Over the first 16 games of the season, the Mets bullpen is 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA, having allowed 32 earned runs on 54 hits with 18 walks and 43 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings this season.

The 5.47 bullpen ERA is the worst in baseball.

The Mets are technically 1-for-3 in save opportunities, although Bobby Parnell has had only one save opportunity in the last inning so far this season.

The Mets bullpen has been problematic - there is no question about that. There have been a few standouts, such as Scott Atchison, Bobby Parnell, Scott Rice, and Brandon Lyon. But like last year, they generally don't strikeout a lot of hitters, meaning the opposition puts a lot of balls in play as a result. They have allowed a lot of base runners, but without a lot of guys who have the ability to strike hitters out consistently, they have difficulty in stranding base runners and preventing extra bases from being taken.

Now, this is not meant to serve as a defense for the bullpen - the numbers speak for themselves, and they are bad, again. But Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner, and Aaron Laffey have combined to average a shade over 4 1/3 innings per start. That means the bullpen is being asked to work an average of 4 2/3 innings in each of their starts, three out of every five days. And, they're also working in Jon Niese's and Matt Harvey's starts, although to a far lesser degree. In those outings, the bullpen has performed much better, primarily because the game for them is shorter and they don't have to be either over-extended or overexposed.

It's hard to expect the bullpen to perform consistently when they're being asked to contribute to more than half a game three days a week. They must begin to get more length from the starting rotation to not only preserve the bullpen, but to get more consistency out of them and protect them from pitching to their weaknesses in these longer outings.

Tags: MetsBlog

 (Adam Hagy)
(Adam Hagy)

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom limited the Braves to just four hits in seven scoreless innings on Saturday night.

Tags: Jacob deGrom
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Apr 3, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey (33) tries to stay warm prior to the start of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Apr 3, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey (33) tries to stay warm prior to the start of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Matt Harvey will be moving to the bullpen, according to Mickey Callaway.

With Jason Vargas' return from the DL imminent, Callaway was faced with a decision on who to drop from the starting rotation. Harvey, after giving up six runs in six innings against the Braves on Thursday night, will be moving to the bullpen. 

"I need to get my s--t together," Harvey said...

Tags: Matt Harvey
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Apr 13, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) celebrate after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 13, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) celebrate after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Mets (14-5) take on the Braves (11-8) in Atlanta on Saturday night at 7:10 p.m.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Feb 21, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Gerson Bautista (63) poses during photo day at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 21, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Gerson Bautista (63) poses during photo day at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

The Mets have optioned RHP Gerson Bautista to Triple-A Las Vegas and recalled RHP Corey Oswalt.

Bautista, 22, has allowed two runs over 2.1 innings (7.71 ERA) with the Mets this season on three hits and four walks. With Double-A Binghamton, Bautista hasn't given up a run in five innings with 11 strikeouts. 

Oswalt, 24, hasn't made an appearance in the majors in his career. This season with Triple-A Las Vegas, Oswalt has given up three runs in nine innings (3.00 ERA) with 12 strikeouts.

Oswalt and the Mets take on the Braves on Saturday night at 7:10 p.m.

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 (Patrick Gorski)
(Patrick Gorski)

In the Mets exciting 5-3 win over the Braves in 12 innings, Robert Gsellman played the role of hero. 

Gsellman threw two scoreless innings before scoring the game-winning run in the top of the 12th, hustling home from second base on a Yoenis Cespedes single to easily beat Nick Markakis' throw home. 

After the game, feeling confident from the sprint, Gsellman anointed himself one of the fastest pitchers on the Mets. He even went out of his way to say that Noah Syndergaard "is not even close..."

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman
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Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

This season, thanks to Citi, each time the home run apple goes up at Citi Field, another step is taken in the fight against childhood hunger.

