Tag Archives: Noah Syndergaard

NL East Division position comparison: starting pitchers

My evaluation of the National League East Division clubs moves on to ranking the pitching staffs of each team, beginning  with this look at the projected starting rotations. Later today the bullpens of each team will undergo that same evaluation and ranking, concluding the player portion of the process.

For the rotation evaluations, I have listed the projected top four starting pitchers for each team at the beginning of their below write-ups. Those arms make up the primary consideration in their ranking position. During the subsequent discussion, any arms in the running for a fifth-starter slot or who might impact the rotation at some point during the season will be noted.

Combine these pitching rankings with the examinations of each position around the diamond which have been taking place over the last ten days and you will get a good idea of where each team stands entering spring training. Those prior pieces can be viewed through links at the bottom of this article.

Early next week, I will take a look at each club’s manager, giving those skippers the same evaluation and ranking treatment. Pitchers and catchers are due to report to Clearwater, Florida on February 11 for the opening of Phillies spring training.

NL EAST – 2020 STARTING PITCHING RANKINGS

  1. Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez

The defending world champions have the clear top three starting pitchers in the division, perhaps in all of baseball. However, a note of caution. That run to the first World Series title in franchise history put an extra month of wear and tear on those arms. Washington would not be the first team to find that becomes a difference maker in the following season. The Nats have a trio of interesting arms vying for the fifth starter role in Joe Ross, Erick Fedde, and Austin Voth. If those three can prove ready to handle more of the starting workload, it would allow the Nationals to baby Scherzer and Strasburg along a bit during the summer.

2) New York Mets: Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Wacha

No team in the division has the potential to match the Nationals top three arms more than the Mets top trio. Syndergaard and Stroman in particular could elevate their games to another level. The real difference makers in the end in determining whether the Mets contend in the 2020 season is more likely to come from the back-end arms of Wacha and Rick Porcello. Beyond that, Steven Matz and Robert Gsellman give New York quality depth options. If Syndergaard and Stroman don’t have that extra level or break down physically, the Mets could easily slide down these rankings by one or two slots. For now, I like their talent.

3) Atlanta Braves: Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz, Max Fried, Cole Hamels

The addition of the veteran Hamels to what was  a very youthful group could prove to be the smartest addition by any team in the division this off-season. The two-time division champion Braves also purchased a lottery ticket in former AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. Atlanta has an exciting group of young arms fighting for rotation roles beyond that in Kyle Wright, Sean Newcomb, Bryse Wilson, and Ian Anderson. The Braves quality young depth gives them a far better chance to weather injuries to any of their projected top starters than any other team in the division. It also gives them some potential trade chips to fill in any holes during the season.

4) Philadelphia Phillies: Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin

The Phillies are fine at the top two spots with Nola and Wheeler. Beyond that will come the pitchers whose performances will ultimately determine whether the Phillies can finally contend for a postseason spot in 2020. Can Arrieta stay healthy? He has given the club strong April-May performances the last two years, only to break down physically each year. Can Eflin elevate his game to become a truly effective big-league mid-rotation starter? Even if the Phillies get positive answers to these two questions, they have more questions beyond that than any of the clubs ranked above them here. Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Cole Irvin, and possibly Enyel De Los Santos will battle for the fifth starter role to open the season. However, top pitching prospect Spencer Howard should be ready to impact the rotation by May or June.

5) Miami Marlins: Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith, Pablo Lopez, Jordan Yamamoto

Alcantara is not as well known to most fans as the other top arms in the division but he has legitimate talent and can be a part of the Fish rotation for years to come. Smith is a solid arm who generally keeps them in contention during his starts. Top prospect Sixto Sanchez should be ready to join the rotation at some point this summer. The Marlins have a further trio or arms in righty Edward Cabrera and lefties Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers who will be starting off in the minors, but who, like Sanchez, will be hoping to push for rotation spots later in the summer.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Mets fight off Phillies on wild Saturday night

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Todd Frazier got tossed after getting hit by Jake Arrieta

The New York Mets (40-49) held on for a tense 6-5 victory over the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies (46-43) on Saturday night at Citi Field. The two teams will meet in the series rubber match on Sunday afternoon in what will be the final game before the four-day MLB All-Star Game break.

