After throwing 85 pitches, it might have been tempting to squeeze out another inning, perhaps even two, but Callaway’s niche is pitching and he made the right call.
Syndergaard left with an 8-4 lead, and while four runs isn’t an insurmountable deficit, it certainly is large enough to warrant Callaway’s confidence in his bullpen.
With the temperatures in the high 40s and Syndergaard having to sit through the Mets taking batting practice against Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, there was a reasonable-to-good chance the pitcher could have stiffened up. And, with Syndergaard having sustained a torn lat muscle that cost him most of the 2017 season, Callaway was protecting one of his biggest assets.
“I felt like he had done his job,’’ Callaway said. “We wanted to get some of our relievers in the game, so there was no second thought there at all.’’
There shouldn’t have been.
Syndergaard, who was one of former pitching coach’s biggest supporters, had no problem with being pulled: “I think that was the right managerial decision, just because we were up by a lot.’’
As far as batting the pitcher eighth, Amed Rosario ninth and Yoenis Cespedes second, I can appreciate the logic, but I prefer Cespedes hitting in the traditional run-producing slots in the batting order.
I would do it again Saturday because it worked and you never want to mess around with success