By John Schweibacher
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The New York Mets will have just one representative at the 2017 All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Marlins Park in Miami: outfielder Michael Conforto, who is one of 23 first-time All-Stars at this year’s Midsummer Classic.
Conforto, at 24 years and 4 months old, would become the sixth-youngest Mets position player to appear in his first All-Star game. The only ones who were younger:
• Darry Strawberry, 1984 (22 years, 4 months)
• Ron Hunt, 1964 (23 years, 4 months)
• David Wright, 2006 (23 years, 6 months)
• Jose Reyes, 2007 (24 years, 1 month)
• Lee Mazzilli, 1979 (24 years, 3 months)
Ed Kranepool, at age 20 and 7 months, was selected for the 1965 NL All-Star team, but did not play in the game.
Conforto would also become the third-youngest Met to have appeared in both the World Series and the All-Star Game.
Only Dwight Gooden — who was 19 years old when he made his first Midsummer Classic appearance in 1984 and was 21 when the Mets reached the Fall Classic — and Sid Fernandez, who had just turned 24 before appearing in the 1986 World Series following up his All-Star outing earlier that season — were younger than Conforto with both achievements under their belts.
The Mets reached the All-Star break after dropping two of three to the Cardinals this past weekend, losing the rubber game of the series in St. Louis, 6-0, on Sunday afternoon as Lance Lynn and two relievers combined on a three-hit shutout.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, it was just the fourth time the Mets were held scoreless on three or fewer hits in a road game against the Cardinals in club history, and the first in nearly 40 years:
• 7/9/17: Cardinals 6, Mets 0 (Lynn, Rosenthal and Brebbia, 3 hits)
• 8/17/77: Cardinals 2, Mets 0 (Bob Forsch, 2 hits)
• 6/22/76: Cardinals 3, Mets 0 (John Denny, 3 hits)
• 9/5/65: Cardinals 3, Mets 0 (Bob Gibson, 2-hits)
On Saturday, the Mets lost the middle game of the series against the Cardinals, 4-1, Saturday as rookie shortstop Paul DeJong went 4-for-4 with a home run, three doubles and two RBIs in the St. Louis win.
DeJong, who went on to finish the weekend series 9-for-12, is the third opposing player to have at least four extra-base hits in a game against the Mets this season, something only three players had ever done against them prior to 2017:
• 7/8/17: Paul DeJong, Stl, HR, 3 doubles
• 6/20/17: Corey Seager, LAD, 3 HRs, double
• 4/30/17: Anthony Rendon, Was, 3 HRs, double
• 9/15/09: Adam LaRoche, Atl, 2 HRs, 2 doubles
• 7/18/00: Shannon Stewart, Tor, 4 doubles
• 9/17/73: Willie Stargell, Pit, 2 doubles, triple, HR
On Friday night, the Mets won the series opener, 6-5. Jacob deGrom won his fifth straight game despite allowing four solo home runs.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two other pitchers in Mets history have won games in which they gave up as many as four home runs: Rob Gardner against the Pirates in 1966 and Johan Santana against the Phillies in 2009.
Gardner allowed a pair of homers to Bill Mazeroski and one apiece to future Mets Donn Clendenon and Jerry May in a 9-5 win over Pittsburgh at Shea Stadium on Aug. 18, 1966, while Santana allowed homers to Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in a 6-5 victory over Philadelphia at Citi Field on June 9, 2009, at Citi Field.
Last Tuesday, on the Fourth of July, the Mets lost to the Nationals, 11-4, in what turned out to be the last game of the series following Wednesday night’s rainout.
Things began well as Jose Reyes hit his 20th career leadoff home run as a Met. Reyes is one leadoff homer behind teammate Curtis Granderson for the most in franchise history.
Tommie Agee and Lenny Dykstra are tied for third in club history with eight leadoff home runs apiece.
Happy Recap: Good Half. Jay Bruce’s 23 first-half homers tied him for the fourth most before the All-Star break in Mets history: Only Dave Kingman (30 in 1976), Carlos Beltran (25 in 2006) and Mike Piazza (24 in 2000) had more.
Nine Miles of Rough Road: Bad Half. The Mets are 39-47, the first time they have failed to reach 40 wins before the All-Star break since 2001, when they were 38-51.