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Jacob deGrom strikes out 12 to mark his third consecutive double-digit strikeout game and Travis d'Arnaud homers twice to hold off the Nationals 7-5.
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Jacob deGrom keeps the Nationals hitters guessing throughout his seven innings of work by striking out 12.
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Travis d'Arnaud provides all the offense the Mets need with a 2-run homer in the second inning and a 3-run dinger in the fifth off of Max Scherzer.

NEW YORK -- Former New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden has gotten a key to the city 31 years after the team's thrilling World Series win over the Boston Red Sox.

Teammates from the 1986 Mets including Darryl Strawberry, Jesse Orosco and Bobby Ojeda joined Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio for Friday's ceremony honoring Gooden.

Gooden says it's a day he "never thought would happen."

Gooden won the Cy Young Award in 1985 and was selected for four All-Star Games. But he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. He told ESPN in 2011 he missed the 1986 World Series parade because he was getting high.

Friday's event was part of a documentary about Gooden and Strawberry being produced by sports radio host Amy Heart.

Strawberry says it meant the world "to have this day" with his friend and the mayor.


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Mets' Yoenis Cespedes on DL with hamstring strain

April, 28, 2017
Apr 28
2:48
PM ET
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The New York Mets placed slugger Yoenis Cespedes on the 10-day disabled list Friday with a left hamstring strain, the club announced.

The team recalled left-handed reliever Sean Gilmartin from Triple-A Las Vegas in a corresponding move.

"They didn't really see a lot,'' manager Terry Collins said of Cespedes' MRI. "It's probably better news than we thought. It's still going to be a while, obviously, but it's in a different part of [the hamstring] where the injury was last week.''

Collins also said pitcher Noah Syndergaard tossed Friday afternoon and could potentially pitch again as early as Sunday if the right-hander reported no discomfort. Syndergaard was scratched from his start Thursday because of biceps and shoulder discomfort.

The Mets are expected to send Cespedes to Florida for rehab, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney. He could receive platelet-rich plasma injections.

The outfielder had to exit the team's 7-5 defeat to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. It was the Mets' sixth straight loss. New York is in last place in the NL East with an 8-13 record.

Cespedes pulled up lame after rounding first base on a one-hop double in the bottom of the fourth inning. He bent over in pain after reaching second as Collins and head athletic trainer Ray Ramirez rushed out to see what was wrong.

Cespedes draped one arm over the shoulder of Ramirez and the other over the shoulder of first-base coach Tom Goodwin as he limped slowly back to the Mets dugout.


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Chris Humphreys/USA Today SportsJeff Samardzija isn't alone among Giants who might be wondering how things started to go so wrong so soon this season.

It would have been easy to predict the same five teams as last year to make this year’s National League playoffs. After all, only six teams finished above .500, and none of the under-.500 teams made obvious improvements. But we know the same teams never make the playoffs. What usually happens is at least one playoff team stumbles out of the gate and never recovers. That’s happened this season to the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, all sitting under .500. What’s gone wrong?

Here’s the dirty little secret about the Giants: The Madison Bumgarner-Matt Cain-Tim Lincecum era actually only existed for two seasons. That trio led the Giants to the World Series title in 2010 and pitched well in 2011, when the club missed the playoffs, the year Buster Posey got injured. In 2012, they won another championship, although Lincecum posted a 5.18 ERA and was banished to the bullpen in the World Series.

Since then, however, the Giants have been a good team but not a great one, with the 2014 playoff run that culminated in a third title in five seasons masking the fact that this team has failed to win 90 games since 2012. Look at the past four seasons:

  • 2013: 76-86. Bumgarner was good, but Cain (0.5 WAR) and Lincecum (minus-0.6) weren’t, and Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong were even worse.
  • 2014: 88-74. Made the playoffs as a wild card, with help from a terrible NL West that featured the 96-loss Rockies and 98-loss Diamondbacks. Cain got injured and Lincecum once again had negative WAR and appeared in one game in relief the entire postseason. Bumgarner’s historic playoff run carried the team to the title.
  • 2015: 84-78. They tried to milk another year out of Cain and Lincecum (plus Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy), but it didn’t work, as Cain and Lincecum combined to make just 26 starts.
  • 2016: 87-75. In a watered-down National League, once again made the playoffs as a wild card. The Giants finally acknowledged their rotation problems by signing Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, but Cain and Peavy were terrible (combined 5.58 ERA over 38 starts).

