Collins Decision of the Game
During this three game series with the Miami Marlins, Terry Collins yet again showed everyone why he is a good human being and a leader of men. The Mets were in a terrible spot after the Jose Fernandez death. The team had to get up for the three game set while also showing proper reverence to a team that lost a teammate and a friend. The task was more complicated by the fact that players like Yoenis Cespedes were personally affected by the death. Travis d’Arnaud admitted to crying on the field. As Bob Klapisch would report, one Mets official said, “We felt sorry for them. We felt guilty trying to beat them.”
With that backdrop, Collins struck the proper tone with his team helping guide them to a series victory over the Marlins while reducing the Mets magic number to clinch one of the Wild Card spots to two. Collins and the Mets did more than that.
Before the first game of the series, the Mets players went out and embraced the devastated Marlins players. They shared in the pain and comforted the opposition to let them know the loss of a life was bigger than this rivalry. As Dee Gordon would say after the game, “I want to say ‘thank you’ to the Mets – they are first class. Coming in and showing their gratitude to us, being there for us in a time of need. That was just amazing.” (USA Today).
It didn’t stop there. Several of the Mets players made sure they attended Fernandez’s funeral before Wednesday’s game. When asked about the Mets attendance at the game, Collins would say, “I thought it was important to be there to honor Jose. I think it was important to have our people out there, we had several guys out there today. You know this is a very large fraternity. It’s an exclusive fraternity, it’s hard to get in, when you lose somebody I just think you need the representation of everybody else. We were represented very well today. I was very proud.” (NY Daily News).
The Mets should feel well with how they comported themselves in the wake of Fernandez’s death. There was there consoling the Marlins players. They all signed the Fernandez Mets jersey they had and gave it as a gift to the Marlins players and organization. In an important three game set, they did nothing to show up an emotionally battered and already defeated opponent. Finally, after the series was over, the Mets team, lead by Collins, made sure to embrace the Marlins one last time.
We all, myself especially, get on Collins for his deficiencies as a manager. He probably costs his team more games than not with the decisions he makes. However, that is just part of who a manager is. A manager is someone who has to deal with 25 (now 39) guys in a clubhouse. He has to keep them on an even keel during the highest of highs and during this week which was the lowest of lows. As we saw last season, baseball is at its most fun when you not only have a team that wins, but also when you have a group of players that you are emotionally invested. It’s better when you get to root for a team that you genuinely like. As the manager of the Mets, Collins has created a culture in that clubhouse that does both.
This isn’t the first time we have seen this with Collins. There was him hand-writing a letter to a grieving family, or his gathering the team during Spring Training workouts to take a picture with a child who just had heart transplant surgery. At his core, Collins is a good man, who has done a fine job representing this organization. While we sometime lose that when he makes head-scratching decisions, we are again reminded of that again this past week as he showed himself to be a leader and a good human being.
Editor’s Note: this was also published on Mets Merized Online
When the score was 4-1, you understood Terry Collins keeping his big guys in the game. However, why are the Mets keeping them in during a 9-1 game?
Asdrubal Cabrera is so banged up that he has taken to sliding to stop his momentum whenever he can. Anytime you can get him off the field and give him some rest, you need to do it. Getting that rest is more important than him hitting that ninth inning single that helped turn a 9-1 lead into a 12-1 lead.
Cabrera’s single came after a Jose Reyes base hit. Reyes remained in the game despite his tripping over second on his eighth inning double. Rather than take him out there or after the inning, he was left to finish the game.
The Mets still had Gavin Cecchini, Eric Campbell, and Matt Reynolds on the bench. They were all quite capable of playing an inning or two to protect a 9-1 lead. They’re especially capable when the Mets are going to use Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia in the game.
The decision was even more baffling when you consider the Mets announced Wilmer Flores is still unable to take batting practice. Remember Flores isn’t playing because Tim Teufel is a poor third base coach and because Collins didn’t think about pinch running for a player slower than molasses.
Collins apparently learned nothing from the Flores situation. It didn’t hurt the Mets last night, but as we have seen, it can’t hurt you at any given moment. Y
The reason why Bartolo Colon has been effective all season has been his ability to locate and put movement on his high 80s fastball. When he is unable to do that, he becomes a batting practice pitcher. Last night, Colon was a batting practice pitcher. It all come unraveling in a four run second inning.
