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Herd through the grapevine: Mets prospect Familia a work in progress

A few final thoughts from the ballpark on a crazy day:

---Jeurys Familia is a long way from New York,  no matter what all the prospect manuals say. The 22-year-old is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts, and has 29 strikeouts and 25 walks in 26 2/3 innings. His busy delivery is the main issue. It took him 94 pitches to get through five innings Thursday of a no-decision.

"His times to the plate are way too fast," said manager Wally Backman. "The slowest time he had today was 1.24 [seconds]. He's just rushing real bad. I had him last year and he really collected himself at the top of his delivery and he's not doing that right now. We'll show him some film [Friday] and we're going to try to get that kind back on track because I know there's a lot more in the tank. 

"There's too many moving parts. Maury Wills isn't going to steal second base on him ... he's got to slow himself down. He's so amped up all the time."

Catcher Rob Johnson said Familia has to trust himself and his catchers more.

"He's a young guy and this is a good league," said Johnson, who has spent plenty of big-league timee the last three years in Seattle and San Diego. "They've got more veteran hitters up here and they're picking out pitches on him. He's been unable to throw all three pitches for strikes when he needs to. When he figures that out, he's going to be very good.

"The biggest part of this game as a whole is the more we allow our mind to get into the play of the game, overthink stuff, think about this ... you just can't bring that stuff to the plate or the mound. Once you've got that sign, you have to have conviction with that sign and go with it. Let everything else go and let it fly. If it's a ball, it's a ball. If a guy gets a hit, he gets a hit. As soon as the ball leaves your hand, you can't control anymore."

----With their 6-5 win over Syracuse, the Bisons took over first place in the IL North when Lehigh Valley gave up four runs in the ninth and lost to Charlotte, 6-5. It's just the eighth day -- yes, I said day -- Buffalo has been in first in the four years with the Mets and just the third alone (May 2 and May 4,  2010 were the others). Pretty weird when you think the Herd went to the playoffs with Cleveland nine times between 1995-2005. No postseason since however. Maybe this year will change that.

---Johnson is 5 for 7 in two games off the disabled list with a sprained knee.

----D.J. Carrasco gave up a solo home run on rehab while relievers Josh Edgin,  Jack Egbert and Fernando Cabrera did not give up an earned run the final three innings. Cabrera (0.73 ERA) is tied for the IL lead with six saves. 

----Here's a stat we all missed in this 25th anniversary season: The 4-1 win April 17 over Lehigh Valley was Buffalo's 1,000th regular-season victory downtown. The Bisons are 9-6 at home this year and 1,006-727 since the park opened April 14, 1988.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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