Joe Torre

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Opening Day Memories

With the Mets 2018 season beginning today, we are all hopeful that this will be the first Mets team since 1986 to win a World Series.  If history is any judge, fans will depart Citi Field with that feeling as the New York Mets do have the best winning percentage on Opening Day.  Whether the good feelings and warm memories continue from there is anyone’s guess.

As you look to turn on the television or head to the ballpark, we thought we would share some of our Opening Day memories with you in the latest edition of the Mets Blogger Roundtable.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies & Fangraphs)

Two words: Collin Cowgill (That’s not my actual answer)

I think I’m going to cheat here. The first game that came to mind for favorite Opening Day memory was the Mets’ home opener in 2000. It was their first game played in North America, if that helps? The Mets split a two-game set in Japan the week before and then faced off against the Padres at Shea, and I was there. It was my first time attending a home opener, and I had to bend the rules that day too, seeing as I was, technically speaking, scheduled to continue my high school education that afternoon. A couple of friends and I cut class, took the 2/3, transferred to the 7, sauntered up to the ticket window, bought four tickets, and enjoyed a 2-1 victory. I brazenly put the schedule magnet giveaway on the refrigerator, and as far as I know was never caught. Please do not tell my mother.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

My favorite Opening Day memory was Tom Seaver‘s 1983 Opening Day start.  It was tremendous.

The details of Seaver’s homecoming were detailed in this Sports Illustrated piece.

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

This one has me stumped since I have not been to a Mets opening day since the Shea days. One that stands out is the chilly home opener for Tom Glavine. A 15-2 Mets loss I believe. Good times.

Metstradamus (Metstradamus Blog)

I cut school to go to Opening Day in 1980. My mother wrote a note to the teacher saying “sorry my son was absent. He went to Opening Day. P.S. the Mets won 5-2.” The teacher let me off the hook but only because the Mets won. I cut school in 1983 to see Seaver’s return as a Met. I cut school in 1988 to see Darryl Strawberry hit a HR on Opening Day, then left early to get back to theater rehearsal, and I had to platoon style elbow crawl my way under the director so she wouldn’t know I was gone. Luckily they never got to my scene yet so I was out of trouble. Until we left for the day and the director said “How was the game?” As many times as I cut school for Opening Day, it’s a wonder I can put a sentence together.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend 17 Opening Days/Home Openers (18, counting the first home game after the 1981 strike, which was functionally a second Home Opener), my favorite among them the 2001 Home Opener, when the 2000 NL pennant was raised, we were handed replica championship flags on our way in, Tsuyoshi Shinjo introduced himself to us with a homer, Mike Piazza socked two, the Mets obliterated the Braves and, not incidentally, the weather was perfect.

But with all due respect to the thrill of being on hand to, as Howie Rose says, welcome the National League season to New York, my core Opening Day memory is from 1975, when I convinced a friend to skip Hebrew School and watch the rest of the first game of that season.

The game began while we were still in shall we say regular school (sixth grade). Our teacher put the Mets and Phillies on the classroom TV. One wise guy tried to switch to the Yankees. Out of pique, the teacher switched it off.

Fast forward a bit, and my aforementioned friend and I went to my house to catch a little more of the game before we had to get to Hebrew School. This was Seaver versus Steve Carlton, and it was such an occasion that I said to him, “I’m not going to Hebrew School today.” He was convinced to not go, either.

We watched to the end and were rewarded for our truancy. Seaver pitched a complete game. Dave Kingman homered in his first game as a Met, and Joe Torre (also a new Met) drove in the winning run in the ninth, or what we would today call walkoff fashion. The whole winter was about reconstructing a dismal 1974 squad and hoping Seaver would be healthy. For one day, everything clicked as we dreamed.

The other thing I remember distinctly was Bob Murphy hosting the TV postgame show, first time we ever saw anybody but Ralph Kiner in that role. I learned decades later that Ralph was holding out for an increase in his Kiner’s Korner deal, which he eventually got.

