There is way too much focus on the wrong things with the New York Mets right now. The real problems aren’t this series against the Atlanta Braves.
Sure, Starling Marte is on the IL. This is the same Mets team who can put Jeff McNeil in right field. They also traded for Tyler Naquin and his prowess against right-handed pitching. They were built for this potentiality.
Sure, the Atlanta Braves have played great baseball since June 1. Since that date, they’re 76-32 (.704). That’s a 114 win pace.
Guess what? None of the aforementioned factors should matter one bit. The Mets being in second right now is only about the Mets.
Lost in all of this is the Mets have blown a 10.5 game lead, a historical rarity. One classic example of this was the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers, and we found out the New York Giants were cheating like the Houston Astros. That includes Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard Round the World.
Put that aside. Over the same timeframe, the Mets have played .577 ball, which is a 93 win pace. Put another way, the Mets have theoretically played well enough to win.
Except, well, they haven’t.
Remember, the Mets entered September with a three game lead and the easiest finishing schedule in all of baseball. Because of that, this series never should have mattered.
It does because the Mets have played terribly. They are a combined 2-6 at home against the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and Miami Marlins. That’s a four game swing in the record for a Mets team down one in the standings.
Some will make this all about the Braves as if the Mets didn’t:— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) October 2, 2022
1. Once had a 10.5 game lead
2. Have a three game lead entering the month
3. Have the easiest closing schedule in baseball
4. Go 2-6 at home against the Nats, Cubs, and Marlins
Don’t take these people seriously
They’re 12-10 against teams with a losing record this month. That’s a .545 winning percentage. Entering this month, the Mets were 41-14 (.745) against teams with a losing record.
This Mets team should’ve had the NL East wrapped up about a week ago. That’s not hyperbole. The schedule was that bad, and this Mets team is that good.
When a team this good can’t be teams that bad, it’s on them. When they blow leads because they can’t beat bad teams, it’s on them. Saying otherwise is an outright lie, and that lie needs to stop now.
If you were the New York Mets, you couldn’t ask for a better situation heading into a big series. Everything was aligned.
They had everything you need for a big series. Well, everything but the manager because Buck Showalter is not a big game manager.
That was his reputation coming to the Mets. It’s the reason he has only won one postseason series and has a 9-14 (.391) record in the postseason.
1999 NLDS Game 1: NYM @ ARI: Edgardo Alfonzo (2nd of game, 2nd of postseason, 2nd of postseason career, grand slam) off Bobby Chouinard pic.twitter.com/ODym4T3BTK— Mets Home Run a Day (@MetsHRADay) February 26, 2020
There were hopes Showalter grew as a manager. However, after the first game of this series, it’s very clear he’s the same manager he always has been. There were far too many bad decisions to conclude otherwise.
The first six were the first six. The Mets rode deGrom until his blister said he had to come out of the game. Max Fried left after five, but the Mets were obviously keeping the top of their lineup in against Colin McHugh.
The seventh was where Showalter was a disaster, and things didn’t improve.
As noted, deGrom was out after six, and the Mets had a fully rested bullpen. For some unfathomable reason, Showalter opted for Tylor Megill.
Megill has struggled since coming off the IL. It’s difficult to know if he’s rusty or struggling to adapt to the bullpen. Megill struggled and allowed two earned.
That made a clove two run game into a far more difficult four run deficit. There was no reason for Megill to pitch there.
That’s similar to Álvarez batting. These are moves after you clinch or have a big lead. That’s not what you do when you’re in the heat of a pennant race.
This isn’t JV tryouts or the Arizona Fall League. These games count, and the Mets have to be their best in terms of deciding anything. The Mets don’t need to know what Álvarez needs to do in that spot. They need to win these games.
We saw it again in the eighth. The Mets are down four. They need base runners to get a rally going. Luis Guillorme is having a good day at the plate, and he has a .355 OBP.
