Jeurys Familia

Much Of Analysis On Familia And Britton Returns Are Not Well Grounded

Everywhere you look, people have panned the Mets return for Jeurys Familia.  The Mets poor return was again highlighted yesterday when the Baltimore Orioles got a much better return for Zach Britton than the return the Mets had received.

Some of that analysis was well-grounded.  For example, Keith Law of ESPN said, “although his command isn’t close to back yet, so his market value wasn’t going to be great, and in that context the O’s did well to acquire some pitching depth in the form of three second- or third-tier prospects from a very deep Yankees system.”

As we recall, Keith Law’s analysis of the Famila trade was that it was embarrassing for the Mets organization and all of Major League Baseball.  He went so far as to call for the Commissioner’s office to step in and force the Wilpons to sell the team.

Again, this analysis was grounded on well based knowledge of the prospects and the ensuing analysis of the returns.  Agree or disagree with any of it, it’s a learned critique.  Then, we see Jon Heyman’s critique of the trades:

If you read that critically, you will understand it tells you absolutely nothing about the quality of the return each selling team received for selling off their respective closers.

Remember, no two farm systems are alike, and they have different strengths and weaknesses.  Moreover, some systems are just flat out stronger than others.  In that tweet, Heyman gave us no context for why the Yankees No. 6 prospect is better than the Athletics No. 17 prospect.

It’s also important to note, he didn’t tell us who’s ranking.  That’s also important because some lists are certainly credible than others.

Taking Heyman on face value that those prospect rankings were correct and up-to-date, it still doesn’t tell us if Dillon Tate or William Toffey was the better prospect.

With respect to Tate, he’s a 24 year old pitcher in Double-A.  In his 15 starts, he is 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.113 WHIP, and an 8.2 K/9.  For the sake of comparison, 23 year old Nabil Crismatt, an undrafted free agent, made 16 starts in the same league this year.  He was 8-5 with a 3.58 ERA, 1.237 WHIP, and a 9.1 K/9 before being promoted to Triple-A.

No, it’s not a perfect comparison, but it should be worth nothing the 2015 fourth overall pick cannot out-pitch an undrafted free agent.  Think about that for a second, the Yankees seventh best prospect isn’t out-pitching an undrafted free agent.

It should also be noted many have panned the Mets farm system as being weak and towards the lower third in the majors.  MLB Pipeline does not rank Crismatt among the Mets Top 30 prospects.  Similarly, neither Baseball America nor Baseball Prospectus ranks Crismatt among the Mets top prospects.

Again, putting your personal like of either return aside, how can you accurately judge the trade when the Yankees purported seventh best prospect isn’t performing any better than an undrafted free agent who can’t even crack the Mets top prospect lists?

Also, for the sake of comparison, Baseball America has Jorge Mateo ranked as the Athletics seventh best prospect.  Digging deeper, Mateo is ranked as a Top 100 prospect in all of baseball.

Fangraphs ranks him 61.  Baseball Prosectus ranked him 79th.  MLB Pipeline ranked him 71st.

None of those outlets have Tate in their Top 100 this year.

With that in mind, how can we possibly point out the Yankees seventh best prospect is a much better return than the Athletics 17th best prospect?  The Athletics seventh best prospect is a Top 100 prospect while the Yankees seventh best propsect can’t out-pitch an undrafted minor league free agent.

In the end, we can say the Orioles got a better return for Britton than the Mets did for Familia.  That is fair and reasonable.  However, when drawing that conclusion, we should not compare each player’s ranking among that organization’s top prospects.  As shown, those rankings tell us absolutely nothing about who is the better prospect or what was the better return.

 

 

 

Jeurys Familia Trade Was Predictably Awful

Last year, the Mets traded Addison Reed, statistically the best reliever on the market for a trio of right-handed relief prospects in Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, and Stephen Nogosek.

Bautista has a 12.46 ERA in five Major League appearances, and he has a 5.08 ERA in the minors.

Callahan had a 9.72 ERA in seven appearances for Las Vegas before going down with season ending shoulder surgery.

Nogosek has a 5.49 ERA with a 6.8 BB/9.

It is just one year, but the pieces received in exchange for Reed last year are actually worse than you could have imagined.  What makes that all the worse is the return for Reed was deemed underwhelming at the time of the trade.

This is important to note because as noted by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the New York Mets had the audacity to liken the return they received from the Oakland Athletics for Jeurys Familia to what they received from the Boston Red Sox for Reed.

With that, you don’t need to go searching out for an analysis from a scouting outlet, reporter, or talking head.  The Mets themselves are telling you they got a terrible return for not just their biggest trade piece, but also for the top reliever remaining on the trade market.

But don’t take it from the Mets, take it from Keith Law’s scathing review in his ESPN Insider piece on the topic:

If the New York Mets are just going to trade their most valuable major league trade assets for salary relief, rather than try to improve the club, then it’s time for MLB to step in and force the Wilpons to sell the team, just as the league did with Frank McCourt and the Dodgers.  Trading Jeurys Familia for two fringe-at-best prospects is not how any team, regardless of payroll level, should operate in this environment.  For a franchise that operates in the largest market in the league to do this — and do so ten days before the trade deadline rather than waiting for someone to offer a legitimate return — is embarrassing for the Mets and Major League Baseball as a whole.

What makes this all the more maddening is the Mets have recently been quite public about how they are now in “excellent financial health” and that this time, they would be willing to eat salary to improve their return in a trade.

The very first chance they go to do it, they proved they were lying.  Sure, they can go and spin it any way they want, but plain and simple, the Mets were lying.

Remember, reports on Friday were the Mets were on the verge of completing a trade with the Athletics, and then there was a stall.  As reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the money, not the return, was the issue.  In fact, the reports were the holdup was there was another team more willing to take on more of Familia’s salary.

NOT another team jumping in with a better prospect haul.  No, another team willing to pay more of Familia’s salary.  The end result was the small market Athletics taking on all of Familia’s salary.

You have to look long and hard for a person who like the trade it prompted former General Manager and writer for The Athletic, Jim Bowden to write, “The return they got from Oakland was so light, I had to make calls and texts around both leagues to see if I was missing anything. I couldn’t get a single unbiased team to support the return the Mets got.”

That return was Bobby Wahl, William Toffey, and $1 million in international bonus pool money.

Wahl is yet another one of the Mets newfound hard throwing right-handed relief prospects.  He’s putting up really good numbers in Triple-A (albeit with scary peripherals), and like Matt Harvey, he’s a pitcher with TOS.

Toffey, well, he’s been described anywhere from a fringe prospect to a future bench player.  Oh, and as Law noted, “I know [Toffey’s] father and J.P. Riccardi, one part of the Mets’ interm GM structure, are friends, but I don’t know if that was a factor in the deal.”

Naturally, John Ricco would come out and say it was Riccardi who ran point on the deal with the Athletics.  Of course, this happened a day later because apparently one of the three GMs the Mets have had a previously scheduled engagement.

Think about that for a second.  The trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and one of your GMs, the guy who is front and center with the media, has a previously scheduled engagement.  Seriously?

So, basically, if you take the Mets at face value, he wasn’t around when the deal went down.  But that’s fine because it was Riccardi who “ran point” on the trade because of his relationship with the Athletics.

Taking the Mets at face value, Riccardi made this deal, and yet, the former GM could not speak with the media because they needed the guy who has never been a GM and who has ducked the media in the past to be the point man with the media to speak on a deal he had no part (or very little part) in making.

And just when you didn’t think it could get any better, the Mets are hyping the international bonus pool money and what Omar Minaya can do with it.  Being fair, seeing how he signed Familia for $100,000, that’s a reason to like the deal.

So, in the end, we have the Mets coaxing the Athletics to eat more of Familia’s salary rather than get a better return, one of the GMs obtaining his friend’s son in a lackluster return, one of the selling points being how one of the GMs could use the international bonus money, and the one guy who has nothing to do with the deal or how it will be utilized being the guy who answers questions about the trade and the return.  Furthermore, the same front office is comparing the deal to a trade which has so far blown up in their faces.

Under normal circumstances, you would say this is display of complete and utter incompetence, and no organization would want to be embarrassed publicly in this fashion.

However, this is the Mets team run by the Wilpons.  As a result, this is just business as usual for what has become a complete and utter mess of an organization.

Ultimately, if you want a succinct analysis of the Mets trading Familia, it’s shame on the Mets and the Wilpons for continuing to operate their team in this fashion.

 

 

Thank You Jeurys Familia

When looking at the 2015 Mets, none of it was possible, none of it, without Jeurys Familia.

After an impressive rookie campaign, Familia was pressed into closer duty because Jenrry Mejia got hurt in his first appearance of the season (he’d get suspended later). Familia was great in the role at a time the Mets desperately needed it.

With injuries to players like David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Michael Cuddyer injured or on the DL, the Mets offense was horrendous. Complicating matters was the lack of a bridge to Familia.

This led to Familia going to the whip more than any other closer. He pitched more innings and finished more games more than any other closer. It proved to be good practice for the postseason.

In that epic five game series, Familia cane up huge.

He went 1.1 innings to preserve the Jacob deGrom Game One gem. He would join deGrom and Daniel Murphy as a Game 5 hero by sending the Mets to the NLCS with a six out save.

He once again helped the Mets set the tone in Game One of the NLCS. He took over for Matt Harvey in the eighth, and he would pitch the final 1.1 innings to earn the save.

Familia would not just save three of the four games of the Mets sweep of the Cubs, he would save five of the Mets seven postseason victories leading up to the World Series.

In doing so, Familia had a 0.00 ERA, 0.414 WHIP, and batters were hitting just .065/.121/.065 against him.

Like the regular season, the Mets handed him zero margin of error, and he was dominant carrying the Mets to the precipice of the promised land.

Unfortunately, Alex Gordon guessed right, Daniel Murphy had one go under his glove, and Lucas Duda threw one away.

Coupled with Conor Gillaspie in next year’s National League Wild Card Game, a narrative was born. It was a narrative not befitting a closer with a 2.30 ERA with a and a 0.638 WHIP.

Lost in all of that is just how dominant Familia was as a Met.

In 2015-2016, no closer pitched more than Familia. He was the leader in appearances, innings, games finished, and saves. Stretching back to 2014, there was only one other reliever with more innings pitched than him.

Looking at it, it’s flat out bizarre Familia’s name never really was mentioned as among the elite closers in the game. Fact is, Familia not only belonged in that group, but considering his workload and ability to navigate through that margin of error, you could make an argument he was the best closer in the game.

In his time with the Mets, he set the single season saves record. Despite closing for fewer seasons than anyone else in the top 5, Familia is third all-time in Mets history in saves.

Even with Familia being unfairly blamed for the Mets coming up short in 2015 and 2016, the Mets come nowhere near either postseason without Familia. Certainly, 2015, seemingly the one nice thing Mets fans seemed to have since Citi Field opened, isn’t even a figment in anyone’s imagination without Familia.

Over the past couple of years, we saw cracks in Familia from workload and hone issues. His absence was felt in a bullpen that has largely been a disaster in his absence.

Looking back at it, Familia was a great Met who helped deliver some of the best moments in Mets history in nearly three decades. His dominance in the back end of the pen will be missed.

Overall, thank you to Familia for the run and best of luck to you in Oakland.

Mets Do Just Enough To Lose

Heading into this year’s Yankee Stadium portion of the Subway Series, the Mets had a decided advantage in starting pitching. Yesterday, that led to a win with Noah Syndergaard on the mound.

Through the first three and a half innings, it seemed like it would be the case again with Steven Matz out-pitching Sonny Gray.

Up until that point, the Mets had a 1-0 lead due to a Michael Conforto second inning homer. That lead completely evaporated in the bottom of the fourth.

It started innocuously enough with a Giancarlo Stanton leadoff single. Then with one out in the inning, Matt den Dekker would make a number of defensive miscues starting with the Didi Gregorious RBI “triple.”

Throughout that fourth, Matz would make his pitches, but his team, specifically den Dekker, wasn’t making a play behind him. All told, it was a four run inning for the Yankees.

In the sixth, Conforto would get things started with a one out walk, and Jose Bautista followed with a walk of his own. This led to Aaron Boone lifting Gray and bringing in David Robertson.

With two outs in the inning, Amed Rosario hit an RBI single that not only brought Conforto home, but it allowed Bautista to go to third. It mattered because Robertson threw away a pickoff attempt allowing Bautista to score. The rally would end there as den Dekker struck out.

The Mets would quickly see the 4-3 deficit grow and grow.

In the bottom of the inning, Miguel Andujar doubled, and Greg Bird singled him home.

It’s hard to say Matz pitched well considering he surrendered five runs, all earned, but he did. The defense was that poor.

In consecutive innings, Tim Peterson and Anthony Swarzak would surrender a run to give the Yankees a 7-3 lead.

In the ninth, it seemed like Aroldis Chapman was in to pitch his inning and let everyone get home before the rain came later tonight. The issue with Chapman was he couldn’t get an out.

After loading the bases, he walked Jose Reyes and then plunked Brandon Nimmo. Suddenly, the Mets were down 7-5 with bases loaded and no outs.

Now, it should be noted Asdrubal Cabrera should have been due up. The problem was he was ejected in the fifth after getting tossed arguing balls and strikes. When that happened, he joined hitting coach Pat Roessler who was tossed in the third for the same issue.

Cabrera was replaced in the lineup by Devin Mesoraco (as a DH). He’d face Chasen Shreve who came on for Chapman, get the most important at-bat of the game, and he’d hit into a rally killing 4-6-3 double play.

Ty Kelly would score on the play to make it 7-6. Wilmer Flores then tapped out to Shreve to end the game.

With that, the Mets did just enough to lose. Just enough.

Game Notes: Jeurys Familia was finally traded to the Athletics. Yoenis Cespedes was unavailable as he was too sore to play. As it turns out, he also needs surgery to remove calcifications in both heels. The recovery time is approximately 10 months.

A Mets Problem

I had a previously scheduled event at the precise time as first pitch yesterday. With the Mets 16 games under .500, that should not have been an issue. And yet, I couldn’t help but follow the game on my phone.

I was pumped when I saw the 7-0 led propelled by a Michael Conforto three run homer:

I got annoyed when I noticed Jose Reyes delivered a key hit fully knowing it would mean six more weeks without Jeff McNeil.

I was once again excited about how far Zack Wheeler has come, even with him allowing a homer to Matt Adams.

I then lamented how Wheeler may soon join Matt Harvey as an ex-Met as this dream rotation is dismantled before it really ever got off the ground.

The Mets bullpen, especially Anthony Swarzak for one-third of an inning, and Jeurys Familia held on. As for Familia, he’s great again in time to leave.

In the end, really, I write about the Mets because I love this team no matter how bad they are and no matter how awful ownership is.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Who Should The Mets Make Untouchable?

Well, the Mets are terrible, and we are at the point where the Mets are sellers at the trade deadline.  Given the composition of their roster, there isn’t much in terms of trade assets unless you start giving away some pretty major pieces.  Given the rise of the Braves and Phillies and this awful Mets season, it’s worth asking whether the Mets should burn it all to the ground and start over.