Obviously, most franchises would love those results. My point is that the Giants have had weaknesses and didn’t enter 2017 with a lot of margin for error. Coming off an 87-win season, the only significant improvement they made was signing closer Mark Melancon. They had no prospects projected to make a major impact; they ignored an outfield that had clear issues in center field -- where they were going to rely on a 33-year-old Denard Span coming off a subpar 1.0-WAR season -- and in left field, where they didn’t re-sign Angel Pagan and were going to attempt a tag-team approach with Jarrett Parker ... or Mac Williamson ... or, well, the Giants have already started six different players there.

The two positions have been a disaster. Entering Thursday, the Giants’ left fielders are hitting .113/.191/.175. The center fielders are hitting .170/.247/.227. They resorted to trying infield reserve Aaron Hill out there and have had so many injuries that they dug up Drew Stubbs and Michael Morse from the remainder bin at Marshall’s. (OK, Morse hit a dramatic, pinch-hit home run Wednesday to tie a game the Giants won over the Dodgers in 10 innings.)

Those guys aren’t solutions, and while the outfield won’t be this bad all season, it’s still going to be one of the worst groups in the majors. That’s why some analysts felt the money spent on Melancon would have been better spent on a left fielder or center fielder (Dexter Fowler would have been a nice fit). Then you throw in Bumgarner’s injury. Over the past three seasons, the Giants are 59-40 in games Bumgarner starts. If he’s out the estimated two months, maybe he misses 12 starts. The Giants could be expected to go 7-5 in those games; maybe now they go 5-7 or 4-8.

So that injury alone is just a little bump in the road, but all this comes on top of the 8-15 start. That start is in the books, and the result is that no team has suffered a bigger decline in their projected record so far than the Giants, according to Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs; San Francisco's projected record has gone from 88.5 wins to 80.1. Put it this way. If you thought the Giants were a 90-win team, they’ll have to go 82-57 the rest of the way, a .590 winning percentage (a 96-win pace). That’s not unattainable; but do the Giants have that level of talent?

There’s even the possibility the Giants could turn into the 2012 Phillies. Remember, those Phillies were better than the Giants: 92 wins and a World Series title in 2008, 93 wins and a World Series appearance in 2009, 97 wins in 2010 and 102 wins in 2011. They dropped to .500 in 2012 and then collapsed after that. The Giants’ lineup now isn’t as old as the Phillies’ lineup was then (every regular except Hunter Pence was older than 30 on that team), but Brandon Belt and Joe Panik are the only Giants regulars younger than their age-30 seasons. The Phillies were eventually struck down by injuries to Roy Halladay and then Cliff Lee the following season, but the Giants’ rotation is also precariously thin in depth. And remember, Cueto has an out clause after this season. The farm system hasn’t produced a quality starter since Bumgarner arrived in 2010.

With the Rockies and Diamondbacks off to good starts -- see Jerry Crasnick’s article -- the Giants have dug themselves a dangerous hole. They’re going to have to play better than they’ve played the past five years to get back to the postseason.


There’s less to worry about for the Giants’ rivals to the south, not that the Dodgers aren’t without their own problems. In fact, their issues start in the outfield as well. While the Giants are last in the majors in wOBA from their outfielders, the Dodgers aren’t much better at 26th (entering Thursday). When Cody Bellinger was called up and inserted into left field, he became the ninth different outfielder to start for the Dodgers. Remember a couple years ago when everyone was worried the Dodgers had too many outfielders? Not a problem in 2017.

The Dodgers didn’t want to call up Bellinger, even though he was hitting well at Triple-A, but Brett Eibner and Trayce Thompson aren’t good options, and Bellinger is probably a better player right now than Andrew Toles, even if he's barely played above Double-A and is going to strike out a lot. Bellinger is another left-handed batter as well, and -- small-sample-size alert! -- the Dodgers are once again struggling against lefties. Power has been a problem, as Adrian Gonzalez hasn't homered, Justin Turner hasn't homered and Joc Pederson (currently on the disabled list with a hamstring issue) hasn't homered since Opening Day. That puts pressure on Bellinger to help provide some pop behind Corey Seager.

The bigger concerns are probably with the starting rotation, where Rich Hill can’t stay off the DL with his blister problems, Kenta Maeda has allowed seven home runs in 19 innings and Hyun-Jin Ryu has allowed six homers in 21⅓ innings. They have a lot more depth here than the Giants, and Julio Urias finally made his first start Thursday, which is why their projected record hasn’t changed since the start of the season.


