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Mets Morning News: Mets drop ugly game, survive Cespedes scare

Your Thursday morning dose of Mets and Major League Baseball news, notes, and links.

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Meet the Mets

The Mets squandered a lead and ultimately dropped an ugly game to the Phillies. Logan Verrett failed to make it through the fifth inning, while Daniel Murphy and Michael Conforto both hit home runs. The two teams combined to throw seven wild pitches.

Choose your recap: Amazin' AvenueMLB.comESPN New YorkNew York PostDaily NewsNewsdayStar-Ledger

Yoenis Cespedes departed last night's game after being hit by a pitch on the hand. Fortunately, the x-ray came back negative, and the injury was labeled a contusion.

Wilmer Flores also was forced to leave last night's game. The exit was attributed to back stiffness.

Because of impending rain, today's game has been moved up, and will start at 12:05PM. In addition, Steven Matz is still experiencing back stiffness, and will not make his scheduled start today. Either Tim Stauffer or Sean Gilmartin will start in his place.

Jon Niese made his first appearance in the bullpen as he prepares for that role in the postseason. Although the results were not great, Niese reported feeling great and was able to get loose easily.

Dario Alvarez returned to the Mets bullpen. He had been dealing with a groin injury for the last two weeks.

Henry Druschel at Beyond the Box Score believes the Mets could have avoided the consternation surrounding Matt Harvey's elbow with more creative planning. He detailed that plan here.

Around the NL East

The Braves defeated the Nationals 2-0. Jordan Zimmermann allowed both Braves runs over six innings, but the Nats offense was shut down by Williams Perez and the Atlanta bullpen. Read recaps at Federal Baseball and Talking Chop.

The Marlins lost to the Ray 6-4. Jarred Cosart started, but failed to make it out of the fifth inning, while allowing five runs.

You can read a recap of last night's game from the Phillies perspective at The Good Phight.

Around MLB

Barry Svrluga painted a less than stellar picture of the Nationals' season for the Washington Post. Much centered around the decision to acquire Jonathan Papelbon and the results of the trade.

The majority of bench clearing fights in baseball occur between players of different ethnicities, wrote Jorge Ortiz for USA Today. He finds the reasons often revolve around different cultural approaches to playing the game of baseball.

The Blue Jays clinched the American League East division title. It is their first such title since 1993.

The Cardinals clinched their third straight National League Central crown. It was also their 100th win of the season.

Rob Manfred envisions coming up with more ways to speed up the pace of play in baseball.

Felix Hernandez has been shut down for the final few games of the season. He is dealing with stiffness in his elbow.

Yesterday at AA

Nathan Gismot watched the Mets clinch the division in a Buffalo Wild Wings in Colorado with comedian Jim Breuer. He wrote about the excellent time he had here.

Rich Resch wrote about Noah Syndergaard and his home versus road splits. Despite the disparity, he concluded that there is no reason the Mets should be wary of Syndergaard pitching on the road come playoff time.

Adam Reiter wondered if the Mets would be better off starting the series in Los Angeles rather than New York.

Chris Schubert looked into what the current Mets were up to the last time the Mets were in the playoffs in 2006.

Milo Taibi discussed the issue of bad teams tanking for draft position at the end of the season.

Andrew Gould wrote about the success Lucas Duda has experienced against lefties this season. Coming into the season, it was considered a major weakness, but he has managed a .297/.346/.568 line against southpaws.

Chris McShane examined the effectiveness of Addison Reed's fastball since he has joined the Mets.

This Date in Mets History

In 1973, the Mets clinched the National League East title with a win over the Cubs.