But, the Mets were undone by the unit that has alternately been their strength and their weakness through the early going this season. Yes, it's our old friend, the Bullpen. The unit that was a boon in '06, caused several heart episodes in '07 and took 10 years off my life in '08. Well, they're up to their old tricks again.
Friday, the Mets fell behind 3-0 in the 1st inning. Lately, this appears to be the best thing an opponent can do to the Mets. Not that it's the best idea to make a habit of this, but if this is what the Mets need, well, why not. So, the Mets chip away and chip away, and they take the lead thanks to the efforts of David Wright, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter, and here we are again, taking the lead late. An Ike Davis error in the 8th led to an unearned run, which didn't help, but in the 9th, it was Frank Francisco who ultimately spit the game up in a finish reminiscent of about 723 other games the Mets have played against the Marlins.
Saturday, the Mets scored early and often enough that the Bullpen didn't ever have a chance to screw things up.
Sunday, however, was another story. Staked to a 4-2 lead in the 9th, again Frank Francisco couldn't hold it, and Manny Acosta eventually tossed it into the fire completely, in the kind of 9th inning meltdown that would have made Armando Benitez proud.
Now, Frank Francisco as closer wasn't exactly an iron clad lock to begin with.For the most part, he's performed adequately well, but when he doesn't have it, he really doesn't have it, and it's been multiple times this season that Collins has had to come out and rescue his ass before things got out of hand. Sunday was one such game, and Collins got Francisco before the game was lost, or even tied, but his choice to replace Francisco was the human gas can, Manny Acosta. Now, I've made no secret of the fact that I don't like Acosta to begin with. He's been around for what, 3 years now, and he's done very little good. Ostensibly, Acosta is Oliver Perez from the right side. He's a rubbery-looking thing with a gangly arms-and-legs windup who throws great stuff that he has no concept of how to control. He displays no semblance of consistency or ability to harness his talent. You have no idea whether he'll retire the side in order or give up a string of long hits, and sometimes this happens within the same outing. They even crammed him into Perez's old #46 jersey, just so we wouldn't get confused. But Collins mysteriously seems to keep running him out there in key situations, despite the fact that better pitchers (not good pitchers, per se, just better pitchers than Acosta) such as Bobby Parnell were still available.
I could support bringing in Francisco and trying him out as closer, I can support keeping guys with upside like Bobby Parnell, and even Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch, just because they're fresh faces. I couldn't support keeping Acosta around. There was no good reason to keep him on the roster when there are several other pitchers who are probably better situational pitchers on a day-to-day basis. For fuck's sake, Dillon Gee has managed to craft himself a role on this club despite having only average stuff because he KNOWS HOW TO PITCH! It's not such a novel idea. Surely, there's a right-handed relief pitcher somewhere in the organization who knows how and when to throw the pitches necessary to get good hitters out, not just rear back and heave a fastball so Giancarlo Stanton can hit it 500 feet the other way. I'm not totally crazy with this thought, am I?