Then we get to the Mets. Thursday was as bad a day as a team can have. First, Noah Syndergaard missed his scheduled outing with biceps discomfort. Matt Harvey replaced him and wasn’t good, and after the game it was revealed that Harvey had worked hard Wednesday and didn’t know he was going to start until three hours before game time. Then Yoenis Cespedes left the game after pulling up lame on a double, reinjuring the hamstring that had caused him to miss a few games ... except this looked even worse, as he needed help leaving the field.

Hey, at least Jose Reyes got his first RBI!

The Braves ended up winning 7-5, the Mets fell to 4-10 at home, and New York has lost 10 of 11. They’re hitting .209 -- only the Royals are worse -- and rank 27th in wOBA, with only the Giants, Blue Jays and Royals below them. They’ve scored 33 runs during this 11-game stretch.

So, yeah, the offense. The starting pitching, however, hasn’t dominated like it needs to, ranking 19th in the majors in ERA. Their peripherals are much better -- the Mets rank sixth in strikeout rate, second in lowest walk rate, eighth in home run rate -- but they rank last in left-on-base percentage. The starters have stranded just 65.5 percent of their runners, compared to the league average of 74 percent. Considering the other metrics are positive, they should improve in that area.

Still, like the Giants, the hole is getting deep. They’re already 7½ games behind the Nationals and their two best players might be heading to the disabled list. If you think they’re panicking in Queens, you’re right. Terry Collins had a testy postgame media session after Thursday's loss. "It's gotta start right now," he fumed. Indeed.

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Kurt Suzuki sends a three-run home run over the left field wall to give the Braves a 6-2 lead over the Mets.
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The New York Mets got even more bad news Thursday as slugger Yoenis Cespedes suffered a left hamstring strain and had to exit the team's 7-5 defeat to the Atlanta Braves.

Initially, the Mets called it a hamstring pull. Cespedes is getting an MRI.

The Mets are expected to place Cespedes on the DL and send him to Florida for rehab, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney. It is possible he will receive platelet-rich plasma injections.

Cespedes pulled up lame after rounding first base on a one-hop double in the bottom of the fourth inning. He bent over in pain after reaching second as manager Terry Collins and head athletic trainer Ray Ramirez rushed out to see what was wrong.

Cespedes draped one arm over the shoulder of Ramirez and the other over the shoulder of first base coach Tom Goodwin as he limped slowly back to the Mets dugout.

Cespedes, 31,who has six home runs and 10 RBIs this season, had just returned to the lineup Wednesday after a nagging hamstring injury had sidelined him for three games.

Juan Lagares replaced Cespedes in Thursday's game.

Earlier Thursday, the Mets scratched right-hander Noah Syndergaard from Thursday's start with discomfort in his biceps. Matt Harvey got the start against the Braves.

Syndergaard, who is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings this season, originally was going to pitch Wednesday but had been moved to Thursday.


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Mets scratch Noah Syndergaard with discomfort in biceps

April, 27, 2017
Apr 27
10:50
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AP Photo/John BazemoreNoah Syndergaard is experiencing discomfort in his biceps.

The New York Mets had already pushed back Noah Syndergaard's turn in the rotation by a day, but before Thursday afternoon's game against the Atlanta Braves, the right-hander was scratched with discomfort in his biceps.

Robert Gsellman started Wednesday night for Syndergaard, and manager Terry Collins said Matt Harvey was moved back into his regular turn Thursday.

Gsellman was scheduled to pitch Tuesday against Atlanta in a game that was rained out, and the Mets initially said they would skip their No. 5 starter and let Syndergaard pitch Wednesday on normal rest.

But several hours before first pitch, New York announced that it would instead slide the rotation back, with Syndergaard throwing Thursday against the Braves and Harvey pushed back a day to Friday in the opener of a series against the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.

Syndergaard is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings this season. 

He pitched through a bone spur in his right elbow through a large part of last season. He says his biceps became irritated a few days ago and he took anti-inflammatory medication. He says he felt strong enough to pitch Thursday.


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My own personal ranking of fans who take losing the hardest:

1. Mets fans

2. Dodgers fans when they lose to the Giants

3. Everyone else

30. Padres fans

You can imagine the apocalyptic nature in Queens, Long Island and from the 22 Mets fans who live in the Bronx due to the way the team is playing right now. After falling 8-2 to the Braves on Wednesday, they've lost nine of 10 to drop to 8-12, nobody except Noah Syndergaard can pitch, Jose Reyes has inflicted the entire lineup with Lyme disease, manager Terry Collins needs to be sent on a camping trip to Poughkeepsie, the front office is clueless, and, for the love of god, please call up Amed Rosario.

