Despite the non-save situation on Friday, Jeurys Familia wanted the ball anyway
Game 1 was as painstaking a loss as the Mets have endured throughout their 54-year history.
The Mets had recorded 25 outs while maintaining a 4-3 lead, with arguably the best closer in the National League on the mound, a pitcher who had been lights out dominant since July 30.
But on that night, Jeurys Familia proved to be human at the worst possible moment, surrendering a solo home run to Alex Gordon to erase the Mets lead and seemingly start the countdown clock for an eventual win for the Royals, as the Mets had no response against their bullpen for the next five innings.
So Familia waited through Game 2’s loss as he watched the Mets fall down 0-2 in the World Series, and onlookers wondered what might have been if Familia’s sinker had sunk away from Gordon’s bat, rather than meeting it squarely in Game 1.
The Mets commanded Game 3 to the point Familia’s services were not technically needed. They had a six-run lead in the ninth inning, which might have made for the perfect opportunity to allow Familia to re-fuel for a more impactful opportunity later in the series.
But on came Familia anyway, because getting back into a game after such a miserable night on Tuesday may have meant the most to the closer.
And he had a typically dominant outing, retiring the Royals in order, this time by striking out Gordon swinging at his sinker.
“It’s great to get my comfort back,” Familia said on Friday. “[I wanted to] try to throw one inning and try to make my pitches and try to do my best, like I always do.”
His appearance served as a reminder that baseball can be a game of redemption, but also that some days will be better than others.
“One day, we’re going to do it like we don’t want to do it. This is the next day,” he explained. “When I have a bad day, I just try to move forward. I know tomorrow is a new day and I can do something different and I can do my job better.”
It was a bad night for Familia to have a bad night, but as Familia essentially said, it happens, and that game in particular most certainly should not have come down to Gordon’s home run.
But it did, thanks to a home run hit by Alcides Escobar on the very first pitch Matt Harvey threw.
The math doesn’t lie. It should’ve been a two-run game in the ninth inning, rather than a one-run game.
It would be something if the World Series came down to the very first pitch thrown by Harvey in Game 1. Not often can a championship be determined in that manner, if at all.
But in Familia’s case, he’s bound and determined to not have games – and this opportunity for a championship – come down to another mistake.