Jenrry Mejia struck out the side to earn his fifth save last night and is five-for-five in save chances since being moved to the bullpen on May 12. Mejia has excelled in his new late inning role, sporting a 9.44 strikeout rate and being unscored upon in nine relief appearances spanning 10.1 innings.
Familia has posted a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings this month and it appears his control problems may now be behind him. Black has only made two appearances, but has looked good and picked up three Ks of his own last night in 1.1 innings pitched.
The three of them form a lethal combination for the Mets pairing some nasty stuff with hard heat. Anthony DiComo pointed out today, that over the last week, Mets relievers lead all MLB bullpens in average fastball velocity (94.0 mph). Black, Familia both averaging over 96.
Sometimes the most ideal solutions to your problems are standing right in front of you, staring you in the face.
After four unsuccessful attempts trying to revamp an underperforming bullpen and rummaging through dozens of failed relief options including this year’s John Lannan, Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde, general manager Sandy Alderson has finally latched onto a pair of potentially elite shutdown relievers right in his own backyard in Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia.
The two Dominican Natives, both 24, were signed by former GM Omar Minaya in 2007 and were part of an impressive two-year class of International signings that also included righthander Gonzalez Germen, center fielder Juan Lagares and infielder Wilmer Flores.
The back end of the bullpen which has been so problematic for this team over the years, is fast becoming a major strength as Familia and Mejia display some of the best and filthiest array of pitches than anyone else on the Mets.
Among the biggest highlights of the latest two Mets victories, were watching Mejia and Familia record six-out and five-out saves within a 24-hour span. Both young righthanders had their manager Terry Collins smiling from ear to ear after each contest, and remarking that the team has been blessed with two talented young fireballers who each could come into the game in the eight and the ninth and shut opposing teams down.
Familia became the sixth Met to record a save this season on Wednesday, earning his first of the year with Mejia unavailable after throwing 37 pitches in his two-inning save Tuesday night.
“We’ve reached the point that Familia has got to be in the back end,” Collins said. “He’s got to be a late-inning guy.”
“We’ve got some really good young power arms,” third baseman David Wright added. “These guys have the ability to go out and dominate, shut the door on games.”
Familia and Mejia gave the Mets their first set of consecutive saves of five outs or more since Sept. 26-27, 2005, when Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Heilman each threw two innings for saves in Philadelphia, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Amazing how this game works. We’ve gone from a bullpen with no reliable closer this season to what could emanate into a full blown quarterback controversy for the team’s ninth inning role. But hey, nobody’s complaining, especially given what we’ve been through the last few years with our bullpen.
Lets Go Mets.