Mets vs. Nationals Preview: Game #98 — Jeremy Hefner vs. Stephen Strasburg

Hef.

Today's game notes, courtesy of @Mets.

Teams: Mets vs. Nationals
Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 • 12:10 p.m
Location: Citi Field • Flushing, NY.
Starters: RHP Stephen Strasburg (10-4, 2.85) vs. RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-3, 5.85)
TV/Radio: SNY • WFAN • WQBU
Info: Game #98 • Home Game #52

Starting Lineup

Ruben Tejada – SS
Jordany Valdespin – LF
David Wright – 3B
Ike Davis – 1B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – RF
Josh Thole – C
Andres Torres – CF
Jeremy Hefner – RHP

METS AT A GLANCE: The Mets have lost five games in a row and 11 of their last 12 games...New York lost a season-high six straight games from July 8-18...The Mets are 4-14 this month after posting three straight winning months.

SINCE THE BREAK: New York is 1-10 since the All-Star break...The only other season in which the team had a worst record after the break was in 1962 when the Mets were 1-14 after the first of the two All-Star Games that year.

HOMESTAND: The Mets enter the final game of the homestand with an 0-5 mark...New York has had seven winless homestands of six or more games in team history...The last time that occurred was August 13-18, 2002, going 0-6 (0-3 vs. San Diego and 0-3 vs. Los Angeles-NL).

SERIES NOTES: After dropping the first two games of this series vs. the Nationals, the Mets have now lost five straight series...New York is 7-8-2 in home series and 13-17-2 overall in series...The Mets have lost all four series this season to Washington and the club has dropped five straight series to the Nationals dating back to last year...The last time the Nationals swept the Mets in a three-game series was September 24-26, 2007 in Washington...Washington did sweep New York in a four-game series, September 12-15, 2011 at Citi Field...The Mets have been swept five times this season (at Houston, at Yankees, vs. Cincinnati, at Atlanta and vs. Los Angeles).

DAY BASEBALL: The Mets are 22-16 during day games this year...The 22 wins are tied for the fourth-most in the majors with the Cubs...Detroit is first with 28 wins during the day, Cincinnati is second (23) and San Francisco is third (23)...New York is 12-8 at home during the day... Daniel Murphy leads the National League with a .371 batting average during the day and David Wright is second (.364).

JORDANY VALDESPIN: Hit his franchise-record-setting fifth pinch-hit home run of the season in the eighth inning last night…Valdespin’s drive broke a tie with Mark Carreon (1989) and Danny Heep (1983)…The five pinch-hit home runs are tied for the fourth-most all-time in team history ...Carreon is first with eight...In addition, the five pinch-hit home runs by Valdespin lead the majors this year and are tied for the fourth-most in a single season in major league history:

YEAR PLAYER HR as PH
2001 Craig Wilson, Pittsburgh 7
2000 Dave Hansen, Los Angeles (NL) 7
1932 Johnny Frederick, Brooklyn 6
2012 Jordany Valdespin, New York 5
1943 Joe Cronin, Boston (AL) 5
1945 Butch Nieman, Boston (NL) 5
1959 Gene Freese, Philadelphia 5
1961 Jerry Lynch, Cincinnati 5
1974 Cliff Johnson, Houston 5
1978 Lee Lacy, Los Angeles (NL) 5
1978 Jerry Turner, San Diego 5
1996 Billy Ashley, Los Angeles (NL) 5
2001 David Dellucci, Arizona 5
2001 Erubiel Durazo, Arizona 5
2004 Mark Sweeney, Colorado 5
2009 Matt Stairs, Philadelphia 5

JORDANY VALDESPIN: Also leads the majors with 10 pinch-hit RBI this year...Valdespin has hit in 13 of his last 17 games with an at-bat, compiling a .413 (19-46) batting average with five home runs and 11 RBI...He ranks third in the majors with a 4.38 RBI per at-bat ratio (min. 90 at-bats)...Valdespin is tied for fifth among NL rookies with seven home runs.

JOSH EDGIN: Is unscored upon in his last five games (4.1 innings) and has notched 13 strikeouts in his 7.0 innings of work since he had his contract purchased on July 13.

DOUBLES: Daniel Murphy and David Wright are tied for fourth in the majors with 30 doubles apiece...The Mets are the only team in the majors with two players with 30 or more doubles...The Mets are tied for third in the majors with 190 doubles.

