McDonald: If Familia and Reed Don’t Perform The Mets Have No Shot

For all the Met fans, who wear the “I Miss Shea” tee-shirts, is this what you really want?

On what looked like an easy ride to the Wild Card last Sunday, the Mets found a way to make the fans remember old Shea Stadium.

The last two seasons when they collapsed.

You have to be amazed by the way the Mets stayed in this race over the past month. Injuries kept compiling, while the Mets just shrugged it off and willed themselves back into this race.

The lineup looks entirely different than Opening Day. The rotation is in shambles and the big deadline move in Jay Bruce has turned out to be a big bust.

Even in the past few days, Wilmer Flores isn’t getting better, Jacob deGrom is out for the season and Steven Matz has been scratched from tomorrow’s start.

The only constant in this whole boondoggle is the back end of the bullpen, with Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia as close to money in the bank as you can get.

Put it to you this way.  If their starting staff is a volatile tech stock and the lineup cyclical returners, then the backend of the bullpen is the safe bond that will give you constant returns time and time again.

But the last few days that changed.

Yesterday, Familia was overused and gave up the tying run and lead and tonight Reed coughed up the lead in the eighth and Familia let the Phillies go ahead in the 11th in the eventual Amazin’ 9-8 Mets win to take the lead in the Wild Card standings.

However, this may be a hallow victory because if Reed and Familia can’t close down games then the Mets should just hand the two Wild Card spots to the Giants and Cardinals because they have no chance to win this with nine games left.

Having the luxury of Reed and Familia allows manager terry Collins to manage these games like seven inning affairs. Have a lead after seven and shut it down.

“It means a lot,” Collins said. “I go back last year with (Tyler) Clippard and Addison. We had all these issues with our young pitchers and innings limits. When you only had to get six innings out of them, it made it comfortable. The backend of the bullpen is huge.”

It’s a formula the Yankees used for a very long time with Mariano Rivera and even this year with their three big studs they had before the trade deadline.

And because of the Yankee notoriety, the Mets two guys seemed to be forgotten about, but they were they just shutting down the eighth and ninth.

Until this week.

If this is the other shoe to drop then you might as well pack in the season. These Mets endured a lot. It’s amazing they are still in the race with all the injuries they endured. But credit Sandy Alderson in getting low priced replacements and bringing up young starters like Seth Lugo and Rob Gsellman to fill in for the depleted starters.

All of this was predicated on the backend of the bullpen doing its job. Like a hockey team that built from the goal out, these Mets were built from the eighth and ninth back.

It needs to keep going.

The 2008 Mets were tough to watch since Billy Wagner was hurt and no one could close a game. Today, it seems like overuse may be wearing of Reed and Familia.

You can’t blame Collins for this because who else is he going to use?

It just comes at the worst time possible for the Mets.

Just like 2007 and 2008.

Welcome back to Shea Stadium. The last two seasons.

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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