Mets Kick Off 8-Game Homestand On Monday Night Against Reds

By John Schweibacher
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The Mets rebounded from an 0-3 start to their road trip by taking three of their last four, including a series win in Chicago, their first series victory since taking two of three from Washington at Citi Field a month ago.

Daniel Murphy’s go-ahead home run in the eighth inning was the difference as the Mets defeated the Cubs, 4-3, in Chicago on Sunday. It was Murphy’s second home run of the series and his fourth in his last four games at Wrigley Field.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, over that span (since June 27, 2012), Murphy has hit four homers in 17 at-bats at Wrigley, compared to six home runs in 442 at-bats everywhere else.

While Murphy has gotten hot, Ike Davis’ struggles continue. The Mets’ first baseman begins the week hitting just .156 with four homers and nine RBIs in 39 games played this season.

For the second year in a row, there is speculation that the 26-year-old Davis could be demoted to Triple-A. Mets history tells us that Davis’ being sent down would not be unique for a young veteran position player.

In 1970, Ed Kranepool, who had been with the Mets for all or part of every season since 1962 but was still just 25 years old, was struggling.

On June 23 of that season, Kranepool was batting just .118, and was demoted to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, the Tidewater Tides. He considered retirement, but instead he accepted his reassignment and batted .310 in 47 games at Tidewater.

Kranepool was back with the Mets by the middle of August, but saw very little playing time. Overall that season, Kranepool had only 52 plate appearances in 43 games.

However, Kranepool would bounce back with perhaps his best season in 1971, batting .280 with 14 home runs and 58 runs batted in, and he remained with the Mets through the 1979 season.

Kranepool played more games at first base than anyone in Mets history, while Davis should move into sixth place on that all-time list this week:

•Ed Kranepool: 1302
•Keith Hernandez: 854
•John Olerud: 463
•Carlos Delgado: 458
•Dave Magadan: 418
•Todd Zeile: 367
•John Milner: 366
•Ike Davis: 366
•Dave Kingman: 339
•Eddie Murray: 308

Last Friday, Matt Harvey drove in the go-ahead run for the Mets in the seventh inning, breaking a 2-2 tie with an RBI single and eventually picking up his fifth win of the season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harvey is the first Mets starting pitcher to earn a win and drive in a go-ahead run in the seventh inning or later since Sid Fernandez on August 16, 1993. Fernandez broke a 2-2 tie with an RBI single in the seventh inning of a 6-2 win at Riverfront Stadium against the Reds.

Harvey is now 5-0 with a 1.55 ERA in nine starts. Elias notes that only two other major league pitchers over the last 30 seasons remained undefeated through as many starts with as low an ERA: the Atlanta Braves’ Kris Medlen last season (7-0, 0.86 ERA) and the Red Sox’s Pedro Martinez in 2001 (6-0, 1.52).

The Mets have played roughly a quarter of their schedule, going 17-24 through 41 games. It is the team’s worst record at this point of the season since 2003, when they were also 17-24.

The Mets return to Citi Field for an eight-game homestand, with three-game series against the Reds and Braves this week.

The Mets did not fare well against either team at home last season, dropping four of five at Citi Field against Cincinnati and five of the last six against Atlanta in New York in 2012.

Overall, the Mets are 14-22 against the Braves and 5-9 vs. the Reds at Citi Field.

Happy Recap: Daniel Murphy — The Mets’ second baseman lifted his batting average back to .300 by going 14-for-28 on the recent road trip.

Nine Miles of Rough Road: Jeremy Hefner — The starter fell to 0-5 with loss on Saturday to the Cubs. The Mets are 0-8 in his starts, matching Randy Jones (1981) for the club’s worst mark with a starter from the beginning of a season.

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