Thursday, September 4, 2014

Make Your Own Bed

The Mets won last night, 4-3 over the Mickey Mouse Marlins, pulling off the oh-so-rare series win in Village Green Preservation Society Stadium, which seems rather innocuous in and of itself. Looking inside the game, you will however find that this was another one of those instances where the Mets seemed to win a game in spite of themselves. Or, more appropriately, in spite of their manager. Terry Collins peppered the game with a series of questionable moves after Jacob deGrom left the game, and although individually they did not work, the combination of these decisions did ultimately result in a victory.

We can fast-forward through the first 6.5 innings of the game. Basically, things happened normally, Jacob deGrom had a Zack Wheeler outing, where he didn't have great command, threw too many pitches too early in the game, but somehow didn't break, only allowing 1 run over his 6 innings of work and that came on an infield hit that probably shouldn't have been a hit. The Mets didn't hit, or at least didn't match their production of the last two games, but still had a 2-1 lead thanks to Kirk Nieuwenhuis' 2-run Home Run.

Then came the bottom of the 7th, when things started to get screwed up. Buddy Carlyle started the inning, which was all fine and good. But with 2 outs and a man on 2nd, Collins channeled his inner Jerry Manuel and decided it was a good time to play matchups, and it was a good time to bring in Dario Alvarez to make his Major League debut against up-and-comer Christian Yelich. Yelich singled on Alvarez's 2nd and final pitch to drive in the tying run.

Collins then replaced Alvarez with Carlos Torres. Again, that's all fine and good. Torres got Donovan Solano to pop out and end the 7th inning. In the 8th inning, the Mets rallied against Mike Dunn (and as we all know, Dunn was a Yankee Prospect, so he has to be good) and somewhere down the line, Travis d'Arnaud drove in the lead run. Later, another run scored and the Mets had the bases loaded with 2 out and the pitcher's spot up; a golden opportunity to break the game open a little bit. But Collins, who was hell-bent against using Jeurys Familia for a 3rd consecutive night (a logical concern, although the Mets have an off-day today), decided that rather than pinch-hitting for Torres and bringing in one of his other pitchers, he'd be better off letting Torres, who to that point was 0-for-4 on the season and an .091 lifetime hitter, bat for himself. Torres promptly struck out, and then in the bottom of the 8th gave up a Home Run to Giancarlo Stanton. That's not so bad, since every Mets pitcher has given up a Home Run to Stanton, but Collins basically threw away a rally in order to milk an extra inning out of Torres, and it's only to his good fortune that Stanton led off the inning and didn't have anyone on base ahead of him.

Mejia then locked down the 9th and the Mets had a win, and sure, you never give a win back, but sometimes you have to question the strategy that's used in order to achieve that win. On the other hand, as I said, sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and maybe if you make enough weird moves over the course of one game, you end up with the right result. I wouldn't put this theory in motion too often, though.

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