Nope, we have to see how Mark Vientos hits A.J. Minter. If you are a run behind and need a big fly, that’s one thing. Vientos adds that dynamic. However, the Mets were down four. They needed Guillorme and his on base skills in the spot.
Yes, it did work. However, like with Megill, this was low leverage decision making in a close high leverage game and inning. Megill and Rodriguez are supposed to be spectators in the spot.
In the top of the ninth, the bases were loaded with one out. Kenley Jansen was struggling with his command. If there was ever a spot which begged for Vogelbach, this was it.
Again, Vogelbach was brought in to face right-handed pitching. He has a 148 wRC+ against right-hanged pitching. He’s got as good an eye and is as patient at the plate as anyone.
But no, Showalter sent up Álvarez to see what he can do. Yes, you can argue he’s a power hitter, but so is Vogelbach. Against a season battled tested closer, Álvarez struck out.
Go over this game again. This was not managed as an important game for a team looking to win the NL East.
Álvarez batted twice over Vogelbach in big spots. Vientos came up for Guillorme. Megill and Rodriguez pitched over everyone.
You expect this in Spring Training. You expect this from a team trying to play spoiler and need to see something from their young players. This is not how a team with a one game less late in the season manages a game.
Again, this isn’t a blip. This is who Showalter is. It’s who he was when he was blowing the ALDS, NLDS, and Wild Card Games. This is who he is as the Mets manager.
Yes, the Mets lost because deGrom battled blisters allowing three runs. They lost because they only scored two runs. They also lost because their managed managed this game like it was Spring Training just like he does all big games.
Earlier in the week, this site published a projected postseason roster listing out who was set to make the roster. It also identified which players were on the bubble. Well, it has been less than a week and a lot has changed since then. This should come as no surprise. After all, this is the Mets.
Before proceeding, let’s look first and foremost at who is guaranteed to make the roster:
With the Mets built to go deep in October based on their pitching, the Mets are going to leave heavily on the pitch framing ability of both of these catchers. In all likelihood, who starts in the postseason will solely come down to starting pitcher preference.
From a list a players perspective, this has not changed. However, what might have changed is Escobar’s standing. With his play in September, it is growing increasingly likely he is going to be used as the everyday third baseman throughout the postseason.
With the recent Starling Marte news, Gore has been upgraded to a definite. Honestly, he probably should have been considered as such from the beginning. After all, he’s a unique weapon deployed by other World Series winning teams.
The way things are looking now Vogelbach may remain as the only pure DH. Of course, as will be detailed more below, that may be just a technicality.
We now the top three will be deGrom, Scherzer, and Bassitt. With recent performances from Carrasco and Walker, it is anyone’s guess as to who is the fourth starter.
Smith has been upgraded from the bubble to guaranteed to make it. Buck Showalter loves him, and after allowing that grand slam in his first appearance off the IL, he has been lights out.
If the Mets were going to look to carry Lucchesi on the postseason roster, they would’ve added him by now. The minor league seasons are over, and there are no more rehab games available for him. With respect to Marte, the news on his finger isn’t good, and the Mets are making moves which seem partially the result of his being unavailable for at least the first round of the postseason.
It would seem as if Hunter’s season is over with the back injury. Truth be told, he was never really going to be in the mix.. As for Givens, it would seem he would be a lock for the roster if healthy. He had a rehab stint with Syracuse, and he looks good to go.
POSITION PLAYER BUBBLE
Right now, the Mets are left deciding who they want to carry at the right-handed platoon DH. In some ways, you might as well just take Ruf off the bubble as they have seemingly all but given up on him. That is why we first saw Vientos and are now seeing Álvarez.
Vientos has shown progress, and you can see where the will be able to contribute as a slugger at the Major League level. Unfortunately, the Mets are not in a position to hang with him and watch him continue to develop into the role. No, what the Mets need now is lightning in a bottle.
