Terry Colllins Move of the Day – Double Switching Addison Reed Into the Game
Watching last night’s game, Terry Collins made a flurry of moves. He was like that Little League coach that was about to mercy rule the other team and quickly panics when he realizes he hasn’t put all of his players in the game. Except, the Mets didn’t have a huge lead on the Braves. It was just a one run lead, and considering how feisty the Braves have been, you didn’t feel completely confident in the Mets keeping the lead. Here is a log of all the bench moves Collins made in last night’s game:
Top of the Seventh:
- Addison Reed is double switched into the game (batting sixth) replacing Bartolo Colon.
- Michael Conforto replaces Alejandro De Aza in center field and is batting ninth
- Curtis Granderson shifts from center to right field
Bottom of the Seventh:
- Conforto walks, and Juan Lagares pinch runs for him.
Top of the Eighth:
- Lagares stays in the game at center field
- Josh Smoker relieves Reed
- Jeurys Familia is double switched into the game (batting first) relieving Smoker
- Matt Reynolds replaces Jose Reyes at third base (batting sixth)
Bottom of the Eighth:
- With Chaz Roe pitching, Kelly Johnson pinch hits for Reynolds
- Braves bring in LHP Ian Krol, and Eric Campbell pinch hits for Johnson
- Kevin Plawecki pinch hits for James Loney
Top of the Ninth:
- Campbell remains in the game playing first base
- Ty Kelly enters the game playing third base
Bottom of the Ninth
- Brandon Nimmo pinch hits for Rene Rivera
- Jay Bruce pinch hits for Lagares
- Travis d’Arnaud pinch hits for Familia
Looking over all of these moves again, the biggest error in judgment had to be double switching Addison Reed inot the game. It was the move that precipitated all that followed.
At the time, the Mets had a 3-2 lead, and Dansby Swanson hit a two out single off Colon. At that point, the Braves announced their pinch hitter, the left-handed hitting catcher Blake Lalli. The 33 year old Lalli is a career .140/.122/.122 hitter. At best, he’s a AAAA player. Here, with the pitcher’s spot due up in the bottom of the inning, the Mets could have reasonably let Colon get Lalli. Colon had cruised most of the night and was only at 91 pitches. Still, if you were inclined to bring in Colon, why did the Mets go to Reed?
Bringing in Reed there meant you were going to have him pitch the next inning precipitated Conforto being effectively used as a pinch hitter and later the Mets double switching Familia in the game by switching Reynolds with Reyes. That was the spot for Fernando Salas especially considering the fact that this was one of the situations why he was brought to the Mets. The other option was clearly Josh Smoker.
After the Loney error in the eighth, Collins would go to Smoker to get Freeman out. If you have that much faith in Smoker that you are willing to bring him in to get Freddie “Chipper Jones” Freeman out, you should have enough faith to use Smoker to get Lalli out to end the inning.
Going to Salas or Smoker there would have kept the Mets bench in tact with it’s best hitters. That means when the Mets have bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth and two outs, you are not sending Kevin Plawecki to take what was the biggest at bat of the season. It also means you are not making the baffling move of pinch running Lagares for Conforto thereby burning his bat, which was needed in the bottom of the ninth.
Every mistake that happened in the eighth and ninth innings emanated from Collins prematurely going to Reed in that spot. That lead to all the double switching and defensive replacements. It led to Collins goading the Braves to bring in Ian Kroll so he could use Campbell. It led to the Plawecki at bat as well.
In what has been a poor season (career?) in terms of in-game management, Collins had his signature regular season moment last night, and it all started with him panicking and going to Reed too soon.
One thing I would like to note is I had no issue with Collins going with Smoker to pitch to Freeman. For his career, Freeman was 2-5 with a double, a walk, and an RBI. The short sample size translated to Freeman hitting .400/.500/.600 off of Reed. More than it just being Reed, Freeman is hitting .307/.406/.598 off righties and .295/.380/.497 against lefties. No, you’re not going to neutralize Freeman with a lefty, but you do improve your chances against him with the lefty.
It should be noted that Smoker has reverse splits for a lefty, but he does have the type of stuff that gives Freeman fits. Like most batters, Freeman doesn’t fare well against pitchers that throw over 95 MPH, and pitchers that throw splitters. Smoker does both.