allowed more than four runs in his last seven starts.
Game One between the Mets and the Nationals is set to air on the SNY network, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
NL Player of the Week: Mets starter Johan Santana was named the National League Player of the Week of May 28-June 3. Santana has been previously named to the American League Player of the Week three times and the Co-Player of the Week once.
The ace-lefty made Mets history throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history on Friday, becoming the first pitcher to no-hit the defending World Series Champions since the Rangers’ Nolan Ryan no-hit Oakland on June 11, 1990.
Fellow starter R.A. Dickey was the NL Player of the week last week, to give the franchise their first consecutive NL Player of the week recipients since last year. Earning those honors were David Wright (August 29-September 4) and Jason Bay (September 5-11).
The last time the Mets had pitchers accomplish the feat was in 1983, when Jesse Orosco won it consecutive weeks in August of that year.
Bay Watch: Outfielder Jason Bay was expected to rejoin the team for the trip to Washington, D.C. but will not be able to due to an illness.
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