This one was on Terry Collins. For all the talk about the Mets’ faulty bullpen – and to be sure there aren’t enough quality arms – occasionally the manager has to step up and say, “this was on me.”
Such was the case in last night’s 6-5 loss to the San Diego Padres, a game in which the Mets held a four-run lead.
COLLINS: Bad game. (AP)
The box score will reveal the Mets used five pitchers from the seventh inning; not quite the formula it wants to use in getting to the closer.
Robert Gsellman had given the Mets a quality outing – three runs in six innings – but Collins wouldn’t let him come out for the seventh, instead, giving the ball to Fernando Salas.
Why? Gsellman was still strong after throwing 84 pitches. Sure, he had been struggling lately, but he appeared to have righted himself. At least it looked that way during his six innings.
“I knew that was going to get brought up,” was Collins’ reply to Gsellman’s pitch count. “This kid has really been struggling. At times, you want him to leave with a good feeling and he gave us six good innings and we just say, ‘Hey, look, he did exactly what we were hoping he’d do tonight to get us to that point.’ ”
Part of me likes Collins’ rationale, but the other part makes me scream: “Enough with the good feelings. Let the precious snowflake try to win the !@#$% game. What’s next, a participation trophy for playing?
At least let him pitch until a runner got on. That should have also been the plan with Salas, who got the first two hitters then unraveled.
A pinch-single, wild pitch and two walks loaded the bases Collins pulled Salas for Neil Ramirez. Why would you keeps s struggling reliever like Salas in long enough to load the bases, with two of the runners by walks?
The Mets had been getting decent production from Jerry Blevins and Paul Sewald, but neither was available having pitched the night before in a 9-3 win. A note: The bullpen was taxed that night before because Matt Harvey couldn’t give the Mets more than five. Incidentally, both Sewald and Blevins pitched with at least a five-run lead.
If you’re going to tinker with your bullpen, why not see what Ramirez can do with a six-run lead instead of with the game on the line?
It was almost a foregone conclusion Wil Myers would tie the game with a two-run single, just missing a grand slam by inches, and Hunter Renfroe would put the Padres ahead with a mammoth homer in the eighth against lefty Josh Smoker.
Why pull Gsellman when he’s throwing well? Why let a lefty pitch to Renfroe? Why save Addison Reed for the ninth when the Mets were losing? All those were questions Collins needed to address. We can point fingers, and rightly so, at GM Sandy Alderson for not providing quality arms in the bullpen, but this was in-game decision making by Collins, and it was bad.