The Sports Xchange
By Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
Murphy show the way in Mets' 11-2 win NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy has authored a tutorial for the younger members of the New York Mets on how to survive early career hiccups and emerge as a reliable regular. Now the All-Star second baseman has to hope he can remain around long enough to see the fruits of his teammates' efforts.
Murphy hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning to give the Mets the lead for good, second-year right-hander Zack Wheeler grinded through 6 2/3 innings and a spate of young players contributed to the Mets' 11-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday at Citi Field.
The Mets (52-56) won two of three from the Phillies to finish July at 15-10. New York's impressive month appears to have convinced management to stand pat instead of trading veterans such as Murphy, who has a National League-high 130 hits after Wednesday's three-hit effort.
General manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that he didn't expect the Mets to make any deals before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trading deadline.
Murphy, who is a free agent after next season, said he wasn't going to worry about the deadline and was instead going to enjoy Thursday's off-day with his family. But he also acknowledged he'd like the opportunity to be a part of the next contending Mets team.
"You always want to be a part of the future, you want to be part of the solution," Murphy said. "There's a lot of guys playing really well in this clubhouse right now."
The path to the All-Star Game this year was not an easy one for Murphy, who switched positions before missing the 2010 season because of two knee injuries and the final 49 games of the 2011 season because of another knee injury.
So he certainly appreciates what Wheeler, first baseman Lucas Duda, catcher Travis d'Arnaud, center fielder Juan Lagares and shortstop Ruben Tejada have gone through in their brief careers.
Duda, d'Arnaud and Tejada have been sent down to the minors in the last 13 months, a span in which Tejada and Lagares have each taken two trips to the disabled list. On Wednesday, though, the quartet of position players combined to go 9-of-18 with a homer, five RBI, five runs scored, two walks and a stolen base.
Lagares and Tejada singled to begin a four-run fifth inning that was capped by Murphy's opposite field homer. Duda, d'Arnaud and Tejada all had RBI hits in the Mets' five-run seventh inning and Duda completed the scoring in the eighth by delivering a two-run homer -- his fifth home run in the past eight games -- into the second deck in right.
"It's just quality at-bats up and down the lineup," Murphy said. "Lucas is scorching right now. D'Arnaud's having great at-bats. And you see what Lagares and Ruben did today."
On the mound, Wheeler continued his maturation by surviving on an afternoon in which he didn't have his best stuff or command. Wheeler threw 60 pitches in the first three innings and had just one 1-2-3 inning but limited the Phillies to two runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out four.
"There's one of the outings we're going to talk about down the road," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He didn't have real good stuff today, you looked up and he pitched real well."
Wheeler allowed at least four runs in six of his first 14 starts. But he has given up two runs or less in seven of his last eight starts, a stretch in which he has gone 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA and provided evidence he can be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter for a playoff contender -- which Wheeler believes the Mets can be sooner than later.
"We're a good team right now," Wheeler said. "We're just a couple swings or outs away from turning the corner."
First baseman Ryan Howard had an RBI double and Jimmy Rollins delivered a rare pinch-home run for the Phillies (47-61), who might be one of the game's biggest sellers on Thursday.
"The deadline talk has been going on since the beginning of the month," Howard said. "It's something that I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to until something happens."
Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-11) allowed four runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings.
NOTES: There were thousands of day campers in the crowd for the game, which started at 12:10 p.m. The attendance of 37,647 was the fifth highest of the season for the Mets. ... Mets RHP Jeurys Familia singled in the seventh inning and is 2-for-2 this season. He and RHP Jacob deGrom (7-for-28) have combined for nine of the 14 hits that Mets pitchers have in 182 at-bats. ... The pinch-homer in the seventh inning was only the second of SS Jimmy Rollins' career. He also hit a pinch-homer on April 19, 2009. ... Phillies OF Ben Revere robbed consecutive Mets batters of extra-base hits in the fourth inning when he made a leaping catch at the wall of 1B Lucas Duda's blast before running down C Travis d'Arnaud's deep fly ball.
-----------------------------------------------Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun