Most of the bullpen talk from new Mets manager Mickey Callaway during the offseason and in spring training was that he wasn’t going to simply use Jeurys Familia as the closer every chance and that he would use pitches in a variety of roles.
Coming into Wednesday night against the Atlanta Braves, Callaway had been pretty conventional with his back-end of the bullpen usage as Familia’s majority of his action has been in save chances (22 games finished in 25 appearances).
The first guy out of the bullpen for the Mets was Tim Peterson making his major league debut after Jason Vargas threw five scoreless innings on three days rest. Peterson, called up earlier in the day, pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning but allowed a solo homer to Johan Camargo in the seventh and left with the Mets leading 2-1.
Then, with the Mets bullpen blowing lead after lead recently, the manager decided to mix things up and used Familia in the eighth inning of a 3-1 game with the Braves top of the order coming up.
A terrific play by Amed Rosario started an inning-ending double play that helped get Familia through the eighth inning unscathed.
The Mets added on another run to make it a 4-1 game with Robert Gsellman coming on for the save opportunity in the ninth. Gsellman retired the Braves in order to pick up his second save of the season and give the Mets a four-game split.
When asked after the game why he used Familia in the eighth Callaway said, “That’s the heart and soul of their offense. They score runs often when that part of the lineup comes up.”