Jeurys Familia

Mets May Want To Look At Evan Longoria As Backup Plan

One moment, Evan Longoria is a budding superstar. The next, Longoria is a player on an onerous contract the San Francisco Giants wish they didn’t obtain from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Putting that aside, let’s take a look at his level of production since joining the Giants.

Since 2018, Longoria has a 94 wRC+ and a 12 DRS. While his wRC+ is below average and ranks just 20th among qualified players, his DRS is third best in the majors over this time span. Overall, his 4.9 bWAR and 3.3 fWAR makes him a top 20 third baseman in the league.

Make no mistake, the offense is quite poor. However, part of that could be Oracle Park which is a nightmare for right-handed hitters. Longoria has been no exception.

In his career, Longoria is a .242/.293/.388 hitter at Oracle Park. That’s a paltry 83 wRC+. By and large, at best that’s the production of a Four-A player. More likely, that’s a player who is not even that good.

However, that’s only part of the story. Since joining the Giants, Longoria has been a .259/.314/.466 hitter, which equates to a 103 wRC+. By no means is that outstanding, but it’s a significant improvement over his home stats.

With Longoria’s glove, you can justify a 103 wRC+ at third. Assuming that’s the level of production you can get from him, the question turn becomes if it’s worth trading for him.

Before prejudging, there’s an important consideration. The third base market is absolutely barren. Right now, it’s really just Justin Turner, who is much more likely than not to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

If Turner won’t come to the Mets, Longoria should be on the table, at least in concept. Yes, it would be preferable to sign Kolten Wong and move Jeff McNeil back to third.

Beyond that, the Mets need a Plan C. No, Longoria isn’t preferable, but he’s a viable option. At a minimum, he’s a very good glove you can stick at third to help the pitching.

Perhaps, being removed from Oracle Park will awaken his bat. For what it’s worth, the team would probably look to have him hit no higher than seventh.

Essentially, what the Mets would be hoping for is the 2006 season Jose Valentin provided. Plug Longoria into a much better lineup, move him down the order, and just let him along for the ride.

At one year $14.7 million, he’s not going to require anything of value in return. Even then, the San Francisco Giants might eat salary to move him. Maybe they’ll take back a similarly bad contract in Jeurys Familia and call it a done deal.

If Longoria isn’t going to cost anything but money, he’s worth pursuing. The third base free agent market is barren, and at a minimum, the Mets would get excellent defense. Yes, explore other options more heavily, but don’t forget to come back to this one.

Mets Should Pursue Lorenzo Cain

With the Mets missing out on George Springer, the question is where do they go for a vector fielder. The common consensus is Jackie Bradley, Jr., but there are significant issues there.

Entering 2020, Bradley was a 90 wRC+ player over the previous three seasons. His exit velocities have been dropping. His defensive numbers have as well.

In terms of OAA, from 2017 – 2019, he dropped a 3 OAA each year. He was still quite good with a 7 OAA last year. Still, as we see at Baseball Savant, he’s been seeing a steady drop in his reaction time, burst, and jump.

For a player who is about to turn 31, you wonder how long before his defense takes a real dip. When that happens, Bradley has little of value to offer. Seeing that, the Mets should at least look elsewhere.

With the entire NL Central looking to dump salary, you wonder if the Milwaukee Brewers would be looking to trade Lorenzo Cain. Certainly, the $35 million remaining on the last two years of his deal would be a motivating factor.

If a free agent, Cain would arguably be the second best option on the market.

Obviously, Cain’s main value is with his glove. In fact, Cain leads the majors with a 45 DRS since 2017. His OAA numbers are similarly phenomenal.

In 2019, his last season played, Cain had a 14 OAA which was third best in the majors. That was a step back from when he was a 21 DRS in 2018, which was second best in the majors.

Now, this is SIGNIFICANTLY better than what Bradley has produced. Since 2017, Bradley has a 17 DRS. While impressive and good for fifth best in the majors, it pales in comparison to Cain.

On the OAA front, Bradley is a little closer. That said, Bradley has had a combined 13 OAA over the past two years. That is less than the 14 OAA Cain put up in 2019.

Now, there are some issues with Cain. After all, his defense did slip a bit. His sprint speed has steadily declined in each of the past three years. That said, his 27.8 ft/sec is still a bit faster than Bradley’s 27.6. More to the point, Cain played superior defensively at that speed.

Cain is also a much better bat. From 2016 – 2019, Bradley was a 90 wRC+ hitter. Cain was a 106. Cain is also a right-handed bat which works better in the Mets lineup.

Now, there are some who will point to Bradley’s 119 wRC+ last year. However, that’s due for a serious regression with his .343 BABIP and his woeful exit velocity stats. Basically, we can expect his offensive production to not just return to his 90 wRC+ levels. In fact, we could see him go well below that.

By and large, Cain’s advanced stats have held steady. He’s essentially had the same barrels and hard hit rates. Yes, with him entering his age 35 season, we could expect him to regress.

Overall, it would at least appear a regression for Cain would look like what Bradley’s current level of production is. We should keep in mind Bradley may still continue to regress.

With that, and the intangibles Cain brings to the table, it would seem Cain is the far better option. Keep in mind, when the Josh Hader news hit during the All-Star Game, Cain was a driving force keeping that clubhouse together.

While Cain would seem to be the better player and fit, the question is whether it’s worth trading for him over just signing Bradley. The answer is it depends.

If the Mets could offset Cain’s contract by unloading a Jeurys Familia, you move much closer to it being the preferable option. If you’re giving up players like J.D. Davis, who have no position along with a very small piece, you have to consider it.

Obviously, if the Brewers want a significant return that doesn’t resemble what is largely a contract dump, the Mets should walk and just sign someone else to play center. However, up until that point, the Mets should strongly consider Cain for center because not only is he the best option available, but he’s also a very good fit for this team.

Mets Don’t Have Luxury Tax Threshold Problems Unless Steve Cohen Says They Do

When evaluating what the New York Mets do this offseason, the team has to balance building a competitive 2021 roster with their ability to re-sign players. Part and parcel of that is building a sustained winner and not a typical Wilpon style one and done team.

As noted previously, the Mets have to evaluate their priories when looking to extend Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor, Steven Matz, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard. Keeping that quintet is going to be difficult.

That is going to become all the more complicated based on what the Mets continue to do this offseason. Players like Brad Hand and George Springer will be expensive. That affects the Mets ability to spend in 2021 and the ensuing years.

Sure, you can point out the Mets have money coming off the books at the end of the year. It’s a significant amount too with Jeurys Familia ($11.67), Dellin Betances ($6), and Brad Brach ($2) in addition to the aforementioned players.

However, as noted, the Mets have significant players who will require significant money. On top of that, after 2022, key players like Brandon Nimmo and Seth Lugo are free agents. Exacerbating that is Jacob deGrom having an opt out, and the Mets having a team option on Carlos Carrasco.

You really have to wonder how the Mets are able to keep this going without surpassing the luxury tax threshold. On the other hand, why are people so concerned when the Mets aren’t?

At some point, everyone became concerned about the luxury tax threshold. Maybe, it was watching the Wilpons operate the Mets for a decade. Maybe, it was the rumors floating around the owners were going to limit the Mets ability to spend as a condition of his buying the team.

Whatever the case, there is only one man who has concern about the Mets spending, and that’s the man cutting the checks. At the end of the day, the only person who truly knows the Mets ability and willingness to exceed the threshold is their owner Steve Cohen.

That’s nothing to say of the expiring CBA. For all the hand wringing about the current constraints, those parameters are going to be readdressed and reset after this offseason. On that front, it makes little to no sense to get over wrought about provisions not set and not really dickered.

At the moment, the only people who should be concerned about the Mets ability and willingness to surpass the luxury tax threshold in 2021 and beyond is the Mets front office. Well, them and the National League East who has to contend with the sudden Mets juggernaut.

For the rest of us, the luxury tax threshold is merely a talking point with only guesses as to the Mets true intentions.

Archie Bradley May Not Be Reliever Mets Should Pursue

Perhaps the biggest name and surprise non-tender was Archie Bradley. After all, Bradley is coming off a great season in limited duty. Bradley was limited both by a shortened season and by a back injury.

In 2020, Bradley made 16 appearances. He was 2-0 with six saves, a 2.95 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 1.5 BB/9, and an 8.6 K/9. He also had a 2.59 FIP and a 163 ERA+. If you break it down, it is somewhat ridiculous Bradley would be non-tendered. That goes double when you consider his full career.

From 2017 – 2020, Bradley had a 2.95 ERA, 152 ERA+, 3.19 FIP, 1.197 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and a 9.9 K/9. Those are excellent to elite numbers. However, those numbers only tell part of the story for Bradley.

