Blue Jays-Mets Preview
The New York Mets could have David Wright back as soon as next month, but for now they'd settle for Matt Harvey resembling an ace again.
Harvey will try to quell any concerns and keep the Mets perfect at home against the Toronto Blue Jays in the second of a four-game home-and-home series Tuesday night.
New York (35-30) sits 1 1/2 games ahead of Washington atop the NL East despite being without Wright for all but the first eight games due to a strained right hamstring and spinal stenosis. The third baseman will reportedly return after the All-Star break.
"If he's cleared by the end of the month, then I think two or three weeks into July is realistic," general manager Sandy Alderson told MLB's official website. "Am I predicting that? No, I'm not predicting it. But I do think it's realistic. Is there anything short of that that would be realistic? Probably not."
Harvey (6-4, 3.62 ERA), however, is the Mets' immediate concern with losses in three of his last four starts behind a 7.20 ERA. He's served up eight homers in that span after giving up just four through his first eight.
"With his stuff, you don't get hit that hard unless the ball's in the middle of the plate," manager Terry Collins said.
The right-hander gave up seven runs for the second time in four starts Wednesday and was tagged for a career-high three homers in six innings of an 8-5 loss to San Francisco.
"Everything was all over the place," he said. "I'm not putting people away when I need to. I'm not keeping people off base when I need to and obviously I'm not keeping the ball in the yard when I need to."
Harvey certainly needs to find a solution since Toronto (34-31) leads the majors with 5.5 runs per game while ranking among MLB leaders with a .268 average and 81 homers.
He may draw some inspiration from Noah Syndergaard, who held the Blue Jays to one run and two hits in six innings before Wilmer Flores hit a walkoff single to cap a two-run, two-out rally in the 11th inning of Monday's 4-3 win.
"We're not giving up," Flores said. "That's what good teams do."
New York has won all 10 of its home games against Toronto, with the latest denying the Blue Jays a franchise-record 12-game winning streak. It was also the Mets' fourth win in five games following a 2-6 stretch.
Lucas Duda scored on Flores' hit after driving in Michael Cuddyer to tie it in the previous at-bat. The first baseman also had a double, giving him three among his six hits over the last three games.
The Jays have recalled Scott Copeland (1-0, 0.90) from Triple-A Buffalo and will use him in place of scheduled starter Aaron Sanchez, who has a strained lat muscle and landed on the disabled list Monday, retroactive to June 6.
He's not expected to be out beyond the minimum amount of time.
"It's just the right move, smart move," manager John Gibbons told MLB's official website.
Copeland's performance in a spot start in place of Sanchez may have influenced that decision. The rookie right-hander allowed one run and six hits in seven innings of a 7-2 win over Miami in his first career outing.
"He definitely opened up everybody's eyes," Gibbons said of Copeland, whose only other two appearances came in relief last month.
Jose Bautista hit a pair of solo homers Monday after going 2 for 20 over the previous five games.