Then again, with Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper being free agents and the Mets starting pitching staff, there is a legitimate question whether the Mets truly need to tear it all down in a rebuild.  With that as the pre-text, our Mets Bloggers offered their opinion as to whether any of the Mets players should be absolutely untouchable at the trade deadline:

Michael Baron (nym.news)

I don’t think there’s anyone who is untouchable in this scenario. By doing so with sincerity severely handicaps one’s position in the trade market. I think that can be used to posture in an effort to drum up the cost, but in the end, the Mets cannot discount any one single trade scenario they are confronted with. But I also believe if they intend on contending next season, there’s no way they can trade any one starting pitcher. To get this value in free agency would cost 2-4x (if not more) that which they are paying now. That’s not to say Jacob deGrom will repeat his performance, or any one of them will be healthy, but its safe to say that about any starting pitcher. That plus the cost to get equivalent value in years they want to contend would make it foolish to trade from their only strength at this point in time.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies)

David Wright

Michael Ganci (Daily Stache)

My one untouchable is Jason Vargas, because no other team would dare touch him. Just kidding, I’d keep Brandon Nimmo and have him cloned eight times. That solves all of our problems.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Only pending free agents should be dealt.  I don’t trust this front office in the slightest, and while I like Omar immensely, he let Eddie Rosario walk and gave the reins to Tony Bernazard . . .

Joe Marcic (Loud Egg)

No player should be untouchable if there is a team out there willing to give a lot of value in return.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

I’m sorry, but I have to flake out and say it’s deGrom AND Noah Syndergaard. I know you said one, but these are two guys that should be built around. And if the Mets spent more money on the fringes of the roster, and on scouting and development, you could rebuild rather quickly. Also, sign players for their baseball ability, not for their clubhouse presence.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Everybody is listenable. That’s the key. The Mets should listen to everybody who asks about anybody — and start conversations as they deem fit. They can decide on who shouldn’t be touched from there.

But, honestly, all things being equal, I don’t want anybody laying a finger on deGrom.

Mets Daddy

Unless you are a player on an expiring deal, you should be untouchable because this team does not have a front office in place for next season.  Seriously, should we trust John Ricco to trade Wilmer Flores or Zack Wheeler let alone deGrom or Syndergaard?

Say good-bye to Jerry Blevins, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jeurys Familia.  Maybe Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco if anyone will actually give you something in return.  After that, unless you are firing Vargas and Jose Reyes into the sun, there’s no other realistic moves to be made . . . at least not by this front office.

As you can see in what has been a depressing season, there is still people putting out quality content about this team.  While the Mets really don’t have much to offer at the trade deadline, these writers do.  You should take the time to visit their sites.

 

Bautista Walks It Off

With the Mets starting Jacob deGrom tonight, the hope was deGrom could go deep enough into the game to minimize the damage the bullpen could do.

Well, deGrom did his part pitching eight brilliant innings striking out eight Rays.

The only mark against him was a Willie Adames fifth inning homer. It hurts when it’s a guy like Adames hits a homer. It hurts all the more when the Mets can’t give deGrom run support.

The only run deGrom got in support was in the third.

After deGrom made the first out of the inning, Brandon Nimmo reached on a throwing error by the aforementioned Adames. After a Jose Bautista walk, Nimmo would come around to score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.

The Mets had a chance to take the lead in the sixth, but Glenn Sherlock would have another one of his awful sends.

Todd Frazier hit a one out double to center, and for some reason, Sherlock sent Wilmer Flores, who was trying to score from first. As it usually happens when Sherlock sends Flores, Flores was out at the plate.

This all looked like it was going to haunt the Mets as the Rays loaded the bases against Jeurys Familia with one out.

Mallex Smith grounded to first. On the good side, Flores aggressively charged the ball. On the bad side, he lollipopped the throw home. The leaping Devin Mesoraco didn’t come down on the plate for the first out. Instead, he lunged to tag out Hunter Wood, who had entered the inning earlier as a pinch runner, by a hair.

Familia struck out Adames to escape the jam and keep the game at 1-1.