For each Mets home run hit at Citi Field this season, Citi has pledged to donate enough for No Kid Hungry to provide 20,000 meals to kids in need in NYC and throughout the U.S. Learn more about the Citi Community Home Runs program at Mets.com/Citi.  

 

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 (Dale Zanine)
(Dale Zanine)

Though he vowed not to pick up his clubs this season, Yoenis Cespedes may resort to golf to break his early-season slump. 

The Mets' left fielder, who was hitting .208 with 30 strikeouts entering Friday's contest against the Braves, had an RBI single in the top of the 12th to break a 3-3 tie....

Tags: Yoenis Cespedes, Scott Thompson
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Cadillac Post Game Extra 00:01:43
Following the New York Mets' win over the Atlanta Braves, Gary Cohen and Ron Darling discuss the clutch hitting of Yoenis Cespedes.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

Things you should know about tonight's game...

1) Noah Syndergaard took a no-decision as he allowed three earned runs, on seven hits, while striking out six and walking three over six innings. Thor's seven hits allowed is the most he has let up so far this season.

 

Tags: Asdrubal Cabrera, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Yoenis Cespedes
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 (Dale Zanine)
(Dale Zanine)

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard couldn't come away with his third win of the season, as the Braves did just enough to tie the game before his exit. 

Atlanta got on the board first as Ozzie Albies turned on a 100-mph fastball from Syndergaard, and lifted it over the right-center field wall for his sixth home run on the year. 

Syndergaard didn't allow a run in the second and third innings, and that could have been the case in the fourth as well. However, Jay Bruce misjudged a line drive to right from Ryan Flaherty, and it soared over his head for an RBI double to cut the Mets' lead to one...

Tags: Noah Syndergaard
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Mar 1, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (40) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 1, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (40) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Mets LHP Jason Vargas, who has been pitching in simulated and intrasquad games to avoid fielding due to an injury to his right (non-throwing) hand, will pitch and field in a minor league rehab game on Monday, manager Mickey Callaway said.

Vargas struck out 12 batters in six innings of an intrasquad game on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie. 

If Vargas makes just one minor league rehab start, his return to the Mets -- if it's in the starting rotation -- would be April 28 or a bit after. 

Tags: Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler
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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler winds up during the first inning of against the Washington Nationals. (AP)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler winds up during the first inning of against the Washington Nationals. (AP)

Jason Vargas's progressing recovery from hand surgery this spring had already raised the question of how the team will manage a crowded rotation, but Matt Harvey's struggles as a starter this season have further complicated matters. It seems inevitable that someone will find themselves pitching out of the bullpen by the end of the month, so who is the best fit?

Two weeks ago, the answer would assuredly have been Zack Wheeler. Since the early days of his major league career, many have seen a future reliever in him, perhaps even a closer. Despite strong tools, he's lacked the ability to go deep into games, and to put away batters consistently. He has also battled injuries throughout his career, including an exceptionally long recovery from Tommy John surgery, leading to conjecture that his arm may not be able to handle the work load of a full-time starter.

Even the Mets seemed to have their doubts about Wheeler's future in the rotation, as a shaky spring led to his starting the season in the minor leagues. But his two quality starts since his recall earlier this month have bought him some renewed confidence and certainly another shot to show he can hold up to the trials of a starting pitcher...

Tags: Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Maggie Wiggin
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Jose Reyes hitting a home run against the Reds.  (AP)
Jose Reyes hitting a home run against the Reds. (AP)

Jose Reyes is the first Mets position player since Phil Linz in 1968 to open a season hitless in the first 20 at-bats of the season.

Reyes is 0-for-20. Linz went 0-for-25 before getting his first hit. 

Is Reyes at risk of being designated for assignment? Doug Williams and Andy Martino discussed that question on the Shea Anything podcast...