Consider for a second, the first out of the inning was a sacrifice bunt by the opposing pitcher Adam Conley. Up until that point, the Marlins first four batters of the inning had hit the ball hard, and there were already two runs scored. Dee Gordon the followed his first inning home run with a two RBI single making it 5-0. With the way the Mets offense has been hitting lately, and with the Marlins bullpen most likely needing to do a bulk of the heavy lifting on the night, this game was not out of reach.
What was interesting was Colon was due up second in the top of the third. Last week, Terry Collins was very aggressive pulling his pitchers in a search for more offense to win games. Granted, there is a massive difference between pulling Colon early than Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, or Gabriel Ynoa, but the game was already on the verge of getting out of hand at 5-0. Furthermore, with Gsellman going deep into Sunday’s game along with the Mets not needing Ynoa or Rafael Montero to start another game this year, the Mets could’ve rolled the dice in pulling Colon. Instead, Collins stuck with the veteran in the hopes that he would get himself right and go deep in the game.
In the bottom of the third, it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. Right off the bat, Christian Yelich hit the ball hard, and it deflected off of Colon. After the play, Collins and Ray Ramirez would go out to the mound with Colon ignoring Ramirez. Giancarlo Stanton followed with a hard line drive out to center. At this point in time, it was clear Colon didn’t have it, and yet he would go another batter. Justin Bour then hit a hard line drive to right that Jay Bruce misplayed into a two run triple to make it 7-0. Right then and there, the game was effectively over. It was right then and there that Collins lifted Colon for Ynoa.
If you want to defend Colon pitching to start the third, you can make the case. You can make an even better case given the emotions of the night and the way Colon was being hit around, he should not have been in the game. The issue becomes why not let Colon finish the inning? It’s one thing to go to your bullpen for six plus innings to stay in a close game. It’s a whole other matter to go that deep into the pen for a game you’ve already lost. Why not let Colon figure it out? At that point, what is the difference between 7-0 and 10-0? You might as well try to steal a couple of innings out of him to save the bullpen a bit – even with the expanded rosters.
As it turned out, the Mets bullpen wouldn’t get burned. They got good work out of a group of relievers who are most likely not going to be on the postseason roster with Ynoa, Montero, Erik Goeddel, Josh Edgin, and Jim Henderson. Still, you have to question what Collins would have done if one of those guys were hit hard. Would he have made one of them wear it, or would he have chased the unlikely comeback? We’ll never be sure. What we are sure of is Collins inability to play it one way might’ve cost the Mets what might’ve been a winnable game.
Sitting in Section 135, you get the opportunity to look into the Mets dugout. While watching the game, I could only make out that the Mets had hung something up on the dugout wall. As I would discover after the game, Yoenis Cespedes hung a Jose Fernandez Mets #16 jersey to honor his fellow countryman, defector, and baseball player:
His manager, Terry Collins was right there talking to his star while he hung something to honor a player who would die tragically at the age of 24. It was just one of many Mets players who took time to express their grief over the loss over a competitor.
Jose, you will forever be missed. My prayers are with your family. Thank you for everything. May you rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/5JfFsZVTWR
— Yoenis Cespedes (@ynscspds) September 26, 2016
Stunned over the tragic news about Jose. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.
— Matt Harvey (@MattHarvey33) September 25, 2016
No words can fully express a loss like this…baseball and the world lost a true warrior today. Rest in peace brother.
— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) September 25, 2016
RIP José Fernández. My thoughts and prayers go to his family and close ones during these very… https://t.co/hPsCwqlnza
— Jose Reyes (@lamelaza_7) September 25, 2016
Sad day for baseball with the loss of Jose Fernandez. Hearts out to his friends & family.
