MIAMI -- Regardless of what happens with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and other high-profile Mets who may or may not be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the team's reorganized front office will spend the final three months of this season looking forward, ever forward, to 2019.Barring a
MIAMI -- Regardless of what happens with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and other high-profile Mets who may or may not be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the team's reorganized front office will spend the final three months of this season looking forward, ever forward, to 2019.
Barring a late charge back into contention -- and the Mets dampened those prospects with an 8-2 loss to the Marlins on Friday, their ninth in 10 games -- the team's top priority will be building for the future.
The first step is gathering intelligence. The Mets gained a bit more knowledge Friday about their No. 14 prospect Corey Oswalt, who gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings in his first Major League start after being pressed into emergency duty in place of deGrom. They learned plenty about fellow rookie Tyler Bashlor, who picked up the bullpen with 2 2/3 frames of one-run relief. They added data points on Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith and others who remain part of New York's future.
"When they get the opportunity, we need to get to see them, get our eyes on them, kind of figure out who they are," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "They're part of our future, so we're going to continue to help develop these guys any way we can."
Replacing deGrom, whom the Mets scratched about three hours prior to game time due to a family issue, Oswalt cruised through his first two innings without issue. But the Marlins rapped out six runs on five hits against him in the third, including Lewis Brinson's solo homer and JT Riddle's three-run shot. The latter home run chased Oswalt from the game.
"I just didn't make enough good pitches today," Oswalt said, dismissing the notion that the last-minute change of plans affected him. "It doesn't change my game or anything. Today, I just didn't make enough pitches."
Pitching in relief of Oswalt, Bashlor also recorded his first six outs without issue before running into trouble in his third inning -- just the fifth time in his professional career that he pitched beyond two. Lefty specialist Jerry Blevins, another trade candidate, retired the final batter of the sixth to preserve Bashlor's final line, then tacked on three more outs in the seventh.
The Mets' only run against Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara came in the fourth inning, when Devin Mesoraco doubled home Wilmer Flores with two outs. Making his first big league start, Alcantara lasted five innings, allowing three hits and five walks.
With the loss, the Mets dropped to just a game ahead of the Marlins in the race for the National League's worst record.
"We weren't really in this game tonight, but we've been in most games," Callaway said. "That was a tough loss tonight. They need to get back on the horse, bring energy tomorrow, and go out there and play the game the way they're capable of."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Mets' best chance to make things interesting fell short in the eighth inning, after they loaded the bases with no outs. With Flores due up, the Marlins turned to former closer Brad Ziegler, who induced a run-scoring double play to stunt the rally. Two batters later, with runners on the corners, pinch-hitter Jose Reyes struck out to end the inning.
Entering the night, Rosario had never walked more than once in a game in his big league career. He shattered that streak with three walks in four plate appearances, showcasing some of the plate discipline the Mets tried to drill in him during a three-game hiatus from the starting lineup last week.
"It was all Rosario," Callaway said. "There were some close pitches in there. He laid off of them. He did a good job. He's trying to implement that plan our hitting coaches put in place with him. … Tonight, I really thought it paid dividends. He wasn't chasing that slider just off the plate down-and-away."
HE SAID IT
"It can be a tall order. I've seen it work both ways. I've seen it help guys out because there's not another 24 hours of anxiety when this happens. But tonight, it just didn't work out in his favor or in our favor."
-- Callaway, on Oswalt's short notice
His start pushed back a day for personal reasons, deGrom will take the mound at 4:10 p.m. ET on Saturday at Marlins Park, looking to improve upon his MLB-leading 1.69 ERA. He'll oppose a second consecutive Marlins pitcher making his first big league start: right-hander Pablo Lopez, who produced a 1.44 ERA in 12 Minor League starts in 2018.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.