Tag: jerry manuel

Santos for Castro Revisited

There were other reasons the Mets lost yesterday, but the magnifying glass is on Jerry Manuel’s unbelievably illogical decision to replace Ramon Castro with Omir Santos in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and the bases loaded.

Per Manuel:

“I thought Santos had a better shot. I think Santos has a little shorter swing and when you have a little shorter swing it’s easier to get to a guy who’s throwing in the upper 90s. If it would’ve been a different, um, let’s say a sinker-slider guy, then Ramon would’ve continued to hit.”

Manuel stated this with conviction and clarity, and looked every writer in the eye as he said it. It was still absolute idiocy.

First is the obvious: Ramon Castro has 11 years’ big league experience, compared to Santos’ 35 MLB at-bats.

Second is the just as obvious: Castro already had two hits on the day, both off of Josh Johnson, who BY THE WAY was throwing in the upper 90s. In fact his 97-98 MPH fastballs were only a mile or two slower than Matt Lindstrom’s 98-99 MPH heaters.

Third is the nearly as obvious: Santos was “cold”, meaning, he’d been sitting on the bench all game. Pinch-hitting is hard enough, but to come into a game late and face a guy throwing that kind of gas … well, it’s damn near impossible to get a hit.

Fourth is the not-so-obvious: Omir Santos was unprepared to pinch-hit. He was so sure he had no chance of getting into the game at that point, he was somewhere in the clubhouse (getting undressed? head start on the caterer’s table? on the can?).

What this move came down to was Jerry Manuel deciding that he’d take a page out of Joe Torre’s book and “play a hunch”. If it worked, he’d be praised in the press as an absolute genius. If it didn’t, no matter, he’s still a media darling and they’ll give him a pass. Heck, if he explains himself clearly and looks everyone in the eye, no one will question how blatantly stupid a move it was. This Jedi mind trick stuff has been working since last June, after all.

Unfortunately for Jerry, this blogger is calling you to the carpet. My guess is the rest of the media will follow suit, and shortly.

Let’s not forget that this time next week, Omir Santos will be in Buffalo and Ramon Castro will still be a New York Met. Manuel has more or less sent the message that he does not trust in Castro’s skill at the plate in a big spot — how is that going to affect Castro’s psyche in future situations? How would YOU feel, if you were Ramon Castro?

By the way, Jerry Manuel is signed through 2010, and will collect $1.5M for this year and next. Willie Randolph is due to receive $2.25M this year. The chance that the Wilpons will eat almost $4M AND pay someone new is next to nil. So get used to the idiocy.


Manuel On Mets Inability to Come Back

During last night’s postgame press conference, David Lennon posed a direct question to Jerry Manuel regarding the Mets’ inability to come back in games after falling behind.

Please listen, and if you can glean anything that resembles something other than blithering idiocy, please post it in the comments. It sounds like Manuel wants the Mets to hit more line drives when they fall behind … which I guess makes sense, since you want to hit line drives all the time, regardless of the situation.

Though I’m not sure what he means by “… what it is, that we do, that other teams do, well, in those situations … ”

Crank up the volume and listen to this file


Link Roundup

Anthony Rieber of Newsday alerts Carlos Beltran to the fact that his dad’s senior softball league does not allow sliding, but the National League does.

Andrew Vazzano of TheRopolitans regurgitates a quick Q&A on Ken Takahashi he did with BaseballDigest.com‘s Japanese specialist Patrick Newman. Guess what? Takahashi was NOT particularly strong against LH hitters. Swell.

Wallace Matthews tells the tale of the two players known as Ryan Church.

Former Mets batboy Matt Tracy indicts Omar Minaya for the Mets’ struggles this year. He also exposes Jerry Manuel’s ignorance of opposing players, and still doesn’t see the logic of firing Willie Randolph (join the club).


Pitching Options (None)

In Adam Rubin’s column today, it was suggested that the Mets might shake up the starting pitching rotation, and/or consider adding an eighth reliever to fit the role of long man:

Manuel mentioned after the Mets’ fourth straight loss that the club may be forced to add an eighth reliever, to guard against overworking the current bullpen with the starting pitchers not going deep enough into games.

Hmm … who might the Mets have who can fill that role?