— Jerry Blevins (@jerryblevins) September 25, 2016
A reminder of keeping things in perspective with the loss of José. My thoughts & prayers are w/ his family & those he touched. #RIPJose
— Brandon Nimmo (@You_Found_Nimmo) September 26, 2016
All over baseball, people mourned the loss of a unique talent and incredible talent that was gone too soon. However, it was not just his talent that makes the loss that great. After his death, you heard stories about how active he was in the community. You saw how beloved he was by his teammates, competitors, and people who covered the game. It is a rare sight to see Keith Hernandez breaking down and losing the ability to speak when talking about anything.
Personally, I was left with a loss for words having re-heard the story of how he defected. After three failed attempts, and having been imprisoned for those attempts, Fernandez and his family set to cross the Gulf of Mexico for their freedom. En route, Fernandez’s mother would go overboard. At 15 years old, Fernandez jumped into those rough waters, and he used that strong right arm to save his mother’s life. Upon hearing the news, many were left wondering where Fernandez’s savior was when that boat crashed.
As if this wasn’t tragic enough, there was learning the news that Fernandez was set to become a father. Someone in Florida a child is going to be born, and that child is never going to get to know their father. That child is only going to get to see the highlights on TV and is going to meet people who will tell him/her just what an incredible person and pitcher Jose Fernandez was. Worse yet, this all happened before Fernandez got his big payday. In a couple of years, that child was going to be set for life with Fernandez reaching free agency. Now who knows how much of a struggle a single mother and her child is going to have. Hopefully, someone will reach out and care for Fernandez’s child much in the same way he reached out and touched the lives of others in his community.
With the shock and sudden loss, the Marlins cancelled yesterday’s game. However, they will play tonight against the Mets. They will play on a night that Fernandez was supposed to be taking the rubber against Bartolo Colon. As it stands right now, the Marlins haven’t announced a starter to take Fernandez’s place. It just seems fitting because no one could ever take his place. No one else can be the young ace that Fernandez was. No no else could have the impact on the community Fernandez did. No one else could garner the respect of all of baseball in the way Fernandez did. No one could ever replace him as the father to his child.
That’s the backdrop to tonight’s meeting between the Mets and the Marlins. A once meaningful September game now seems devoid of its meaning without Fernandez. On a night that he was supposed to don his number 16 jersey and take the mound, the Mets and Marlins are left hanging up his jersey in honor and remembrance of him.
Normally in this spot, I’d point out something Terry Collins did to really hinder his chances of winning not just the previous game, but in some instances, things he did that hurt his team’s chances of winning a game. That didn’t happen yesterday.
Collins was put in the tough spot of having to start Sean Gilmartin because Noah Syndergaard was too sick to pitch. If you’re arguing someone else should have started, it’s just blind Collins’ hatred.
Logan Verrett forfeited the opportunity to be a spot starter with some poor starts when he took Matt Harvey‘s spot in the rotation. Between those starts and his work Friday night, he established he shouldn’t get the start.
Rafael Montero has also shown himself undeserving of a start. He’d prove he shouldn’t have started giving up five runs in 3.1 innings of work.
Gilmartin was the reasonable choice. When the Phillies put up a five spot on him with only two outs in the first, it was reasonable to go to Montero. Given the state of the Mets bullpen, it was the right move to stick with Montero for 3.1 innings despite the Mets falling down 10-0 in the fourth.
At that point, Collins made his best decision of the year. After giving his regulars a shot to put some runs on the board in the fourth, he got them out if the game.
It was a chance for Asdrubal Cabrera to rest both of his knees, and Yoenis Cespedes to rest his quad. It also allowed Curtis Granderson and Jose Reyes to get a bit of a breather.
Collins would also keep the right people in the game. Both Lucas Duda and Michael Conforto need to get at bats to get them ready for the postseason. Also, you want to give Travis d’Arnaud, who is still the team’s best offensive catcher, a chance to get going.
It also allowed the Mets to get two former first round picks, Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo, some playing time and some exposure to the pennant race. It also allowed the team to take an extended look at Ty Kelly and Eric Campbell, both of whom may be on the bubble for a postseason roster spot.
As it turns out, this group wasn’t content on playing out the string. The bench players and future regulars did all they could do to tie the game with them falling mercilessly short. That speaks positive of both them and their manager.
