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Manuel Managing Report Card: Game 41, The Battle For Sweet Caroline (I)

 

STARTING LINEUP: C-

PLUS: Daniel Murphy leading off without Jose Reyes is a pretty good idea, not as good as Gary Sheffield leading off, but there were much worse options.  I also was a fan of Manuel putting Ramon Martinez in the 8 hole, as I'm a subscriber to the second leadoff man theory and Ramon Martinez might as well be a pitcher.  I think Reed should've been the second leadoff man rather than Castillo though.

MINUS: Omir Santos continues to split time with Castro almost evenly despite the fact that he's just not very good at baseball.  David Wright continues to bat fifth behind Sheffield even though he's been an on-base machine and the guys behind him just aren't good enough to pick him up that often.  I think right now it goes Sheffield, Beltran, Chuch/Murphy, Wright, Church/Murphy.  Or at least it would if Church was healthy enough to play a full game.  Wither Fartinez?  I'll also take my chances with Tatis over Martinez at shortstop.  Martinez might actually look worse out there than Tatis right now.  Other people who I'd take over Martinez right now at shortstop: Argenis Reyes, Danny Garcia, Joe McEwing, Mike Bordick, Ray Durham, Chris Gomez, Mark Grudzielanek, half of the shortstops playing in independent leagues...

BULLPEN MANAGEMENT: A-

Jerry went to his best two relievers so far this year.  They needed to pitch two innings.  They mowed down the side in both innings.  Hm, that was pretty easy.

IN-GAME TACTICS: C

This struck me as a game where the Mets probably should've been stealing more than they did.  Obviously they didn't have very many opportunities since the majority of their hits came in one inning and left runners on first and second, but Jason Varitek has thrown out fewer than 25% of runners stealing for five years in a row and is down to 19% thus far this year.    I think I would've liked to see a few more steal attempts instead of repeatedly sacrificing, particularly in the seventh with Castillo aboard.  I might've even been inclined to send Murphy against Varitek in the fifth.   In fact, given Varitek's weak arm, I think there was probably an argument to be made for starting Pagan over Church here.  Hindsight and all that.

Boy, that American League baseball sure makes this thing easier to write.  No real pinch-hitting situations for the Mets, especially since they have such a short-handed bench at the moment.  I guess technically Castro should always pinch-hit for Santos and Tatis should always pinch-hit for Martinez, but thats just because they should be starting over them.

 

OVERALL: B-

I hesitate to give this grade again because I feel like Manuel did a better job last night, but he did emphasize the speed game/faster runners against Varitek and that was a really good managerial decision in my opinion.  He also went with both bullpen aces and the two run lead was low enough leverage that you can argue he went to them in the right order.  I might've even brought out Parnell for another inning and saved K-Rod.  But then again we do have to manage to a silly rule for some reason.

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