Well, the Mets are hoping Álvarez is just that because he has been called up to the majors. It would seem if he shows anything he will be the option. If nothing else, it helps the roster more having that extra catcher in a pinch hitting situation and/or break glass in case of emergency situation. The problem is Álvarez even less time than Vientos to prove himself.
RELIEF PITCHER BUBBLE
With roster rules, the Mets can only carry 13 pitchers. Right now, there are 10 spots taken up between the starters and those relievers guaranteed to make the roster.
Givens had a rehab appearance before Syracuse’s season ended. He pitched well, but for some reason, he has yet to be activated. In all likelihood, we shoudl see that over the weekend, and we should see him on the postseason roster.
Obviously, the Mets are going to carry a left-handed reliever. They may want to carry both Rodriguez and Peterson. That is even despite both pitchers struggling as relievers. For Peterson, it is an adjustment issue, and for Rodriguez, he has just been bad all season. If Givens is healthy and the Mets want the two left-handed relievers, then all the spots are taken.
That would squeeze out Megill and Williams. That may be a mistake because the Mets do not know what they can get out of Carrasco and Walker in the postseason, and they may need another arm out there to eat up innings. Moreover, Williams has been one of the Mets best relievers all season, and his contributions should not be overlooked at this time.
In the end, how the Mets structure this roster is going to depend on the Mets belief in Joely Rodriguez and just who the Mets believe can get hits as a right-handed DH option. These are not easy decisions, and they are decisions which may impact the Mets ability to win in the postseason.
On August 2, 2022, the New York Mets traded J.D. Davis along with prospects Carson Seymour, Thomas Szapucki, and Nick Zwack. for then San Francisco Giants 1B/OF/DH Darin Ruf. It was a trade widely panned at the time due to the prospect overpay. However, this is the type of trade where if the Mets won the World Series no one would really care about the overpay.
The converse to this is naturally the overpay is highlighted when the player struggles. This is why teams typically will not admit a mistake and do everything they can to try to make the trade work. If they can get just one big hit or a small hitting streak, they can point to that to say they didn’t completely mess up. What most teams don’t realize is that player struggling mightily only makes the trade worse because the player not only struggles, but they also inhibit a team’s chances of winning.
Things with Ruf actually started great. In his first Mets plate appearance, he hit a pinch hit double. The problem is Ruf has done absolutely nothing after that. In 28 games, he is hitting .152/.216/.197 with three doubles and seven RBI. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets have gotten more from him as a pitcher (two scoreless innings in a blowout loss) than they have as a position player.
DARIN RUF HITS A TWO-RUN DOUBLE IN HIS METS DEBUT! pic.twitter.com/xsR9dvTGXS
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 6, 2022
Part of this was probably the Mets fault. They took a player who played semi-regularly, and they asked him to be a pure bench/platoon option. Unfortunately, Ruf was not suited for the role. Make no mistake, this was an unforced error and a complete gaffe by the Mets. They gave it a little less than two months before admitting defeat and investigating their other options.
Mets teams of old play and lose with Ruf. This Mets team doesn’t care about how their image and competency are adjudged. They know that will solely be defined by winning the World Series. The Mets saw Ruf would’ve hindered those chances. Instead, the Mets needed to pursue other options who would give them a better chance to win.
First, it was Mark Vientos. In Oakland, it did seem like he was figuring things out. We would even see him hit his first Major League homer. He was cutting down on the strikeouts and taking better at-bats. The thing is he had chances in his last game in big spots, and he didn’t deliver.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 24, 2022
We have seen enough from Vientos to see he is going to be a power hitter at the Major League level. In his minor league career, he has shown the ability to make adjustments and thrive at the plate. However, with the Mets waiting so long before calling him up to the majors, he might not have that time he needs to get comfortable, adjust, and thrive before playing in the postseason.