It’s bizarre to think Collins best game was in a game the Mets were down early 10-0. But that’s the thing about judging managers, you just want them to have the right process and let the chips fall where they may. The more often your manager has the right thought process, and puts his team in a position to succeed, you’re going to win games.
Coincidentally, Collins managed this game extremely well, and as it turned out, the team almost pulled out a victory. More importantly, this team should be fresher and in a good position to win tomorrow afternoon.
There is a fine line between being aggressive and going for it and just flat out panicking. The way Terry Collins managed last night was clearly the former.
In his two innings of work Gabriel Ynoa was getting hit by the Phillies. He allowed five hits, two runs, two earned, and one walk with only one strikeout. There were no extra base hits or any balls hit particularly hard. Still, Ynoa wasn’t fooling anyone. With him having already thrown 43 pitches, it was hard to imagine him going deep in the game.
However, no reasonable person could expect what happened next.
Travis d’Arnaud hit a two out RBI double to pull the Mets within 2-1. Then, rather than let Ynoa make his obligatory out to end the inning, Collins pinch hit Ty Kelly for Ynoa. In the second inning, Collins chased the run and pulled his starter from the game. If it’s Game Seven of the World Series where there’s no tomorrow, and you have your full compliment of arms, sure; why not? However, the Mets do have a game tomorrow.
By the way, in that game, the Mets are starting Sean Gilmartin because Noah Syndergaard has strep throat. Gilmartin’s last start was over a month ago. This means, at best, you can expect him to go five innings. More likely, you’re going to get less than that. With that in mind, you need as many guys as you can pitch tomorrow.
The Mets also needed to rest their bullpen as they have been taxed lately. Here is the breakdown in how much they’ve been used this week:
- Sunday 4.1 innings
- Monday 5.1 innings
- Tuesday 3.2 innings
- Wednesday 2.1 innings
- Thursday 6.0 innings
With that usage, Collins was asking his bullpen to find him seven innings the day before he was likely going to have to go deep into the bullpen again. Also, Sunday’s starter is Robert Gsellman who is averaging 5.2 innings per start meaning the Mets will most likely need to go deep into their bullpen again.
However, that’s addressing the future; a future that Collins ignored. Let’s focus on yesterday’s game.
Heading into the game, Collins already announced Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia were unavailable. Gilmartin is unavailable as he’s pitching tomorrow. All of the Mets arms have been used multiple times all week meaning the fresh arm in the bullpen was Logan Verrett. Verrett was where Collins went.
This season Verrett has a 5.22 ERA. Batters are hitting .284/.364/.530 off of him. While Ynoa hasn’t been great in his limited major league sample size, but there was no reason to believe Verrett would actually be a better option. If the Mets truly believed that Verrett was the better option, he would have been named the starter when it was announced Steven Matz was being shut down for the season.
Verrett would go out there and pitch two pretty ugly innings of his own. He allowed a leadoff homer to Maikel Franco in the third. He would then load the bases in the fourth, and he would narrowly escape the jam.
With Verrett pitching poorly, Collins would have to desperately find guys to go multiple innings to try to avoid going to Reed and Familia.
He first tried Josh Smoker. In his second inning of work, Darin Ruf would hit a two run homer off of him. Erik Goeddel would come in for Smoker and pitch a clean inning.
Despite his history of arm problems, Collins would try to push Goeddel another inning. When he got into a jam, Collins brought in Josh Edgin for a batter. After Edgin allowed a single, Collins did what he usually does in these situations. Collins brought in Hansel Robles not just to get out if the jam, but also to pitch the final 2.2 innings to get the win.
Robles did his job as did most of the Mets bullpen last night. However, Collins didn’t. He put the Mets in a position to empty their bullpen of their worst relievers instead of allowing Ynoa to go deeper in the game.
Now, the Mets bullpen is taxed, and it she’s not PpeR things will get better for them anytime soon.
It was just a little over 24 hours ago when James Loney had made two really poor plays in the field. The first was his inability to stretch for a low pickoff throw from Bartolo Colon (imagine that a low pickoff throw by the base) that would send the speedy runner Mallex Smith to second base. Fortunately, that wouldn’t cause any harm as Colon was quick on a come backer, and he would catch Smith straying too far off second base.
