Turmoil has not hit the Mets bullpen and that showed again Monday night at Citi Field. Prior to the Neil Walker heroics and his walk-off hit that gave the Mets a needed win it was Fernando Salas, Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia that picked it up for Jacob deGrom.
The bullpen is always instrumental for a walk-off win.
Just ask Salas who got the first two Giants in the seventh inning. In comes Blevins giving up a single and then got Brandon Belt swinging to end it. In comes Reed who retired all three in the eighth. That led to Familia in the ninth, an inning that is more customary for the Mets closer who had a franchise record 51 saves last season.
And with a starting pitching staff hindered by injuries and some turmoil, a strong bullpen is needed. A pen that helped these Mets to the postseason the past two years is a welcomed reprieve and relief for the manager Terry Collins. With adversity of injuries and more to a once and promising starting rotation, Collins may be fortunate to have those arms coming into games that are tight in the late innings.
“I’m good no matter what the situation,” Salas said. The 31-year old righthander is a veteran who can adapt to numerous situations. Salas threw ten pitches and Collins has been using him in a role towards the sixth or seventh inning.
After that, it could be Blevins or Reed, and then Familia. Either way, and if the percentages are there with these baseball metrics, the Mets bullpen has been a part of keeping this team in games when they are tight. And this was a tight one against a struggling San Francisco team that needed this win to make their statement.
Salas was acquired off waivers from the Angels towards the end of last season and Collins has utilized him well.
“If the team stays in the game we try and get the win,” he said. “Same idea to make the outs and try and make the team win.” It’s a nice curveball and slider that Salas has developed which also has been huge coming out of the pen in the late innings.
As for Familia, at this juncture the righthander is finally getting back into his role. The ninth inning is where the Mets closer is more comfortable and Collins has his tool to use in a tie game or closing situation. He used five pitches in the ninth and got his first win.
The Mets got a win they needed following the turmoil and dealing with the suspension of Matt Harvey.
“Everything is working my way,” said Familia. “What happened last year is what happened. I’m just trying to move forward always.” It will be interesting to see how Collins will use the pen Tuesday night and how Salas, Blevins, Reed, and Familia will be used.
And everyone knows, if the starters can’t go the route it is the bullpen that will lead up to that walk off situation.