The news Saturday that closer Jenrry Mejia had been suspended for 80 games for failing a steroid test hit the Mets hard. Nowhere did it hit harder than in the bullpen, which already was dealing with reshuffling brought about by the elbow injury that felled Mejia on Opening Day.
The reshuffling made Jeurys Familia the closer and turned Carlos Torres and Jerry Blevins into his chief setup men. That trio threw 22/3 innings of scoreless ball Monday to preserve the Mets' 2-0 victory over the Phillies in the home opener at Citi Field.
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Torres, Blevins and Familia also combined to close out the Mets' 4-3 win in Atlanta on Sunday. And though the Mets lost Saturday after Mejia's suspension was announced, the bullpen tossed three scoreless innings in that game, too.StoryMets closer Mejia banned 80 games for PEDsStoryWright: Suspended Mejia 'let his teammates down'
All together, Mets relievers haven't given up a run in 72/3 innings since the Mejia news broke. That's called picking up your teammate.
"I think we just have good chemistry," said Blevins, a lefthander the Mets acquired from division rival Washington near the end of spring training. "Everybody's prepared, everybody's there from the get-go. We see how the game's developing and it gives guys a little bit of mental readiness."
Blevins was mentally ready to start the eighth inning Monday with the Mets leading 1-0. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning against rookie Odubel Herrera, the dangerous Chase Utley and the once-dangerous Ryan Howard.
Blevins has faced eight batters as a Met -- all lefties -- and retired them all.
"I'm not sure we would have won yesterday or won today without him," manager Terry Collins said.
Before Blevins, there was Torres. He came in with two on and one out in the seventh and got pinch hitter Cesar Hernandez to ground into a forceout on a nice play by Daniel Murphy to his left and froze Ben Revere on a 3-and-2 pitch for an inning-ending strikeout.
Then came Familia, who got the last two outs Sunday for his first save of the year and seventh of his career.
Collins later suggested that closing out the home opener in front of 43,947 fans was a different animal, and Familia did seem extra amped.
He walked Carlos Ruiz to open the ninth before getting a visit from David Wright, who Familia said told him to "breathe." Familia induced a 3-6-1 double play from Grady Sizemore and ended the game with a fly to center by Cody Asche.
Before the game, general manager Sandy Alderson said he spoke to Mejia after the suspension was announced.
"He knows he made a mistake and he's paying a price," Alderson said. "We're paying a price. You've got to move ahead."
Clearly, they are.