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Jeurys Familia sets saves record for Dominican-born pitchers

Fifty saves isn’t just a round number.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the Marlins, Mets closer Jeurys Familia became the first pitcher this season to reach 50 saves. He already has the Mets’ saves record having surpassed Armando Benitez’s 43 saves earlier this month, which he tied in 2015. But now he has another mark to hang his hat on: the single-season saves record for any pitcher from the Dominican Republic.

No Dominican-born pitcher had reached 50 saves before. Entering Wednesday, Jose Valverde, Francisco Cordero, and Familia shared the record of 49. Familia now has 93 saves (and counting) over the last two seasons, a remarkable feat given the fact he wasn’t even supposed to be the closer heading into 2015. That job, squandered away by Jenrry Mejia thanks to PED suspensions, is now firmly in the hands of Familia, who should be in consideration for the best closer in Mets history.

From Kristie Ackert in the New York Daily News:

“For me it’s something very important,” Familia said. “From my country to be the first to get to 50, I just want to say thank you to all the coaches in here and my teammates, because if they don’t do well before me I don’t make it. In that moment, big moment, the dugout was there to motivate me to keep going and doing my job the way I do.”

In 2016, Familia has converted 50 of 55 save chances. He has a 2.62 ERA, 2.43 FIP, and 80 strikeouts in 75.2 innings.