PHOENIX -- In a one-run game last Sunday against the Marlins, with the potential tying run on base in the eighth and Giancarlo Stanton at the plate, Terry Collins refused to take even the slightest risk. Instead, he turned to closer Jeurys Familia, who struck out Stanton en route to a five-out save.
Familia did not pitch again until Thursday's 6-2 win over the D-backs, when Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt -- one of the few players in baseball who can rival Stanton's offensive prowess -- came to the plate in a two-run game with one out in the eighth. Again, Collins turned to his closer for five outs. Again, Familia struck out the other team's best hitter en route to the save, this time with a 98-mph fastball right down the middle.
"Like I always say, it doesn't matter who's hitting," Familia said. "I just go out there trying to do my job."
Familia may be pitching less frequently than at any point this season, but in at least some ways, his workload has rarely been heavier. Though Familia has appeared in just three of the Mets' last nine games, he has recorded at least five outs in all of them. It hasn't always been easy -- during Thursday's save, Familia walked a batter, allowed a hit and uncorked three wild pitches -- but it has unquestionably been successful.
So Familia will continue appearing for more than three outs, Collins said, as long as situations continue to dictate it's best for the Mets.
"We said tonight, 'We need the game,'" Collins said. "When we've got what I consider one of the best in the league sitting there, I'm not going to let Goldschmidt hit it off anybody but him. So if you send him out there, you might as well finish with him. We'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.