In a nationally televised game delayed for 40 minutes at the outset thanks to thunderstorms in the area, neither starting pitcher looked good in this one. Jake Arrieta was simply awful on the mound for the Phillies, only getting into the 5th inning thanks to some poor Mets base running and their failure to cash in on early opportunities.
Noah Syndergaard continued to show that his 2019 version may still look like ‘Thor’, but he is not overpowering anyone with the thunder bolts from his right arm.
The two pitchers allowed 10 runs through the first five innings. Syndergaard was touched for a pair of home runs in the top of the 2nd, a blast to right by Jay Bruce and another to left off the bat of Maikel Franco.
Things got a bit testy in the bottom of the 5th, and then the Mets finally cashed in against Arrieta, who had dodged trouble a couple of times. The Phillies righty hit Mets third baseman Todd Frazier with one out. Frazier took offense, barking at Arrieta the entire way down to first base as home plate umpire Tripp Gibson warned both benches.
That brought Mets skipper Mickey Callaway out to argue, wondering why his club was being warned when it was Arrieta who had hit the only two batters during the contest. Frazier turned his barking towards the ump, and was ejected.
Dominic Smith then doubled, and Arrieta followed that by hitting Amed Rosario. Despite the previous warning, Arrieta was allowed to stay in the game, which may have been a blessing for the Mets as Tomas Nido cleared the bases with a double, pushing the Mets in front by 6-4.

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The big blow would prove to be this bases-clearing double by Mets catcher Tomas Nido in the bottom of the 5th inning.

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That was all for Arrieta, as manager Gabe Kapler finally pulled the plug and went to Edgar Garcia out of his bullpen. Over the final 3.2 innings, Garcia, Ranger Suarez, and J.D. Hammer shut the Mets down by allowing just one hit and one walk.
The Phillies got within a run in the top of the 7th when Segura was hit by a pitch with one out (again resulting in no ejection following the earlier warning) and Bryce Harper singled. That brought J.T. Realmuto to the plate, and the Phillies lone rep to the 2019 MLB All-Star Game delivered with an RBI single to make it a 6-5 ball game.
The game’s biggest moment came in the top of the 8th inning. Steven Matz allowed a leadoff single to Cesar Hernandez, prompting Callaway to bring in Seth Lugo. The righty reliever immediately surrendered a base hit to Franco, moving the tying run into scoring position with nobody out. But Lugo bore down to retire the next three batters, striking out both Scott Kingery and Jean Segura  to end the threat.
In the top of the 9th, Realmuto kept the Phillies alive by singling with two outs off Mets closer Edwin Diaz. The Phillies backstop then swiped second base to put himself into scoring position as the potential game-tying run. But Diaz blazed a fastball that got Jay Bruce swinging to end it, nailing down the victory for the home crowd and earning his 19th Save of the season.

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Arrieta postgame: “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me. I’ll put a dent in his skull.”

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SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Phillies – Jake Arrieta: 4.1 IP, 11 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 0 walks, 3 HBP, 4 strikeouts. 75 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Mets – Noah Syndergaard: 5 IP, 7 hits (2 homers), 4 earned, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts. 87 pitches, 53 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: TOMAS NIDO

Jeff McNeil continued to kill the Phillies by delivering a four-hit game. But, Nido, the Mets backup catcher playing tonight in place of starter Wilson Ramos, had two hits. His three-run double provided the winning margin in the bottom of the 5th inning.

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Saturday night’s alright for fighting between NL East rivals

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Phillies try to overcome Thor in Saturday night fight in Queens

The Philadelphia Phillies (46-42) exploded for five runs in the top of the 9th inning to pull away from the host New York Mets (39-49) for a 7-2 victory on Friday night.

