Yes, it’s come to this. Jerry Manuel’s managing has become such a hot button topic that we need a running log.
STARTING LINEUP: D
-I’m not completely outraged that Omir Santos gets this start, because Castro has a history of getting injured when he's overused, but I still think Castro should get more playing time.
-Gary Sheffield should never hit ahead of David Wright, Wouldn’t you rather have Wright up with 2 out and a man in scoring position in the first? Wouldn’t you rather have Wright up with 2 in scoring position and no out in the eighth? If they wanna walk him, fine. Let them walk him.
-Alex Cora should never hit leadoff. I don’t care how hot he is. He’s still Alex Cora, of the career .315 OBP.
-Ignore the fact that Fernando Tatis actually has first base experience and Jeremy Reed doesn’t. Which of these hitters would you rather have in your lineup? Jeremy “.684 career OPS” Reed with a 30 point platoon advantage, or Fernando “.793 career OPS” Tatis even-handed? If you said the first one, odds are likely that you are actually Jerry Manuel and not a rational human being.
BULLPEN MANAGEMENT: B-
There isn’t much to talk about here for once since Pelfrey gave a solid effort, but I would’ve preferred to see Takahashi go two innings since he had a pretty effortless 7th. In Manuel’s defense, Sean Green does need to get back on track and down two against two righties, Sandoval, and another righty if anyone gets on isn’t a bad spot to start.
IN-GAME TACTICS: F
Lordy, where to start.
-I’ll give Manuel the benefit of the doubt on the first inning bunt with Castillo. It is right to sacrifice early SOMETIMES in games that will probably be low-scoring, and Pelfrey and Cain were both pretty decent, balls and balks aside. AT&T/Pac Bell/Giants/Corporate ballpark is also a pretty fair pitchers park.
-I know this partially falls on Omar Minaya, but is it sadder that a) Fernando Tatis came in to play shortstop or b) that given our roster’s construction, he might actually be the best guy for the job? Castillo doesn’t have the range for it, and there is no way you want to risk Wright over there even though he may make more sense than Tatis. Sad on all counts.
-As far as the balk calls, why is he so passive about arguing these things? One of Earl Weaver’s axioms is that the manager needs to get out there and argue so that if anyone gets thrown out, it’s the manager. Instead, he had a half-hearted conversation with the crew chief. His arguing was so obviously faked that it looked like he belonged on an MTV dating show.
-Shading David Wright deep and towards the hole when Sandoval was up didn't pay off for the Mets, since he hit through that hole anyway and then dropped down a bunt on a stunned Wright. Sandoval has already done that once this year, and while I’m not entirely sure that Manuel should get blamed for a once-a-month thing, Wright probably could’ve been in a little shorter.
-Intentionally walking the bases loaded down two was a disastrous move, and the Mets are extremely fortunate that it worked out. At that point, you’re saying you have no confidence in your team’s ability to score three runs even though they’d been getting plenty of baserunners against Cain. If Rowand had cranked one down the line or into the gap, the game would’ve gone from one that you can still tie with a grand slam to a game that you’re realistically out of. Manuel was very lucky here. As Lou Brown said to Willie Mays Hayes, “nice walk Manuel, don’t ever (bleep)ing do it again.”
-Angel Pagan pinch-hitting on his second day back from a year long injury, with the bases loaded, when Ramon Castro is on the bench. There are no words to describe how bad this was. At this point, I almost wish the Mets would just let Castro go. We obviously don’t utilize him right, maybe some team that actually knows what its doing can try that. Then, to make things all better, he pinch-hit with Castro in the bottom of the ninth anyway. Abysmal.
On the bright side, I’ve decided that even though Manuel was awful in this game, he was still better than Steve Phillips was at announcing.