Terry Collins: Mets need to 'shore up' lefty relief


PHILADELPHIA -- If the surging New York Mets have one major vulnerability, it is in the bullpen leading into Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia. And it is particularly related to left-handed relief.

With Jerry Blevins having refractured his left forearm in a fall and not a serious candidate to return this season, the Amazin's have become dependent upon recently acquired Eric O'Flaherty to retire lefty batters. So far that has not worked. After getting charged with three runs in the eighth inning of the Mets' 9-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, lefty batters are now hitting .474 (9-for-19) against O'Flaherty as a Met.

Manager Terry Collins offered an alibi for O'Flaherty with his latest flop, which lifted the southpaw's ERA to 15.88 as a Met. Collins noted O'Flaherty was working for the third straight day. Still, Collins was puzzled why O'Flaherty did not throw his best pitch -- a slider -- more regularly to the lefty batters he faced.

“We’ve got to get that shored up,” Collins said. “No question about it."

With Jack Leathersich lost to Tommy John surgery in addition to Blevins out with the forearm fracture, there is not much internal help on the way. Dario Alvarez, demoted late Sunday to clear the roster spot for David Wright's return from the disabled list, should rejoin the Mets after spending the required 10 days in the minors. Team officials say Josh Smoker is unlikely to be promoted in September from Double-A Binghamton, however.