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Mets Morning News: Matz and Tovar could surprise fans in September

Your Friday morning dose of New York Mets and Major League Baseball news, notes, and links.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Mets

The Mets had an off day on Thursday after a series split in Baltimore. They'll return to their pursuit of a division championship tonight in Denver against the Rockies.

To overcome the mile-high altitude in Colorado, New York's bullpen is going to need to pitch better than it has lately.

Look for Las Vegas shortstop Wilfredo Tovar to be promoted in September and give the Mets a taste of his excellent speed.

Steven Matz threw 41 pitches in two-and-two-thirds innings during his rehab start for the St. Lucie Mets last night. The lefty is expected to rejoin the major league club once roster expand in September.

Tyler Clippard told the Washington Post that he's comfortable in his role for the Mets.

With the Little League World Series getting underway, Michael Conforto reminisced about his experience in the 2004 tournament.

Mets fans are always eager to discuss their team's talented young pitching staff, and it's about time that Dan Warthen got some credit for that success.

Around the National League East

A Ben Paulsen RBI single put the Colorado ahead of the Nationals 3-2 in the seventh, and the Rockies held on for the win. The Mets are now four games ahead of Washington in the division race.

Fredi Gonzalez was ejected from Atlanta's 7-1 loss to the Cubs. Help may be on the way for the Braves, as Cuban infielder Hector Oliviera is expected to be promoted soon.

The Marlins got all the runs they needed in the first two innings during a 9-7 victory over Philadelphia.

Grant Brisbee is already predicting that Chase Utley will get a raw deal in Hall of Fame voting. Since he's the best Mets villain since Chipper Jones and maybe the best second baseman I've ever seen, I'd say Utley deserves to get in.

Marcell Ozuna and Michael Taylor hit epic home runs last night.

Around Major League Baseball and Little League Baseball

The entire Thursday slate of the Little League World Series was rained out yesterday, so there will be eight first-round games played today. Here is the schedule for Friday and beyond.

Our old friend Marlon Byrd has been traded into another pennant race. He'll join the Giants and their quest for back-to-back titles.

Over the Monster has seven things for Dave Dombrowski to do now that he's in charge of the Red Sox.

Former Boston general manager Ben Cherington went from World Series champion to out of a job pretty quickly.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman once told Derek Jeter that the team would be better off with Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop.

Yesterday at Amazin' Avenue

Jeff and Greg discuss bullpen issues and Swedish soccer in the latest episode of Amazin' Avenue Audio.

Chris Gaine remembers those funky white hats that the Mets wore in 1997.

Matt Varvaro reminds us that the Mets will always be there for us.

This date in Mets history

In 1977, Tom Seaver returned to Queens in a Reds uniform and pitched a complete game against his former club.