The Mets were eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday night, dropping a 3-0 decision to San Francisco. That might not be so bad, except for one online headline I saw earlier this morning.
24 hours after the Baltimore Orioles were defeated by Toronto in the AL Wild Card round, leading to much second, third, and fourth guessing of Buck Showalter's decision not to use his closer, Zach Britton, Mets skipper Terry Collins might be facing similar questions regarding his ace closer, MLB saves champ Jeurys Familia, whose post-season struggles bit him and the Mets again when he gave up a 3-run home run to the Giants Conor Gillaspie in the 9th, offsetting a sterling performance by Mets ace Noah Syndergaard, who'd checked the Giants on 2 hits over 7 innings, striking out 10. With a scoreless tie going into the 9th, why would Collins use Familia in this spot, knowing that Familia had struggled in non-save situations during the regular season?
Giants ace Madison Bumgarner pitched a complete game shutout, fanning six while limiting the Mets to 4 hits. The upside for San Francisco is that it gives their bullpen an extra day of rest, plus the travel day today, before opening the Division Series Friday at Chicago.
Twice in as many Octobers, Familia has let down the Mets with post-season gopher balls. Last year, it was Kansas City's Alex Gordon in the World Series. This time, it was Gillaspie, a journeyman who was filling in for injured 3rd baseman Eduardo Nunez. The New York Post was predictably cruel with a headline this morning, asking if Familia could be trusted again. It is, however, a psychological hurdle that Familia and the Mets need to overcome if they are to make it to a 3rd straight post-season in 2017.
The simple truth of the matter is that the Mets' myriad of injuries had finally caught up with them. First baseman Lucas Duda was left off the roster for this game, as were rookies Brandon Nimmo and Seth Lugo, the latter likely to be put back on had the Mets advanced to the NLDS. Now, Duda and the rest of the walking wounded have at least four months to properly heal before training camp opens in Port St. Lucie in February. While there is no guarantee that David Wright will return---his best bet would be to move from 3rd base to 1st and challenge Duda and James Loney for the starting job---the Mets would be happy to have their Young Guns back together.
At the same time, they might need to hire an exorcist to find the cause of the injury plague that has haunted Citi Field since it opened 7 years ago. Then again, the Ghostbusters might be available........!