Jeurys Familia failed in his setup role for the New York Mets this season. Upon his return, it’s essential the Mets hit the reset button and ease him back into the big innings.
On June 17th Familia entered the seventh inning when the Mets faced the Atlanta Braves and only lasted a third of an inning, surrendering 3 runs on 1 hit and walking 2 batters. His ERA for the season swelled to 7.81.
The next day manager Mickey Callaway announced Familia would be heading to the injured list with a case of Bennett lesion, which is basically a bone spur in his right shoulder.
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Familia finds himself on the IL for the second time in 2019, as he was placed on the IL back in May as well for the same reason. The Mets hoped that after his first stint on the IL Familia would get his season turned around in the right direction but that has not been the case as his ERA since May has been16.50.
The most troubling part of all this is that Callaway and company seem to think the right way to fix Familia is to keep throwing him out there in his 8th inning role. However, it would be more beneficial to the team if the Mets demote Familia from his set-up man role.
In fact, when Familia does return from the IL, he needs a complete reset on the bullpen depth chart.
Baseball is a game of streaks and no player will ever be hot for all 162 games in a season. But Familia’s struggles cannot be chalked up to just being a rough stretch when he’s been struggling for almost 3 months now.
In this scenario, the Mets have to rebuild Familia’s confidence and you do that by bringing him in when the team has a huge lead or when the team is trailing by a lot. Familia can start his way back by pitching in the 7th inning, or maybe even the 6th inning and slowly prove he can be trusted again in the highest leverage part of the baseball game.
Once Familia has a couple of solid one-inning outings, only then should the Mets look to possibly place him back in the 8th inning.
Familia should not be allowed to enter an inning when men are on base and he should not be coming back out to start another inning. Too many times Familia has struggled when he does not start an inning, and letting him start and finish his own innings will get him back in the rhythm of shutting the door.
The Mets should almost baby Familia when he returns by making him pass a series of tests to put him in the best possible spot to succeed. Even Hercules had to pass his own tests. We all know Familia can do it, as this is a guy who saved 51 games in 2016 and was a solid part of the Oakland Athletics bullpen in 2018 when they made their playoff run.
The Mets need to do this for Familia because, let’s just face it, he’s not exactly starting his return to New York on a good note. They signed him for three years to be an important piece in their bullpen. They have to get him corrected.
At this point in the season, you have to make decisions that are the best for the team. Having Familia pitch the 8th inning is not what’s best for the Mets. Just because he was signed to be the set-up man does not mean he should be the set-up man if he can’t get the job done.
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If the Mets reset Familia when he returns, it could benefit them greatly for the rest of the season and beyond.