Wednesday, July 23, 2008

About Last Night ...

I was busy putting the finishing touches on my Flushing University column last night when the Phillies decided to batter the Mets bullpen and snatch first place right out from under their noses. Of course, the shocking ninth-inning comeback forced me into rewrite stage and didn't give me an opportunity to comment on the debacle.

Luckily for me, loyal reader James Allen perfectly summed up the talking points for last night's game, so I am going to steal from him shamelessly to make my points here.

1) Johan Santana absolutely, positively, unquestionably needs to pitch a complete game last night. However, I put this decision squarely on the manager's shoulders, not Santana's. Jerry Manuel made the biggest mistake of his brief tenure with the Mets last night, and it cost the Mets a game they had no business losing. He has to toss the pitch count garbage out the window in this situation and recognize what was at stake here.

The Mets are paying Johan Santana approximately $150 million over the next seven seasons. He is 29 years old, he had only thrown 105 pitches to that point and he had a three-run lead. It is the height of stupidity to pull him in that situation, ESPECIALLY when your "All-Star" closer has already made it clear he won't be pitching that night. If you don't believe your $22 million ace can get out the 5-6-7 hitters in the Phillies' lineup because he's crossed the mythical 100-pitch bridge, then it's time to pack up shop and go play backgammon, because baseball as we know it is dead.

2) I know that Luis Aguayo has to be thinking that lightning doesn't strike twice, but how can he send Endy Chavez around third in the bottom of the seventh with nobody out and a three-run lead? If Chavez stays put, the Mets have two runners on with nobody out and the 4-5-6 hitters striding to the plate. (And yes, James, Castro should be hitting sixth; someone give Manuel the memo that Castro is already one of the best hitting catchers in the National League.)


James Allen said...

Loyal, indeed. Actually I only started checking out the Mets blogs only a few months ago (my what fun we've had in such a short time.) I got to you through Blastings! Thrilledge (as you are "Thrilledge Approved")

As far as Castro goes, I'll take him batting 8th over nothing, I mean, at least he's in the lineup on a regular basis. I don't think the previous manager knew his name.

And you're right, it was Manuel's bad call; although it would be nice if Santana were the type of the pitcher who demanded to pitch the ninth. Sadly, he ain't. That rare (becoming rarer) breed he is not.

And the Santana complete game thing aside, as many have and will point out, yes, a three run ninth inning lead should be held no matter who's in your pen. I had a September 2007 deja vu moment watching the ninth. This team just gets so goddamn tight at the damnest of times.

Judge Roughneck said...

Anyone who has left a comment more than once qualifies as a "loyal reader" of Productive Outs and Crackerjack. No surprise you came here through Blastings! - I get more than half my outside referrals from that site. if I ever meet John I'm going to buy him a beer, because without him I'd have even fewer readers than I do now.

James Allen said...

Well, you're not listed on (unless I missed it somewhere), where they seem to have a thousand blogs listed, many of which haven't updated in dog's years. You and John are the ones I check first (well, first and second, I suppose, I'm not sure which of your blogs I would go to in a high leverage situation), and the guy at Ed Kranepool society is funny. It's nice to read a bunch of guys who have been in the same boat I've been in for a ton of years (in my case I go back to 1975).

Thanks for the response. I'll keep reading, and hopefully we'll have some fun down the stretch.

As an aside, for as messed up as this year is, I'll take it over the early 90's any day, what a carnival that was (got any bleach?) At least I'm not a crabby Yankee fan. 13 straight years in he playoffs for crying out loud, whadaya want, Stump Merril back?