6/29/2014 1:40 P.M. ET
Familia has become a formidable reliever
By Stephen Pianovich / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Jeurys Familia's turnaround from an erratic, power-throwing arm into a shutdown setup man has earned high praise from Mets manager Terry Collins.
"I've been around a lot of guys, a lot of young pitchers, I don't think I've ever seen that big of a step forward," Collins said of the 24-year-old Dominican righty. "They get comfortable, obviously. … There was a time in April you were wondering if he'd stick here. And all he's done now is put himself in a position where every close game, he has to be in the game."
Familia had Collins and the rest of the coaching staff contemplating if he could remain in the Majors after he gave up five runs (four earned) in his first four appearances and was charged with a loss in two of them.
But as the season has progressed, so has Familia.
He's surrendered just one earned run in his last 12 outings -- a span of 13 innings -- entering Sunday. He had 12 strikeouts, one walk, a 0.69 ERA, a 0.615 WHIP and opponents hit .156 with a .391 OPS against him in that stretch. On top of that, Familia's last nine innings have been scoreless and he's lowered his ERA to 2.18 after it was 5.19 on April 25.
"Right now, [the coaching staff], they trust me," Familia said. "Every time I go in there, I try to do the best I can, do my job."
On Saturday, Familia held a two-run advantage for the Mets with perfect innings in the seventh and eighth, and he did so with just 12 pitches, nine of which were strikes. In 38 appearances this season, Familia has issued 15 walks, but just five of those have come in his last 22 games. Collins said his command has made a "huge difference."
"When you have that kind of power arm, everybody wants you to strike people out," Collins said. "They love the strikeout. I think he's understanding the kind of pitcher he is. … There's so much movement on his fastball, he's going to get ground balls, there's not going to be solid contact. The game is going to go a lot easier with those two-pitch outs."
In the past three weeks, Familia and fellow reliever Jenrry Mejia have become a formidable 1-2 punch at the back of the Mets' bullpen. In his last seven games, Mejia has given up only one run in 8 1/3 innings. Mejia has also had his share of struggles this season, but he and Familia have a combined 0.98 ERA since June 10, and the Mets are hoping it's a trend that continues.
Collins hopes Wright can avoid DL stint
PITTSBURGH -- David Wright missed his third consecutive game Sunday with a bruised rotator cuff in his left shoulder.
Wright is set to have the shoulder re-evaluated on Monday, and Mets manager Terry Collins said he is unsure how much more time Wright will miss, but sounded optimistic the bruise won't force Wright to the disabled list.
"With what they said yesterday, I don't think [a trip to the DL] is going to happen," Collins said Sunday morning. "But he could walk in tomorrow, still have discomfort and need to rest it longer, that could lead it in a different direction. I'm not planning on that, for sure."
While his shoulder heals, Wright's 10-game hitting streak is on hold, and he's temporarily unable to bolster his stats as he sits second in National League All-Star voting at third base, just 19,007 votes behind Aramis Ramirez of Milwaukee. Wright is hitting .385 with two homers, eight RBIs and a 1.083 OPS during the hitting streak.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
• X-rays came back negative on the right hand of catcher Anthony Recker. Recker took a foul tip off his right thumb in Saturday's 5-3 win against the Pirates.
Travis d'Arnaud started behind the plate on Sunday, and Collins said Recker would be available, but he hoped not to have to use him in the series finale. Recker is hitting .209/.254/.327 in 38 games this season.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.