The second Loney play would help lead to a Mets loss. Leading off the bottom of the eight, Ender Inciarte hit a groundball that went right through Loney’s glove and legs. It was a pivotal play that saw the fast Inciarte reach and eventually score the tying run. The Braves would also score a run in the top of the ninth, and Inciarte would be prominently featured again as he stole what could’ve been a walk-off three run homer from Yoenis Cespedes in the bottom of the ninth.
After the game, Collins acted surprised at the Loney error calling him a good defensive first baseman. He is definitively not, and he hasn’t been in some time.
This year, Loney has a -2.8 UZR and a 0 DRS. If Loney had enough innings to qualify, his UZR would rank 13th and his DRS would rank 10th in the majors.
Over the past three seasons, Loney has averaged a -2.2 UZR and a -1 DRS. Those numbers ranks him as 14th in hte majors in DRS and UZR. For what it’s worth Lucas Duda, who is still not fully back from his back injury, ranks ahead of Loney in both catergories (11th UZR and 6th DRS)
Looking over those numbers, Loney isn’t a terrible first baseman. He is just a slightly below average one. Even if you were not one that subscribes to the advanced defensive metrics, it is hard to overlook his unwillingness/inability to stretch for balls throw to first base as well as the errors he has made in the field. Despite only playing 94 games at first base, Loney has eight errors, which is coincidentally gives him the lowest fielding percentage of any first baseman in the National League this season with a minimum of 700 innings played over there.
All of this is prelude to what happened last night.
With the Phillies starting the left-handed Adam Morgan, Collins elected to go with Eric Campbell at first base over Loney. With the way Loney has hit in the second half and the way Loney has hit lefties his entire career, you’d be hard pressed to disagree with Collins over the decision to sit Loney.
In the sixth inning, the Phillies would bring on the right-handed pitcher Luis Garcia to pitch, and Collins would pinch hit Loney for Campbell. Again, you’d be hard pressed to argue with Collins on this one as he’s removing Campbell from the game; a Campbell that was 0-2 with a strikeout on the night. Understandably, Loney remained in the game. Loney would again cost the Mets with his defense.
In the top of the eighth, and the Mets having a 4-3 lead, Odubel Herrera hit a sharp grounder up the middle that T.J. Rivera made an incredible diving stop to save a run with the speedy Cesar Hernandez on second base. Rivera popped up, and threw to first base. It was a close play, but Herrera was safe. Look at Loney’s stretch on the play:
On what was a bang-bang play, Loney fully stretched. If he did, there would have been two outs instead of one. That might’ve completely changed Addison Reed‘s pitching sequence to Maikel Franco, who would hit a go-ahead three run homer.
Now, to be fair, Collins’ decision to leave Loney in the game was reasonable, as no one is quite sure right now whether Duda can physically play first base after having played there Sunday. Overall, what is wrong with Collins is his mindset that Loney is a good defender. He’s not, and he hasn’t been in a few year. And if not for the heroics of Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera, Loney’s inability to stretch would have had a profound impact on what would have been another horrible Mets loss.
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.
Last night was a night of the narrowest of margins. The Mets entered the night with a one game lead in the Wild Card race. They were also facing Julio Teheran who absolutely owns the Mets. Once the Mets got a 1-0 lead, they needed to do everything they could do to protect that lead.
Terry Collins didn’t.
Robert Gsellman entered the sixth inning having thrown 75 pitches. In his young career, opposing batters are hitting .429/.500/.500 off Gsellman when he crosses the 75 pitch mark. Better yet, opposing batters are hitting .368/.455/.421 off of him the third time through the order. After Gsellman retired Teheran to start the inning, the Braves hitters were getting a third look at him.
Ender Inciarte and Adonis Garcia hit back-to-back singles. Gsellman was losing it, and Mets killer Freddie Freeman was stepping to the plate. It was at this point anyone would’ve gone to the bullpen for the lefty. However, Collins didn’t do that as HE HAD NO ONE WARMING UP!
It was the right spot for Josh Smoker. Freeman doesn’t hit sliders or splitters well, and he has a tendency to swing and miss at fastballs. Furthermore, Smoker entered the night striking out 15.3 batters per nine. Instead, Collins stuck with Gsellman, who would walk Freeman to load the bases.
