On the opening day of the 2014 season, the New York Mets‘ bullpen blew a save and cost the team the game, opening the flood gates for a disastrous April from the entire bullpen that cost the Mets a countless number of games. But since then, the bullpen has made a complete turnaround, playing a big part in New York winning 15 games in the month of July. The young trio of Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, and Vic Black were all particularly good in July, while taking over complete control of the back end of the Mets bullpen.
It all starts with Mejia, who has taken to the closer role like a fish in water. Since his move to the bullpen, Mejia’s ERA is 1.97 15 of 17 save opportunities. But he was especially impressive in July, when his ERA was 0.82 while striking out 13 in 11 innings. Mejia has become as reliable as any closer in the National League, which is why the Mets were able to win games in July that they would have lost early in the season.
Setting up many of Mejia’s saves was Jeurys Familia, who had the best month of his career in July in the midst of a breakout season. In 12 innings in July, Familia allowed a single run, and it was unearned. While Mejia is generally saved for the ninth inning, Terry Collins often puts Familia into games in tight spots with the game on the line, and more times than not Familia has delivered, getting the biggest out of the game and helping the Mets win.
Rounding out the young trio is Black, who joined the team in late May with low expectations after a disastrous spring, but he’s been most impressive over the last two months. Despite his propensity to get himself into trouble, Black pitched to a 2.16 ERA in July, giving the Mets another reliable late-inning reliever to complement Mejia and Familia.
Of course, the Mets’ bullpen success is due to more than Mejia, Familia, and Black. Carlos Torres has been dependable when called upon all season, while Josh Edgin and Dana Eveland have been a suitable duo from the left side.
But the trio of Mejia, Familia, and Black has taken the bullpen to the next level by giving them three power arms that can all pitch in big spots and close out games. With all three of them excelling during the month of July, the backend of the pen shined, allowing them to win enough games to stay within a reasonable distance in the playoff chase with two months left in the season, and if they can keep it up and the Mets keep closing out winnable games, they’ll be able to stay in the hunt a little bit longer.