WASHINGTON -- Considering Jeurys Familia's rapid baptism as one of the game's best closers, it is easy to forget he has only served in the role for 13-plus months. Even in that small sample, to judge Familia on the basis of three blown saves in the 2015 World Series --
WASHINGTON -- Considering Jeurys Familia's rapid baptism as one of the game's best closers, it is easy to forget he has only served in the role for 13-plus months. Even in that small sample, to judge Familia on the basis of three blown saves in the 2015 World Series -- much of that damage fueled by poor defense around him -- would be entirely unfair.
October aside, Familia has spent his past year building a resume as one of the best closers in Mets history. When he escaped a two-on, no-outs jam Wednesday to seal a 2-0 win over the Nationals, Familia set a franchise record with his 32nd consecutive regular-season save conversion dating back to last season, passing Billy Wagner's 31 straight from 2006-07.
"When we had Billy, you might as well have just made it an eight-inning game," said third baseman David Wright, the only Met to play behind both closers in New York. "When he came in, he was getting the job done. And Jeurys is slowly getting there. Obviously he doesn't have the track record that Billy's got, but he's certainly got the stuff. And that's a tremendous compliment, because Billy arguably had some of the best stuff of anyone in baseball."
Though Familia still has a ways to go to match Wagner's 101 saves in three-plus years with the Mets, he is rapidly gaining on him. Now 16-for-16 in save conversions this year, Familia owns the second-longest active streak in the Majors behind Arizona's Brad Ziegler (36-for-36). He needs 10 more conversions to break Armando Benitez's franchise-record 25 straight saves to open the 2001 season.
Already, Familia's 65 career saves are tied for ninth in franchise history. Though John Franco's franchise-leading 276 may be untouchable for a long time, Familia could realistically rank as high as fifth on the Mets' saves list by year's end.
"I've been working from last year, trying to be more consistent," Familia said. "I'm trying to be more effective. Every time I come into the game, I'm trying to attack hitters."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.