Today’s Lineup

According to MetsBlog, this is today’s starting lineup:

Jose Reyes, SS
Alex Cora, 2B
Carlos Beltran, OF
Carlos Delgado, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, OF
Ryan Church, OF
Omir Santos, C
Livan Hernandez, RHP

That’s right, Alex Cora — he of the career .312 OBP — bats second.

Both Danny Murphy and Luis Castillo get a rest. Strange to see Murphy sitting today against RHP Kyle Lohse and not tomorrow against LHP Scott Olsen. Would Jerry Manuel sit Murphy two days in a row?


Is the Bullpen Overused?

A recent article on the SNY website suggests that the Mets could already be burning out their bullpen.

A novel thought … and something I suggested on several occasions last year.

Is it possible that the Mets’ bullpen woes last year were not solely due to the personnel, as every pundit other than yours truly assumed? Is it, in fact, possible, that some of the responsibility could be placed on the shoulders of Jerry Manuel?

For those interested, the first edition of Bullpen Blueprint is now available for download. It may help you understand why the Mets came up short for two consecutive seasons. Download it here (it’s free!).


Mets Game 14: Loss to Cardinals

Cardinals 5 Mets 2

It wasn’t even that close.

John Maine finally made it into the sixth inning, but not because he pitched well. He also did not finish the sixth.

Maine allowed five runs on seven hits and five walks in five and two-third innings, expending 111 pitches in the process. He left the game with the bases loaded and reliever Casey Fossum was kind enough to get a quick final out and leave the ducks on the pond.

Offensively, the Mets did nothing against Joel “All World” Pineiro, whose best pitch was “strike one” throughout the contest. The Mets hitters managed six hits and two walks in eight innings against Pineiro, who pitched into the ninth but needed help from the St. Louis bullpen to finish. Pineiro struck out no one and expended 91 pitches. So much for the sabermetricians and their negative opinion of hurlers who “pitch to contact”.

Game Notes

Fascinating to see Jerry Manuel play the “matchup” game in the seventh inning, down four runs. Does it REALLY matter whether Casey Fossum faces a righthanded hitter at that point? Here’s a crazy idea: how about allowing Fossum to face a righty as training to be a “crossover” pitcher?

Quick quiz on baseball fundamentals: it’s the sixth inning, your team is down by four. What do you do with the first pitch thrown to you, no matter where it is? If you said “take the pitch”, congratulations, you know simple baseball! If you said, “swing away and pop up weakly to the third baseman”, congratulations, you play centerfield for the New York Mets and make over a hundred million dollars!

We can’t get too hard on Beltran, though, since he did collect three hits and drive in one of the Mets’ runs.

Danny Murphy drove in a run and allowed none, improving his plus/minus tally.

In the ninth inning, down by two with a runner on second and two outs, Jerry Manuel sent up Gary Sheffield instead of Jeremy Reed to hit for Ramon Castro against RHP Ryan Franklin. Why? No one is sure.

Regarding Maine in this contest, Manuel said he “… had control but not command …” Uh, OK.

Next Mets Game

The series finale is an afternoon affair beginning at 1:40 PM EST in St. Louis. Livan Hernandez faces Kyle Lohse in an attempt to avoid a sweep.


Manuel Concerned But Not Worried

The on-the-job training and resulting mistakes of Danny Murphy in left field did not phase Jerry Manuel a week ago, but Murphy’s latest snafu has the Mets manager “concerned”, though not “worried”.

After Murphy fell flat on his kiester on a routine liner, Manuel expressed this sentiment:

“I guess I’m a little concerned – I have to be honest with you,” Manuel said. “I think he’s a hard worker. He does everything we ask him to do. I think for the most part I’d just like to see him relax out there.”

Further, Manuel made it clear that the Mets would barge ahead and take their lumps while Murphy figures out the position:

“I have to keep putting him out there,” Manuel said. “I have to keep putting him out there until we feel that he’s getting comfortable, and I think he will.”

I wonder what Johan Santana’s thoughts are on that? What are the chances that Murphy is the starting left fielder this Friday against the Marlins, when Santana takes the hill? The Fish send Scott Olsen to the mound, who, conveniently, is a lefty. Odds are 3-2 that Gary Sheffield starts in left field that night.

Which brings up another question: will Manuel ever use Sheffield as a defensive replacement for Murphy in the late innings of a ballgame? Laugh all you want at the concept, but the bottom line is that Sheff is not awful in the field, and has played nearly 1600 MLB games in the outfield — a quarter of those in left.