With the win, the Phillies once again find themselves in control of an NL Wildcard playoff slot.
The victory was a sixth straight for the Phillies over their division rivals. By winning just two of the remaining eight games between the two teams this season, the Phillies will capture the season series between them for the first time since 2011.
It is possible that those two wins could come with the final two games in this weekend series at Citi Field. The first of those comes with Saturday night’s contest pitting veteran right-hander Jake Arrieta against the Mets golden-maned ‘Thor’, right-hander Noah Syndergaard.
The host Mets have dropped nine of their last 11 contests and have not enjoyed a winning record since sitting at 16-15 all the way back on May 2. Despite their fourth place standing, the Mets generally are a tough opponent. They have lost 22 games by just one or two runs, and have been the victims of a half-dozen walkoff defeats.

SATURDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Scott Kingery CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Jay Bruce LF
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Jake Arrieta P

METS

  1. Jeff McNeil RF
  2. Pete Alonso 1B
  3. Robinson Cano 2B
  4. Michael Conforto RF
  5. Todd Frazier 3B
  6. Dominic Smith LF
  7. Amed Rosario SS
  8. Tomas Nido C
  9. Noah Syndergaard P
Mets skipper Mickey Callaway continues to insist on hitting 36-year-old Cano in the pivotal 3-spot of his batting order as if it were a decade ago. Cano is slashing a mere .244/.292/.368 with just four homers, 21 extra-base hits, and 18 RBIs this year. However, the veteran is hitting over 100 points higher at home than on the road, batting .329 in 76 at-bats at Citi Field and .195 in 154 at-bats on the road.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES – Jake Arrieta (33/RH): 8-6, 4.43 ERA, 1.418 WHIP, 5.14 FIP, 107 hits (18 homers) over 103.2 IP across 17 starts with an 81/40 K:BB ratio. He is 4-4 over 18 career starts vs the Mets with a 2.85 ERA and 1.113 WHIP. In five starts at Citi Field, Arrieta has just a .226 batting average against while facing 131 Mets batters. This year, Arrieta has already made three starts vs the Mets: 2-1, 22 hits over 20 IP with a 12/5 K:BB ratio. Won at Citi Field back on April 22.
METS – Noah Syndergaard (26/RH): 5-4, 4.56 ERA, 1.242 WHIP, 3.73 FIP, 98 hits (12 homers) over 100.2 IP across 16 starts with a 98/27 K:BB ratio. ‘Thor’ is 5-3 over 11 career starts vs the Phillies with a 3.71 ERA and 1.368 WHIP. Over 55 home starts during his career, Syndergaard has a nice 2.93 ERA, more than a half-run better than his 3.53 career ERA over 48 road starts. He started on April 16 against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, allowing nine hits and five earned over just 5 inning in a game the Mets would win 7-6 in 11 innings.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Todd Frazier has two career homers off Arrieta. Rhys Hoskins has two off Syndergaard.
  • Phillies have five hitters with a Statcast AEV (average exit velocity) over the 90mph mark: Harper (93.5), Realmuto (91.1), Franco (90.8), Kingery (90.3) and Hoskins (90.1); Mets have Alonso (91.3), Rosario (90.5) and McNeil (90.0)
  • After homering vs the Phillies for the first time in Friday night’s opener, Alonso has set the Mets’ rookie home run record (29) and owns the NL rookie record for most pre-All-Star home runs.
  • Going into the Friday night opener, the Mets two primary catchers, Nido and Wilson Ramos, had thrown out just 10 of 82 attempted stolen base attempts, or roughly 12%. By contract, Phillies all-star Realmuto is a true weapon behind the plate. The Phillies went 3-3 in steals on Friday, while the Mets were 0-2 in their attempts.
While we certainly are no fan of the New York Mets, I think we can all get behind a cause such as fighting hunger. Check the team Twitter feed here for a way you can donate.

