Luckily for my remote control I was at last nights game, and therefore unable to throw it in anger as I watched Jerry Manuels' cavalcade of stupidity. Stupid decisions were the order of the night. Most lazy observers will only see the positive outcomes and credit "grission" for the Mets win. More astute observers will see the positive results as a combination of dumb luck and poor execution by the Cardinals. Which makes last night's win more infuriating. Stupidity was rewarded. And as long as stupidity gets rewarded, it will only encourage more stupidity. It's a vicious cycle that will eventually end in disaster.
Take if you will the case of Razor Shines. Razor Shines is awful! Last night he could have been responsible for three outs at the plate. The Cardinals had a chance to get David Wright at the plate in the first. Instead, Pujols opted to cut off the throw and get a sure out a third with Tatis. Holding up Wright would have produced a bases loaded, two out situation for Luis Castillo. It's not an ideal situation, but the Mets were hitting Wellemeyer hard and Wright was nowhere near a sure run at the plate. In the fourth, Omir Santos would have been dead at the plate if not Brendan Ryan's throw. With one out, this is not a chance you take, even with a light hitting pitcher on deck. I couldn't tell if Castillo was actually tagged out in the 8th, but once again, it was too close and a better throw definitely gets him.
While this isn't specifically Jerry's fault, It reflects a managerial philosophy that believes, aggressive base running = good base running, and it's o.k. to make mistakes if you are aggressive. This philosophy has led to a plethora of Mets being thrown out on the bases this year. Each of those is a potential run lost and an out that didn't have to happen. Over time, those runs add up and they will likely lead to bad losses more often than good wins.
Take if you will the case of Jon Switzer. Parnell, Green, and Feliciano were clearly in need of a rest. Bringing in Switzer to face the left-handed Skip Schumaker was a fine decision. Switzer struck him out. Right-handed Tyler Greene pinch hit. Right-handed Albert Pujols was on deck. There was no doubt Brian Stokes would be facing Pujols. So, who should pitch to Greene? Why Switzer of course. Because we all know Jerry doesn't listen to stats like this:
Switzer vs. RHB (MLB career) 205 PA .353/.448/.549
Had Stokes (.299/.336/.438 vs. LHB) come in, LaRussa could have gone to lefty Chris Duncan (.278/.370/.503 vs. RHB). But this would have meant burning two bench players and it raises the question, of why Duncan wasn't in the lineup against Redding to begin with.
Ultimately, the decision to leave Switzer in resulted in a single, but the stupidity was bailed out when Stokes induced a double play ball from Pujols.
Take if you will the 8th inning bunt-a-thon. Leadoff single by Castillo. (yeahhh!) Brian Stokes due up. Clearly a pinch hit situation. F! sent up to pinch hit. (yeahhh!) F! squares to bunt. (WTF!!!!) As much as I hate it, I've grown accustomed to the fact the Jerry loves to play for one run. But the stupidity of wasting a player off the bench to give away an out is mind-numbing. If you want to sacrifice, send Stokes up there. I doubt he has much experience bunting, but how much does F! have? And aren't these the "fundies" that Jerry is so good at implementing? Again, stupidity is rewarded because of D. Reyes' fat fingers. As if this wasn't bad enough, Jerry tried to give the Cards another out by having Cora bunt. Luckilly he failed and drove in a run with a single. But then, Jerry tried again to give the Cards an out by having Murphy bunt. Murphy?!? Really?!?. Jerry finally succeeded in giving the Cardinals an out in the 8th but not the way he had hoped. Muph flied out all on his own.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but the insanity and ineptitude Jerry displayed last night is maddening and so perfectly highlights how bad he is at managing.
I know I'm going to get crap for saying this, but I often get more upset when these stupid decisions succeed, because it overshadows how bad the process is. My heart wants this team to stay in the hunt, but my brain says they don't deserve it and they are only in it because the division is terrible. What is even more frightening is that as long as David and the Bisons stay competitive, the narrative from the traditional sportswriters will be how Jerry has managed to keep the team competitive in the face of all the injuries. And Jerry will keep his job. And stupidity will be rewarded once again.