Bullpen Report: May 10, 2017

Jeurys Familia had been one of the most valuable and reliable closers over the last two seasons. Now, less than two weeks after returning to the closer’s role for the Mets following his 15-game domestic violence suspension and a brief “easing in” period, one has to wonder how secure his job is.

Familia blew his first save of the season Wednesday in a 6-5 loss to the Giants, but signs of trouble had been brewing for awhile. Upon his return to the Mets, Familia struggled with control, and while he has improved in that regard lately, he hasn’t been fooling many hitters. He has thrown 61 pitches in the month of May, and has coaxed exactly one swinging strike. That was back on May 1.

In this particular game, you could blame others for Familia’s blown save. You could fault Wilmer Flores, who made an errant throw on what could have been a game-ending double-play ball from Eduardo Nunez. You could lay responsibility at the feet of Terry Collins, who sent Familia out for the third straight day. It was Familia, though, who issued two walks, threw only 12 of his 26 pitches for strikes, allowed the RBI single to Hunter Pence that tied the game and the bases-clearing double by Christian Arroyo that gave the Giants a three-run lead.

Meanwhile, Addison Reed has overcome some late April jitters by pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings in May with two hits allowed, no walks and six strikeouts. He also has 15 swinging strikes in 64 pitches. He is not a bad reliever to own if you already have Familia or if you just want to speculate on a future source of saves.

The drama continued into the bottom of the ninth, as Derek Law got his first save chance since Mark Melancon (elbow) was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday. The Mets fought (the) Law, coming within a run on a Flores two-run double, but ultimately (the) Law won. Actually, Law just got the save.

Brad Brach was not as fortunate as he went for his fourth save in the six days since Zach Britton’s forearm issues reemerged. He got only one out in blowing a two-run lead over the Nationals in the bottom of the ninth. After starting off the season with 11 scoreless appearances covering 12 innings, Brach’s ERA is now up to 3.79. He told MLB.com he was not keeping his fastball down enough and also cited working behind in the count too often as a source of his troubles.

Part of that latter problem could be due to Brach not being as effective with his slider. In the past, it has been a reliable swing-and-miss pitch, particularly outside of the strike zone. Entering this game, he had a 4.0 percent swinging strike rate on it and had not struck out a single batter with it this season. His average slider velocity this month has been 85.6 mph, as compared to 86.5 mph last May.

There is no closer controversy in Baltimore just yet. but Darren O’Day looms as a potential replacement if Brach continues to struggle.

With the Nationals trailing by two in the top of the ninth, viewers got a night off from speculating over who would close a game for them. For what it’s worth, Matt Albers struck out the side in the ninth inning, lowering his ERA to 0.69. Maybe he can grab another save, but time is running out with Shawn Kelley (back) and Koda Glover (hip) both due back soon. In fact, Kelley could return as soon as Friday.

Cody Allen is still a perfect 9-for-9 in saves this season, but he suffered his first loss on Wednesday. He entered a 7-7 tie with the Blue Jays in the bottom of the ninth, and after loading the bases with a single and two walks, Allen gave up a walk-off single to Ryan Goins. He had been wild in his recent appearances, throwing only 30 of 65 pitches for strikes in his first three May outings, and in this game, he threw strikes on just half of his 32 pitches. Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway told MLB.com that Allen is working on tweaking his delivery in order to address his control issues.

Saves roundup: Greg Holland (14), Ken Giles (9), Seung Hwan Oh (9), Santiago Casilla (6), Matt Bush (2), Law (2).

Other closer activity: Roberto Osuna pitched a perfect top of the ninth in a tie game against the Indians and was credited with the win for the Blue Jays. Neftali Feliz entered with a four-run lead in the top of the ninth against the Red Sox and allowed a run on one walk.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Fernando Rodney JJ Hoover Jorge de la Rosa
Atlanta Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino Jose Ramirez Mauricio Cabrera
Baltimore Brad Brach Darren O’Day Mychal Givens Zach Britton
Boston Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Heath Hembree Carson Smith
CHI (NL) Wade Davis Hector Rondon Koji Uehara
CHI (AL) David Robertson Tommy Kahnle Anthony Swarzak Nate Jones
Cincy Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Drew Storen
Cleveland Cody Allen Andrew Miller Bryan Shaw
Colorado Greg Holland Adam Ottavino Jake McGee Mike Dunn
Detroit Justin Wilson Alex Wilson Francisco Rodriguez
Houston Ken Giles Luke Gregerson Will Harris
KC Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria Peter Moylan
LAA Bud Norris David Hernandez Blake Parker Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Luis Avilan
Miami A.J. Ramos Brad Ziegler Kyle Barraclough
Milwaukee Neftali Feliz Corey Knebel Jacob Barnes
Minnesota Brandon Kintzler Matt Belisle Taylor Rogers Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Addison Reed Hansel Robles
NY (AL) Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard
Oakland Santiago Casilla Ryan Madson Ryan Dull Sean Doolittle
Philly Hector Neris Joaquin Benoit Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Tony Watson Felipe Rivero Daniel Hudson
St. Louis Seung Hwan Oh Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist
SD Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter Brad Hand Carter Capps
SF Derek Law Hunter Strickland Josh Osich Mark Melancon
Seattle Edwin Diaz Nick Vincent Tony Zych Steve Cishek
TB Alex Colome Danny Farquhar Chase Whitley Brad Boxberger
Texas Matt Bush Jeremy Jeffress Keone Kela Jose Leclerc
Toronto Roberto Osuna Joe Smith Jason Grillih
Wash. Matt Albers Enny Romero Blake Treinen Shawn Kelley

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

Al Melchior has been writing about Fantasy baseball and sim games since 2000, and his work has appeared at CBSSports.com, BaseballHQ, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster and FanRagSports. He has also participated in Tout Wars' mixed auction league since 2013. You can follow Al on Twitter @almelchiorbb and find more of his work at almelchior.com.

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We need to stop referring to Familia’s suspension as “Domestic Violence”. He did not attack or threaten his wife. All details point to him simply being in a rage that night, possibly breaking things, and “acting crazy” as she put it.

Turd Furgeson
Turd Furgeson

but was it ” balfour rage”? if youre a publicist it isn’t helping.


So if I hear you right, he was reacting violently in a domestic setting? If only we had a phrase for that….

Baller McCheese
Baller McCheese

When the best defense of someone is that they were “simply being in a rage”, then that’s not a good thing.


I think I’d find it pretty threatening if my SO was in a rage, possibly breaking things, and “acting crazy”.

John Morgan
John Morgan

Not to fan the flames (I’m bad at this) but I think his point is only that one incident (that we know of) does not meet the usual threshold for “domestic violence,” which, if I may quote Wikipedia, “is a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting[.]” And by casually referring to what Familia did as “domestic violence” we run the risk of both presuming too much about a person and a situation of which we have very partial knowledge, and belittling an awful but all too common problem–one many of us know personally.

Okay … I comment too much.


I get what you’re saying, but can we definitively say that Familia has only been violent and abusive (if not physically abusive, certainly verbally/emotionally/psychologically if he repeatedly harangues his wife) one time? It’s likely he’s done this multiple times, and she just felt forced to call the police this one time.