Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Add Familia to a Long List of Met Woes

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Add Familia to a Long List of Met Woes

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - While it's mathematically true that all games are equal in the eyes of the standings, one look around the Mets' clubhouse told you the 2-1 loss to the Rockies on Thursday cut far deeper than the numbers. Jeurys Familia, the ninth-inning Cyborg, blew his second consecutive save - a microcosm of what's going wrong at Citi Field lately. In other words, almost everything.

Yoenis Cespedes has a quad issue that isn't healing quickly. The offense looks dead - a bases-loaded, none-out threat in the seventh inning yielded nothing. No help is coming yet from the trade market, although Fox Sports reports the Brewers have reengaged about catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Juan Lagares might be heading to the DL. And most significantly, Familia has picked the worst possible time to slump. He allowed two decisive runs in the ninth inning to the Cardinals on Wednesday night, then allowed Colorado another two runs that ruined what would've been a 1-0 victory and Jacob deGrom's seven-inning masterpiece.

Make no mistake, nothing sabotages a contender more than the collapse of their closer. He is the last line of defense, the rock, the terminator. Familia has been all that and more for the last two years - a key component in the Mets' axis of success. It's Familia, Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard from here to October.

The Mets can hang on the periphery while one of them underperforms, but not two, and certainly not Familia. There's no easy way to process the right-hander's failures, not when they happen twice in the span of 18 hours. As deGrom said, "When I come out of those games [with a lead] I usually get the win."

To his credit, Familia took full responsibility, saying, "I have no excuse" and by doing so graciously took Terry Collins off the hook. The manager has chosen to grind Familia into fine powder this week, using him for the third straight day Thursday, including a 26- pitch appearance against St. Louis the night before.

Collins says all the right things about not panicking, but he's watched helplessly as the Mets have devolved into a wild-card hopeful instead of a credible threat to the Nationals. The situation has grown more critical now that Cespedes' right quad has worsened. Without him, the offense figures to vaporize, as the Mets were 1- for-9 with runners in scoring position Thursday, and 5-for-37 in the past three games.

That puts enormous pressure on the starters and, by default, Familia. The equation couldn't be any more draconian: If the Mets aren't going to score, they have to win the close games, and certainly the ones that are three outs away.

So there Familia was, doing his best to explain what went wrong as Trevor Story and David Dahl led off with a single and a walk in the ninth. The Mets were leading by a run but it was impossible to miss the growing unease in the ballpark. …

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