Down And Out Applesauce: Not Even Dickey Can Stop Team's Slide, Mets Demote Duda, Sign Former First Rounder Hansen

This is sad.

Meet the Mets

Remember the first half, when things seemed to go right all the time and the Mets were able to bounce back from tough losses? Well, that's all gone now. The Mets second half swoon continued as they fell to the Nationals 5-2. Gio Gonzalez mostly shut down the Mets' offense and R.A. Dickey was good until the sixth inning, when Washington put up a four-spot. The Mets gained an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Ronny Cedeno 2nd inning RBI single (he was thrown out at 2nd by Bryce Harper) but the Nats came back with a run of their own in the fourth. After Cedeno's hit, the Mets would not get another until Ike Davis blooped a single in the 7th inning. The only other real offensive highlight was Jordany Valdespin's pinch hit home run, his seventh on the season and fifth as a pinch hitter. The home run set a new Mets' record. With the offense looking so lifeless, it's a crime that Valdespin is not playing everyday with the way he's been hitting of late. Listless offense + poor starting pitching + atrocious bullpen = lots of losses.

Choose Your Recap: MLB.com, ESPN NY, Daily News, New York Times, Associated Press, Star-Ledger, Bergen Record

The Mets look to avoid a second straight sweep, as they take on the Nats this afternoon at 12:10 PM. It'll be tough, though, as the Nats send Stephen Strasburg to the hill to take on Jeremy Hefner.

Lucas Duda was demoted to AAA Buffalo, a move that likely signals the end of his experiment in RF. As you likely know by now, Duda was awful defensively out there according to every metric and everybody's eyes. While the experiment was worthwhile in theory, his bat just did produce enough to be worth the defensive hit. It'll be interesting to see what the team does with Duda and how they go about filling RF for next season. Matt Harvey was activated in his place.

Manny Acosta is back, everybody! The reliever has been great in Buffalo and he tossed a scoreless inning in his return to the big leagues last night.

Frank Francisco is scheduled to pitch for the Binghamton Mets today, as he looks to start his rehab. Hopefully he'll get back soon -- the Mets could really use him out in their ailing bullpen.

The Mets inked former first round pick Craig Hansen to a minor league deal. Hansen, taken by the Red Sox 26th overall in the 2005 draft out of St. John's, had been a big disappointment and hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2009 with Pittsburgh.

Howard Megdal updates us on the Ruben Tejada vs. Jose Reyes situation and while the raw numbers look like they favor Tejada, there are some other factors to take into account that make things closer.

Around the NL East

Another bad day for the Mets in the division, as the Phillies scored six runs in the eighth to defeat the Brewers 7-6. Meanwhile, the Braves defeated the Marlins 4-3.

Around the Majors

It's been long rumored that the Astros were looking to deal lefty Wandy Rodriguez and Houston has finally found a taker -- the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wandy will head to Pittsburgh in exchange for 3 prospects: OF Robbie Grossman, P's Rudy Owens and Colton Cain.

In smaller trade news, the Diamondbacks dealt INF Ryan Roberts to the Rays for a minor league infielder. Meanwhile, the Indians acquired Brent Lillibridge from the Red Sox in exchange for minor league reliever and former Mets' farmhand Jose de la Torre.

The Angels and Rays are discussing a deal for James Shields, potentially centered around CF Peter Bourjos and C Hank Conger. Meanwhile, the Cubs want Dodgers' pitching prospect Allen Webster in a trade for Ryan Dempster. Webster is considered the Dodgers' #2 prospect.

Alex Rodriguez took a ball off of his wrist and it looks like he's suffered a non-displaced fracture.

Cole Hamels has reportedly been offered $140 million by the Phillies. Well, you can't say Ruben Amaro doesn't try. Meanwhile, rumor has it that the Phils are eager to move RF Hunter Pence, who has one more year of team control left. I doubt a trade could be worked out between the two teams but Pence would definitely be a nice fit in RF and in the lineup for the Mets.

C Jason Kendall retired, five days after signing a minor league deal with the Royals' AA team.

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