One of the few things worth monitoring for the New York Mets over the course of the second half is seeing how their injured players look upon their returns from the disabled list. The pitcher who has had the most run since coming off the DL is reliever Jeurys Familia, who missed over three months after having surgery to remove a blood clot in his pitching shoulder. Familia wasn’t thrust back into the closer’s role right away with A.J. Ramos in the fold, a wise decision since there is no reason to put any more stress on Familia’s plate. Despite pitching in mostly low leverage situations, Familia has struggled mightily since coming back, going 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA in seven appearances as he struggles to find his groove again.
It has been a lost year for Familia, who saved 51 games in 2016, that started with a 15 game suspension for domestic violence. Familia looked shaky upon his return, pitching to a 3.86 ERA and walking eight batters in 9.1 innings pitched. The biggest issue for Familia is his consistency, because he has looked lights out some days and completely hittable the next. This was the case this weekend, when Familia tossed a perfect inning on Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds, retiring the side on 13 pitches. Familia then allowed five of seven batters to reach against the same Reds’ team on Sunday, giving two runs on two hits and three walks in 0.2 of an inning.
It’s better for the Mets that Familia can shake off some rust now rather than experiencing it during more important games next season. The weekend games marked the first time since Familia returned from the DL that he pitched in back to back games, a milestone he will need to conquer with more effectiveness if he hopes to regain the closer’s role going forward. Ramos has been solid as the closer since his arrival, going 7 for 7 in save opportunities and pitching to a 3.00 ERA. The ideal scenario for the Mets is that Ramos functions as the eighth inning man next season with Familia regaining his form as the closer, but that battle may end up being waged in spring training. Familia still has a lot of work left to do before the Mets will let him close games again, and how he fares the next three weeks could go a long way towards informing his 2018 role.