NEW YORK -- Terry Collins still thinks back to when Jenrry Mejia initially suffered an injury last season, later losing his job due to a PED suspension. The Mets' manager recalls approaching Jeurys Familia to ask him, "Can you do this?"
"He said, 'Yes,'" Collins recalled Wednesday, after Familia nailed down his 44th save in a 5-2 win over the Marlins, setting the Mets' single-season franchise record. "He has been absolutely dominant at times and he has learned to take the tough times and slough them off -- that's part of baseball -- and bounce back."
Familia's record-breaking save was not particularly notable outside of the fact that it happened quickly. Moments after Kelly Johnson gave the Mets a three-run lead with his go-ahead double in the eighth inning, Familia strutted to the mound. Three batters later, he strutted off it with two more groundouts and a strikeout to his name.
"I just want to thank God for giving me the ability and having me healthy these couple years," Familia said. "And then I want to say thank you to everybody in this room -- my teammates, my coaches. That's it. I'm so happy right now."
Perhaps most impressively, Familia still has more than a full month -- 29 games in total -- to extend his record out of reach. He already owned a share of the Mets' all-time mark, saving 43 games last year to match Armando Benitez's 2001 total. This year, Familia is on pace to save 54 games, which would be the fifth-highest total in Major League history. Francisco Rodriguez owns MLB's all-time mark, saving 62 games for the Angels in 2008.
Even if he never approaches Rodriguez's total, Familia will likely stamp his name all over the Mets' record books by the time his career is through. Already, Familia ranks fifth in Mets history with 93 career saves, amassing all but six of them over the past two seasons. He could rank as high as fourth by year's end, though John Franco's record 276 saves with the Mets remains far off in the distance.
More pertinently, the Mets need Familia at his best throughout their postseason chase. Even as others in the bullpen have faltered, Familia has stayed strong, with a 2.60 ERA in a team-high 64 appearances.
"We're in the hunt now because of him, and we got to the World Series last year because of him," Collins said. "I'm real proud of him. I remember when I saw him in Class A ball when I first joined the New York Mets organization, and the first time I saw him pitch I said, 'This guy is going to be some kind of relief pitcher.' That power sinker is tough to find. He's done a great job."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. 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.