Alright, another night, another game blown by the Mets offense and bullpen and I have had enough. Mickey might need to be relieved of his duties. I have had enough of Mickey Callaway’s, “we’re getting close” “we thought the whole night that we were going to win this game” attitude. Hey Mickey, why don’t you take a page out of Terry Collins playbook and have an angry press conference rant to get your team going.
That press conference was from 2011 and after that press conference the team went on to win 9 of 13 games after losing 8 of 11 because the message was sent.
I’m not sure if Mickey realizes that this is New York and it is not a patient place to be. Furthermore, since the amazing, albeit lucky, start to this season the Mets have been the WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL. That is not an exaggeration by any means necessary, the Mets have gone 16-33 since that start and have put themselves in a spot where a turnaround is vital to their chances of making a legitimate playoff run.
I recently went over why the Mets have struggled so mightily even with their starters consistently dominating over the past 22 games, a span in which the team has gone 7-15. The team just isn’t playing hard and it is for this reason that I think Mickey Callaway should be on the hot seat. I don’t care that the team has seen some injuries and that they have received some great starting pitching, which is partially why Callaway was brought in to this team.
Guess what, Terry Collins was handed some teams that were way more injury prone than this one and way less talented than this one but you would never hear anyone say that his teams weren’t playing hard. You know why? Because he knew how to get teams going, despite the anonymous comments from some players last year that criticized his managing style it was apparent that Terry cared about his players but also knew how to get players to give their all.
Throughout Callaway’s short tenure he has often said that he wants to win the game tonight and not try to think games in advance. Well, he clearly has given up on that motto by which he wanted to manage by as he has been making decisions with the future in mind.
That was made even more apparent in his post-game presser tonight when he was asked if he had thought about double switching Robert Gsellman into the game in the 7th inning so that his spot in the lineup wouldn’t come up in the bottom of that inning, which would allow him to pitch multiple innings. His answer was
“I think lately, what we’re seeing out of Gsellman, we like him in more one inning stints. Not just for effectiveness, but to keep him more available”.
In case you did not catch what stuck out to me in this statement, don’t worry I’ll let you know. Tomorrow night Seth Lugo will start in place of Noah Syndergaard which means that Gsellman being available will be important to the team’s ability to win the game. While Lugo is a very good pitcher he will only be able to throw 60-65 pitches which will limit him to 4 innings in a best-case scenario. With the Yankees having a dominating lineup the Mets will likely want to use Gsellman in 2 innings tomorrow to keep the bombers at bay.
Although it makes sense to use Gsellman tomorrow when a team is struggling you have to win the game at hand.
If Callaway would have double switched Gsellman into the game he would have been able to throw multiple innings and face the best part of the order in his second inning of relief. However, if he pitched two innings it would be unlikely that he would be available tomorrow, but guess what, Gsellman has been the Mets best reliever this season. So, he should have pitched against the heart of the Yankees order in a tie game.
Anthony Swarzak, the man who gave up the lead in the 8th inning only recently came off of the disabled list and should not be thrown into the fire unless it is absolutely necessary, especially with the bullpen being short staffed and Gsellman being able to pitch multiple innings with ease.
Maybe Gsellman would have given up the lead anyways but he has proven throughout this season that he can be effective against some of the best hitters in baseball and in a situation where the team only has a few trustworthy relievers it is time to stretch those guys out when you have a chance to win.
That wasn’t the only poor decision that Callaway made in this close game. In the bottom of the 7th, Adrian Gonzalez started the inning with a leadoff double. The Mets had a legitimate chance to take the lead back late in the game. This was a situation the Mets have been in throughout the season and throughout the past 5 years and failed. There is something that happens to this team when they have an opportunity to score easy runs that makes them go cold.
That failure has been made ever more apparent over this cold stretch and Mickey Callaway should realize that this is a situation where he should play small ball to maximize the opportunity that the team would drive the lead runner in. That is why teams have bench players, is it not? Right when Gonzalez hit that double I immediately thought of a perfect small ball scenario that a major league manager, who should know baseball better than me, should have put on to manufacture that run.
Due up after Gonzalez was a struggling Kevin Plawecki and the pitcher’s spot (because Callaway did not double switch in Gsellman).
Callaway had a multitude of options here, but the best option I thought of was pinch-running Guillomore for Gonzalez and pinch-hitting Reyes for Plawecki. Now, in this scenario, it would bring better speed to the bases and a great bunter to the plate. Reyes’ job would be to bunt a ball down the first base line, something he has done throughout his career, and move Guillomore to third with only one out.
Reyes is one of the best bunters in the game and it would allow the struggling veteran to be productive for this team and maybe even beat the bunt out for a hit. Now, if you were wondering what the Mets would do at catcher and at first base they would have plenty of options to put guys on the field.
Now, back to the way I would have managed the 7th inning for the Mets. After Reyes bunted that ball and moved Guillomore to 3rd I would have pinch hit Mesoraco for the pitcher or even Jose Bautista. In this situation, tied late in the game, the Yankees may have brought the infield in which would mean they would only need a hard hit ball or a fly ball to drive in the runner.
Now, obviously you can’t guarantee the pinch-hitter will be able to hit a fly ball or even hit the ball in general, but that would have put the Mets in the best situation to succeed, something Callaway simply hasn’t done in the past 45-50 games.
It is time for a change. Maybe firing Callaway is too aggressive, but there are plenty of solid managers out there that have had more success than him and might actually know how to get this team on a roll. Just some of those guys off the top of my head are Joe Girardi, Dusty Baker, John Farrell, and my personal favorite, Terry Collins.
It is unlikely that the Mets will be firing Callaway at this point in the season, but there are some moves that should be made that aren’t too aggressive.
Cut Adrian Gonzalez. The signing for Gonzalez was a low-risk high reward situation, well we haven’t had many rewards from the aging veteran besides his sturdy glove at first base. The team has two young first basemen in the minors that might bring a bit more energy to the lineup and would probably bring similar production at the very least. A-Gon should be A-Gone.
Jose Reyes should be DFA’d. Reyes has been terrible this season and even though I don’t think there are many better options available he simply cannot have a spot on the roster because of what he did in his prime. Also, if the Mets DFA him it is unlikely another team will claim him, so if he would accept the assignment they could put him in the minors to work on his craft which may allow him to help them out further down the line.
My final suggestion would be to fire a member of the coaching staff, whether it be the hitting coach or the bullpen coach, or both. Either way, someone has to go. Are the teams struggles due to those coaches performances? No, of course not, but it will show the players that their inability to score runs and hold leads is costing people jobs.
Although the baseball season is a long journey and a simple hot streak could correct all of the troubles the team has had and would put them right back in the playoff hunt. Something has to change and better decisions have to be made.
This team truly is too good to fail, but if they don’t make adjustments now this season will end similar to last years disappointment.