Today’s Lineup: Kevin Frandsen at first base (Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia)

The Phillies will play their final game at Citizens Bank Park this season when they take on the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon. Ryne Sandberg has made just one change to his lineup card for the Phils’ series finale against the Mets. Kevin Frandsen has been re-inserted into the lineup at first base and will bat eighth. With Frandsen taking over duties at first, Darin Ruf has been moved to left field in place of John Mayberry. Cliff Lee gets the start for the Phils, who have lost their last three games. Lee (14-6, 2.95 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2. …

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Giants lineup: Pablo sits, Posey at first (Comcast SportsNet Bay Area)

Managers Bruce Bochy and Terry Collins have announced their lineups for the series finale between the Giants and Mets in New York.San Francisco Giants

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Mets-Marlins Preview (The Associated Press)

While the New York Mets appear to have a good chance to win the series finale with Matt Harvey on the mound, the Miami Marlins have found ways to pull out victories when facing the All-Star.

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Mets-Marlins Preview (The Associated Press)

While the New York Mets appear to have a good chance to win the series finale with Matt Harvey on the mound, the Miami Marlins have found ways to pull out victories when facing the All-Star.

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Reds DL Sean Marshall; activate Manny Parra (NBC Sports)

Reds reliever Sean Marshall has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a sprained left shoulder, reports MLB.com’s Paul Casella. The lefty last pitched on May 20, a perfect two-thirds of an inning against the Mets. Marshall felt irritation in his arm warming up prior to Wednesday’s series finale in New York. In…

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Braves, Mets juggle rotations for series finale (The SportsXchange)

ATLANTA — Not only did heavy rains force the postponement of Saturday’s game between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, it also altered the pitching matchups for the final game of the series between the two NL East opponents.

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Angels-Twins series finale postponed by rain (The Associated Press)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The way the Los Angeles Angels have begun this season, an unexpected break in the schedule might not be so bad.

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Mets-Twins game postponed to Aug. 19 (The Associated Press)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A windy, wintry mix of light snow and rain forced the Minnesota Twins to postpone their inter-league series finale against the New York Mets on Sunday.

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Collins says it’s inexcusable about miscues that cost Mets another game

One word from New York Mets manager Terry Collins explained their latest loss to the Colorado Rockies Tuesday night at Citi Field. “Inexcusable,” he said after his team dropped their second consecutive game to the Rockies, 6-2. Like the night before, when it looked like R.A. Dickey would get his 16th win, Chris young pitched perfect baseball for five innings before things imploded on the field.

Young retired the first 15 batters he faced before D.J. LeMahieu singled to start the sixth inning. And then the implosion of mistakes that caused Collins to meet with his team after the game, in what he described in a “professional tone.”

Young cased a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt by Rockies’ starter Jhoulys Chacin that led to a four-run sixth inning. New York could not surmount any type of threat against Chacin, (1-3) who made his first start since May 1st after going on the disabled list with inflammation to his right shoulder.

And to young, (3-7) who struck out his first four batters, the loss was just as frustrating to him.

“That bunt cost us the game,” he said. “It’s frustrating. “We’re here to win.  “I’m certainly frustrated because I helped contribute to a loss.” It was the Mets third straight loss, losers in 13 of their last 16.

Collins’ team has the second worst record in baseball since the All-star break, and it is almost assured this will be the fourth consecutive year of a second half collapse for New York.

Before the Mets try to take one of four games in this series with the Rockies, they also await word Wednesday morning as to the result of an MRI that Johan Santana had Tuesday on his lower back. As of late Tuesday night, Santana was still scheduled to make his start in the series finale Thursday afternoon.

“He has an appointment in the morning, we will have an answer in the morning,” commented Collins.”

However there seems to be no answer as to what Collins is describing as inexcusable play.  In the ninth the Rockies got another run on a ball that first baseman Ike Davis threw home. Andrew Brown retreated back to third and was chased by David Wright. But the run scored on a high toss, another botched play that Collins saw from his office after being tossed from the game on a disputed play in the fifth.

“When you talk about effort, I’m not sure it’s lack of effort. Its lack of execution, it’s lack of preparation, it’s lack of thought,” said Collins. “I saw some things tonight where pitchers were standing in the middle of the infield with the ball being thrown around. That’s inexcusable.”

He mentioned how pitchers are taught to make proper plays during rundowns in the infield. Collins says he will take the blame for the lack of preparation, as he did last season when the Mets had their second half adventures.

“We have not packed it,” said Collins when asked if his team has quit on him. “But, as I told the guys perception is a reality.  And when you sit on the outside and watch a game like tonight perception is they packed it in and I won’t stand for it.”

“I believe in accountability. I believe in playing the game right. I’m the manager here and when you have a game like that it looks like they’re not prepared, that’s my fault. And that’s where I come in.”

He told his team the right pieces will be found. Collins said again, “My teams play the right way.”

“I don’t think we’re a bad team we just need to execute better,” claimed David Wright who has become the spokesperson for the coaching staff. He says they prepare the team well.