Tags: Jose Reyes, Danny Abriano
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Apr 5, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) jogs up the firstbase line after hitting a grand slam off Washington Nationals relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler (not pictured) during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. New York Mets defeated Washington Nationals 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)
Apr 5, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) jogs up the firstbase line after hitting a grand slam off Washington Nationals relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler (not pictured) during the seventh inning at Nationals Park. New York Mets defeated Washington Nationals 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports (Tommy Gilligan)

Mets outfielder Jay Bruce is clearly struggling to deal with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and it's going to need to be addressed sooner than later...

Bruce told reporters that he has dealt with plantar fasciitis on and off during his career.

"It's never really been unbearable where I felt like I had to say something," he explained. "However, April 16, he continued, "It definitely was talking to me a little more than I thought it should be. I'm not really one who likes to take days off, but it's the necessary evil sometimes."

He may have requested his first day off in mid-April, but he missed time for this exact issue in St. Lucie. So, my guess is that they beat it back enough to get him on field for the start of the season, but (unlike he experienced in previous seasons, when he was younger) the issue likely flared up again when being forced to play every day in April.

Tags: Jay Bruce, Matthew Cerrone
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What will Mets do with Harvey? 00:03:48
The Daily News Live panel discusses what the Mets should do with a struggling Matt Harvey, and if a move to the bullpen will come soon.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Matt Harvey has few allies left in the Mets' organization or fan base. He has long since been a divisive figure among teammates, and his new pitching coach seems to have little use for his postgame explanations.

"The game starts in the first inning, not the fourth," Dave Eiland told reporters in Atlanta Thursday night, after Harvey noted that he was at least able save the bullpen after getting bombed early by the Braves. That general sense of exhaustion and skepticism leaves Harvey with little leverage as the Mets consider whether to let him make his next start, as they are currently doing. A front office's job is to zoom out, remove emotion, and make decisions that work for an entire roster...

Tags: Matt Harvey, Andy Martino
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New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of baseball game, at Nationals Park, Sunday, April 8, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)  (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of baseball game, at Nationals Park, Sunday, April 8, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

We've seen this movie with other pitchers. It begins with potential and helping the team win, but slowly morphs in to a story about one guy, who had success, but is now struggling and only ever speaking about his mechanics, his arm, his velocity, and his health, while limited to only silver linings.

I think of Mike Pelfrey and John Maine, even Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana, all of whom went through a similar cycle, during which each pitcher -- despite previous success -- always ended up spiraling down in to a post-game conversation centered around their personal situation.

The Mets do not need Harvey to be only a pitcher that eats innings and helps save the bullpen from having to pitch starting in the third inning. They are not solely in the business of Matt's personal goals. At 13-5, the Mets are too talented and have too much upside to become the New York Harveys every fifth day...

Tags: Matt Harvey, Matthew Cerrone
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New York Mets' Matt Harvey (33) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Mets' Matt Harvey (33) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday, April 3, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Former Mets pitcher and SNY analyst Nelson Figueroa is not buying that Matt Harvey had a "breakthrough" while allowing six runs in six innings against the Braves on Thursday night in Atlanta. And with Harvey's rotation spot in jeopardy, Figueroa is not on board with his refusal to discuss any other role but starting pitcher.

"Almost to a fault, they let him be a starting pitcher, even when he was struggling terribly last year," Figueroa said Thursday night on SNY. "Even when he didn't have his best stuff." Regarding the excuses, Figueroa was blunt:

"And we keep hearing, 'I don't have my best stuff, I don't have a feel. I don't have my mechanics.' There's so many little excuses and it's at that point where it's kind of running ragged. I can't really listen to the interviews anymore. And finding positives out of very small, minute things. If I heard that out of Chris Flexen, that my last two innings were pretty good and that's a huge step? Yes, welcome to the big leagues, kid. This is not where Matt Harvey should be thinking and focusing." ......Watch Figueroa's full comments below......

Tags: Matt Harvey
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Callaway on Harvey's future 00:01:05
Mickey Callaway and Matt Harvey spoke after the loss to Atlanta. Callaway said he won't commit to Harvey starting in the foreseeable future.

