It was a nice gesture on the part of manager Terry Collins to accept blame for the Mets’ 4-3 loss at Washington. But, to what degree was Collins at fault?
Collins volunteered it should have been on him because he didn’t stall long enough for Jeurys Familia to warm up while Bobby Parnell struggled in the eighth inning. Now, that’s getting a little too precise.
“That’s all on me. It’s not on Bobby. He’s been throwing the ball great,” Collins told reporters. “I could have let Jeurys get looser. I could have delayed the game a little bit and let him get loose.”
The need to stall would have been alleviated if Collins followed a set plan to get his closer ready. The Mets have three relievers with closer experience. The mistake wasn’t in not stalling, but in not getting Familia up sooner and for not pulling Parnell when he clearly didn’t have it.
Parnell was stand-up about it, saying he did’t pitch well, which was spot on.
Parnell was handed a two-run lead in the eighth, but after one out he walked Ian Desmond – always a critical mistake – and gave up a two-run single to Matt den Dekker. After Tyler Moore lined out, Parnell threw a wild pitch that put two runners in scoring position, where they scored on a game-tying two-run single by Michael Taylor.
Danny Espinosa followed with a RBI double for the game-winner, which put the Mets at 2-4 since the break.
The need to stall came about because Collins, pitching coach Dan Warthen and bullpen coach Ricky Bones – pick any of the three – didn’t get Familia up until after den Dekker reached base. Familia has to know he needs to start loosening up after the first runner got on base.
It’s simple bullpen management. It has to be automatic, which makes stalling a moot issue. Stalling is playing around; what the Mets needed was a concrete strategy, which they didn’t have.
Hey, you’re the Mets. You don’t fool around by stalling. You have an idea of what you need to do and just do it.