The Mets certainly played the right way for Collins in the first half. It is the dog days of August, and more so appearing more like players that need to be accountable for their miscues on the field.  Playing for their jobs next season seems to be the case, with payroll tied up only with Santana and Jason Bay, who has become a platoon outfielder.

But accountability is one thing and inexcusable play is another. Two more games with the Rockies and Collins may have to start thinking about who returns next season.

Email Rich Mancuso; Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Batters, Chacin, Collapse, Colorado Rockies, Four Games, Fourth Consecutive Year, Game One, Implosion, Johan Santana, Miscues, New York Mets, Professional Tone, Rich Mancuso, Sixth Inning, Top Story

Frustration and friction for the Mets as they conclude winless home stand

A second half collapse has once again left the New York Mets frustrated as they left town for an 11-game road swing to Arizona, San Francisco, and San Diego. Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, after a series finale loss and three-game sweep to the first place Washington Nationals, manager Terry Collins was trying to find some answers.

Perhaps, like last season, when the Mets also collapsed after the all-star break, hitting the road was the best remedy. But this slide has come earlier as the Mets fail to get the hits, the bullpen gives up the runs, while a patched up starting rotation tries to put in some innings.

This time, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg (11-4) fanned 11 in seven innings. And for the second straight game, Adam LaRoche hit a home run. His 18th of the season, a two-run shot to right field off Tim Byrdak broke the game open in what became a 5-2 win and series sweep.

Jeremy Hefner (1-4) took the loss striking out a season high and allowed three runs including back-to-back home runs in the second inning from Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa.

And that home run by LaRoche also became an added part of the frustration, a season high sixth straight loss for New York, 12 of their last 13 games, and 1-11 since the all-star break. And for the eighth time in their 50-year history, New York had a winless homestand of six or more games.

Frustration also, because the pitch that Byrdak threw to LaRoche was a fastball down the middle. His catcher, Josh Thole set up for an outside pitch that was reportedly called from the bench by pitching Coach Dan Warthen. ‘

Not the pitch Thole expected, and it led to a dugout confrontation that saw David Wright intervene to defuse the situation. The Mets say it is a part of the frustration and all they need is some wins to restore some order and get back in the race.

However, it is getting more difficult to win because the Mets are not doing anything right like they did in the first half. In a very quiet Mets clubhouse, Wright tried to explain what has been going wrong.

“It’s what happens when two competitors disagree with something,” said Wright about the dugout squabble. “That happens regularly, but when it happens, you don’t want it to be in front of everybody like that. I’d be more upset if they weren’t upset about it, because obviously Thole wanted one pitch and Byrdak wanted a different one.”

Said Byrdak, “We need to go out there and win ballgames. We can’t let our emotions get the best of us. There’s frustration all around the clubhouse. From what he did in the first half to come out in the second half and have this happen…”

He added, “There are a lot of guys that are pissed off. Everybody is pissed off. I made a mistake on the mound and I apologized to Josh about it. It never should’ve happened.”

Byrdak also said it was a pitch that wasn’t executed well, and the bullpen needed to keep the game close in the situation with LaRoche at bat.

Thole also said it was the emotion of frustration that has set in the Mets clubhouse, a totally different reaction that Collins and the team were portraying when they won ballgames in the first half and became a surprise team in baseball.

“It’s one of those things when you are not winning ballgames,” said Thole when asked about the pitch that Byrdak threw. “Emotions get the best of you sometimes. That’s what happens when you give up runs and lose games. Stuff like that happens.”

Thole added, the pitch caught him off guard and there was no elaboration about further dissension with Byrdak or Warthen. But he did say, “I don’t think anything can get any worse than it is right now. We can’t wait to get out of here.”

Before being swept by the Nationals, the Mets dropped three straight to the Los Angeles Dodgers and finished the stand,0-6, now their last seven at home with a loss to the Cubs before the break. New York is four games under .500 at 47-51, and further away from the Nationals in the NL east, 11/1-2 games and seven in the wildcard.

Frustration, yes, and a way to fix what is wrong and do what they did right in the first half is something that Collins and his coaching staff were going to contemplate on the long plane ride to Phoenix.

The Mets start a four- game series with the Diamondbacks Thursday night and Matt Harvey, their first round draft pick of 2010 will get the start.

“We’re gonna get through it and your gonna see a different team in the next two weeks,” said Collins about his team that was 36-29 on July 7th. He held a team meeting this week and would not comment about what happened with Thole and Byrdak in the dugout.

There is no sense of panic, but it is frustration.

“I deal with accountability,” he commented. The manager held a team meeting earlier this week sensing something was wrong.“Standing up and being a man and playing the game right. We’re gonna get back on track,” he said.

And getting back on track, is what Collins alluded to with getting big  hits and making the right pitches, just like his team did a month ago. “We’re better than the way we’re playing and we’re gonna prove it.”

For the Mets they have to prove it the next 11-game or the frustration will get worse.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring 786@aol.com

Posted under David Wright, Fastball, Game Road, Game Sweep, Hitting The Road, Michael Morse, New York Mets, Pitching Coach, Rich Mancuso, Road Swing, Straight Game, Strasburg, Top Story, Washington Nationals, Wednesday Afternoon