DANIEL MURPHY: Has 11 hits (six for extra bases) in his last 18 at-bats (.611)…Over his last 22 games, dating to June 26, is hitting .427 (35-82) with 18 RBI and 17 extra-base hits.

IKE DAVIS: Is hitting .279 (36-129) with 10 home runs and 34 RBI over his last 36 games.

RISP: The Mets were 1-2 with runners in scoring position last night and over their last nine games, the club is hitting .208 (16-77) with runners in scoring position...New York is hitting .267 with RISP on the season, ranking seventh in the majors...The Mets are hitting .280 with runners in scoring position and two outs, the second-highest average in the majors.

TWO OUTS: The Mets scored one, two-out run last night and have scored 200 two-out runs this season, the most in the majors...New York is hitting .268 with two outs, the third-highest average in the majors ...New York’s pitching staff has allowed 181 runs with two outs, including five last night, the third-most in the majors.

MIKE BAXTER: Went 2-3 with two singles, one RBI and was hit by a pitch while playing all nine innings in leftfield last night for Buffalo (AAA) of the International League at Louisville...Baxter is hitting .300 (11-33) with three doubles, six RBI and two runs scored in nine rehabilitation games.

FRANK FRANCISCO: Is expected to make his first rehabilitation appearance today for Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League at New Britain...He has been on the 15-Day Disabled List since June 23 with a left oblique strain.

LAST START: Took the loss in the Mets' 5-3 defeat at Washington on June 6...The start marked Hefner’s third and most recent appearance as a starter...Allowed four runs, three earned, over a season high-tying 6.0 innings pitched...Struck out three and walked one... Recalled from the minors for the third time this season on July 21.

CAREER AS A STARTER: Hefner has made three career starts, all coming in 2012...In those three starts, the 26-year old rookie has posted a 1-2 record with a 6.89 ERA (12 earned runs/15.2 innings pitched)...Hefner has struck out 10 while issuing just one walk.

CONTROL: Hefner has walked four in 32.1 major league innings this season, including only one walk in three starts...Did not Has a K/BB of 4.50 and a BB/9 of 1.1.

DAY START: Hefner is set to make his first career start during the day, after making three appearances out of the bullpen during the day... Has compiled a 0-1 record with a 7.56 ERA (seven earned runs/8.1 innings pitched) in those three appearances.

LONGEST RELIEF OUTING: Hefner’s relief appearance on May 19 at Toronto (5.0 innings) was the longest by a Mets pitcher since Raul Valdez went 5.0 innings on May 20, 2010 at Washington.

STRUGGLES WITH RUNNERS ON: Opponents are hitting .350 (21-60) when runners are on base...Furthermore, opponents are hitting .344 (11-32) with four doubles, one home run, and 16 RBI with runners in scoring position, and .353 (6-17) in such situations with two outs...Hitters are batting .247 (19-77) when he pitches with the bases empty.

FIRST HOME RUN AND WIN: According to Stats LLC, Hefner became the first pitcher to hit his first career home run in his first career win since Dennis Tankersley accomplished the feat while with San Diego in 2002.

LAST MINOR LEAGUE START: In his last minor league start for Buffalo (AAA) before being recalled by the Mets on July 21, Hefner picked up his fifth win of the season, pitching 7.0 innings, allowing one run, earned, six hits, and one walk...Struck out four in the 92-pitch outing.

2012 MINOR LEAGUE STARTS: In nine minor league starts for Buffalo (AAA) of the International League, Hefner was 5-2 with a 2.77 ERA (19 earned runs/61.2 innings pitched)...Pitched at least 7.0 innings in six of those nine starts, and pitched into the eighth in two of them...Had six quality starts while pitching for Buffalo.

MINOR LEAGUE CAREER TOTALS: In 141 career games, 129 starts, Hefner is 51-36 with a 3.75 ERA (313 earned runs/750.1 innings pitched)...Won a career-high 14 games in 2009 while pitching for Lake Elsinore (A+) of the California League and Portland (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League./

MINOR LEAGUE CAREER: Has pitched in the Mets farm system this season after being claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on November 18, 2011...Was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 10th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft...Originally drafted by the Mets in the 46th round of 2004 First-Year Player Draft and again in the 48th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, but did not sign either time.

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