Bradley broke out with an absurdly good 2017. In that year, Bradley was 3-3 with a 1.73 ERA, 1.041 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, and a 9.7 K/9. So far, this season has been an anomaly in his career. Over his subsequent two seasons, Bradley had a 3.58 ERA, 1.291 WHIP, 3.5 BB/9, and a 10.2 K/9. When looking at the advanced numbers, his ERA+ dropped from 273 to 122, and his FIP dropped from 2.61 to 3.56.

Essentially, Bradley went from a elite reliever to a very good one. Part of the reason was his 2017 season was very difficult to replicate. There are also factors where his .276 BABIP against and 88.2 LOB% were going to stabilize. We actually did see that happen the subsequent two seasons, and that is one of the reasons why his stats began to return to earth.

Another and perhaps more important reason is Bradley’s stuff has been in decline. In 2017, Bradley averaged 96.3 MPH with his fastball. He’s been gradually losing velocity to the point where he has lost two full MPH off his fastball. He’s also lost spin off of his fastball. He’s similarly lost MPH and spin off of his curveball which is his primary secondary offering.

Looking specifically at that curve, Bradley had very good vertical movement. That was part of the reason why he had a 26.7 Whiff% on the pitch. Again, those numbers have been in decline each and every year to the point where that Whiff% has dropped to 16.7 in 2020. That Whiff% was good in 2019, but that season is an outlier.

With Bradley, you see a pitcher who is losing velocity and spin. As a result, he is becoming more hittable. That is problematic for any pitcher, especially for a reliever.

Now, it is eminently possible Bradley returns to his 2019 form. After all, the 2020 season was unique, and we saw it impacted the way many players were able to train and prepare for the season. With a full offseason to prepare and with his getting further away from his back injury, Bradley could reasonably be expected to gain some of his lost MPH off his fastball.

Still, it is far from a guarantee, and it is notable he was losing MPH and spin off of all of his pitches prior to the 2020 season. This makes Bradley a bit of a gamble, and it may be a relatively expensive one. Looking at the Mets current bullpen, they are really ill suited to go looking for gambles like this.

The Mets already have Dellin Betances who is a gamble with his injury history and his own history of losing velocity and spin. The same goes for Brad Brach and Jeurys Familia. With those pitchers in the bullpen, the Mets need more reliable options much like the one they got when they signed Trevor May.

The team also could use a pitcher like a Brad Hand who could be effective against left-handed hitters. The left-handed reliever is of premium concern when the NL East has hitters like Juan Soto, Bryce Harper, and Freddie Freeman. Certainly, given the Mets heavy left-handed hitting roster, it would behoove them to grab the top left-handed relievers just to keep them away from their division.

All told, Bradley is a good reliever, but he is one who has been in decline. While you may believe he could return to form, this Mets bullpen is not constructed well enough to take on a gamble like that. With that being the case, the Mets should probably look towards one of the better relief options on the market, preferable a left-handed one like Hand.

Mets Second Straight Big Comeback

For a second straight game, a Mets starter didn’t see the third inning, and for the second straight game, the Mets made an improbable comeback.

After being staked to a 3-0 first inning lead thanks to Dominic Smith and Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo had a terrible first inning. Flat out terrible.

After Lugo allowed three straight homers to Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, and Didi Gregorius, he allowed another run in the inning turning a 3-0 lead into a 4-3 deficit.

At least for tonight, Harper owned Lugo homering off of him again in the second inning. Gregorius then knocked out Lugo with an RBI single.

It was 6-3 Phillies, and it was in the hands of the Mets bullpen. Starting with Erasmo Ramirez, they were brilliant. He and Chasen Shreve would each pitch 2.1 scoreless before handing the ball to Jeurys Familia who pitched 1.1 scoreless.

Their pitching kept the Mets in the game, and it gave them a chance to comeback against what has been a terrible Phillies bullpen.

While the Mets weren’t able to put up more runs off Aaron Nola from the second through fifth, they made him work. He ran out of gas in the sixth, and that Mets took advantage starting with a Pete Alonso one out homer:

Jeff McNeil walked leading to the Phillies going to their bullpen. Andres Gimenez walked, and after Luis Guillorme lined out, it was up to Brandon Nimmo. He tied the score on what is arguably the biggest hit of his career . . . up until that point.

Things would get really dicey in the eighth. With two outs, Familia walked Andrew McCutcheon. Luis Rojas brought in Justin Wilson to face the left-handed Harper to get the Mets out of the inning.

