Jeurys Familia nearing club record for saves, and he will get that chance
It was only six months ago Jeurys Familia was gearing up to be the club’s setup man behind Jenrry Mejia, who was slotted in as the team’s closer.
But just a few days later, Mejia’s season took one of three unexpected turns when, while warming up in the bullpen to save the Mets Opening Day win over the Nationals, he was unable to come into the game when his elbow started hurting.
The Mets turned to Buddy Carlyle, who recorded his first big league save that afternoon
But after the Mets placed Mejia on the disabled list, Terry Collins essentially said Familia would take over as the club’s closer while Mejia’s arm healed.
As it turns out, Mejia was gone for the next three months after he was suspended for 80 games a violation of the league’s joint drug agreement after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug.
42 saves later, Familia finds himself on the cusp of making Mets history.
He is one save shy of tying Armando Benitez’s single-season mark with 43 saves. There are six games to go.
And Collins said Familia will be afforded an opportunity to set the club record.
“I hope he gets it. We’re going to give him that opportunity,” Collins said on Sunday. “We’re going to try to win games. We’re not going to back off from that.”
The Mets open a three-game series against the Phillies on Tuesday. They are 14-2 this season against Philadelphia, outscoring them 103 to 62 in those 16 games.
They close the regular season with three games against the Nationals at Citi Field this coming weekend. While they’re 10-6 against Washington this season, their run differential is much closer – 59 to 49.
No matter what happens, a sane argument can be made Familia is this team’s MVP in 2015. Short of a brief hiccup in late July, Familia has been lights out since the bell rang on Opening Day, and to his credit, he made the adjustment to the team’s closer seamlessly and in dominant fashion right from the start.
The remarkable part about Familia’s season is, with the addition of his mid-90s splitter, he’s actually become more dominant as the season has gone on and in the club’s most critical stretch of games at that.
He tends to get one-pitch happy at times, and that’s when he finds himself in trouble. Collins remarked at that last week and said they’re working with him to ensure he doesn’t get splitter-happy, or sinker-happy, especially when the location of those pitches aren’t as fine as they need to be.
But his stuff is so dominant that when he’s even the slightest bit off, he’s still better than most relievers in the game right now.
Since July 31, Familia has converted 15 saves in as many opportunities. He has a 1.29 ERA in 28 games in that span with 35 strikeouts and six walks in 28 innings, holding the opposition to a .214 opposing average.
He’s only allowed 29 baserunners in those 28 games.