Jeurys Familia’s new splitter helped save the Mets on Tuesday night
It was another long and taxing night for the bullpen on Tuesday night in Philadelphia, having been asked to get the last 12 outs of the game in an effort to preserve their fifth straight win and Noah Syndergaard’s first win on the road in 2015.
And just like they did on Monday night, the bullpen came through in their assignment.
They had to navigate another rocky outing from lefty-specialist Eric O’Flaherty, a dust up with the Phillies thanks to Hansel Robles quick pitching a little too quickly in an otherwise splendid performance, and some inconsistency from Tyler Clippard in which Jeurys Familia was called upon for his fifth multiple-inning save of the year.
“I think the two days off helped a little bit for [Familia],” manager Terry Collins said after the game. “It was a big game for us and both he and Clip came in and faced a big part of the order and got some big outs.”
Familia came through and got the final four outs of this game with relative ease, but there was something pretty special about this outing for the Mets closer.
He incorporated his new deadly weapon against the Phillies on Tuesday night, which arguably saved this game for the Mets in the eighth inning against what has become a very pesky Phillies team.
That weapon is a 94 mph split-fingered fastball, and it was un-hittable on Tuesday night. In fact, the Phillies swung and missed at seven of of the nine splitters Familia threw for strikes on Tuesday night.
“Its very good when its down on the zone. The ball sinks eight inches, you saw with one of the pitches in the ninth. He’s just got good stuff,” Collins said about Familia’s splitter.
Familia was already filthy and had an intimidating mound presence. But if he’s throwing this pitch consistently with that action in that part of the zone, he becomes that much more unhittable and that much more of a premier lockdown closer in this league.
Outside of a blip just after the All-Star break, it has been an unbelievable year for Familia. He’s shown remarkable poise and maturity this season as he was forced to instantly adapt to closing thanks to the initial injury and suspension to Jenrry Mejia on and just after Opening Day.
In a bullpen which has seen so much transition and change over the course of the season, he has been the one true reliable horse in the stable. He has masterfully adjusted to his new role, with this slider being another example of that adjustment.
Without him, there’s no telling where this team is right now.