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The Mets Have the Best Closer in Baseball

Getty Images
Getty Images

Here’s the thing about Mets fans: They’re in a cockpit hurtling toward Earth, and something has gone wrong. The thermotriglycerin reactor; the bugle transmitter. I don’t know. But the lights are flashing, the Thor siren is wailing, and manager Terry Collins’s face keeps flickering ominously behind a podium. It’s loud, basically, so when the radio crackles in to say, EARTH TO METS! EARTH TO METS! DO YOU READ ME? they probably won’t respond. They’ll be watching the glob of pure Reyes antimatter that escaped from the lab shoot through the air, while they hold onto the Céspedes ducts for dear life and hope nothing falls apart.

But guys. You guys. Jeurys Familia is great! Do you copy? Over.

It’s all very Mets, this kind of doing well (it’s only July, but their 50–43 record leaves them one game out of the second NL wild-card spot, and Baseball Prospectus gives them a 46.3 percent chance to make the playoffs) in the midst of a parade of catastrophes. Yoenis Céspedes is reliably dominant … but Noah Syndergaard might be seriously hurt. Syndergaard could be fine … but Matt Harvey has thoracic outlet syndrome and is out for the season, and maybe beyond. Juan Lagares is suddenly formidable and Curtis Granderson is on a hot streak … but José Reyes has returned to present us all with new, ugly moral dilemmas. Would success in Flushing even be success if it didn’t come with white knuckles? Did you hear a bang, or was that just me? Has anyone seen Alfred?

So, let’s all take a second to rejoice at one of the few things in the Mets universe that is undeniably great and miraculously trusty: the incredible work of closer Jeurys Familia. On Tuesday night he did it again, escaping from a bases-loaded, ninth-inning jam — by inducing a double play — the same thing he did three weeks ago, also against the Cubs. He drew the double play from no less than Kris Bryant, who this season had grounded into a double play exactly once before that at-bat. I know the oxygen is running out, but can we get one of these, please?

Familia, 26, is the best closer in baseball. He is 33-for-33 in save opportunities this season; the streak stretches to 49–49! — if extended to the 2015 regular season, tying John Axford’s 2011–12 run for the fourth-longest streak in MLB history. Familia’s last blown save in the regular season came nearly a calendar year ago; his ERA in 44.1 innings now sits at 2.44. There’s been much ado nationally about Mets pitchers over the past two years, but little for the stalwart bookending games with mesmerizing sinkers.

Hold on tight, Mets fans: The team is in good hands. Unless it breaks up entering the atmosphere. You never know with the Mets.