That lead to Matt Kemp hitting a ball that should’ve been caught by either Curtis Granderson, or even better, Jay Bruce. Instead, it dropped in for an RBI “single.” At this point, Collins went to Smoker to pitch to Nick Markakis with the bases loaded. It was two batters too late.
Smoker here was the right spot even if he wound up walking Markakis to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
Honorable mention for Collin’s Decision of the Game should also go to him leaving Jerry Blevins out to dry.
Fernando Salas had come on to get the last two outs of the sixth, and he started the seventh inning. After he allowed a leadoff single to Dansby Swanson, and Teheran failed to get the bunt down, Collins went to Blevins to pitch to Ender Inciarte. Blevins didn’t get the job done as he allowed Inciarte to get on with a single. Collins stuck with Blevins to pitch to Adonis Garcia. Even with Garcia killing lefties this year while being unable to hit righties, the move was understandable with Freddie Freeman on deck.
After Garcia homered to make it a 5-1 game and Freeman hit a double to deep center, you really had to question why Blevins was still in the game. The move to intentionally walk Kemp was certainly questionable. Still, Blevins settled down enough to strike out Nick Markakis for the second out. At that point, Collins went with Rafael Montero of all people to get the Mets out of the inning.
He went with Montero despite how hard he’s been hit this year and his troubles throwing strikes. It was just inviting further disaster and for the Braves to put the game completely out of reach. The fact that it wound up working isn’t proof it was the right move. Rather, it was proof that Collins got lucky.
At that point too, you have to question why Montero wasn’t double-switched into the game. Montero is now the Mets version of the white flag. If you’re bringing him in, you might as well let him close the game out and save your bullpen. The perfect opportunity was there too with Jay Bruce making the last out of the sixth inning. The move to Montero for one-third of an inning made no sense whatsoever. It made less sense when you consider Collins went to Jim Henderson in the next inning.
Overall, Collins had yet another bad game. Again, he was not prepared for the moment, and it wound up costing the Mets.
T.J. Rivera hit a two run homer in the bottom of the fourth to bring the Mets with three runs. The game was now in play after Noah Syndergaard had allowed five runs in 3.2 innings.
The home run changed the dynamics of how Terry Collins needed to use his bullpen.
Now, even with the expanded rosters, the Mets bullpen was a bit overworked. The Mets needed their bullpen to pitch 11.1 innings over the previous two games. With Syndergaard getting knocked out in the fourth, the bullpen would need to get another 5.1 innings.
Sean Gilmartin pitched the first 1.1 innings. His turn in the lineup would come up in the sixth, and Collins would do the right thing in pinch hitting Kelly Johnson for him, especially with a runner in scoring position.
At this point, Collins had to figure out where to go for the final four innings. Collins went to Josh Edgin. Now, Edgin has pitched in the previous two nights (even if the one outing was just to face one batter). It is also important to note this is his first season back from Tommy John surgery.
More important than any of that, Edgin has made 10 appearances this year pitching to a 6.00 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP. Righties are hitting .273/.467/.545 off him this year and .243/.344/.346 for his career. He’s a LOOGY and not a cross-over lefty. None of this stopped Collins for sending him out for a second inning.
On Edgin’s 30th pitch, he walked Jace Peterson to load the bases. Hansel Robles came in and couldn’t get out of the jam. He allowed a two RBI single to Dansby Swanson to make it 7-2 putting the game reasonably out if reach. This was a situation created by Collins, and Robles couldn’t bail him out.
Now, there will be some who will defend Collins pointing out Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis were due up the following inning. It’s a valid yet misguided point.
Yes, you want Edgin facing Freeman and Markakis. However, you don’t want Edgin having them after having pitched in the prior inning and with Edgin pitching on the third consecutive game. It doesn’t make sense.
It was incumbent on Collins to look ahead and use a different pitcher in the sixth and leave Edgin in reserve for when Freeman and Markakis came to bat. Collins tried to get two innings out of Edgin. It was a move that backfired, and it helped the Braves blow the game open.