Otherwise, Mets fans aren't panicking at all.

Luckily, I'm here to help.

1. They're hitting .208 (last in the National League) and averaging 4.05 runs per game (ninth in the NL). The offense has been bad, but hasn't been 1962-Mets bad. There's talent here. The big drain has been Reyes, hitting .114 with as many RBIs as you and me. It's only 70 at-bats, however, and he was moderately productive last season. One solution would be to call up Rosario, the 21-year-old hitting .397 at Triple-A Las Vegas, but I think it's too soon for Rosario, who hasn't homered there (and everyone hits at Vegas). Patience. Instead, make a pitch for Mike Moustakas from the Royals. If Reyes is still hitting under .200 in a month, then you give Rosario a chance.

2. Free Michael Conforto. He's finally managed to get some at-bats due to various injuries and is hitting .325/.396/.650 in 40 at-bats. I don't love the idea of him in center field, but he's made five starts there, and if that's the only way to get him into the lineup, so be it. His defensive metrics have actually been pretty good in his career, although that's mostly in the corners. Still, he's probably not any worse than Curtis Granderson out there.

Fernando SalasAdam Hunger/Getty ImagesFernando Salas gave up two runs on three hits in his one inning of work Wednesday in the Mets' loss to the Braves.

3. Don't be afraid to ride the starters a little harder. Yes, that's right. Look, they're either going to get hurt or they're not going to get hurt. The rotation is the guts of this team, and now that we're heading into May with the weather warming up, it's time to stretch them out. They've had six starts of seven innings (and none longer) and just five of 100 pitches. The more you force Collins to rely on Fernando Salas, the more likely you are to lose. I'm not advocating for 120 pitches, but getting even another inning two or three times through a rotation turn helps ease the burden on the bullpen.

4. Stop using Fernando Salas.

5. Leave Robert Gsellman alone. OK, he was awful Wednesday, at least in the first inning, when he went walk, single, walk, single, single, throwing error (his own), double. Without a caught stealing, the five-run inning would have been even worse. Gsellman blamed the inning on a mechanical issue, saying he was flying open and losing command. He's a young pitcher. It happens. The 23-year-old also got nickel-and-dimed a bit. Two of the hits were ground balls, including a weird half-swing from Matt Kemp, and the double from Tyler Flowers was an excuse-me soft line drive just over first base. The walks are bad, but it seems Gsellman has had some bad luck in the hit department. He's going to be fine.

Or maybe there's a simple fix:

So, take a deep breath, Mets fans. Let everyone get healthy. The lineup is better than this. Turn Thor loose and keep Collins away from Conforto. It's a long season, my friends.

The Orioles find a way. Seems like we say that a lot, don't we? Well, this happened:

Seth Smith with the Little League home run! The throw at the end was from left fielder Shane Peterson, and I have no idea whether he can actually throw or not, but that will go down as the worst throw of the season, bouncing a toss to Evan Longoria from like 30 feet away. Anyway, the Orioles beat the Rays 5-4 in 11 innings on a walk-off walk to Smith, who isn't a conventional leadoff hitter with his lack of speed but is hitting .263/.378/.526 and setting the table for the guys behind him. He's another one of those quiet pickups -- the O's got him for Yovani Gallardo -- that looks like it will pay dividends.

Mickey's kid is back. One of the feel-good stories this month has been Michael Brantley's strong start for the Indians after the shoulder issues that wiped out his 2016. He's up to .318 with a .561 slugging percentage with his current 10-game hitting streak that included two hits and three RBIs in a 7-6 victory over the Astros.

Play of the day. It's OK, you can admit it. You like these Yankees. You especially love this left tackle of a right fielder in Aaron Judge. Maybe he'll hit a 550-foot home run someday. On his 25th birthday, big No. 99 not only belted his seventh home run but also did this:

On a cold, gray night in Boston, Luis Severino was also superb, with seven scoreless innings in the 3-1 win over the Red Sox as Aroldis Chapman escaped a one-out, two-on jam. If Severino keeps this up, the Yankees absolutely will stay in the race in the American League East.