With that in mind, the Mets called up Francisco Álvarez, the player Keith Law dropped a Mike Piazza comp on before the season. Certainly, with the 27 homers, Álvarez has backed that up. Mets fans have been waiting for this since Álvarez said in Spring Training his goal was to make it to the majors this season. He probably would’ve made it sooner if not for that ankle injury.
Francisco Álvarez against left-handed pitching this season:
— Michael Mayer (@michaelmayer22) September 30, 2022
Right now, it seems Álvarez is here to DH in one game and be available as a pinch hitting option. While Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer were complimentary of his work behind the plate, a team that is going to win and lose the World Series based on their pitching cannot sit James McCann and Tomas Nido, who are exceptional framers.
No, for now, this is a one shot deal. Álvarez is here to DH. He is here because Ruf couldn’t do the job. He is here because the Mets are still unsure if Vientos can do the job. Mostly, he is here because this Mets team will not be defined by their mistakes. Instead, they will be defined by winning.
Thanks to the heroics of Eduardo Escobar and CJ Abrams, the New York Mets will head to Atlanta with a one game lead in the division. Over the course of the weekend series, we may see the NL East race resolved before final series of the season.
Heading into the series, the Mets have a 9-7 record against the Atlanta Braves. Should the Mets win at least one game, they will take the season series. This is of vital importance because Major League Baseball has completely done away with tie-breaker games. Instead, because Rob Manfred wants baseball to not be baseball, it will go to tiebreakers.
If the Mets lost two of three to the Braves, they still control their own destiny. At that point, if they sweep the Washington Nationals at home to close the season, they win the division. Obviously, if the Mets lose a game to the Nationals, they would need the Miami Marlins to defeat the Braves at least once. You can extrapolate that as needed for the three game series.
Now, if the Mets were to sweep the Braves, they clinch the NL East. At that point, the Mets could get swept by the Nationals in the final series of the season, and it will not matter one iota. With the tiebreaker, the Mets win the division.
In the event the Braves sweep the Mets, things get very dicey for the Mets. At that point, the Braves would not only have a two game lead, but they would also have the tiebreaker as they will have won the season series. Effectively speaking, a Braves sweep would mean the Braves clinch the division because they would only have to register one win against the Marlins.
As it stands, if the Mets take two out of three, they also effectively win the division. The Mets would have the tiebreaker and a two game division lead. The Mets magic number would be one. That would mean they would need to win at least one game against the Nationals. For all the Mets struggles against bad teams at home over the final month of the season, it is hard to imagine they would get swept.
Overall, all the Mets need to do in Atlanta to control their own destiny is to win one game. You have to love the Mets chances of doing that with them sending Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt to the mound. If the Mets win the series, they effectively take the division. If they sweep, they definitively win it.
Right now, the name of the game is to win at least one. After that, the Mets control their own destiny. In the end, that’s all they can ask for at this point in the season.
Baseball is the best sport there is. No other sport can give a team and player the chance for redemption like the others.
We were reminded of that with this New York Mets team and Eduardo Escobar.
Escobar was great to start the season. However, he tapered off and was injured. He’d lose his starting job and become a weak side platoon option.
Well, Guillorme and Baty would both go dish with injury. That meant the Mets had little choice than play Escobar. Boy, are they lucky that happened.
Arguably, Escobar has been the Mets best player this month. In fact, he’s been a top 20 player in the majors this month (per fWAR) with the third most RBI in all of baseball.
That Escobar was on display against the Miami Marlins. It is not hyperbole to say the Mets were collapsing, and they looked dead in the water in this game. That was until Escobar’s seventh inning homer:
Suddenly, the Mets were back in the game, and they had some life. In fact, the Mets team now down 4-2 would load the bases in the eighth.
Through six innings, the Mets couldn’t muster a run. In the ensuing two innings, Escobar would knock in a pair tying the score.
In the ninth, the Mets couldn’t come through because, well, Escobar didn’t bat. That’s only half-joking because Escobar was in the zone like no other Mets player.
