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Bad Result, but not Bad Decision: Familia Blows the Lead, but ‘Earns’ the W for Mets

from Familia was ineffective last night, but the Mets came away with the win.

Familia was ineffective last night, but the Mets came away with the win.

People need to stop confusing bad results for bad decisions and good results for good decisions.

Twitter and Facebook et al erupted when Terry Collins decided to go with Jeurys Familia in a non-save situation, trying to protect a 4-run lead in the top of the 9th in the opening game of the Mets’ weekend series with the Dodgers.

Familia imploded, and allowed 4 runs to cross the plate, knotting the game at 5 before Curtis Granderson bailed the closer out and turned dysphoria into euphoria at Citi Field.

The depression in the stadium was even worse because of the man who cleared the bases for that game-tying hit was Chase Utley, current public enemy number 1 in Queens these days.

However, this was not a bad decision by the manager, it was not “minmanagement” of a bullpen, It was simply a case of a good decision that had a bad result.

Let’s take each complaint one by one.

Critique 1: It was a non-save situation

The save rule states that it is deemed a save when either a pitcher enters the 9th (or later) with a 3 run lead, or comes on to face a batter with the tying run on deck.  This was a 4-run lead.  If the lead was just 1-run less, this wouldn’t even be a story at all.

Critique 2: Familia historically doesn’t do well in non-save situations

He also historically does well in non-save situations.  Pitchers give up run occasionally and when a closer gives up runs, it usually means a blown save or a loss, he is pitching in the highest leverage situation possible in a baseball game – a chance to win the game.  Earlier this season, Familia closed out a non-save situation in Philadelphia.  Kristie Ackert, in her April 20th article for the Daily News entitled “Mets closer Jeurys Familia pitches in non-save situation Monday night”, quoted Terry Collins:

“Closers pitch a lot when you are winning. So if you are not using him. You got to get him in,” Collins said. “So (Monday) night was one where we had given him the two previous days off. Don’t like to give them too many off. Because he’s a guy, who is happy to tell you he needs to pitch to be effective.”

Familia hadn’t pitched since Wednesday.  If he didn’t pitch last night, he would have been off 3 consecutive days off, odds are, Familia was pitching in almost any situation last night.

Critique 3: Terry Should have closed out the game with Reed

Reed had already pitched 2/3 of an inning, yes he threw just 7 pitches, but some guys don’t respond well to pitching an inning, going back to the dugout and coming back out, they just aren’t wired that way – Reed could be one of those pitchers.

With Reed throwing so few pitches, Collins was probably thinking, let’s lock down the 9th with Familia, and then both Reed and Familia are good to go for game 2.  If Reed pitched a full inning in the 9th his pitch count probably pushes above 30 and Reed may not be available Saturday. 

Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. 




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