We’re sharing the field with @Citibank & @nokidhungry to help with kids in NYC. Stop by the Share Summer activation at @CitiField before the game today or text CITI to 877-877 to make a donation that will make sure more kids get the food they need.

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Slumping Phillies visit struggling Mets prior to MLB All-Star break

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Phillies visit Citi Field just prior to the 2019 All-Star break

It was just 10 days ago that the Philadelphia Phillies (45-42) season was on life support. Seven straight defeats and losses in nine of their previous 10 games had dropped the club to just a game over the .500 mark.

Turned out the temporary cure at that time was arriving at Citizens Bank Park in the form of the New York Mets, a club perhaps struggling even more than the Phillies.
Now here we are, a week and a half later, and the Phillies season appears to once again have relapsed. Since that visit to South Philly by the Mets, the Phillies have dropped two of three games to both the last-place Miami Marlins and first-place Atlanta Braves.
The Phillies are not only looking up at the Braves in the NL East standings, they are also now trailing behind the Washington Nationals by a game in the loss column. This marks the first time all season that the Phillies have fallen below second place in the division. In fact, they have now also slipped out of even an NL Wildcard playoff slot.
Could the Mets once again prove to be just what the Phillies need to feel a bit rejuvenated heading into next week’s four-day MLB All-Star Game break? As this weekend before that Mid-Summer Classic break begins, the Phillies will visit Flushing, Queens for three games at Citi Field.
The Mets slipped to fourth place in the division back on June 19 and have been stuck there ever since. They are coming off a split in their two-game Subway Series match-up with the New York Yankees and had the day off on Independence Day. Losers of eight of their last 10, the Mets have not won three games in a row since mid-May.

NEW YORK METS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Michael Conforto: 26-year-old right fielder slashing .247/.361/.477 with 16 homers, 32 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 47 runs.
Jeff McNeil: 27-year-old left fielder slashing .349/.411/.516 with 7 homers, 31 extra-base hits, 35 RBIs, 38 runs.
Amed Rosario: 23-year-old shortstop with 9 homers, 42 RBIs, 36 runs.
Todd Frazier: 33-year-old third baseman with 11 homers, 34 RBIs, 27 runs over just 236 plate appearances.
Wilson Ramos: 31-year-old catcher slashing .275/.348/.414 with 9 homers and 41 RBIs played with Phillies in late 2018.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Pete Alonso: 24-year-old rookie first baseman slashing .278/.372/.623 with 28 homers, 50 extra-base hits, 64 RBIs, 55 runs. The Tampa, Florida native was the Mets second round choice at 64th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Florida.
Phillies pitchers have proven to be among the few who have been able to keep Alonso under control. The 6’3″, 240 pounder has slashed just .229/.357/.286 with no home runs and two doubles in the 10 games (9 starts) in which he has played between the two teams this season.
In a recent poll of five MLB scouts, three chose Alonso as having a better long-term career outlook than Yankees young slugging phenom Aaron Judge. “Right now, I’d take Alonso,” one scout told Matthew Cerone of SNY. “Like most of the league’s power hitters, they both use the popular ferris wheel swing, inside out style, but Alonso tends to square up better and often faster.
The Phillies offense has to face three tough pitchers this weekend. Continuing to find a way to keep Alonso under control will prove a major challenge, but one that will be vital to picking up more wins against the struggling Mets.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