With Jason Vargas' return from the DL looming, Mickey Callaway won't commit to another Matt Harvey start after his disappointing performance against the Braves on Thursday night. As for Harvey in his postgame interviews, he asserted that he is a starting pitcher.

Over six innings in Atlanta, Harvey allowed six runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and a walk. All six runs came within the first three innings as the Mets stared down a 6-0 deficit early on.

Callaway refused to commit to Harvey's next start at his postgame news conference...

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Cadillac Post Game Extra 00:02:01
Gary Cohen and Ron Darling examine the recent struggles of Mets' right-handed pitcher, Matt Harvey.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

Things you should know about tonight's game...

1) Matt Harvey endured a third consecutive rough outing, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out four in six innings. It marked the first time he has recorded an out in the sixth since last May 28. Harvey (0-2) surrendered three runs in the first and three more in the third. He has one win in his last 12 starts dating back to June 2, 2018.

 

Tags: Matt Harvey
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Apr 19, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)
Apr 19, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)

With Jason Vargas set to return from the DL soon, Matt Harvey's time in the rotation might be numbered. He did candidacy to keep his place no favors in his start against the Braves on Thursday night. 

Harvey lasted six innings, giving up six runs on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts. All of the damage came in the first three innings.

The 29-year-old got off to an inauspicious start as Ender Inciarte and Ozzie Albies kicked off the game with a pair of singles before Freddie Freeman put the Braves on the board with a sacrifice fly. Harvey was able to get the second out of the inning but hung a changeup to Kurt Suzuki who took full advantage with a two-out two-run home run...

Tags: Matt Harvey
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Doug Williams and Andy Martino definitely give a hoot about Keith's tweets as they sit down for another Shea Anything podcast. The guys discuss the bullpen implosion against the Nats and the possibility of an Amed Rosario for J.T. Realmuto trade. Later, Andy pitches Doug on an idea for Baseball Night in New York, and talks about his post on MetsBlog about Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler's tenuous spots in the starting rotation.

Click below to listen...

Tags: Amed Rosario
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Sep 19, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) rounds the bases after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Sep 19, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) rounds the bases after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets are 'kicking the tires' on trading for a catcher but aren't having much luck, according to Mike Puma of NY Post.

With Travis d'Arnaud (partially torn UCL) likely out for the season and Kevin Plawecki (fractured hand) out for a few weeks, the Mets have gone from what they hoped would be an effective platoon behind the plate to a crisis. Currently, the Mets have Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton as their catching options. 

According to Matt Ehalt of The Record, the team has made some calls but they are not willing to overpay. A popular name fans hope the Mets will turn to is Marlins C JT Realmuto, but Ehalt also notes that there is 'some hesitation as to whether Realmuto is actually available.'

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Travis d'Arnaud
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Apr 13, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) celebrate at the end of the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 13, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) and left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) celebrate at the end of the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Mets (13-4) open a four-game series with the Braves (10-7) in Atlanta on Thursday night on SNY at 7:35.

Tags: Steven Matz, Danny Abriano
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New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of baseball game, at Nationals Park, Sunday, April 8, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)  (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of baseball game, at Nationals Park, Sunday, April 8, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

As Matt Harvey prepares to take the mound Thursday night in Atlanta, he is a very different pitcher than he was just a few years ago -- one who finds himself fighting for a rotation spot. What has changed in how Harvey pitches and what can he do -- if anything -- to succeed in this new incarnation?

Thoracic outlet syndrome, a career-ender for many, first and foremost has drained Harvey's once-formidable velocity. His average fastball came in at or near 97 mph in 2013 and 2015 and is below 93 in his three starts thus far in 2018. The cold weather may be a factor, though, and it's not much of a stretch to see him reaching the 94 he averaged in 2017. His other pitches have slowed as well -- slider, changeup, and curveball have all dropped two or more miles per hour since 2015.

