Francisco returning to form in closer role

Francisco returning to form in closer role

PITTSBURGH -- Since Mets manager Terry Collins put closer Frank Francisco's job security in doubt two weekends ago in Miami, Francisco converted three consecutive save opportunities -- each one of them a bit more impressive than the last. Tuesday's save was Francisco's best performance yet, with the closer mowing down the side in order for the first time since May 7.

"Honestly, I haven't changed anything," said Francisco, who made it four saves in a row in Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Pirates. "I've gotten a little bit of luck."

But Francisco did admit that he has been better able to keep his pitches low in the zone, preventing opposing batters from barreling them up. When Collins spoke to Blue Jays manager John Farrell over the weekend in Toronto, Farrell's message about his former closer was clear:

"He knows what I've been watching and he said, 'Be patient, because it's there,'" Collins recalled.

Though Francisco still holds a 6.75 ERA on the season, he has been showing more and more flashes of his old successful self. It is worth noting also that his 11 saves in 13 opportunities ranked third in the National League entering Wednesday, despite a rough patch earlier this month.

"This wasn't the first time that this happened to me, and I know it's not going to be the last time," Francisco said. "If you stay around, you're going to see a lot of those bad games."