If the Mets continue their fast fade in the NL East for the second straight season, should Jerry Manuel be brought back as manager?
That’s the question the Mets are wrestling with, but in the wake of news general manager Omar Minaya will get a four-year extension, how can they not extend Manuel as well? Afterall, part of bringing back Minaya was his decision to ax Willie Randolph and how the team responded.
The Mets were sinking when Randolph was replaced by Manuel, but they’ve rebounded and are tied for the wild card. They still control their destiny despite last night’s miserable showing.
The players responded to Manuel. He has their attention and respect. They play hard for him. The bullpen is awful, but players are trying. Nobody is dogging it.
Manuel has shown he can manage this team and he should get the opportunity to continue with better pitchers.
With Milwaukee winning last night in the ninth to keep the pressure on, the Mets are faced with another must-win game tonight. Oliver Perez, who has pitched well in big games before for the Mets, will start against a team he hasn’t faced in over three years.
The NL East is still within their grasp, and far preferable to the wild-card. Remember, if it comes down to just Mets and Phillies for the division, the Mets win based on head-to-head. However, for that scenario to apply, the Brewers must fall completely out of wild-card contention.
Do you remember how horrible David Wright looked last week in Washington? He’s turned it around. His two-run hit last night might be one of the most important of the season.
Jerry Manuel doesn’t care whether it is by winning the NL East or as a wild card. The important thing is just getting to play beyond Sunday.
Said Manuel about last year’s collapse and the playoffs: “The burden … the cloud … the demons … whatever you want to name it. I think we’re gonna be fine. If someone scraps and claws their way in, those teams seem to fare very well in the playoffs. That’s my hope. That we fight our way in and we fight our way through.”
The Mets won a coin-flip today with Milwaukee should the teams finish tied for the wild-card.
Speaking of coin flips, I don’t know which Oliver Perez will show up tonight. He’s pitched well against the Braves, winning five of his last seven starts over the last two seasons. Recently, he’s been erratic with his control.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
SS Jose Reyes
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
CF Carlos Delgado
1B Carlos Beltran
C Ramon Castro
RF Ryan Church
LF Nick Evans
LH Oliver Perez
Comments: They won their last two games with Daniel Murphy in left and batting second. Why change?