McDonald: Despite Walkoff No Need To Use Familia When Not Needed

Tonight’s walk-off win should be a cautionary tale.

In what should have been an easy Mets win, where they were in command right from the get-go. Jeurys Familia four spot in the top of the ninth win, forced the club to scramble in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Fortunately, for Terry Collins and company, Curtis Granderson awoke from his season long slumber with a homer to turn the concerned faces on 1986 weekend to voices of jubilee.

As Bob Murphy once said, “The Mets won the damn thing.”

But enough with the happy recap, this game should be a lesson for Terry Collins, because no matter what he says in the postgame and how much he downplayed Familia’s performance, you have to understand overusing your closer is a recipe for disaster.

Right now, Familia is on course to appear in 83 games this season. Just the mere fact of him warming up in games he’s not used, makes that number even greater. With a four run lead, Collins should have used someone else in the ninth inning. Collins should have saved Addison Reed for the ninth or used Jim Henderson or Antonio Bastardo, all of whom have experience closing games.

The fact is Familia may be the most indispensable Met right now. As we have seen with Matt Harvey, the rest of the staff can pick up a struggling starter and a couple of holes in the lineup are generally brushed off -yes, we are looking at you Eric Campbell – by the rest of the starters.

But if Familia goes down, the whole dynamic of the bullpen changes complexion. Either Reed of Bastardo becomes the closer and the Mets will struggle for an eighth inning guy. And remember, even though they have experience in the ninth, both in the past lost their jobs finishing games.

So really there’s no need.

Collins said, “If the leadoff batter gets on, I would be bringing him in anyway.”

That should not be the mentality here.

If the starting pitchers are on limits, Familia should be too. Even though he’s never had an arm problem, you don’t want to stretch it.

And frankly tonight would have been a good time to try someone else out. The Mets had a four run lead. If you can’t trust Bastardo, Henderson, Reed or even Hansel Robles in that situation, why should you trust them in a tight spot earlier in the game or tied in extra innings?

This just reeks of a manager feeling comfortable today and not worrying about tomorrow.

This race is going to be tight all season. Washington isn’t going anywhere and the Phillies are still looking good. Heck, even the Marlins are hanging tight. And the schedule doesn’t get any kinder for the Amazin’s. After these two against the Dodgers, the White Sox come in. The Mets then go to Miami and Pittsburgh, before getting the Brewers. That’s four tough series in a row, before a gimme.

As the warm weather finally comes in, it’s not time to be liberal with the closer. The Mets are going to need Familia for the whole summer.

Use him when the game is tight or if he needs work.

There was no reason to use him in this game.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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