In the ninth, Frazier walked, and after he couldn’t get a bunt down, Mesoraco singled to put runners at first and second with no outs.

Next, the maligned Amed Rosario laid down a great bunt to move up the runners. Of course, the decision to give away an out almost backfired immediately when Dominic Smith grounded out to the pitcher Chaz Roe, which kept Frazier at third.

At that point, the Rays had the option to face either Nimmo or Bautista to get out of the inning. They chose wrong:

After 336 homers over a 15 year career, this would be the first walk off homer of his career.

About the only thing disappointing on the night is Jake didn’t get the win. That, and we weren’t treated to one of Bautista’s epic bat flips.

Game Notes: Suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia will have a chance to resume his suspension end and renew his baseball career in 2019.

Mets Have Big Fifth Inning And Don’t Blow Lead

A day after the Mets bullpen blew another big lead, you had to imagine this game was going to be a disaster.  The Mets were starting Corey Oswalt, who was not exactly great in his first career start, and if he could not go deep into the game, it meant more of the Mets bullpen.

The good news is Oswalt held his own.  Over four innings, he would allow two earned on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts.  The first run was a big blast from Kendrys Morales in the second.  When Morales came back up in the fourth, it looked like he got another one.

It turned out to be a double that hit a leaping Michael Conforto in the glove.  It was one of those can’t be an error because it required a leap, but you would think a player as good as he is should catch that.  In any event, Morales was on second with a double, and he would come around to score on a Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. RBI single.  Realistically speaking, the Mets should have had a play at the plate, but Brandon Nimmo, who is struggling in every aspect of his game since getting plunked on the hand on June 24th, spiked the throw home into the turf.

After 65 pitches and the Blue Jays about to go through the lineup a third time, Mickey Callaway took the ball from his young starter, and he gave the ball to Seth Lugo.

Once again, Lugo showed us why he is such a great bullpen weapon.  Lugo would pitch three innings allowing just one earned on three hits.  If it was a different batter in the sixth, it might’ve been no runs.  After Todd Frazier made a nice play, he got it to Asdrubal Cabrera who made the quick turn to first.  As it was the speedy Gurriel, Cabrera’s throw had little chance to get him.

One bright spot there was, that only cut the Mets lead to 6-3, and that was because the Mets had a huge fifth inning.

The scoring began when a Frazier two run homer gave the Mets a 3-2 lead.  The homer did not kill this rally as Kevin Plawecki hit a one out ground rule double.  After the obligatory Jose Reyes failure to get a base hit, Nimmo walked setting up consecutive RBI singles from Cabrera and Jose Bautista.

At that point John Gibbons pulled Marcus Stroman and put in Luis Santos.  Conforto greeted him with and RBI single to give the Mets a then 6-2 lead.

Believe it or not, Lugo would get the win as the Mets bullpen did it’s job.  First, Jerry Blevins gtting two of the three batters he faced out, and Robert Gsellman got the final out of the eighth.  Jeurys Familia came on to pitch a perfect ninth for his 16th save of the season.

With that, the Mets earned a somewhat surprising split, and they are coming home for a long homestand where we may get the last chance to see some of the veterans on this team.

Game Notes: The Mets are about to play 11 games in 10 days as they head into the All Star break.

Bad Mets Team Wins Poorly Played Baseball Game

On the one hand, you knew it wasn’t June anymore because the Mets beat the Marlins 5-2. On the other hand, things aren’t that different because they played a really sloppy game.

The thing is the Marlins played an arguably sloppier one. To that end, we shouldn’t be surprised these two teams set the game of baseball back a few years.

Even with the comedy of errors, three Mets errors to be precise, Steven Matz kept the Marlins at bay.

Oddly enough, the one time the Marlins scored off of him, it featured a Matz error.

Miguel Rojas hit a one out double, stole third, and he scored with two outs when Matz couldn’t field a Dan Straily bunt.