There’ve been more dramatic Opening Days since, but that one will always be Opening Day Like It Oughta Be to me.

There’ve been some unfortunate Opening Day/Night results over the years, but there’s nothing about beginning a baseball season that doesn’t have at least one inherent saving grace to it. At last, we are in baseball season.

Mets Daddy

There are two that readily stick out in my mind.  The first was 1995, the first year after the strike.  It was also my first Opening Day.  I remember the tickets were cheap, and the crowd was rowdier than usual with many people running onto the field.  It first seemed like protest, and then it just seemed to morph into a drunken stupor.  John Franco blowing a 9th inning save chance, and the Mets blowing leads in the 13th and 14th innings were really just afterthoughts to all the mayhem and the fact baseball was finally back in our lives.

My favorite Opening Day was the 2006 Opening Day.  With the Mets obtaining Carlos Delgado and Paul Lo Duca in the offseason, there was an anticipation the 2006 team could be a special one.

That day certainly was.  Xavier Nady, the guy Omar gambled on when he traded Mike Cameron to the Padres, immediately made himself welcome to fans with an RBI double.  David Wright was showered with MVP chants which only reverberated louder when he homered.  Anderson Hernandez made an incredible defensive play at second.  Then Billy Wagner entered the game to “Enter Sandman” to close out the game.

I remember feeling this was a team capable of winning a World Series.  I also remember my Dad taking the longer way home so we can get our free Bobbleheads from P.C. Richard and because we could hear Mike and the Mad Dog, who were in rare form, going bezerk over the audacity for Wagner to use Mariano Rivera‘s entrance song.

One fun thing about doing this Roundtable is I discovered Joe, Roger, and I were all at the 2003 homer opener.  This is part of my fun in doing these Roundtables, and I hope some of the fun you have is getting a snippet of the fine work from some fellow Mets fans.  I hope this encourages you to visit their sites.

Mets Better Be Right About Mickey Callaway

Anytime you enter into a search for a new manager, you are really dealing with the realm of the unknown.  For first time managers, you really have no idea if that person is truly ready for the big leagues, he is better suited to the minors, or is a better coach.  For every Davey Johnson you hire, there are also the Joe Torres of the world, who were talented managers, but not ready to manage at the time you gave him the job.

Really, in these instances, you have to look at the relevant information available and the recommendations of other baseball people.  Mostly, you’re going with your gut.

The Mets gut told them to go out there and hire Mickey Callaway.

The Mets only needed one interview to choose Callaway over former manager and Mets coach Manny Acta.  It was sufficient enough for them to bypass current hitting coach Kevin Long.

Callaway had impressed so much during his interview and during his time with the Cleveland Indians, the Mets were not willing to wait.  They had Fred Wilpon sit down and sell him on the franchise similar to how the team once did with Billy Wagner and Curtis Granderson.

Give the Mets credit here.  They identified their man, and they did all they could do to bring him into the organization.  Deservedly so, many complimented the Mets on making a smart hire, including the fans who were skeptical of the direction the Mets would go.

Their man also happened to be a pitching guru, who will now be tasked with the responsibility of fixing Matt Harvey as well as finding a way to keep Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Jeurys Familia healthy for a full season.

If Mets fans want a reason to be excited for this season, there is no bigger reason than Callaway choosing to manage this pitching staff.  By doing so, he’s announced he’s a believer, and he’s put his and the Mets future on this lines.

The team hiring Callaway so early and so aggressively had a domino effect.  It looks like the first domino to fall will be hitting coach Kevin Long.

Long has had a positive impact on the players on this Mets roster.  He helped turn Yoenis Cespedes from a slugger to a star.  By OPS+ and wRC+, Asdrubal Cabrera had two of his best five offensive seasons.  Michael Conforto would prove he could hit left-handed pitching at the Major League level.

With Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith being two cornerstones of the franchise, Long was exactly the man you wanted to help them reach their offensive ceilings.  Now, that won’t happen because Long is likely gone.

Another person you would want to help lead young players like Rosario and Smith is Joe Girardi.  In his one year with the Marlins, and this past season working with young players like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, the Yankees made a surprising run this season that ended with a Game 7 loss in the ALCS.

What is interesting is the Mets were rumored to want Girardi.  As reported by the New York Post, the Mets were looking to possibly “pounce” on Girardi if the Yankees did not bring him back.

That was written during the ALDS when it appeared Girardi’s job was in jeopardy.  After the Yankees recovered and upset the Indians and took the Astros to seven games, there weren’t too many people who stuck believed Girardi would be looking for another job.

And yet, he is.  This should at least raise some questions whether the Mets should have done their due diligence.  Maybe another round of interviews were in order.  Conducting that extra round could have left the Mets open to the chance of not making an hire before Girardi became available.

Maybe if there was a second round of interviews, Long feels more appreciated instead of taking his binders to another job.  That other job could be as the manager or hitting coach of the Washington Nationals where he would reunite with Daniel Murphy.  Maybe with Long at the helm, the Nationals finally get past the NLDS.

If that were to happen, and if Callaway falters, it would be too much for Mets fans to bear.  Yet again, the Mets let one of their own go to the Nationals leading them to further success because they were enamored with someone from another organization.  Like with Murphy and Justin Turner, Sandy Alderson will have opened himself up to justifiable second guessing.

The team jumped the gun costing themselves a chance to hire a terrific manager in Girardi, and it might have cost them the opportunity to retain a coach they thought highly enough of they almost made him their manager.  The Mets were left with a manager who has never managed professionally, and they have to rebuild a coaching staff.

Instead of making the safe choice like they did when they hired Terry Collins, the Mets instead chose to go for the high risk – high reward hire.  It worked with Davey, and it failed with Torre.

This is exactly why the Mets need to be right about their decision to hire Callaway.

Defending Joe Girardi’s Sixth Inning

In one brutal sixth inning, everything seemed to go wrong for the Yankees leading many to blame Joe Girardi for the Indians rally that turned an 8-3 laugher into a tense 8-7 game. 

During that inning, Girardi’s decisions were questioned many times. Here’s why they were defensible:

Pulling Sabathia

Through 5.1 innings, CC Sabathia was at 77 pitches, and he had a five run lead. He seemed to be cruising having retired 12 of the last 13 batters. 

Certainly, this is a move worthy of second guessing, or is it?

This season, opposing batters are hitting .264/.347/.552 off Sabathia once Sabathia surpasses 75 pitches. It wasn’t a one year blip either. In 2016, batters hit .292/.358/.500 when Sabathia threw over 75 pitches. 

Looking at the numbers, pulling Sabathia was the right move.  That goes double when you consider Sabathia issued a lead-off walk to Carlos Santana to start that faithful sixth inning. You don’t want to open the door for the Indians to get things rolling. On top of that, you have a great bullpen. One that should’ve held onto a five run lead. 

Not Challenging a HBP

With a run already in and runners on second and third, pinch hitter Lonnie Chisenhall was hit by a pitch. Or was he?

Based on the replay, the ball appeared to hit the knob of the bat and not Chisenhall’s hand. First, everyone screamed for Girardi to challenge the play. Then, everyone went apoplectic Girardi didn’t challenge the play. 

The thing is that’s not Girardi’s call. 

There’s a system in place for challenges. Every team has a video to assess whether a challenge should be made. A manager does not have access to that or any video. That’s in accordance with MLB rules. 

Girardi didn’t blow it there.  The Yankees replay people did. 

And let’s not go down the road Girardi shouldn’t challenged because Gary Sanchez was emphatic. 

