Dec 20, 2015

2015 NL Champion Mets Closer: Jeurys Familia (2012-2015)

Jeurys Familia was born on October 10th, 1989 in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic. The six four, right handed pitcher signed with the New York Mets in 2008.

Familia began his career in A ball; with the Gulf Coast Mets in 2008 going 2-2 with the leagues 8th best ERA at 2.79. He advanced to Savannah going 10-6 in 2009 then to St. Lucie in 2010 where he went 6-9 with a high  5.58 ERA.

Surprisingly he was chosen to play in the Futures game, where he came in relief in the 7th inning with his team down 7-1. He served up three straight doubles, including one to Mike Trout.

In 2011 he went to AA Binghamton going 4-4 as a starting pitcher with a 3.49 ERA in 17 starts. He was promoted to AAA Buffalo the next year going an overall 9-9 with a 4.73 ERA, making 28 starts.

Familia got a September call up & debuted with the Mets on September 4th, 2012 pitching one inning of scoreless relief in a 5-1 loss at St. Louis.

He would finish three games that month, unable to close out a 16-1 debacle against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. That day he allowed five runs on three hits in that 9th inning. On October 1st, he got his first start which came in Miami against the Marlins. He only allowed one hit but walked six batters & was removed after four innings.

In 2013  he started out the season on the Mets roster, debuting on April 4th, in the third game of the season. He allowed an earned run in each of his first two outings then settled in making four scoreless appearances. On May 3rd, he earned his first career save, pitching the 10th inning in a 7-5 win at Atlanta over the Braves.

On June 9th he underwent surgery to have bone spurs removed from his elbow & went on the DL. He wasn't expected to pitch again in 2013 but made a return on September 17th, pitching part of the 9th inning in a 8-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

“It’s really a tribute to how the kid worked to get back because we certainly didn’t expect him to be back this year at all,” Manager Terry Collins said. He allowed two hits, two walks & an earned run in his return.

In 2014 Familia was the Mets work horse out of the bullpen, leading the club in appearances (76) while posting the pen's best ERA (2.21). 

He was the 2014 Opening Day losing pitcher at Citi Field, starting the 10th inning of a 5-5 tie with the Washington Nats, he gave up two hits, a passed ball & sac fly before getting relieved by John Lannan. Lannan would eventually serve up a three run HR.

Two games later he gave up two more runs in another Met loss to Washington & his ERA soared to over twenty. On April 25th he earned his first win of the year, coming against the Miami Marlins, getting him to 1-2.

Familia settled in nicely & after the All Star break earned his second win of the year & earned five straight holds lowering his ERA to 1.81. In mid August he earned three saves from August 9th to August 20th.

In September he suffered a loss to the Marlins in Miami in an ugly inning where he gave up a double, a walk, a wild pitch, an error & a fielders choice run scoring play. But he then earned seven more holds as well as a save finishing off the year as the Mets main 8th inning guy leading to Jenrry Mejia.

In 2014 he was 2-5 with 23 holds, 16 games finished, 73 strike outs & 32 walks in 77 innings of work.

Terry Collins had planned on using Jennry Mejia as the Mets closer in 2015 with Familia being used as the set up man. But that all changed when Mejia was suspended after being caught dirty using banned substances. A lack of arms in the bullpen made Familia the Mets closer. He took the opportunity & went with, becoming one of the best closers in the game. helping get the Mets to the 2015 World Series.


On April 12th he earned his first save of the season, it came in Atlanta in a 4-3 win over the Braves. From there he went on a roll, Familia saved 13 straight games going into mid May without blowing a save. On May 18th he blew a save against the St. Louis Cardinals resulting in a 2-1 Mets loss. It would be another month before he blew his next save.

On June 15th his son was born to fiancĂ©e Bianca, Familia stayed with the Mets & earned a save that night against the Braves. By the end of June he had notched 21 saves & had a 1.23 ERA. At the All Star break, Familia had 27 saves & was posting a 1.25 ERA. He just missed out getting voted on to the NL All Star team. By this time he was the talk of the league, as players would leave the batters box shaking their heads after seeing his stuff.


There was a bit of concern after the break, as Familia had two of his worst outings of the year in back to back games. He blew a save against the LA Dodgers but the Mets rallied for a win. Then four days later on July 26th, he gave up a season high; three runs to the San Diego Padres, taking the loss. Familia did not have a save in eleven days as the Mets reached a low point in the season.

But things turned around for everyone when GM Sandy Alderson added some key  players to the mix, Micahel Conforto, Steven Matz,  Kelly Johnson Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard & slugger Yoenis Cespedes  all helped turn the club around.

On August 1st, Familia was back, earning another save his 28th of the season. Over the next two months as the Mets went on to win the NL Eastern Division, Familia did not blow another save. He recorded 16 more saves in the final two months of the season. 


On October 4th in the final game of the Mets regular season, Familia  closed out the 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. It was his 43rd save of the year tying a Mets single season record formerly held by Armando Benitez.

His 43 saves were third best in the NL, Familia was tops in the league in games finished with 65. He posted a 1.85 ERA, a 2-2 record with 86 strike outs & 19 walks in 78 innings of work. Familia had at least two strike outs in an inning twenty times on the year, striking out the side three times on the year as well. There was only one week during the season (July 30-Aug 7th) his ERA was over two.

Post Season: In the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Familia opened up Game 31 with a save after a fine outing by Jacob deGrom. After two no decisions, he was back on the mound for the Game #5 clincher in LA.


This time it was a two inning save, as he relieved Noah Syndergaard in the 8th inning holding on to a 3-2 lead. He closed out the game striking out AJ Ellis & Howie Kendrick as the Mets advanced to their first NLCS since 2006. He fell to his knees in celebration paying homage to Jesse Orosco after his Game #7 World Series save in 1986. Familia retired all 16 batters he faced in the NLDS.

In the NLCS sweep over the Chicago Cubs, Familia earned three saves in the first three games. In four games, four innings he allowed no runs on two hits, two walks & three strike outs, keeping his post season ERA at 0.00.

In the World Series against the KC Royals, Familia had a rough time as well as a lot of bad breaks. In Game #1 he served up a 9th inning game tying run to Alex Gordon, it was the first save he had blown in two months. The Mets went on to the extra inning loss.


He would not pitch in Game #2 & then finished off the Game #3 loss. In Game #4 the Mets had a 3-2 lead going into the 8th inning. Tyler Clippard put two men on with walks & Terry Collins went to Familia. A possible double play ball to Daniel Murphy was booted, the tying run scored & there was just one out with two on. Familia gave up back to back singles & the Mets were down three games to one.


In the final Game #5, Familia relieved Matt Harvey after a valiant effort which got him to the 9th inning. After Harvey gave up a run on a Eric Hosmer double, Familia came in to a 2-1 Mets lead. Hosmer scored on a weak ground ball to short, tying the game earning him the blown save. His three blown saves are a World Series record.The Mets went on to the extra inning loss ending their season.


Overall in the post season Familia pitched 14.2 innings, allowing just one earned run (two runs overall) five hits with nine strike outs & two walks.

Family: Familia built a house for his parents in the Dominican Republic, the only delay came when he paid for a leg surgery for his father, that had plagued him since he was a child.

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