After Drew Smith came up huge, the Mets went to the bottom of the tenth needing just one to walk it off. With the Washington Nationals beating the Atlanta Braves in extras, the Mets had a chance to go to Atlanta one game up in the division.
Lindor was at second as the ghost runner because Rob Manfred hates baseball. Mark Canha came close to ending it, but he’d strike out.
The Marlins intentionally walked McNeil to get to Escobar. Unlike the previous at-bats, Escobar was batting left-handed, his far weaker side. On a night like this, it didn’t matter:
Like that, the Mets won 5-4 with Escobar driving all five Mets runs. Not too bad for a guy who lost his job twice and saw the Mets try to severely limit his at-bats.
You could see Escobar was ecstatic. We all were. We got to see it on display when Escobar gave one of the more joyful and entertaining postgame interviews we’ve ever seen with him ending the interview saying, “Arigato! Thank you!”
While great and much appreciated, it is Escobar who deserves our thanks and appreciation. Even when times were at their worst, he never gave up, and he kept fighting saying he would one day give the fans a reason to cheer:
Eduardo Escobar with a message for Mets fans:— SNY (@SNYtv) June 22, 2022
"One day, I'm going to give them the reasons to cheer for me" pic.twitter.com/7NRCEjzXBZ
Assuredly, this came at a time later than anyone wanted. However, it could not have come at a better time. For this game propelling the Mets to a one game lead, Mets fans should say to Escobar, “Arigato! Thank you!”
With a natural disaster the scale of Hurricane Ian, baseball seems all the more trivial. Obviously, human lives take precedence.
However, there are Major League Baseball games, and those games need to be played. That is especially true for the pivotal Mets/Braves series in Atlanta.
Unfortunately, the weather is potentially going to wreck havoc with the series leaving both teams and MLB left trying to figure out how to get the games played. The first suggested option was less than inspired.
As of this minute, there's only three options currently being considered for #Mets at #Braves.— David Lennon (@DPLennon) September 28, 2022
— Moving up Friday's first pitch from night to a day game.
— Possibly playing a split DH on Sunday.
— Using Oct. 6 for one or even two games to decide the NL East.
It’s painful that MLB can’t figure out the obvious solution to get all three games played. To do that, we need to acknowledge the following:
- Mets and Braves do not play Thursday
- There is no possibility for games to be played on Saturday.
- The postseason has to start on October 7.
Logistically speaking, you really need to know who wins the NL East and who is the Wild Card as soon as possible. The division winner receives a bye, and the other team has home field advantage in the Wild Card round.
Under no circumstances can you put the Mets and Braves in a spot where they’re killing their bullpen to win the division only to start a postseason series the following day. Moreover, you can’t have a team sitting and awaiting the results of a doubleheader to determine where they’re playing the following day (or later that evening).
Your absolute worst case scenario is playing one game on Thursday. Playing a Thursday doubleheader is completely out of the question. As a result, you need to figure out a way to play the games.
First and foremost, the Mets and Braves need to play on Thursday. Both teams will complain about losing the off day, but they’ll get that back on Saturday.
Yes, the teams have aligned their rotations just for this series. The Mets have Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt ready. The Braves put Spencer Strider on extended rest just to pitch in this series.
Playing Thursday will force a pitcher on short rest or pitch a starter they don’t want to pitch. Believe it or not, this is preferable to the alternative.
Neither team wants to use an ace right before a postseason series, and they don’t want to push their top bullpen guys. That goes double if there’s a doubleheader.
If they schedule a game on Thursday, they get at least one game in. If the Friday game from an evening game to a day game, they likely get both games in. This would completely take the doubleheader out of the equation.
After that, you know you’re not playing Saturday. Chances are, you’re not playing Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, this is the ESPN Sunday Night game. As a result, we should see this game played.
This is how you get all the games played and avoid playing October 6. Really, this is MLB’s best option. Arguably, it’s their only option.
Hopefully, this is how MLB will proceed. Mostly, we all hope and pray for those people who will be directly impacted by Hurricane Ian.
