The Bronx’s Big Three in the bullpen might be regarded as the most dangerous combination in the majors, but the one-two punch in Flushing isn’t to be overlooked.
Addison Reed recorded his 17th hold of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.37 in the Mets’ 4-3 home victory Saturday night against the Cubs. He struck out four of the five batters he faced, allowing one hit, to bridge the game to Jeurys Familia, who is 28-for-28 in save opportunities after throwing a perfect ninth inning.
“I think everybody in the bullpen is doing its part,” said Familia, who lowered his ERA to 2.75. “Everyone is following the plan to the hitter and most important, everybody enjoys it.”
The Mets entered the game with the eighth best bullpen ERA (3.35) in baseball and the third best in the National League. Last season, the Mets had the 11th best ERA (3.48) in the majors.
After getting into and escaping trouble Thursday, Familia had a much easier time Saturday. He struck out Javier Baez looking before getting David Ross to ground out and Ben Zobrist to pop-up to Wilmer Flores at third base for the win.
But before Familia could extend his league lead in saves, Reed needed to preserve the lead.
Manager Terry Collins called on Reed with two outs in the seventh. Reed responded by striking out Kris Bryant, who entered the game leading the National League in home runs, after Jason Heyward moved to second base as the tying run on a wild pitch.
“There’s a certain stage in the game when you think, ‘Hey look, this is when we are going to win the game or lose the game . . . and I thought he was the guy to do it,” Collins said.
After allowing a leadoff single to Anthony Rizzo in the eighth, Reed struck out the next three batters he faced.
“He’s one of the best guys in the bullpen in the league,” Familia said. “Going out there and trusting his stuff, throwing his fastball and his slider — and he’s not afraid to throw his fastball.”
Collins said he has “all the confidence in the world” in Reed, which is why he wasn’t afraid to pitch him against Bryant in a key spot and then ask him to pitch the entire eighth inning. Collins trusts Reed’s ability to throw strikes. He only walked one batter in his last seven outings, and the setup man has 48 strikeouts in his last 36 innings.
“Nothing gets to him,” said catcher Travis d’Arnaud about Reed. “Kind of like Bartolo. He’s just able to remain calm in any situation and just go out there and execute pitches and obviously Familia, the same thing. He’s able to go out there and trust his stuff and just throw really well.”