3 Up, 3 Down: Mets Go Younger In Series Split Against Pirates

3 UP

1. Wheeler Increasing Value

Three years to the date of his being almost being traded to the Brewers, Zack Wheeler took the mound to impress scouts and contending teams to see if they will give up what it would take to pry him away from the Mets.

Wheeler put on a show, pitching six scoreless against a Pirates team in the Wild Card race.  It was an all around dominant effort with him walking just one batter and striking out seven.

In addition to his work on the mound, he went 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI. This marked the second straight game he has hit a double.

For the first time in his career, Wheeler has won three consecutive starts. In those games, he has a 2.61 ERA, 1.016 WHIP, and a 4.25 K/BB ratio. That’s a dominating stretch from a pitcher many believe is turning the corner in his career.

Given this stretch, and his having one more year of control, the Mets are understandably seeking a King’s ransom in exchange for Wheeler.

2.  Swarzak Closing the Door

Until recently, Anthony Swarzak had been one of the biggest disappointments of the season. However, after Jeurys Familia was traded, Swarzak seems to have rediscovered that dominant stuff which led the Mets to give him a two-year deal this past offseason.

Swarzak has now made three consecutive scoreless appearances while converting both of his save opportunities. In his 3.1 scoreless innings pitched, he’s allowed just one hit with no walks and six strikeouts.

Maybe it was him just having time to heal.  Possibly, he made the adjustments. It could be he’s finally comfortable. Whatever the case, he once again looks like a dominant reliever – one who could be a major piece to the 2019 Mets bullpen.

3.  Looking Towards Next Year

One of the things Mickey Callaway said recently was the Mets were going to change their mindset, and they were going to prioritize looking at players over winning.  Recently, we have seen the Mets do this.

The team has given Amed Rosario a look at the leadoff spot. They did use Jacob Rhame, Tyler Bashlor, Drew Smith, and Tim Peterson out of the bullpen.

More importantly, the team has benched Jose Reyes in favor of Jeff McNeil, Phillip Evans, and Luis Guillorme.

From this group, we have seen some positives, and we have seen some negatives. Overall, we are seeing them get a chance to play and grow as players.  That’s not always something the Mets have been willing to do. Hopefully, the organization, and these players, will be better for it in the long term.

3 DOWN

1.  Cabrera Traded

One of the unfortunate parts of a lost season like this is seeing a player like Asdrubal Cabrera get traded away. Fortunately for the Mets, they did quite well in the deal getting Franklyn Kilome in return. In what was just an odd sight to see, he struck out against Matt Harvey in his first game with the Phillies.

With Cabrera, he was one of the rare athletes who was able to raise his game in New York.  In fact, he had a higher OPS+ and average WAR/season with the Mets than he had with any of his previous spots.

He was a gutsy player who gave the Mets everything he got. If not for his play down the stretch in 2016, the Mets miss the postseason that year. If not for that stretch, we don’t get one of the most iconic bat flips in team history.

In the end, Cabrera was a professional who was one of the thing that were right with the Mets over the past three years.  He will be missed.

2.  Vargas Is Bad

The Mets sent down Corey Oswalt after three strong starts because Jason Vargas was coming off the disabled list. Instead of going with a young right-handed pitcher in a lost season, the team is going to go with the older left-handed pitcher who has looked done since the second half of the 2017 season.

Vargas responded to the Mets faith in him by having one of his better starts in a Mets uniform. Unfortunately, that better start was his allowing three earned over 4.1 innings. To put in perspective just how bad he’s been, that outing actually lowered his ERA from 8.60 to 8.13.

With one-year left on his deal, and with how Oswalt has pitched, the Mets need to begin looking at Vargas in the bullpen because you cannot possibly justify giving him another start this season. Really, you can’t justify giving him a spot in next year’s starting rotation either.

3. All Thumbs

Just when it seemed Michael Conforto was finally back to playing at an All-Star level, he jams his thumb necessitating he sit out of the lineup yesterday.  Given how the Mets handle injuries, we can never be too sure this is just a jammed thumb.

That said, one of the bright spots in the second half of the season is seeing Conforto back to form.  Hopefully, this is just a minor blip, and he will get back to mashing the ball again soon.  If so, that would give Mets fans reason to watch the rest of the year, and yes, it does provide some legitimate hope for 2019.

About John Sheridan 665 Articles
John was raised to be a Mets fan by birth, and now he is raising a Mets fan of his own. He also uses Sabermetrics to either confirm the proverbial eye test or to see if we're seeing things with Mets colored glasses. He looks forward to bringing this perspective to MMO. His work, including the tales of raising his son a Mets fan, can also be seen at MetsDaddy.com.