Three weeks, three closers.
That's how the 2014 season has started for the Mets, who have replaced the struggling Jose Valverde with Kyle Farnsworth, the latest to attempt to fill in for the injured Bobby Parnell.
"We're all together and we've all got to contribute one way or the other,'' said Farnsworth, whose diminished velocity was one of the reasons he didn't make the team out of camp. "Obviously,'' he said after lowering his ERA to 1.08 Sunday, "I feel a lot better now than I did then.''
The new pecking order was apparent in Sunday's 14-inning, 4-3 victory over the Braves. Farnsworth got the call with the score tied in the 10th inning and Valverde did not pitch until the 14th. Each threw a scoreless inning, with Valverde picking up the win.
Farnsworth, 38, was released near the end of spring training so the Mets could avoid paying him a contractually required bonus of $100,000. Now he steps in for Valverde, 36, who gave up a home run in the ninth Saturday night to hasten his demotion.
Before Sunday, Valverde (4.82 ERA) had allowed four homers in his three previous games. "If I'm not doing my job, somebody has to do it,'' he said. "And if this guy's not doing his job, somebody has to do it. That's what happens. It's a team and everybody's together.''
The Mets hoped to avoid the closer carousel when they looked to Parnell to reprise his role after a neck injury sidelined him in 2013. Instead, after blowing the save on Opening Day, he was lost to an elbow injury that required season-ending surgery.