Quick thoughts ... The Giants are so banged up in the outfield they called up Mike Morse as they try to dial up 2014. Morse appeared done as a major leaguer after the Pirates cut him early last season and nobody picked him. So what happens? Morse pinch hits in the eighth against Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez and hits a game-tying home run. Of course he did. ... James Paxton has four scoreless outings in five starts and should be in line for AL Pitcher of the Month honors. The Mariners hope those good starts continue after putting Felix Hernandez and Mitch Haniger on the disabled list. ... Congrats to South African native Gift Ngoepe and his debut for the Pirates, becoming the first player from Africa in the majors. He singled in his first at-bat. He's not really a prospect -- he hit .217 last year at Triple-A -- but this is his ninth season in the Pirates organization, and he is a reminder that baseball teams need to search the globe for talent. ... The Phillies climbed over .500 with their fifth consecutive win as Maikel Franco hit a grand slam. ... Eric Thames did not homer. ... What would Bryce Harper hit if he played 81 home games at Coors Field? He went 4-for-4 to raise his average to .432. Eight players have hit .400 in April since 2010 (minimum 75 plate appearances), including Aledmys Diaz last season.

Finally, here are must-read stories from Jim Caple on town ball in Minnesota and Jayson Stark on Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. Thanks, guys.

Tim Tebow extended his Class A ascent for the Columbia Fireflies on Wednesday, going 3-for-4 with his first career triple -- on a headfirst slide -- to raise his batting average to .246.

The 5-0 win for the Mets' South Carolina affiliate over the visiting Asheville Tourists featured Tebow's third multihit game since Friday, as the 29-year-old followed up on his best week in the minors with more consistency at the plate. In his past six games, Tebow is batting .450 (9-for-20). 

"There are some guys who do really good who get taken away from me halfway through the year," Fireflies manager Jose Leger said, according to The State. "Then there are guys that get taken away really early. It is hard to predict when it happens. A lot depends on what is happening in the level above. Whenever they decide it, he will be ready. He is just working hard, and we are going day by day."

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback made a bid to go 4-for-4 in the eighth inning, but his drive was corralled in deep left field by the Tourists' Vince Fernandez, and Tebow missed his third home run.

"He has been able to get his foot down on time, working on his timing, and it is finally paying off. He is more consistent," Leger said. "When you get a couple hits and find that rhythm at the plate, your confidence also grows. That is what has been happening."


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NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have pushed back Noah Syndergaard's turn in the rotation by a day, and Robert Gsellman will start Wednesday night against the Atlanta Braves in his place.

Gsellman was scheduled to pitch Tuesday against Atlanta in a game that was rained out, and the Mets initially said they would skip their No. 5 starter and let Syndergaard pitch Wednesday on normal rest.

But several hours before first pitch, New York announced that it would instead slide the rotation back, with Syndergaard throwing Thursday against the Braves and Matt Harvey pushed back a day to Friday in the opener of a series against the NL East-leading Nationals.


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Jose ReyesElsa/Getty ImagesJose Reyes is hitting just .104, the lowest batting average of any player with at least 50-at-bats.

Jose Reyes is in the midst of a brutal slump, but it appears his roster spot on the New York Mets is not in jeopardy, at least for the time being, reports Marc Carig of Newsday.

Reyes has seven hits in 67 at-bats and a meager slash line of .104/.189/.134. Manager Terry Collins benched Reyes this past Saturday against the Washington Nationals, but the 33-year-old entered the game as a pinch-hitter and was back in the lineup on Sunday, in part because the Mets have been beset by injuries.

“Even if Reyes’ struggles continue, Mets officials are far more likely to keep him on the roster as a utilityman rather than simply cut him loose,” writes Carig. “The Mets are paying Reyes the minimum salary this season. While that would make it easy for them to cut him loose, it also is motivation to keep him.”

Carig adds there are no immediate plans to promote shortstop Amed Rosario, their top prospect who also has played third base. Rosario is hitting .403 at Triple-A La Vegas.

If the Mets look outside the organization, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggested Sunday that one logical fit would be White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who will be a free agent after making $11 million the season. Frazier was linked to the Mets in spring training due to lingering injuries to regular third baseman David Wright.

- Doug Mittler

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jay Bruce
BA HR RBI R
.284 6 14 13
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Bruce 6
RBIT. d'Arnaud 15
RJ. Bruce 13
OPSY. Cespedes .992
WH. Robles 3
ERAN. Syndergaard 1.73
SOJ. deGrom 44