Familia moving forward after 2 straight rough outings
Mets closer allows six runs in Dodgers series, takes first loss of '16 in finale
By Joshua Needelman
NEW YORK -- Not 15 minutes had passed since the worst series of Jeurys Familia's season had concluded, and the Mets' closer was already searching for answers late Sunday night at Citi Field.
New York's 4-2 loss to the Dodgers marked the second consecutive poor outing for Familia, who surrendered four runs in a rough ninth inning on Friday. Curtis Granderson bailed him out with a walk-off homer then, but Familia received no such help in the series finale.
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez provided the tiebreaking single off Familia, lacing a 2-1 fastball to center field to plate two runs.
After the game, Familia went straight to the film.
"He's studying the video to see if there's something wrong with his delivery," manager Terry Collins said. "There's nothing wrong with his delivery. His delivery's fine."
Collins maintained Familia's stuff was fine, too, but conceded the closer was having some trouble leaving his slider over the plate. But more importantly, Collins emphasized the importance of keeping his closer's confidence high as the Mets remain near the top of the National League East standings.
"This is very uncharacteristic of him, ever since he's taken over the closing job. We're in as big of shock as anybody," Collins said. "You're always going to have a rough outing. I don't think I've seen Jeurys in the last two years, for sure, have back-to-back bad outings."
That's exactly what happened this weekend, though. After the Mets hung tight with ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw for the majority of Sunday night's game, tying it in the eighth after Kershaw had departed, Familia entered in the ninth.
He threw two sliders to start off the frame against Kiké Hernandez, the second of which was sent into left field for a single. After inducing a popout from Chase Utley, Familia, who entered the game having walked five batters all season, walked both Corey Seager and Justin Turner.
Gonzalez took care of the rest.
"I'm not perfect," Familia said.
The ineffective outing left Citi Field shocked. Familia's 16 straight saves to open the season is tied for the second longest in team history, and entering the series he had allowed just five runs. By the end, that figure had jumped to 11.
After the film session, Familia silently dressed in a somber Mets clubhouse. He fidgeted with the clothes hangers at his locker. Finally, he turned around to face a barrage of questions.
Did he want to work on his slider? How hard is it to put the last two games behind him? Is he suffering from fatigue?
Familia's blank expression belied his positive responses. He wants to work on all his pitches. He's moving forward. He's not feeling fatigued.
"It's a long season, 162 games," catcher Rene Rivera said. "You want to be on the top of your game for 162 game, but that's not going to happen, you know?"
Familia certainly knows. On a cheery weekend when the Mets honored the 1986 World Series championship team, his shortcomings left a damper.
Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.