Instead, Wilson walked the bases loaded. Due to the three batter rule, the Mets couldn’t even contemplate lifting him. Fortunately for the Mets, Wilson retired Gregorius to end the inning.

After escalating the jam, it was time for Nimmo to come up huge again. This time, it was a go-ahead homer with a rare pimping of the homer from Nimmo:

That ninth inning leadoff homer off Brandon Workman sparked the Mets offense like Alonso’s did in the sixth. It was a four run ninth with Smith tripling in Michael Conforto, and Cano hitting a two run homer.

While not a save situation, the Mets went to Edwin Diaz. Diaz would make it interesting by loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate. Diaz, who was pitching three days in a row, got McCutheon to ground out to end the game.

With that, the Mets have won a series against a team other than the Marlins this year. They’re alive and ready to fight another day as the schedule gets insanely difficult now.

Game Notes: Wilson earned the win.

Mets Complete Comeback

This wasn’t your typical Mets script. This is a team who finds a way to get close enough to just rip your heart out. Tonight, they were doing that to the Orioles instead of their fans.

For a while, it seemed there was no shot for the Mets to win this one as the Orioles were teeing off on Rick Porcello. At one point, they were 9-for-15 off Porcello, and seemingly the only way for the Mets to record an out was to throw out a runner looking to stretch a single into a double as Michael Conforto did to Chance Sisco to lead off the second.

Through three, the Orioles were up 5-1. That one run came in the second when Jeff McNeil singled home Dominic Smith, who led off the inning with his MLB leading 17th double.

The score would be 6-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth after McNeil and DJ Stewart traded a pair of homers. In the bottom of the fifth, Conforto would ignite the Mets with a solo homer.

The rally didn’t end with the homer. Later in the inning, Cano snapped out of his slump to hit an RBI single to pull the Mets to within 6-5. That’s when the Mets defense would shine and keep the Mets in the game.

The first came from McNeil who robbed Jose Iglesias of an extra base hit:

Even though that was the second out and there was no one on, Jared Hughes had trouble getting out of that inning. He’d load the bases, and Luis Rojas would bring in the struggling Justin Wilson to face Rio Ruiz. For a moment, it looked like Ruiz hit a bases clearing double:

After those pair of great defensive plays, the Mets would get the big hits they needed. First, it was Andres Gimenez tying the game in the bottom of the sixth with his second career homer:

Then, it was Pete Alonso hitting his 11th homer of the year in the bottom of the eighth to give the Mets a 7-6 lead.

Being the Mets, they weren’t quite out of the woods yet. Edwin Diaz allowed a lead-off single, and for a moment, it looked like the first two would reach. That was until Luis Guillorme, who was brought in for defense, made another great defensive play.

Diaz retired the last two to earn his third save of the year. It was a dramatic and needed win to help keep the Mets postseason hopes alive.

Game Notes: McNeil has homered in four straight. Diaz, Seth Lugo, and bullpen coach Ricky Bones wore 21 today in honor of Roberto Clemente.

Dellin Betances Throws It Away

Through 7.1 innings, the Mets did nothing against J.A. Happ. Just three singles negated by five strikeouts. He was then lifted for Adam Ottavino.

Aaron Boone‘s decision turned out to be a mistake because Wilson Ramos would hit a game tying homer.

That homer got Robert Gsellman off the hook. It’s a good thing because Gsellman didn’t deserve to lose this one.

After allowing the second batter of the game, Luke Voit, to homer, he turned in his best work since returning to the rotation. After that homer, he allowed just three more hits while walking none and striking out four.

The plan was to have Steven Matz piggyback his start, but Matz left the game after one inning with a shoulder injury and may very well land on the IL.

That meant to the Mets bullpen needed to step up again. It really wasn’t quite up to the task.

After Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless sixth, Brad Brach walked the bases loaded in the seventh. Jeurys Familia fell behind DJ LeMahieu 3-2 before getting LeMahieu to ground out to end the inning.

After Justin Wilson pitched a scoreless eighth, it was Dellin Betances against his former team in the ninth. Betances admitting to being fatigued and not having it. It showed.

Ramos really had no chance to catch Betances’ wild pitch. With that wild pitch, the Mets wouldn’t have another big come from behind win. Instead, they’d be walk-off losers.

On the bright side, Steve Cohen agreed to buy the Mets . . . again. This time it’s for $200 million cheaper. That should allow him to fix all the mistakes Brodie Van Wagenen made which led to losses like this.

