Terry Collins began 2017 with more losses than any other New York Mets manager. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, this year will be Collins’ worst performance in Queens. It’s no surprise that reporters are focused less on the last few games than the bigger questions of whether Collins, general manager Sandy Alderson, and pitching coach Dan Warthen will be back in 2018.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from covering Collins over the last two seasons, it’s that he doesn’t change his ingrained habits. Nori Aoki, Jose Reyes, and Asdrubal Cabrera led off for the Mets. Cabrera is the youngest of those players at 31. Meanwhile, Dom Smith and Amed Rosario are “protected” from getting an additional developmental at-bat by hitting in the bottom of the order. Gavin Cecchini may not fit in the Mets’ future, but Collins won’t even give him a chance. Just like we saw with Michael Conforto, Collins is unwilling to play the rookies. Ironically, the one thing Collins did well his last year in Anaheim was play 22-year old Troy Glaus every day.
Seth Lugo pitched four innings and 76 pitches before getting pulled for a pinch hitter. Lugo had some command issues, but he didn’t walk anybody and only gave up two runs. Then we saw Collins’ typical bullpen management. Chasen Bradford came in for the fifth. Josh Smoker got two outs, hit a batter, and Collins turned to Paul Sewald to get a righty. Sewald struck out Makiel Franco, sat down for half an inning, then came back for the seventh. Naturally he wasn’t as sharp, getting a strikeout then walking the next three batters. Collins has developed a bad habit of using a second reliever for part of an inning, sitting that pitcher down, then calling that pitcher back up for more work.
At a certain point, most Mets fans probably just want the season to end, Unfortunately, the Mets couldn’t even get that right on Saturday, Rookie callup Jamie Callahan came in for Sewald with the bases loaded, one out and a 4-2 lead. He gave up a sacrifice fly to Aaron Altherr and then a hard single to Rhys Hoskins, trying the game at four. Both the Mets and Phillies went to some of their best relievers, and A.J. Ramos was actually able to throw a 1-2-3 inning. Hoskins drove a ball to deep left-center in the tenth but couldn’t get it out of the park with the wind blowing in. Reyes came up with two on in the 11th but swung at every 3-2 pitch out of the zone until he missed one. Finally Cabrera, hit a three-run homer to put more runs on the board and Jeurys Familia threw a 1-2-3 inning for the save.
Media Meltdown, Continued
Sandy Alderson met with reporters before Saturday’s game to take responsibility for what he called a breakdown of the team’s professional culture, saying, “I’m the leader of this group. I feel responsible for every aspect of this operation, particularly in those areas where they fall short.” However, Alderson did not deny Marc Carig’s reporting that owner Fred Wilpon prevented the front office from firing Collins. Alderson was probably smart to avoid directly commenting on Collins’ bullpen use, since Collins continued to make the same mistakes against yesterday. More than anything else, Alderson seemed upset that someone would talk to a beat reporter about the club’s many obvious problems.
The Mets will play their last game of the season today. Noah Syndergaard will throw 20-25 pitches. Then the Mets’ taxed bullpen will go one final game and every Mets fan will wait on Twitter to see if (when) Collins is officially told he won’t get a new contract.
Photo credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today Sports