Many pitchers survive and even thrive with a velocity along the lines of what Harvey is currently throwing, but his performance is still a long ways off from his days as an ace. He's struggling to fool batters, with swing rates well below his peak and contact rates well above. His swinging strike rate has dropped almost 3 percent from his 2015 mark, though it is up slightly from last year...

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Sep 19, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) rounds the bases after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Sep 19, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) rounds the bases after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

The Mets have been in touch with the Marlins regarding a trade for catcher J.T. Realmuto, and are expected to circle back with the Marlins at some point this season. The Mets recently lost Travis d'Arnaud (partially torn UCL) and Kevin Plawecki (hairline fracture in his left hand) to injury, though Plawecki is expected to miss only two-to-three weeks. In their stead, the Mets are going with Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido, though GM Sandy Alderson said last week that the Mets are only comfortable at catcher for the "very short-term." 

With that in mind, Doug Williams and SNY MLB Insider Andy Martino discussed the potential acquisition of Realmuto on this week's Shea Anyhing podcast, with Martino saying he thinks "that conversation starts with Amed Rosario."

Click below to watch...

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Apr 18, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) celebrates his two run single against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 18, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) celebrates his two run single against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets lost to the Nationals in brutal fashion on Monday night, and their bats went mostly silent during Tuesday night's loss. A loss on Wednesday night would have meant a three-game sweep, and the continuation of the sky-is-falling-the-Mets-aren't-for-real narrative that was being pushed by some during the prior 48 hours.

Instead, the Mets erupted for nine runs in the eighth inning -- turning a two-run deficit in to a seven-run lead. It was punctuated by a grand slam off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes, who paused for effect before rounding the bases.

Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | TwitterFor all who said that Monday night's game was a defining one, Wednesday night's was as well. In fact, it arguably may be even more defining. Why? Because it's a game that the Mets likely would have lost last year. It's a game they most definitely would not have come back from, would have just given up on -- and they would have been swept by the Nationals.

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Apr 18, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a grand slam against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 18, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a grand slam against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets were on the verge of getting swept by the Nationals. And then an eighth-inning explosion happened.

After the Mets turned a 4-2 deficit in to a 7-4 lead, Yoenis Cespedes put the cherry on the top with a grand slam.

Click below for a look of Thursday's back pages in NYC...

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Mets on comeback win over Nats 00:06:26
Mets manager Mickey Callaway and players discuss Matz's start and the resiliency the club put on display in its nine-run eighth inning.

The Mets didn't want to get reverse swept by the Nationals on their home field. A nine-run eighth inning is definitely a way to avoid that. 

Down 4-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth, Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes got things started with back-to-back singles. After an Asdrubal Cabrera single to load the bases, it was Todd Frazier that tied the game with an RBI single smashed back up the middle off Nats reliever Ryan Madson

Now tied 4-4, Juan Lagares had the bases loaded himself with two outs. With a two-strike count, he roped a double down the right field line to score two, giving the Mets their first lead of the game...

Tags: Todd Frazier, Juan Lagares, Yoenis Cespedes, Scott Thompson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Mets LHP Steven Matz was rolling after a shaky first inning, but when manager Mickey Callaway decided to pull the plug on his night, he wasn't happy. 

Matz, who was looking to build on his win over the Brewers last time out, didn't get off to a hot start Wednesday night. He gave up a three-run jack to Ryan Zimmerman in the first inning to give the Nats a quick 3-0 lead. The long ball has hurt him in his first three starts, as Zimmerman's blast was his fifth homer allowed over four starts. 

The young lefty didn't let the first inning get to him, though. After striking out Michael Taylor in the first before picking off Moises Sierra to end the inning, Matz set down 10 straight Nationals as he cruised through the second, third, and fourth innings. 

Tags: Steven Matz
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Cadillac Post Game Extra 00:02:35
Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' 11-5 comeback win over the Nationals.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

Things you should know about tonight's game...

