Anthony Rieber has been at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998 and in his current position since 2004. Show More
On Wednesday, with Dellin Betances unavailable, Yankees manager Joe Girardi called in closer Andrew Miller for a muscular five-out save in Seattle. Miller got it for his 17th save in 17 chances.
On Thursday, with no one else in his bullpen he trusts, Mets manager Terry Collins called in closer Jeurys Familia for an equally muscular five-out save in Arizona. Familia got it for his 16th save in 17 chances.
The kicker to the closer story? Neither one of them might be the best reliever in New York. That could be Betances, who until Friday hadn't allowed an earned run all season (entering Saturday night, he had given up 11 hits and struck out 51 in 301/3 innings).
It's the beginning of a delicious debate. If you could have only one of these firemen on your team, which would you pick?
It's easy to say Betances because he appears to be the most dominant of the trio (although the standard and advanced stats say all three have been insanely dominant).
Or maybe Miller because he's lefthanded and nearly unhittable.
But don't count out Familia. His stats are just as jaw-dropping as the two Yankees. Plus Miller and Betances have each other. Familia is doing it almost by himself, as his three five-out saves (two in the last week) attest.
And he wasn't even supposed to be the Mets' closer this season. He was thrust into the role when Jenrry Mejia was suspended for steroid use.
Here are the facts to consider along with their stats (see chart; all stats through Thursday):
Miller, 30, and Betances, 27, are failed starters who took a long time to find their niches. The Mets earmarked Familia, 25, for the bullpen after only one big-league start in 2012.
Familia and Betances both make a little north of $500,000. Miller is being paid $9 million in the first year of his four-year, $36-million contract.
Career saves coming into 2015: Familia six, Miller one, Betances one.
So who is more likely to maintain his excellence with a relatively short track record?
If it's raw power you like, Familia is the only one of the trio to throw a pitch faster than 100 miles per hour this season, according to PITCHf/x data on Fangraphs.com.
Familia's peak velocity is 100.4 mph. He is averaging 96.7 with his sinking fastball, which he has thrown the most of any pitch in 2015. His slider averages 88.8 mph; he has held batters to an .094 average with that pitch.
Betances is averaging 96.6 mph with his fastball with a high of 99.4, but he has thrown it far less than his best pitch, the hard-to-describe and hard-to-hit curveball. He has thrown the curve 261 times with a .125 batting average against and the fastball 177 times with a BAA of .083.
Miller is an equal-opportunity bat-misser. He has thrown his slider and fastball exactly 196 times each. His fastball averages 94.4 mph with a high of 97.8 and a BAA of .143. Batters are hitting .043 against his slider.
And perhaps the biggest question, one that no one can truly answer: Which ones will stay healthy despite the workloads placed on them?
That might end up being the deciding factor in this debate.