Jeurys Familia – the Mets ‘star’ closer – continues to remarkably bail the Mets out
If there’s a dilemma in the Mets bullpen, Jeurys Familia always seems to come to the Mets rescue.
He did it after Opening Day when the Mets effectively lost their paper-closer, Jenrry Mejia, for the year to an elbow strain and two subsequent PED violations.
He did it again and again all year long for multiple-out saves when his colleagues in relief couldn’t get big outs.
Entering play on Saturday night, he had done it in three of his first four postseason appearances of his career, doing it twice with an assignment to record more than three outs.
He did it last Monday night against the Dodgers at Citi Field, on Thursday night in Los Angeles for the signature moment in his career as he rescued them for a six-out save in their win-or-go-home Division Series clincher against the Dodgers, the first such save of his brilliant young career.
And he did it again on Saturday night to help secure the club’s first win of the National League Championship Series in relief of Matt Harvey.
No, Familia wasn’t at his best on Saturday. It was understandable considering the heavy workload he was asked to endure to get the Mets to this point in the playoffs on Thursday night, 48 hours earlier and 3000 miles away from home.
But he got it done anyway, as 70 percent of Familia might be better than any other option at Terry Collins’ disposal in the bullpen right now.
“In certain games, the games that you’ve got to have, I’m telling you, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think you can end the game with your star, your best reliever, standing on the mound in the bullpen warming up, waiting for a one-inning save,” manager Terry Collins said after his club’s game one win over the Cubs.
The term, “star” might never had been considered to describe Familia if not for Mejia’s fall from the club 6 1/2 months ago.
Yes, his dominance might have helped shutdown eighth innings, but he has ascended to the upper-echelon of closers in baseball with what has been an unreal performance in 2015, saving the Mets from yet another season of a broken bullpen dooming them from success.
Sure, Curtis Granderson has had a tremendous year. But without Familia, the Mets might be watching the Cubs play somebody else in the National League Championship Series in 2015.
That alone makes Familia the club’s MVP. There’s really very little debate on the matter at this point.
What’s more, Familia seems to be thriving off the intensity of the playoffs and with each challenging assignment he’s been given.
He’s made five appearances in the first six postseason games for the Mets in 2015. He’s logged 6 2/3 innings, faced 22 batters, retiring 20 of them.
He now has three saves in as many opportunities in the postseason so far.
And he has floored his teammates with his performance under the spotlight.
“It’s invaluable what he is doing,” Michael Cuddyer explained about the star closer.
“Familia is the best closer in the game,” Harvey said on Saturday.
But there’s only so many times Collins can go to the well with Familia. His fatigue showed on Saturday night when he lacked consistent command of his pitches.
Considering the workload, it’s understandable. And Collins may give Familia a break on Sunday regardless of whether or not he needs his team MVP.
““I’m not sure I have him tomorrow,” Collins said after Saturday’s win. “He’s thrown a lot lately. So what I’m lucky is that I’ve got some other guys down there that I can turn to.”
Yes, but there’s nobody down there like Familia. He’s shown that time and time again for 6 1/2 months.