Game Notes: Offseason additions Betances, Rick Porcello, and Michael Wacha have combined for a 7.19 ERA. Zack Wheeler‘s is 2.58.

J.D. Davis Allowed Jon Berti To Embarrass The Mets

As we’re seeing, the Mets are going to plug J.D. Davis at third base, and they’re going to bat him second in the lineup. If the Mets are going to do that, they are going to need more from him defensively.

Look, Davis is not good anywhere you put him in the field. That includes third base which is purportedly his natural position.

This year, Davis has a -3 DRS at third base. That makes his career mark a -14 DRS. Baseball Savant has not released the 2020 OAA numbers for Davis at third base yet, but for his career he’s a -2 OAA. All told, he’s simply not good there.

What makes it worse is how he plays the position. We saw that last night as Jon Berti embarrassed the Mets. That was largely made possible by Davis’ complete lack of awareness.

After Berti stole second, he would effectively steal his next two bases on Davis as Davis failed to cover third both times.

When Berti stole third, Ali Sanchez made a strong throw to the moving Davis. As Davis was late to react, he could do nothing more than catch the ball and trail Berti to the bag.

You’d think after that play Davis would be more attentive. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

On what now rivals Luis Castillo‘s dropped pop up as one of the most embarrassing plays in Mets history, everyone had to shoulder some share of the blame.

First and foremost, Sanchez needs to do a better job of looking back the runner. Yes, Berti turned, but Sanchez could’ve waited for Berti to get closer to third.

That mistake was exacerbated by the lollypop throw. That throw allowed Berti to take off for home. Between that throw and Jeurys Familia spiking the ball in front of Sanchez, Berti was able to score even though he fell down and did a bear crawl.

As bad as Sanchez and Familia were on that play, Davis might’ve been worse. Take another look at that play.

Berti has a big secondary lead. That’s partially because of how the defense was positioned with Jesus Aguilar was at the plate.

Despite Berti having a big secondary lead and his toying with Sanchez, Davis doesn’t move. Keep in mind, if Davis moves towards third, Sanchez might’ve had a chance to pick Berti off third. For that matter, if Davis moves towards third, Marlins third base coach Trey Hillman tells Berti, and Berti doesn’t even think of trying to steal home.

As bad as Davis’ lack of awareness was with Berti dancing down the line was, he made the situation even worse. Watch the play again. Davis doesn’t even move towards third until Berti falls.

A player is breaking from third base, the base he’s supposed to be protecting, and Davis is a complete bystander to the play.

It’s one thing for Davis not to be a strong fielder. It’s a whole other thing to be inattentive. That simply can’t happen.

Davis’ inattentiveness led to a run scoring, and the Mets being completely embarrassed. If this is the way he’s going to play in the field, it only further cements the fact he’s nothing more than a DH.

Mets Offense Not Biggest Embarrassment In Marlins Doubleheader Sweep

In the first game of the doubleheader, the Mets were 0-for-10 at the plate with runners in scoring position. Things weren’t as bad in the second half as the Mets offense went just 0-for-5.

The no hits with runners in scoring position, the Mets offense was shut out over 14 innings. Even if the Mets played the other four innings, you’d be hard pressed to find an argument why they’d score a run.

In this game, the Mets offense had just two hits, and those hits were originally Red errors. That at least spared the Mets the indignity of joining the Pittsburgh Pirates in being no-hit today.

At least the Pirates faced Lucas Giolito. This Mets team really has no excuses.

The Mets inability to hit ruined a good return to the rotation by Seth Lugo. Lugo lasted three innings, and he didn’t allow a base runner while striking out five.

While Luis Rojas said Lugo was good for 60 pitches, he lifted Lugo after 39 pitches. Seeing how the fourth inning unfolded, he may want to revisit this decision (or text message).

For the first time this year, Jared Hughes didn’t have it. He walked Jon Berti to start the inning. After a one out single by Corey Dickerson, Brian Anderson hit a two run double.

Chasen Shreve would relieve Hughes and get out of the inning, but it was too little too late as the Mets couldn’t drive in a run.

It’s gotten to the point where the Mets are snake-bit. Case-in-point is the sixth. The Mets had runners on first and second with one out, and Luis Guillorme tattooed a line drive.

That ball was hit right at Marlins first baseman Lewin Diaz. Diaz caught the liner before easily beating the runner to the base to end the inning.

That sixth was a very curious inning for Rojas.

