Jeurys Familia entered the ninth inning Wednesday night with 1-0 lead. However, four hits and one intentional walk later put the Mets behind and on their way to a 2-1 loss to the Marlins.
"Everything went good in the bullpen," Familia said after the game. "It's just one of those days."
SNY's Nelson Fugueroa said after the game that he saw Familia not pushing well off the mound, which reduced the zip on his fastball. Familia tried to adjust his delivery to get more out of it, but he wasn't getting the extra bite that he needed and never backed off to use other pitches in his arsenal as he had been doing in previous outings.
"I think he had a few day stretch there where he wasn't consistent and then tonight, obviously, he gave up a couple runs," manager Mickey Callaway said when asked if Familia has been struggling of late. "You can't expect to win games one to nothing all the time."
My hunch is that anyone pushing the notion that Familia is struggling this season is being emotionally influenced by seeing three of his four blown saves coming at the end of starts made by Jacob deGrom. These hurt more than most because I think we all expect to see the Mets win on days when deGrom pitches, especially if he leaves the game with a lead.
The other thing that is making Familia's season a bit of a visual mystery is that, while his top-line and peripheral stat lines look fantastic, he has physically looked out of sync and had inconsistent action on his pitches dating back to the middle of spring training.
Nevertheless, either because he's making adjustments or he's been good enough against specific opponents and matchups -- or possibly even due to just good luck -- he's been mostly successfully, unless of course deGrom has been pitching before him.
The fact is, Familia has faced four or fewer batters in 15 of his 23 appearances this season, he's on pace to finish with 47 saves, and he already has a 0.8 WAR, according to FanGraphs.com.
Most interesting to me is how Callaway is essentially going against everything he said about how he intended to use Familia this season. If you recall, the manager repeatedly talked about using Familia in any critical moment in relief that he was best suited to pitch, whether that was the ninth inning, seventh inning or with two runners on in the eighth inning.
Callaway explained on multiple occasions that if Familia is the best pitcher available for a specific, high-leverage moment and matchup, he would pitch, even if it wasn't technically a 'save situation.'
However, Familia has finished 20 of the 23 games he has pitched. Similarly, Familia has has been used in 17 save situations, while the next closest is Robert Gsellman with four opportunities (three of which he could not close out, by the way).
Anyway, I can't tell if after reading all of the above whether I'm complaining or complimenting Familia and Callaway. Because, while it hasn't looked pretty, and it's totally against everything that was initially described as the plan, whatever they're doing is working. I don't know how or why it's working, or if it will continue, but it's working nonetheless.... so I'll shut up now.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!