STL@NYM: Farnsworth retires Holliday to earn the save

NEW YORK -- Coupled with Daisuke Matsuzaka's success at the back end of the bullpen, Kyle Farnsworth's recent struggles could force the Mets to rethink their closer strategy.

They're just not going down that road quite yet.

"[Farnsworth has] pitched good -- I mean, he's pitched very good," said manager Terry Collins, who was candid earlier this month before deciding to remove Jose Valverde from the closer's role. "I still think he's going to be fine. I don't have too many concerns about it right now."

Since taking over as closer, Farnsworth has allowed runs in two of his four appearances -- one of those on Saturday night in a non-save situation that cost the Mets the game. But he still has a 2.38 ERA for the season, with eight strikeouts and two walks in 11 1/3 innings.

After Matsuzaka earned his first career save last week, Collins insisted that Farnsworth was still the closer and that the Mets were not considering tackling the ninth inning by committee. Still, Farnsworth is 38 years old and needs frequent off-days, which could result in regular closing opportunities for Matsuzaka or others.

The Mets also remain intrigued by the ninth-inning potential of right-hander Vic Black, who is unscored upon in 8 1/3 innings at Triple-A Las Vegas. But until Black demonstrates better control -- he has walked eight -- the Mets are unlikely to promote him.

Other than Valverde, no Mets pitcher boasts more closing experience than Farnsworth, who has saved 56 games over 16 seasons. Twenty-five of those saves came with the Rays in 2011.

Recker's improvement shows in Mets' record

ATL@NYM: Recker catches Heyward stealing second

NEW YORK -- Six times Anthony Recker has started at catcher this season. All six times the Mets have won.

That could be either a lucky coincidence or a testament to Recker's growing prowess behind the plate. Most likely it's a combination of the two considering Recker's improvements in just about every aspect of his game.

Offensively, he already has two home runs (both in games he started). Compare that with last season, when he didn't hit his second homer until June 18, largely because he started only eight times over the first two months.

Defensively, he spent significant time this spring working on his throwing mechanics and footwork. At least partially as a result of that, he has thrown out both runners who have attempted to steal on him this season.

What he takes the most pride in, however, is his work with the pitching staff. Crouching behind the plate for the entirety of Sunday's 4-0 shutout win over the Marlins, Recker lowered his catcher's ERA to 2.54, the eighth-best mark in baseball. That is nearly two runs better than starting backstop Travis d'Arnaud, who sports a 4.34 catcher's ERA.

"I think I did a pretty good job last year, and I've tried to carry it over into this year," Recker said. "Just knowing the hitters that are coming up, and especially knowing my staff, knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are -- this being my second year, I obviously have a much better idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are, and I'm able to use that to the best of my ability."

Recker's hot start has prompted manager Terry Collins to play him far more often than a year ago, when John Buck received the overwhelming majority of innings behind the plate. As long as d'Arnaud continues to struggle offensively -- and as long as the Mets remain perfect in Recker's starts -- that should continue in 2014.

"Any time you go out there, you want to win," Recker said. "Knowing that we've had success, it's not all because of me, obviously, but I'd like to think I can contribute. That's all I ever want to do as a backup catcher is contribute to wins."

Worth noting

• Infielder Wilmer Flores jammed a finger during Sunday's game at Triple-A Las Vegas. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury for Flores, who is batting .250 with a .652 OPS in 84 at-bats for the 51s. He appeared in one game for the Mets earlier this season, when starting second baseman Daniel Murphy was on paternity leave.

• Outfielder Eric Young Jr. had his National League-leading 20-game streak of reaching base snapped in Sunday's 4-0 win over the Marlins. Young had a chance to extend the streak in the fourth inning, shooting a hard ground ball up the middle with two men in scoring position, but shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria ranged to his left to gobble up the ball, beating Young by a step with his throw.

• Before Jenrry Mejia gave up six runs in Saturday's outing, Mets starters had gone 11 straight games without allowing more than three runs in a game. Giancarlo Stanton's sixth-inning homer also snapped a streak of 11 games without Mets starters allowing a homer.