Despite Andres Gimenez on the IL, and with the Mets bench somewhat suspect now, at least in terms of bats, Rojas went to Robinson Cano to pinch hit for Amed Rosario.

After Cano beat the shift by slapping the ball the other way, Rojas tabbed Juan Lagares to pinch run for Cano. He did that even with Billy Hamilton being on the bench. Hamilton is a better runner and weaker hitter. The move made little sense.

As embarrassing as that was, there was Berti flat out embarrassing the Mets in the bottom of the sixth.

Berti drew a leadoff walk against Jeurys Familia. He would steal second. Later in the inning, Berti had a delayed steal of grief where J.D. Davis didn’t pay attention and then didn’t cover third.

That wasn’t the worst of it.

With two outs, Ali Sanchez had looked Berti back to third. Berti moved towards third as Sanchez lollypopped a throw back to Familia.

On the throw, Berti spun and broke for home. Even with Berti slipping, he was able to steal home as Sanchez couldn’t field the throw Familia had spiked in front of him.

It’s one thing to lose. It’s a whole other thing to be flat out embarrassed like this. The Mets lost 3-0. It might as well have been 100-0.

Game Notes: With this being a makeup game, the Marlins batted second. Even with the Marlins batting second, the Mets were still the home team. Jacob deGrom is slated to start tomorrow because the Mets wanted to keep him on his regular schedule. Sanchez had his first career MLB start.

Mets Bullpen Almost Negates Guillorme And deGrom Brilliance

After an inexplicable hiatus, Luis Guillorme was back in the lineup, and he picked up offensively and defensively. The beneficiary of his great play was Jacob deGrom who has been unaccustomed to Mets players stepping up their games when he’s on the mound.

For starters, deGrom was his usual brilliant self and showed no ill effects of his neck issue. The Marlins only had five base runners against deGrom and one of those was courtesy of a J.D. Davis error.

While that wasn’t surprising, deGrom getting support was mildly surprising. After being inexplicably benched a few games, Guillorme was back in the lineup, and he delivered almost immediately with an almost literal cue shot double.

The double moved Pete Alonso to third. He’d score on a Wilson Ramos sacrifice fly. That double is not all Guillorme did to provide support to deGrom. He was also his sterling self at second:

deGrom would also get some defensive help from Alonso. Good defense and a lead is a rare experience for deGrom.

Overall, deGrom pitched six shutout innings striking out seven. At 92 pitches, Luis Rojas pulled him even with Seth Lugo unavailable to pitch.

When the Mets went to the bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, the Mets had a 2-0 lead. The second run came in the top of the seventh when Guillorme singled home Dominic Smith, who had doubled earlier in the inning.

The bottom of the seventh didn’t get off to a great start with Jeurys Familia walked Francisco Cervelli. After a fielder’s choice, Davis wasn’t able to get a throw off after diving after a Logan Forsythe grounder.

With Jonathan Villar entering as a pinch hitter, Rojas brought in Justin Wilson. Wilson would do his job, but Ramos wouldn’t.

After a Villar groundout, Wilson would throw a pitch in the dirt. Instead of getting in front of it, Ramos missed on the backhand. The pitch went to the backstop as a run scored.

The Mets would get that run back in the top of the eighth when Smith doubled in Conforto. Unfortunately, the two run lead was not enough for Dellin Betances.

The Marlins loaded the bases with two outs against Betances. Instead of going to the bullpen for another reliever, Rojas let Betances pitch to Eddy Alvarez. With his second pitch of the at-bat, Betances hit Alvarez to force in a run.

Rojas then made a very curious decision. Edwin Diaz has a history of bouts of wildness. Bases loaded with the tying run at third was probably a better situation for Brad Brach who has better control and also has closing experience.

Diaz walked Forsythe on five pitches with none of them all that close. After blowing the save, Diaz rebounded to strike out Villar.

At that point, deGrom’s brilliance was wasted. It seemed Guillorme’s efforts were all for naught. At this point, the hope was the Mets would not fall apart and lose a game they should’ve won.

That didn’t happen, and that’s because Michael Conforto had another clutch ninth inning hit.

That two run homer gave the Mets a 5-3 lead. That was enough for Diaz who struck out the side in the ninth to vulture the win.

With the win, the Mets pull themselves to within two games of .500. They also are close to completing their first series sweep of the season.

Game Notes: Lugo was unavailable as he will start the series finale against the Marlins. He will be taking over Steven Matz‘s spot in the rotation with Matz moving to the bullpen.