Familia Trying To Stay In A Rhythm

Familia had a rough outing on Monday

BUFFALO, NY - It hasn't gone as planned. Jeurys Familia was supposed to be the dominant follow-up to Matt Harvey in the Bisons' rotation this season. From April through June, Familia was anything but that.

However, as the calendar has turned to July, Familia started turning his season around, posting three consecutive starts that resemble the promise of the 22-year-old was supposed to display in Triple-A.

"The first half of the season was hit-or-miss with him from a rhythm standpoint," Buffalo pitching coach Mark Brewer said. "When something's going good you've got to stick with it and if it's not you've got to change some things, and sometimes when things weren't going well he had a hard time doing that.

"I think as of late he's doing a good job making adjustments on the flight of the ball, and evaluating himself and recognizing the adjustments that need to be made."

Through his 17th start of the season on July 1, his ERA was 4.80. His lack of control had caused him to walk 52 batters on the young season, and he failed to make it out of the third inning on three separate occasions.

Familia attributed his struggles to Triple-A hitters capitalizing upon any mistake he made.

"I think the hitters are smarter [in AAA]," Familia said. "They are looking for one pitch when they go and hit, and you've got to throw strikes. It's not too [different from Double-A], if you throw strikes. If you throw strikes you can have the same [success] you did in Double-A."

But it's beginning to appear as though the young righty is figuring the league out even though he struggled again on Monday night [4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER]. Despite the struggles his ERA and WHIP have improved with each month of the season, but his previous three appearances are where he's shown that he can put it all together.

Familia had posted three consecutive quality starts in a row. In that timespan he had 22 and 2/3 innings pitched, while surrendering just two runs, 13 hits and four walks while striking out 20. Culminating in a purely dominant 8 inning three- hitter last Wednesday, Familia is once again showing the repertoire of a top-prospect.

In addition to his overpowering fastball, Familia is commanding is secondary pitches [curveball and changeup mostly] for strikes and cutting down on free passes.

Brewer says that the same plan the organization put in place in April remains for the rest of the season -- to work on pounding the zone with all of his pitches.

"The plan is still in place from the beginning of the season," Brewer said. "We're working on commanding those three pitches, and getting him to stay in a rhythm."

Earlier in the season the biggest concern for Familia was his inability to find a consistent arm angle. The problem was so severe that manager Wally Backman pulled him after two innings in May because he feared he might get injured.

Brewer thinks that the rhythm Familia has been able to develop has improved his delivery repetition and that finding a consistent arm slot is no longer a concern.

While the Mets' organization have high hopes for the young pitcher, Familia's goal for the remainder of the season is so simple.

"I'm just going to try and do what I've done the last three starts," Familia said prior to Monday's game.

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