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Mets Morning News: Can the Mets improve in the second half?

Your Thursday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the Mets

The second half of the season will officially get underway tomorrow when baseball returns from the All-Star break.

Not much went right for the Mets during the first half, and, despite some standouts, most of the team has room for improvement in the months ahead.

As the second half is about to begin, there are a few questions surrounding this team that will be played out in the coming months.

If the Mets want to be competitive in the second half, their pitching needs to get its act together.

The Mets probably won’t contend this year, but there are steps they can take to make sure it isn’t a wasted season.

The Astros might come sniffing around again at the trade deadline for the Mets’ ace.

There are some players to keep an eye on in the second half to see if they can provide a glimmer of hope for the future.

Two players not currently in the majors could also add some hope and excitement if only they would get the call-up.

Michael Conforto was impressed with Tim Tebow’s progress in St. Lucie.

The numbers back up what most Met fans realized early on: The bullpen is severely overworked.

Around the NL East

Out of all the people vying for ownership of the Marlins, which group will actually help grow the team in Miami?

The Phillies are at an important juncture in their rebuilding process.

The Nationals need to fix their most glaring problem if they want to truly contend this season. Bryce Harper is not a fan of New York and its inhabitants.

Around the Majors

Commissioner Rob Manfred thinks it might be the bats, not the balls, that are to blame for the recent home run spike.

Baseball has survived changes in the past, and it must continue to evolve no matter what the detractors think. How can baseball continue to evolve? Some of the top names involved in baseball in New York weighed in with their opinions.

The Pacific Coast League defeated the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game.

The Cubs could be open to moving slugger Kyle Schwarber if it nets them a quality pitcher in return.

Yesterday at AA

Thomas Henderson covered Jeff Wilpon’s new business investment.

Steve Sypa handed out grades for the Mets’ newest draft class.

Jonathan Maseng wrote about the heartwarming story of Al Leiter helping a 10-year-old cancer survivor’s dream come true.

This Date in Mets History

In 2001, Mike Piazza reached a career milestone when he blasted his 300th career home run in a 3-1 loss to the Red Sox. In 2010, David Wright continued to shine as an All-Star and went 2-for-2 against two Cy Young winners in the Midsummer Classic.