Jeurys Familia Defied the Odds Against the Cubs to Extend His Save Streak
New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia hasn't blown a save all season or a regular-season chance since August 1st of 2015, but his first gaffe of the season seemed guaranteed last night against the Chicago Cubs.
With a 2-1 lead, Familia and the Mets owned an 81% chance to seal the deal entering the ninth inning, according to FanGraphs.
Familia, who walked just 15 of the 174 batters he faced entering the game (an 8.6% walk rate) worked Addison Russell, a below average hitter against righties with a wRC+ of 96 on the year, to an 0-2 count before throwing four consecutive balls to put the leadoff man on first base.
That was just his third walk after an 0-2 count on the season (35 batters). The Cubs' chances of winning went from 19.0% to 32.3%.
Familia's problems compounded when he walked Miguel Montero, who is even worse with an 86 wRC+ against righties, on four pitches. This tilted the game in Chicago's favor, earning them a 50.9% chance to pull out the win.
The save machine threw a ninth consecutive ball when Javier Baez and his 73 wRC+ against righties entered the box, and Baez's no-out single two pitches later loaded the bases. Chicago's win odds shot up to 73.6%.
A Matt Szczur (94 wRC+ against righties, the fourth consecutive below-average righty Familia faced) grounder led to a fielder's choice, as Russell was thrown out at home. Chicago's win chances dropped to 52.9% with one out and the bases loaded.
But with Kris Bryant (and his monstrous 138 wRC+ against right-handed pitching) at the plate, a second (or third, fourth, and fifth) run seemed much more certain. After all, Bryant had grounded into one double play all season -- on June 2nd -- but wouldn't you know it?
Gosh, this was beautiful. #MetsWinhttps://t.co/dDFjfh3FwW
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 20, 2016
Familia and the Mets hung on to give him his league-leading 33rd save -- his 49th straight (the longest active streak in the Majors) -- and all of us this beauty of a win probability graph.
The Mets need every win they can get. With a 50-43 record, New York is very much a playoff contender, as they have a 46.0% chance to reach the postseason, 10th-highest in baseball, and their 2.5% chance to win the World Series also ranks them 10th, according to our algorithms.