Do you recall why the New York Mets collapsed in 2007? Injuries for sure played a part. Yes, the Philadelphia Phillies going on a tear played a part too.
However, ultimately, it was on the Mets. They didn’t beat the teams they should’ve beaten easily. That put seven in 17 completely on them.
Now, the Mets were swept by the Phillies, but they were still up 3.5 games with 14 left to play. The Mets would finish the season going a combined 5-8 against the Washington Nationals and the then Florida Marlins (with a make-up game loss to the St. Louis Cardinals).
If that Mets team took care of business against those dreadful teams, they win the division with ease. Instead, it was a historic collapse.
The very same thing could happen to this Mets team who once had a 10.5 game lead in the division. Not winning the NL East would be a collapse.
The Mets had the weakest September schedule in baseball. They’ve squandered it and the three game lead they had entering the month.
Against the Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Marlins, and Oakland Athletics, the Mets are a combined 10-9. That includes them being 1-6 at home against the Nationals, Cubs, and Marlins.
#Mets are 1-6 in September at home against the Marlins, Cubs and Nationals. That’s almost incomprehensible.— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) September 28, 2022
There’s just no defending that. Yes, saying it isn’t a collapse and pointing to the Braves record from June 1 on is defending it. The Mets not winning this division is solely on them.
Case-in-point, let’s say instead of 1-6, the Mets were 6-1 at home against those teams. In all honesty, in a tight division race, there’s no reason why they weren’t.
This would mean instead of being tied atop the division with a 97-58 record, they would be five games up with a 102-53 record.
As a result, the Mets magic number right now would be two. TWO!
We could and should be talking about the Mets potentially clinching if they beat the Marlins. Instead, we’re talking about the Mets needing to win to stay tied before heading to Atlanta.
When you can’t beat up on the Nationals and Marlins, you’re collapsing. That was true for the 2007 Mets, and it holds true today.
Obviously, these Mets making the postseason makes this feel different. That will allow the Mets to write their own story as to how this season will be remembered.
If the Mets don’t win the division, they risk a first round exit. Certainly, that would be another factor in correctly terming what’s happening a collapse.
Then again, with those four, it’s difficult to imagine the Mets in this situation. With them pitching in Atlanta, maybe this collapse is over. We shall see.
There are eight games remaining in the New York Mets season. They are currently 1.5 games up in the division and one game up in the loss column. Yet again, they are in a tight race to the finish with the Atlanta Braves. As noted, this has not typically ended well for the Mets.
In their 60 year history, the Mets do not typically win close division races. When they win, they typically win big.
In 1969, the Mets shocked the world winning the NL East winning 100 games. That year they won the division by eight games. That was actually one of their tighter wins.
As we know, in 1986 the Mets destroyed the rest of baseball. They won that division by an astounding 21.5 games. Two years later, they won 100 games, and they would take the East by 15 games.
Since that 1980s run of dominance, the Mets would claim two more division titles. The 2006 Mets ran away with the division and won the East by 12 games.
While the 2015 Mets were in a tight race through much of the summer, it would not quite finish that way. The Mets had the division effectively wrapped up entering September, and they took the division by seven games. To date, that is the closest a team has ever come to the Mets when they won the division,.
Put another way, the Mets as a franchise are really good front-runners. When it comes to battling to the finish, they are not nearly as successful. Keep in mind, that is when it comes to the division. In 1999 and 2016, the Mets proved they can win close races.
For most of the 1980s, the Mets were in very close division races. In 1985, the Mets won 98 games, but they lost the division by three games. In 1987, they again finished three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1990, the end of their franchise best run, they finished four games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Really, the Mets don’t win close division races. Well, except for that one time. That was in 1973 when Tug McGraw rallied the Mets around his “Ya Gotta Believe!” mantra.
