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PHOENIX — As Arizona added another
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Diamondbacks outfielder Jon Jay had hit leadoff in all five of his starts
since joining the team in Colorado last week, and he has been good. Jay had
three hits, including the game-clinching homer in a 13-8 victory over Pittsburgh
on Tuesday, and he added a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning of a 5-4
loss to the Pirates in the final game of the series Wednesday.
The Mets, meanwhile, received more bad news Wednesday when right-hander Noah
Syndergaard was told he will need more time to recover from a right index finger
injury that landed him on the disabled list.
Seth Lugo will take Syndergaard’s spot in the rotation for a four-game series
in Arizona that opens Thursday, when Diamondbacks right-hander Matt Koch will
oppose Mets left-hander Steven Matz.
The Mets swept a three-game series from Arizona at Citi Field from May
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splitting one. New York has lost 10 of its last 11 games and 17 of 21.
Including a 4-1 victory over Atlanta on May 30, the Mets have scored 19 runs
in 12 games and have been shut out three times, including a 2-0 loss to Atlanta
on Wednesday. They have scored one run four more times.
The lack of offense has caused some shuffling. New York designated first
baseman Adrian Gonzalez for assignment last weekend and designated catcher Jose
Loboton for assignment on Tuesday. Veteran Jose Reyes is hitting .147.
“We expected to rely on our pitching and build a lineup of position players
that would be competitive on the offensive side and defensively as well,” Mets
general manager Sandy Alderson said in a conference call.
“That hasn’t happened. When you’re scoring runs at the anemic rate that we
have, something hasn’t worked.”
Jay has helped fix the Diamondbacks’ injury-depleted outfield group. His
acquisition may have seemed an indication that injured outfielders A.J. Pollock
(fractured thumb) and Steven Souza Jr. (strained pectoral) were on a slower path
to recovery, but the D-backs say both are on schedule.
The chance to obtain veteran Jay was simply too good to pass up, Arizona
manager Torey Lovullo said.
“He knows what it takes to go out every single day and play the game at the
level we expect guys to play
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We felt like at this time with some outfielders that were out, we needed to
create some sort of a bridge to when these outfielders return.”
Jay has made all his starts in right field, but he also gives the
Diamondbacks an option in center field, where Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings have
played since Pollock suffered his injury May 14.
“I’ve always like the way they grinded out at-bats,” Jay said of what he had
noticed in Arizona. “Regardless of the results, it was always a tough out in the
lineup one through nine. The way they run the bases. Defense has really stood
out for a while.
“It’s a team I have followed because I had some friends and stuff like.
Watching last year, with the run they had. I’m excited to be here and be another
part of that puzzle.”
Jay has 67 games of playoff experience with St. Louis and the Cubs, and was
in the postseason 2011-15 with the Cardinals and last season with the Cubs. Jay
and Daniel Descalso were teammates in St. Louis from 2010-14.
“He’s a guy that possesses good on-base
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at-bats, take walks, hit by pitches. A guy who has been on a lot of winning
teams, has played in a lot of playoff games, so just brings another level of
veteran leadership to this clubhouse.
“The more guys that you put on this team that have been on winning teams and
have been in big spots, the better off we are going to be.”
Koch is 4-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 11 appearances, 10 starts, since replacing
Taijuan Walker in the starting rotation. Koch has five quality
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scoreless innings of a 6-1 victory over Miami on June 3. He gave up eight hits
and seven runs (five earned) in his most recent start, a no-decision in the
Diamondbacks’ 12-7 victory at Colorado on Saturday.
A third-round pick by the Mets in 2012, Koch is 3-2 with a 4.32 ERA in seven
home starts. He made one relief appearance against the Mets in 2017, giving up
two hits and a walk without retiring a batter.
Matz, 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 12 starts, faced the Diamondbacks on May 19. He
gave up four runs in four innings but did not receive a decision when the Mets
rallied for a 5-4 walk-off victory in the last of the ninth inning.
Matz has no-decisions in two career starts against Arizona, although he has
given six runs and four homers in 10 innings. He has never pitched at Chase