Flores helps Mets surge in fascinating deadline postscript

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For the New York Mets, August has been like a dream, and nothing sums up their charmed life better than the saga of Wilmer Flores.

On July 29, reports surfaced that Flores was being traded in a deal that would bring Carlos Gomez to the Mets. An emotional Flores wiped tears from his eyes on the field, but the trade was never completed.

Since that night, the Mets have gone 20-9, and they now lead the NL East by 5 1/2 games. Flores has hit .322 with an OPS of .903 in that span. Gomez, meanwhile, ended up being traded from Milwaukee to Houston. He has hit .210 in the same span.

SEE ALSO: Morning Rewind: These aren't your father's Cubs

"I don't think I've changed anything (at the plate)," Flores said recently. "I feel the same way. I'm just trying to see the ball and hit the ball."

Flores outhitting Gomez over that short stretch underscores the unpredictability of deadline deals. When a team makes a trade in late July, there's only about two months left in the season, and that's not always enough time for the presumably better player to prove his worth.

For example, last year Detroit acquired David Price from Tampa Bay in a three-way trade, sending Drew Smyly to the Rays. Price went 4-4 with a 3.59 ERA the rest of the way for the Tigers, while Smyly went 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA. Price did make four more starts than Smyly, but the point is that in two months, anything can happen.

Including Wilmer Flores hitting like an All-Star.

Here are a few other developments from around baseball:

LACK OF LUCK

Shelby Miller is having a fine season for the Atlanta Braves. He has a 2.62 ERA, and he has a good chance to set career highs in innings pitched and strikeouts.

That makes it nothing short of baffling that Miller's record stands at 5-11.

In Miller's last 18 starts, he's posted a 3.24 ERA and somehow gone 0-10. Atlanta's offense has been the main culprit. He's received only 21 runs of support in that span.

THINNING CROWD?

Is the race for the American League's second wild card finally narrowing to three or four teams? Texas (68-61) leads by 1 1/2 games over Minnesota, and it's another two back to the Los Angeles Angels. The Tampa Bay Rays have lost five of seven and trail Texas by 4 1/2, while Baltimore has dropped 10 of 11 to fall 5 1/2 back.

We'll see if the Rangers, Twins and Angels can separate themselves in the coming week. One team to keep an eye on is Cleveland, which has won five straight but still trails Texas by five games.

FANTASY FOCUS

Rotisserie owners should have a good idea by now of what categories they need help in, and although it may be too late to make a big trade or a major acquisition off the waiver wire, some creative roster management can come in handy down the stretch.

For example, if you're in good shape in wins and strikeouts but your team ERA needs improving, dropping your least effective starters and replacing them with relievers might work - and the top middle relievers might still be available on the waiver wire.

And if you're doing well in saves but need more wins and strikeouts, you might consider fielding an entire pitching staff of starters. Your ERA might take a hit, but sometimes the best way to chase wins is by simply having more starters than anybody else.

(Unless one of those starters is Shelby Miller, apparently.)

LINE OF THE WEEK

Another week, another no-hitter. Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs pitched the sixth no-hitter in the majors this season when he blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 on Sunday night. It was the second no-hitter against the Dodgers in 10 days.

The Dodgers face Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday night.


RANKING THE TOP BASEBALL STADIUMS:

31 PHOTOS
Ranking MLB stadiums
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Flores helps Mets surge in fascinating deadline postscript

30. Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Rays

The playing surface is a mixture of grass and artificial turf, and there are fire inspection rings in play over head. Must be a joy to play in.

(AP Photo)

29. Rogers Centre, Toronto Blue Jays

The only things worse than this warehouse-looking place are the metric measurements on the outfield walls.

(Shutterstock)

28. O.co Coliseum, Oakland A's

Any place sewage seeps back through the clubhouse drains probably isn’t a suitable location for pro sports.

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

27. Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas Rangers

Remember when this place was state of the art? Neither do we.

(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)

26. U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago White Sox

What’s more bland than the Chicago White Sox? Their uniforms. What’s worse than that? The stadium.

(AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)

25. Turner Field, Atlanta Braves

This place won’t live to see its 20th birthday. Good luck to the Braves’ next home, which will probably still always be empty, too.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

24. Marlins Park, Miami Marlins

Makes perfect sense for an orange and teal team to play in a stadium with neon green everything. Also, has anyone ever figured out what exactly this is? 

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

23. Angel Stadium, Los Angeles Angels

Nothin’ like some fake rocks in center field to really set the mood for a baseball game.

Flickr

22. Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians

The fact that it’s no longer Jacobs Field bumps this down at least five spots.

Flickr

21. Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals

Can this place just stay out of the playoffs just once?

Flickr

20. Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati Reds

How cheap is that wind tunnel?

 (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

19. Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks

Center field is the deepest part of the stadium, guys. The wall doesn’t need to be that high.

Clintus McGintus/Flickr

18. Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees

Great place to see the best baseball players of the 20th century.

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

17. Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers

Bernie sliding down that slide for every home run is ridiculous and awesome at the same time. Every time.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

16. Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Phillies

Once you get over the fact that some little league parks have deeper fences? Cool place to catch a game.

 (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

15. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Dodgers

They should probably just name it Vin Scully Stadium at this point. Might help them out in these rankings.

 (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

14. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Royals

The scoreboard being shaped like a long crown is a bit odd, but you can’t blame them for playing up the whole royalty thing.

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

13. Coors Field, Colorado Rockies

If it’s not a blizzard in Denver, Coors Field is still pretty impressive. But let’s lose those humidors and get these balls flying like its 2001. 

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

12. Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers

Credit to the grounds crew for making sure the infield didn’t collapse through the ground while Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera manned the corners. That approached a good 600 pounds of man.

 (AP Photo/Matt Halip)

11. Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros

Get back to us next year, once that ridiculous hill and flag pole are scrapped.

(AP Photo/Bob Levey)

10. Target Field, Minnesota Twins

You probably won’t want to sit outside in Minnesota until about mid-June, but after that, Target Field is tough to beat.

 (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

9. Citi Field, New York Mets

Ownership may be fresh out of cash, but at least its stadium has an awesome selection of $12 beers. 

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

8. Nationals Park, Washington Nationals

It’s been seven years, and the team just can’t sell these naming rights. Strangely, this makes the park even cooler.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

7. Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners

For a stadium that opened up in 1999, the Mariners’ digs have held up pretty well -- even when their roster hasn’t.

 (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

6.. Petco Park, San Diego Padres

Fun fact: An old candy factory building was physically moved to make room for the stadium. 

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

5. Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox

Relax, Fenway is definitely an amazing place to watch a game. But sitting directly behind a pole and/or facing the left-center field wall just isn’t always appealing.

(Shutterstock)

4. Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs

We’re glad the Cubs decided to keep their old home intact, but there’s no two ways about it: Until renovation is complete, Wrigley is a dump.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

3. PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates

After two decades under .500, the Pirates are finally playing some winning ball again. Good thing, because their park deserves as many games as possible.

 (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

2. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore Orioles

Still as beautiful as the day it opened in 1992, Camden Yards is headed toward becoming the next legendary American ballpark. 

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

1. AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants

Already 15 years and three names later, AT&T Park remains the best place to watch a Major League Baseball game. Between the amazing food, packed-out stands and the glistening bay in right field, San Francisco is lucky to call it home. 

(AP Photo)

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