1) The Mets scored nine runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 11-4 lead, capped by Yoenis Cespedes' grand slam. Todd Frazier tied the score with a two-run single and Juan Lagares gave New York its first lead of the game with a pinch-hit, two-run double after Wilmer Flores had struck out for the second out with the bases loaded.

 

Tags: Steven Matz, Yoenis Cespedes
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Eiland on the Mets' pitching 00:04:51
SNY insider Steve Gelbs sits down with Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland to discuss the success of the pitching staff thus far.

Apr 3, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) is congratulated in the dugout after scoring in the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Apr 3, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) is congratulated in the dugout after scoring in the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

The Mets (12-4) will try to avoid a three-game sweep when they wrap up their series against the Nationals (9-9) at Citi Field on Wednesday night at 7:10 on SNY. 

Tags: Steven Matz, Danny Abriano
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New York Mets pitcher Anthony Swarzak throws during the third inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)  (Jeff Roberson/AP)
New York Mets pitcher Anthony Swarzak throws during the third inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Mets RHP Anthony Swarzak has shut down his throwing program due to lingering discomfort, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

Swarzak threw a baseball on Sunday for the first time since suffering a left oblique strain and threw again on Monday, according to manager Mickey Callaway.

Swarzak, who has been out since April 1, was supposed to head to Port St. Lucie after Wednesday's game to continue his rehab, but will instead remain in New York to receive treatment. 

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Gelbs on Jose Reyes' issues 00:02:43
SNY insider Steve Gelbs discusses the ongoing issues that Jose Reyes has been having since the start of this 2018 season.

In spring training, I heard multiple Mets people say Jose Reyes was re-signed mostly to be a mentor to Amed Rosario, while also acting as a hedge against any infield injuries.

So far, there has been no such injury. Rosario looks totally comfortable in the big leagues and is seen spending most of his time before games with Yoenis Cespedes -- not Reyes.

Meanwhile, Reyes, who signed a one-year, $2 million this past winter, entered Wednesday's game hitless in 17 at-bats...

Tags: Jose Reyes, Matthew Cerrone
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Evaluating the Mets' rotation 00:06:43
The BNNY panel discusses Zack Wheeler's quality start on Tuesday despite losing to the Nationals and how that affects the Mets' rotation.

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Zack Wheeler, until very recently the forgotten man in the Mets' pitching plans, delivered his second consecutive quality start on Tuesday night, and moved closer to forcing the team to make a tough decision about whether to keep him in the rotation over Matt Harvey.

Wheeler allowed three runs in six innings in the Mets' 5-2 loss to Washington. In both that game and his season debut last week in Miami, the onetime phenom showed consistency with a new, more compact delivery. Manager Mickey Callaway indicated before Tuesday's game that Wheeler's transition to the new mechanics was complete. An evaluator at Citi Field Tuesday said that Wheeler again repeated the delivery perfectly, though he lacked command of his slider and allowed himself to get beat with his third and fourth-best pitch -- the curveball and changeup...

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First Data's Veteran of the Game 00:00:56
First Data and the Mets are proud to salute Tuesday's veteran of the game, United States Navy PO Dan Gastaldi.

First Data and the Mets are proud to salute Tuesday's veteran of the game, United States Navy PO Dan Gastaldi.

Click here to see all of the veterans the Mets honor throughout the season.

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FLUSHING, NY: Keith Hernandez #17 of the New York Mets watches the flight of the ball as he heads to first base during a game at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. Hernandez played for the Mets from 1983-1989. (Photo by MLB Photos via Getty Images) (MLB Photos/Getty Images)
FLUSHING, NY: Keith Hernandez #17 of the New York Mets watches the flight of the ball as he heads to first base during a game at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. Hernandez played for the Mets from 1983-1989. (Photo by MLB Photos via Getty Images) (MLB Photos/Getty Images)

He's SNY broadcaster Keith Hernandez. And he's back in his 1986 Mets uniform.