As alluded to earlier, Matz made one of three errors with Asdrubal Cabrera and Todd Frazier making the others.

Like Matz, who lowered his road ERA to 2.25 after allowing no earned in 5.1 innings, Cabrera and Frazier would contribute to the win.

Cabrera hit a third inning solo homer off Straily. In the eighth, Frazier hit an RBI double which gave the Mets a then 4-1 lead.

That would become a 5-1 lead when JT Realmuto got cute and tried to pick Frazier off third. Instead, he threw it away allowing Frazier to score.

The Mets other runs came from a Kevin Plawecki second inning RBI double and a Matz fourth inning RBI single.

The Mets held onto win because they finally got some good pitching from the pen. Of course, it helps when you use Seth Lugo, Tim Peterson, and Jeurys Familia.

One note on Lugo entering. He came in with one out in the fifth after Matz threw 109 pitches.

With Amed Rosario making the last out of the top of the sixth, and Mickey Callaway wanting some length from Lugo, he double switched Jose Reyes into the game.

That cannot happen.

Just yesterday, Reyes blatantly refused to run a ball out because he claimed to have felt something. As a result, he needed to be benched today.

He needs to be benched because: (1) he dogged it; (2) he’s hurt; or (3) both.

In any event, the Mets finally won and are out of the basement of the NL East.

Game Notes: It was revealed Dominic Smith has been dealing with a wrist injury which required an injection. Purportedly, that’s why he hasn’t been playing.

Wheeler Dominant, Bullpen Not So Much

Through the mess that has been the Mets of late, the one thing that has been consistently going well has been the starting pitching. Ok, Brandon Nimmo too, but the starting pitching has been quite good.

That is what has made this run so frustrating. The starting pitching has kept them in games and games close only for the team to invent ways to lose games.

Tonight was another outstanding start from the Mets rotation. This time it came from Zack Wheeler, who has recently been good except for that one inning or batter.

Tonight, there was no except. Wheeler was just dominant.

Through seven scoreless innings, Wheeler allowed just five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. It was about as good a performance as you have seen from him.

Better yet for him, he actually got some run support.

In the third, Amed Rosario, who was finally playing again after Jose Reyes got the playing time he demanded, started a rally by getting hit by an Ivan Nova pitch.

After being sacrificed to second by Wheeler, it seemed like he’d be stranded there. However, Jose Bautista would deliver a two out opposite field RBI double, and then he’d score on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI single.

The Mets 2-0 lead would expand to 3-0 on a Wilmer Flores solo homer in the sixth.

The question with this bullpen was whether a 3-0 lead would be enough. Initially, the answer seemed to be no.

Robert Gsellman came in and he was hit hard with the only out he recorded was a sacrifice fly from Austin Meadows. When Josh Bell followed the sacrifice fly with a hard hit single, Mickey Callaway didn’t mess around.

Callaway pulled a struggling reliever for a hot one in Tim Peterson. Callaway’s faith in him was vindicated as Peterson got the next two outs to get the Mets out of the inning preserving the 3-1 lead.

Despite pitching 1.2 innings last night, Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth for the save.

Before he got an out, the Pirates had the bases loaded with no outs and a run scored.

For some reason, through most of this, the Mets had no one up in the bullpen after an inning where Gsellman got the quick hook.

After Familia gave up a four pitch walk, Callaway went well to Anthony Swarzak, who either doesn’t need much time to warm up or came in way too soon.

Well, it was the later as on Swarzak’s first pitch, David Freese hit a two RBI single to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Again, there were no outs in the inning.

All said and done, it was Pirates 5 – Mets 3. Another game and series lost by a Mets who is funding ways to lose games.

Game Notes: Cabrera is hitting again going 3-4 with a double, RBI, and a run. Corey Oswalt was held back from his Triple-A starts so he can make a start this weekend for the injured Jason Vargas. Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto swapped defensive positions with Nimmo manning center and Conforto on left.