FRIDAY – Jacob deGrom (31/RH): 4-7, 3.32 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 92 hits over 103 IP across 17 starts with a 128/22 K:BB. After winning the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, deGrom struggled a bit in the early going. But over his last eight starts, deGrom has allowed as many as three earned runs just once, and has a 2.65 ERA and .235 batting average against. This will be his first start of the year against the Phillies.
SATURDAY – Noah Syndergaard (26/RH): 5-4, 4.56 ERA, 1.242 WHIP, 98 hits over 100.2 IP across 16 starts with a 98/27 K:BB. After spending two weeks on the IL in late June, “Thor” returned to the Mets rotation last week. Just seven of his 16 outings have resulted in Quality Start efforts. The Phillies got to him for five earned runs on nine hits back on April 15 at Citizens Bank Park.
SUNDAY – Zack Wheeler (29/RH): 6-5, 4.42 ERA, 1.246 WHIP, 110 hits over 114 IP across 18 starts with a 123/32 K:BB. Wheeler, set to become a free agent after this season, has been the subject of trade speculation for over a year now. If the Mets don’t spurt back into the race in the next couple of weeks, he is likely to be dealt. He is making the price go up of late, as over his last three starts the righty has allowed just 12 hits and four earned runs over 19.1 IP with a 20/4 K:BB. Wheeler has already made three starts against the Phillies on April 17 and 23, and June 27. The Mets lost the first and last, but on April 23 he tossed a gem, striking out 11 over seven shutout frames.

THE SKIPPER

Mickey Callaway: There was intense speculation that Callaway could be canned after the Phillies swept his club at the start of last week. But the second-year skipper has survived to this point.
The 44-year-old native of Memphis, Tennessee has a 116-133 record at the helm of the Mets. He was recently involved in a high-profile altercation with a member of the New York media and has come under much negative scrutiny in the press over the last two weeks.
Just a week ago, Callaway even seemed to throw in the towel on his team’s 2019 chances. His club sat 6.5 out of a Wildcard berth with seven teams standing between them and the second NL Wildcard slot at the time. “We’re in a tough spot. It’s gonna take a miracle,” The Mets manager told WFAN’s Mike Francesa. ‘I’ve seen miracles before … We’re down in the win-loss column. That’s the bottom line.

THE BALLPARK

Citi Field is located in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park area of New York City in the borough of Queens. It was built adjacent to the former Shea Stadium, which had been home to the Mets since 1964, and opened to replace that old ballpark for the 2009 season.
There is a normal seating capacity of 41,922 and can fit up to 45,000 when taking standing room into account. The dimensions are 335 and 330 down the left and right field lines. Left-center is a close 358 feet, it is then 385 to deep-left center and 408 to straightaway center field. The deep-right center field fence is 398 feet away, and right-center is at 375 feet.
As homage to a tradition from Shea Stadium, the Home Run Apple, a giant apple which has a Mets logo on the front that lights up, rises from its housing in the center field batter’s eye whenever a Mets player hits a home run.
There is a Mets Hall of Fame & Museum located adjacent to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at the front entrance to the ball park on the first base side. The museum includes plaques honoring inductees to the team’s Hall of Fame, replicas of the two World Series trophies won by the organziation, and other memorabilia.
An extreme pitcher’s park in it’s first few years, changes to the fences for the 2012 season were made to allow the park to play much more fairly. However, Citi Field still ranks just 22nd in all of Major League Baseball in the ESPN Park Factor rankings for runs scored.

Mets are a mess under manager Mickey Callaway as they open series with Phillies

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Mets skipper Mickey Callaway is under serious fire in New York

The Philadelphia Phillies (39-38) and New York Mets (37-41) both entered the 2019 season with high hopes. Each team was considered by most evaluators to be a genuine contender for a division crown and a postseason berth. Neither has seen their season play out as they would have hoped to this point.

The Phillies situation is well known by now to the frustrated and nearly mutinous fan base. The Phillies were 33-22 and riding high in first place in the division on May 29. They have gone just 6-16 since that time, and just three and a half weeks later are on a seven-game losing streak and have fallen out of even an NL Wildcard spot.

For the Mets, injuries and inconsistencies, their usual two bugaboos, have ganged up to derail what was their own promising start to the 2019 season. On April 24, nearly a month into the season, they were in first place following a 9-0 white-washing of the Phillies. But they went 13-15 in May, and are now 9-12 in June to this point.
The Mets have now lost star pitcher Noah Syndergaard to the IL for at least a couple of weeks. With Jacob deGrom not scheduled to pitch in this series, the Phillies hitters should feel fortunate to be missing their two best starters. However, as inconsistent as they have been performing of late, anyone appears capable of shutting down the Phillies bats.
Following this series, the Phillies will head out on the road for nine games within the division, three each in Miami, Atlanta, and New York. To say they are desperate at this point would be an understatement. The Phillies really need to win this series with the Mets in order to head out on the road feeling better about themselves and their chances of turning things around.