Keith and Mets manager Mickey Callaway are filming a commercial for New York Lottery on Wednesday at Citi Field, and Keith has been taking us through the process -- in the most Keith way possible.

Click below to see

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Apr 13, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Jose Lobaton (59) reacts as Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar (24) goes to the dugout after a home run by Milwaukee left fielder Hernan Perez (14) in the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 13, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Jose Lobaton (59) reacts as Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar (24) goes to the dugout after a home run by Milwaukee left fielder Hernan Perez (14) in the fourth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Pitchers are being more aggressive with Mets hitters, who are not adjusting. What's worse, when the Mets put balls in play, they're unluckily hitting them right in to the other team's gloves.

Similarly, opposing base runners are being aggressive and forcing the Mets to be a better fielding team than they were even during the recent winning streak. It's a bad combination. It'll work itself out as long as the veterans and coaching staff get to work and adjust to the adjustments. I'm not worried. This is why it's nice to have a cushion...

In terms of the other team being aggressive on the bases, I think part of this is because of the inexperienced rotation of catchers behind the plate. However, this is something that has been going on for years with this team, be it because pitchers have been slow to the plate or because Travis d'Arnaud was struggling with his release...

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New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler winds up during the first inning of against the Washington Nationals. (AP)
New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler winds up during the first inning of against the Washington Nationals. (AP)

Mets RHP Zack Wheeler is open to a move to the bullpen if that's what it takes for him to stay on the big league roster.

"I am not being selfish, I am just trying to prove my case," Wheeler said after Tuesday night's start. "I want to be here and be on this team. Whether it is helping in the bullpen or starting. I want to be here."

Wheeler, who began the season with Triple-A Las Vegas after struggling in Spring Training, has been filling in for Jason Vargas, who may return as early as April 27.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Feb 26, 2018; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jose Reyes (7) walks back to the dugout in the spring training game against the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 26, 2018; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Jose Reyes (7) walks back to the dugout in the spring training game against the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

With the Mets trailing by the score of 3-2 in the sixth inning on Tuesday night and runners on first and third with one out, Mickey Callaway turned to Jose Reyes to pinch-hit.

Reyes looked badly overmatched against Nationals reliever LHP Sammy Solis -- who replaced LHP Gio Gonzalez after Reyes was announced -- and was fooled on the 2-2 fastball as he was looking for something off-speed. The result was Reyes taking a feeble, halting swing as he struck out. Along with Reyes, Callaway had Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Adrian Gonzalez, and Jose Lobaton on his bench and at his disposal in that spot. 

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Callaway has done a terrific job so far, but going to Reyes on Tuesday night when he had Conforto and Nimmo available was a poor choice -- regardless of Conforto and Nimmo both being left-handed hitters. In that spot, at the very least, you want someone who can hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Juan Lagares from third base. Conforto has been having terrific at-bats all season, and entered Tuesday night having reached base safely in every game he had played in. Nimmo entered the night having reached base at a .481 clip...

Tags: Jose Reyes, Danny Abriano
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Cadillac Post Game Extra 00:02:20
Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez break down the Mets' 5-2 loss to the Nationals.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

For a full box score of the game, click here.

Things you should know about tonight's game...

1) Zack Wheeler allowed three runs over six innings, but received no help from his offense. The right-hander walked the bases loaded in the first but escaped with the help of a double play. He allowed a single run in the third and two more in the fourth on several soft hits from the Nationals. Wheeler (1-1) scattered seven hits, walked three and struck out two.

 

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Apr 17, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports  (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 17, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Mets RHP Zack Wheeler allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings against the Nationals on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Feb 14, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets hat and glove on the grass during a workout at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Mets rookie reliever Gerson Bautista has an electric fastball and a wicked glare in his eye that is impossible to miss, so much so that even Mets manager Mickey Callaway commented on both late in Spring Training.

