Had to write this after seeing last night’s Mets-Nationals game……
Baseball fans in general and Mets’ fans in particular. This will be a longer than usual post to do it justice. This is an issue which would have sent Scott reeling. I am usually not one to overly criticize a manager of a bad team who isn’t winning, but on the other hand, there are only 32 managers in major league baseball. These are supposed to be the brightest minds who know players the best. This Mets’ manager, Terry Collins, is a total bozo….where did he come from?
Details…… last night, Mets’ pitcher Matt Harvey is totally cruising against the helpless Nationals, looking as good as Tom Seaver ever looked. The Mets lead 4-1 after 7 innings. The Nationals last out in the seventh, Jason Werth, was blown away for strike 3 on a 99 mph fast ball. The Nats have batters 7-8-9 coming up in the 8th. So Harvey easily blows through the weakest part of the order in the 8th, right?
Not so fast, baseball fans. Seems Matt Harvey is approaching his “limit” by throwing 105 pitches already! Oh my, heaven forbid! He just blew through the seventh inning with 99 mph heat, but the poor boy must be exhausted and arm weary!!! We must take him out!!! This is pure minor league crap, but most major league managers seem to have bought into it as well.
So Collins brings in his “set up man.” Definition of a set-up man: A guy who is worse than your 5 starters, including your pathetic 4 and 5 starters. Usually he is one of those guys who has played for 5 or 6 different teams (a “journeyman” pitcher). And he is not as good as your “closer”, the guy you put in for the ninth inning. So in other words, at best you are inserting your 7th best pitcher on a team with horrible pitching depth into the game to replace the best pitcher in baseball. Sounds smart doesn’t it?
But Collins is no mere village idiot. He can take this thing to a much bigger and higher level. He is going to show us what a chess maestro he is, and “play the percentages”. He starts with David Aardsma, a once okay reliever trying to find a major league home now. David gets 2 of the first 3 hitters out, meaning he is now facing the Nats’ lead-off batter, a punch-and-judy banjo-hitting left hand hitter. Sounds doable, huh? But noooooo. Collins rushes out to the mound and replaces Aardsma, his 7th best pitcher, with some garbage lefty, because everyone knows you need to face a lefty hitter with a lefty pitcher. The “percentages” say so. So this piece of garbage tosses up a non-breaking curve ball and the Nats’ guy hits a double.
So two outs, second and third, still up 4-1. A rookie is now up at bat, with powerful Ryan Zimmerman next. Time to bring in another righty (Aardsma was your best alternative, but he is already out, so now bring in your 9th or 10th best pitcher). Of course with a 3 run lead and the Nats best hitter on deck, the cardinal sin in baseball would be to walk this guy. So what does the new righty pitcher do? I don’t need to tell you.
So now the bags are full for Ryan Zimmerman. He gets ahead on the count. I am thinking, “A lousy pitcher would be worried about another walk here, when he should be thinking that a walk is still not the worst thing—- grooving a fast ball to spare a walk is.” So what does he do…88 mph Mama Lucia meatball right-down-the middle. The sound of the crackling bat wakes up all of Queens.
Mets lose. Harvey keeps his 7-1 record. Seaver would have finished this game, but oh, that was a different era. “We protect young arms now?” How’s that? Seaver rarely came out for a reliever, even in extra innings, and won over 300 games. These “no decision” games Harvey has sacrificed because the bull pen can’t hold leads have taken away a potential 14-1 start. I suspect Matt would have loved to remain in the game for all of these “no decisions”, at least for one more inning to get to the closer.
Fire Collins. Change your mind set.