Jeruys Familia

Should Jeurys Familia Return To Closer’s Role?

With each appearance, it is becoming increasingly clear the Mets can no longer trust Edwin Diaz in the closer’s role until he figures things out. This isn’t even hypothetical. This has been how the Mets have operated with him not getting one save opportunity in August.

You cannot blame the Mets with how Diaz has pitched. This is the worst he has pitched in the Majors. He has already tied a career worst with five blown saves. The 11 homers and 49 hits against him this year are also a career worst. His six losses ties a career worst. His current 5.60 ERA, 74 ERA+, 4.48 FIP, 1.467 WHIP, 9.8 H/9, 2.2 HR/9, and 3.4 BB/9 are all on pace for career worsts for what is increasingly looking like a career worst season.

As alluded to earlier, the Mets have responded to Diaz’s struggles by removing him as the full-time closer. In fact, the Mets last save opportunity, the only one in August, went to Seth Lugo. Lugo and Diaz have split the last four save opportunities.

With respect to Lugo, the natural inclination is to just make him the closer. However, by doing so, the Mets are limiting what makes him great. As evidenced on Saturday, he is someone who can come into a game and give you six big outs. During the course of the season, the Mets have deployed him anywhere from the fifth inning to the ninth inning.

Lugo’s versatility is what makes him such a big weapon out of the bullpen. By saving him for the eighth or ninth, you are severely limiting how you use your bullpen. It also leaves the Mets trusting lesser relievers in the highest leverage situations in the game. That’s not how to best deploy Lugo or to handle the bullpen.

That said, Lugo is the only reliever the Mets should trust in a big spot and/or to close games. If the Mets decide to install him as a closer, the question becomes who closes those games he’s not available because he just pitched over an inning the previous night. Seeing what we saw this weekend, maybe the answer to that question is Jeurys Familia.

Like Diaz, Familia has been having a career worst season, and we were wondering if he would ever return to form. In order to help him, the Mets went so far as to bring Ricky Bones back as the Mets bullpen coach. The thing about bringing Bones back is it is apparently working.

Since June 20, Familia has made 15 appearances. Over that stretch, Familia has had 12 scoreless appearances, and he has allowed fewer than two runs 14 times. In August, Familia has not allowed a run in five of his six appearances, and he is striking out 12.7 batters per nine. Over this stretch, batters are hitting .105/.261/.263.

He has not blown a lead since Bones rejoined the Mets staff. This is partially the result of his pitching in lower leverage situations, but it should be noted he has converted his last two hold opportunities. In a four game July stretch from July 16 – July 21, he appeared in four close games, and he allowed no runs over 2.1 innings against the Twins and Giants. He had not appeared in a pressure situation again until Sunday.

In that game, Familia struck out the side against the Nationals. It wasn’t just the results but how he performed. Familia had his swagger back, and he would even break out his old quick pitch. This was an indication Familia felt like the Familia of old. Maybe like many closers, he needs that pressure to be his best on the mound. That Familia put together perhaps the best two year stretch any Mets closer has ever had. It was a sign he may be ready to resume that role again.

Is this an overreaction to a small sample size? Absolutely. That said, the Mets are in a position where they need to be riding the hot hand, and right now, among relievers on the Mets roster with closing experience, Familia is arguably the hot hand.

If you have a game on the line, the Mets need to and should be going to Lugo. With the way he has been pitching lately, he is the best reliever in baseball. The Mets problem is they cannot keep going to Lugo time and again. It’s not possible. They need to find an answer for those nights Lugo isn’t available. With the way things are shaking out right now, Familia may just be the person who should be closing those other games.


2018 Mets Promotion Ideas

If you go to the Mets website, you will see their Promotion Schedule for the 2018 season.  If you look, there are some popular promotions like the Noah SyndergaardThor Bobblehead, the Yoenis Cespedes Garden Gnomes, and the Free T-Shirt Fridays.  Those are fun and all, but I think we can do better, especially when we see promotions like a Fanny Pack.

No, I’m not kidding, the Mets are giving away Fanny Packs this year.

When you are giving away Fanny Packs and you are recycling old giveaways, it is time for some fresh ideas.  Here is a look at a promotional idea for each player on the Mets expected Opening Day Roster:

Jerry Blevins 7 Line Subway Set – a man this thin deserves to have a rail in his honor.

Jay Bruce Ruby Cleats – click them together, and poof!  You’re right back at Citi Field

Asdrubal Cabrera Flip Flops– I want to be a Met; I don’t want to be a Met.  I’ll only play shortstop; I’ll play second.  I’ll play third, but I want to be at second.  Definitely, second base, but . . . .

Yoenis Cespedes Yo-ga Mats – he has undertaken yoga to make this finally be his healthy season

Michael Conforto Muppet – The man is Scooter.

Travis d’Arnaud Potato Head – you get the chance to put him together after he falls apart again

Jacob deGrom Hat Hair – in some ways this seems like a recycled idea, but with his hair cut, it’s now just a hat that will get many more people than ever expected to the ballpark.

Jeurys Familia iTunes Gift Card – Look, Danza Kuduro is a catchy song, but sometimes we all wish we listened to it at home rather than right before a Conor Gillaspie at-bat.

Wilmer Flores Hanky Night – at some point or another, we have all cried watching this team play

Todd FrazierJersey Night – no, not jersey as uniform, just a celebration of New Jersey with Taylor Ham concession stands and Springsteen playing in the park all night long because in case you didn’t know Frazier grew up in Toms River, New Jersey.

Robert Gsellman Lollipop – if you’re always sticking your tongue out, might as well use it

Adrian Gonzalez Alarm Clock – Apparently, his works better than Dominic Smith‘s

Matt Harvey Hockey Jersey – Between the Winter Classic being played at Citi Field, Harvey’s notoriety as a Rangers fan, and his pitching arm looking like he was slammed with a Tie Domi cross-check, this seems like a natural fit.

Juan Lagares Foam Thumbs-Up – after all of his thumb injuries, his thumb must have the structural integrity of a piece of foam at this point.

Seth Lugo Wiffleball – With the wiffleball, you too can throw a curveball as a crazy as Lugo’s.

Steven Matz Take Your Grandfather to the Park Day – the only time you’ll see a grandfather spending time with their grandson at a game happier is when he’s there watching his grandson play.

Rafael Montero Sneakers – something comfortable for everyone’s feet as we all walk the park

Brandon Nimmo Mets Toothbrush – if you are always smiling, your teeth better be clean and your breath be minty fresh

Kevin Plawecki Dil – Actually no, let’s not do any promotions featuring the contents of player’s lockers

AJ Ramos Odd Couple Bobblehead – As a Subway Series special, the Mets and Yankees will each have a Bobblehead Day featuring roommates Ramos and Giancarlo Stanton with Ramos obviously playing the part of Oscar Madison.   

Jose Reyes Bunting – Fans can get their bunting and leave the park as soon as the Mets are assured of the lead.

Hansel Robles Rocket – You too can point in the sky after watching your Robles Rocket go soaring into the sky

Amed Rosario Daily Planner –  No longer will you be surprised about what is coming down the pike, you will now be ready.

Anthony Swarzak Scrabble Tile No other Mets player has as many high point Scrabble tiles in his name.

Noah Syndergaard Marvel Baby Metif he’s going to keep up the gimmick of hitting on Mrs. Met, he should get to see what a Thor-Mrs. Met child would look like.

Jason Vargas Left Handed Kitchen Tools For that left-handed innings eater in you.

David Wright Night – No gimmick or anything.  There just needs to be a night to honor David Wright this season.  He deserves that much from the team and from the fans.