Bautista was promoted Tuesday from Double-A to the Mets as Hansel Robles was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He will wear No. 46 and is available for Tuesday night's game against the Nationals at Citi Field.

Bautista, 22, will consistently hit 100 mph with his fastball, which he can spot on command. In St. Lucie, an MLB scout told me that -- if Bautista can tighten up and increase the velocity on his slider -- he has the ability to be an elite relief pitcher...

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Feb 21, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Gerson Bautista (63) poses during photo day at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 21, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Gerson Bautista (63) poses during photo day at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Mets RH reliever Gerson Bautista, who was called up from Double-A Binghamton, told reporters at Citi Field on Tuesday that his promotion is a "dream come true."

Bautista said he received a phone call at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning informing him that he was called up. He admitted it came earlier than expected.

To make room for Bautista, the Mets optioned RH reliever Hansel Robles to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Tags: Hansel Robles
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Daily News Live: Mets bullpen 00:04:03
Daily News Live baseball insider John Harper joins the show to discuss the Mets bullpen blowing a lead against the Nationals on Monday.

Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 5, 2017; New York City, NY, USA; General view as the sun sets over Citi Field during the second inning between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Mets (12-3) continue their three-game series against the Nationals (8-9) at Citi Field on Tuesday night at 7:10 on SNY. 

Mets notes...

The Mets' 12-3 start after 15 games is tied with the 1986 and 2015 squads for best in franchise history. ... The Mets have won their first five series of the season for the first time in franchise history. The 2006 team won the first four series of the season. ... The Mets are 8-1 against the NL East this season. ... The Mets' 335 OBP is the seventh-best mark in the majors...

Tags: Zack Wheeler, Danny Abriano
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New York Mets infielder Dominic Smith tosses a ball during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)  (Jeff Roberson/AP)
New York Mets infielder Dominic Smith tosses a ball during spring training baseball practice Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (Jeff Roberson/AP)

Mets 1B Dominic Smith is hitting .297/.395/.595 with two HR and five doubles in 10 games (37 at-bats) this season for Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League.

Smith, who began the season on the 10-day DL due to a strained right quad that kept him out for the majority of Spring Training, hit .330/.386/.519 with 16 HR in 114 games last season for Las Vegas before making his big league debut.

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter | Offensive stats in the PCL need to be taken with a grain of salt. At the same time, if you're getting on base at a nearly-.400 clip while slugging close to .600, that's going to play in the majors -- even with expected regression.

Tags: Dominic Smith
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Mar 1, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (40) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Mar 1, 2018; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas (40) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Mets LHP Jason Vargas struck out 12 batters in six innings of an intrasquad game on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie. 

Vargas, who has been pitching in simulated and intrasquad games to avoid fielding due to an injury to his right (non-throwing) hand, will pitch and field in a minor league rehab game on Sunday, manager Mickey Callaway said.

If Vargas makes just one minor league rehab start, his return to the Mets -- if it's in the starting rotation -- would be April 27 or a bit after. 

Tags: Zack Wheeler
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New York Mets' Jay Bruce follows the flight of his solo home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chris Rusin in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, Denver. The Rockies won 5-4. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)
New York Mets' Jay Bruce follows the flight of his solo home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chris Rusin in the eighth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, Denver. The Rockies won 5-4. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski/AP)

Mets OF Jay Bruce is in Tuesday night's starting lineup after not starting on Monday night due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Bruce eventually pinch-hit in the eighth inning of the Mets' 8-6 loss to the Nationals. 

"This is something that I dealt with a little bit in Spring Training, and I want to do everything I can to really nip it in the bud and knock it out," Bruce said before Monday's game. "Not have it be a lingering issue."

Bruce dealt with plantar fasciitis early on in Spring Training, and said it's been bothering him the last few days. 

Tags: Jay Bruce
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