Our division rivals from New York are in town for four games at Citizens Bank Park.

Here’s the Ballpark Buzz: https://atmlb.com/2ZMDoqe 

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NEW YORK METS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Pete Alonso: 24-year-old rookie first baseman is slashing .276/.366/.642 with 27 homers, 46 extra-base hits and 61 RBIs
Jeff McNeil: 27-year old Phillies killer is settling in as the starting LF and is slashing .342/.407/.494 with 25 extra-base hits
Michael Conforto: 26-year-old right fielder slashing .256/.374/.496 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs
Amed Rosario: 23-year-old shortstop has 26 extra-base hits and leads the club with nine steals
Wilson Ramos: 31-year-old catcher slashing .271/.347/.413 is second on the club with 40 RBIs, third with 34 runs scored
Dominic Smith: 24-year-old is slashing .320/.421/.515 in just 114 plate appearances backing up first base and left field
J.D. Davis: 26-year-old utility player hitting .272 with eight homers, 17 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs in just 202 plate apps

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Robinson Cano: The 36-year-old former superstar has not been anything like what the Mets hoped when they swung a big off-season trade with the Seattle Mariners, taking on Cano’s massive contract that still owes him $96 million more over the next four years.
An 8x American League All-Star who has two Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers in his trophy case mostly from his play with the Yankees in the prior decade, Cano won a World Series with the Bronx Bombers, helping defeat the Phillies back in the 2009 Fall Classic.
Cano is slashing just .228/.276/371 in 210 plate appearances. He has produced just four homers and 20 extra-base hits, scoring 18 runs and driving in 16, for the $24 million that the Mets are paying him this year. He seems to wake up against the Phillies, however. Cano has gone 7-15 (.467) in six games between the two NL East rivals this year.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

MONDAY – Steven Matz: 5-5, 4.28 ERA, 1.371 WHIP, 75 hits over 73.2 IP across 14 starts with a 74/26 K:BB
TUESDAY – Walker Lockett: 25-year-old RH making just his second start this season, fourth of his career. Was traded twice this past off-season, from San Diego to Cleveland, and then the Tribe to the Mets in January.
WEDNESDAY – Jason Vargas: 3-3, 3.75 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 54 hits over 60 IP across 13 appearances (12 starts) with a 47/26 K:BB

THE SKIPPER

To say that Mickey Callaway is under fire might be an understatement. Callaway is now in his second season at the helm with the Mets and has a cumulative 114-126 record to date.
In his playing days, Callaway was a right-handed pitcher who appeared in parts of five big-league seasons, making 20 starts and 20 relief appearances spread across three organizations between 199-2004.
Callaway recently had what can only be described as a full meltdown during an incident involving a New York reporter. Per Brian Fonseca of NJ.com, Callaway allegedly cursed out the reporter, Tim Healey of Newsday, and had him removed from the locker room following his postgame press conference on Sunday after Healey questioned his use of the bullpen:
“Callaway, wearing a black shirt, emerged from his office and walked past a reporter, who told him “see you tomorrow, Mickey.”
Callaway, still on edge from the loss, turned around and yell “Don’t be a smarta–, motherf—–.”
He later returned and engaged the reporter about the comment, which was not made maliciously, and Callaway raised his voice while he hurled expletives, telling a team public relations official to remove the reporter.
“Get the f—– out of here,” Callaway said. “We don’t need that s— here.”

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Monday will be a partly cloudy, warm and humid evening with temps mid-80’s and light winds and only a low chance or rain. Tuesday and Wednesday are more of the same, except a bit more sun and a little less humid. All-in-all it will be good typical summer-time baseball weather. Report from The Weather Channel forecast.