That team erased the same 10.5 game deficit the Braves are currently seeking to completely overcome. That Mets team won a divisional race seemingly no one wanted to win, and they would clinch on the final game of the regular season. With the way this NL East race is going, it seems likely the Mets aren’t going to clinch until the final few days of the season.
However, this team isn’t like that Mets team. This team is a truly great team who has played great all season. This team is trying to fight off all challengers like the Braves. They’re the ones being chased, which is not a spot they have really been as a franchise.
This is an unusual spot for the Mets,. They are in a fight for the division. They are the ones being chased. That said, this team is a truly great team, and they are uniquely suited to face down this challenge. This team can and will win a tight NL East race.
Back in 2015, the New York Mets blew the World Series in large part due to Terry Collins. While time has somehow been more kind to Collins, fact is he is the main reason the Mets didn’t win the World Series.
Yes, Jeurys Familia blew three saves. Daniel Murphy made an error. David Wright fielded a ball he shouldn’t have while Lucas Duda threw it away. However, there were a series of just baffling and just flat out dumb decisions from Collins which led to these events. Really, these were all consequences of Collins’ horrific managing.
All of his errors have been explained in full here and other places. Ultimately, this is the worst case scenario for a team. You cannot have a manager and his poor decision making be the reason a team does not win a World Series.
We are starting to see signs Buck Showalter is probably cut from the same cloth as Collins. His recent decisions are an indication of that, and that would be very bad news for the Mets.
The Mets last game against the Milwaukee Brewers should have each and every Mets fan very nervous for the postseason. To set the stage, Starling Marte is on the IL, and Brandon Nimmo had to come out of the game with a quad injury. The Mets were trailing 1-0 heading into the seventh despite having base runners on in each and every inning.
Before we get into the pitching, he would leave a very clearly hobbled Jeff McNeil on the field. For one game, Showalter risked losing McNeil for the rest of the season and postseason. He did that and then managed his bullpen horrifically.
Some questioned letting Taijuan Walker start the inning. That is a decision which can be debated with some of the bullpen arms probably unavailable including Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo. After Walker stumbled, Collins went to David Peterson.
Now, Peterson is a starter who has struggled out of the bullpen. This was a big ask of him. Runners were on first and second with no outs and a run already in.
The thing is Peterson did his job. The Brewers gave up the out with a sacrifice bunt before Peterson struck out Christian Yelich. The Mets were one out away from getting out of the inning. That’s where Showalter made a number of flat out dumb decisions.
While you can understand the impetus not to want to pitch to Willy Adames, intentionally walking him to load the bases is a bad move because it gives Peterson, a pitcher who sometimes inexplicably loses command, no lee-way. However, as we found out, it wasn’t going to be Peterson.
After Craig Counsell pinch hit Mike Brosseau for Rowdy Tellez, Showalter went to Drew Smith. This is the same Smith who has not pitched since July 24. This is the same Smith who has been homer prone this year. Well, he would go up 0-2 in the count before giving up that grand slam.
Keep in mind, Showalter isn’t dumb. He is the guy who prepares and over prepares. He is the type of manager who likes to take control and set innings into motion. He’s not a bystander. Put another way, Showalter put that inning in motion with the intent of having Smith pitch to Brosseau.
He was prepared for that eventuality when he sent Walker out there to start the inning. He had that plan when he ordered the intentional walk of Adames. This is the match-up he wanted. He wanted it, and it blew up in his face.
Unfortunately, this is Showalter in big moments. It is David Cone for too long before Jack McDowell. It is Bobby Chouinard over Matt Mantei. It is literally anyone but Zack Britton. It’s been a problem in Showalter’s managerial career, and it is a big reason why his teams have only won one postseason series, and it’s why Showalter is still chasing that elusive World Series ring.
Right now, we’re seeing that same Showalter. If he really wants to win this time, and he has the roster capable of winning a World Series, he is finally going to have to adapt and change. If not, we may see moments like this again come this postseason with Mets fans dreaming of what might have been.