Players are always emphatic. They’re also wrong most of the time. If the manager relied solely on player reaction, teams would be pout if challenges before the bottom of the third. 

So no, this was not on Girardi. 

Sticking with Green Too Long

After Chisenhall was hit by the pitch, Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam off Chad Green to pull the Indians to within one run. This led to people questioning whether Girardi stick with Green too long. 

At the time of the grand slam, Green had faced three batters throwing 21 pitches. 

He got Austin Jackson to fly out, gave up a double to Yan Gomes, and he came within a blown call of striking out Chisenhall to end the inning. 

Green didn’t look good in that inning, and Lindor is a dangerous hitter who hit 33 homers this season. 

Green was also the Yankees best reliever this season posting a 1.83 ERA and a 0.739 WHIP. Sticking with him is certainly understandable. 

It’s also understandable fans judged the result of the Lindor grand slam as proof positive Girardi should have gone to David Robertson. Of course the people making this point are conveniently overlooking how Robertson would give up the game tying home run to Jay Bruce

It also overlooks Lindor is 1-2 with two walks off Robertson in his career. Small sample for sure, but it does highlight how Robertson can sometimes lose the strike zone. Not ideal when the bases are loaded. 

Also not ideal is the fact Robertson allowed 44.4% of inherited runners to score this season. 

Looking at the totality of the circumstances, it’s not as clear as to what Girardi should’ve done. 

Green is your best reliever. He came this close to getting out of it. He also didn’t look great leaving the door open for that rally. 

You could have been just as justified staying Green as you do with going to Robertson. On the one hand, you have your best reliever who is struggling. On the other is a good reliever who can have issues with walks and allowing inherited runners to score.

It’s fine to second guess Girardi there, but let’s not pretend this was as clear-cut as the Yankees replay team blowing the chance to challenge. 

In the end, Girardi made very defensible moves, and they didn’t work out. He was failed by his bullpen and replay team. 

Overall, that sixth inning was a nightmare for the Yankees, but by no means was that on Girardi. That was more on the bullpen. 

Reasons Why Mets Should Consider A-Rod As Their New Manager

With the rumors the Mets will be looking for a manger to replace Terry Collins this offseason, the teams is likely going to focus on the obvious candidates. This includes Tim Teufel, Bob Geren, and Dick Scott. Each candidate have their own merits, but none of them are really a bold move the Mets may need to make this offseason to help turn their team around. In order to do that, the Mets may have to think outside the box.

To that end, maybe the Mets should consider hiring Alex Rodriguez to be their new manager this offseason. Many will be quick to dismiss the notion, but there are many reasons why A-Rod could be a worthwhile choice to succeed Collins:

#1 A-Rod Understands What Sandy Wants in His Manager

During an August 17, 2017 WFAN radio interview with Mike Francesca, A-Rod described the modern manager’s role as one of “a CEO of a public company.” The basis of this comparison is A-Rod believes the manager’s job is now to take the information provided by the front office and to find the best way to communicate that information to the players.

By reputation, Sandy Alderson does not want the old school manager who flies by the seat of his pants and controls everything in the dugout. He wants someone who goes out there and follows his instructions. Based upon the comments A-Rod has made, it would seem he has a fundamental understanding on what Alderson wants.

#2 A-Rod Has a Relationship with Kevin Long

While the Mets might be looking for a new manager, it seems the team may well want to keep both Dan Warthen and Kevin Long in place. If that is the Mets intention, they are going to need to find a manager who will work well with the retained coaches. That could be Geren based upon his tenure as the Mets bench coach. That could also be A-Rod, who worked well with Kevin Long during their mutual time together with the Yankees. More importantly, there is a mutual respect between the two, which would serve as a solid foundation for a new working relationship.

#3 A-Rod Works Well with Young Players

During his tenure with the Yankees, A-Rod has been given credit for serving as a mentor for young players like Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera. Apparently, that was not just a special relationship he had with those players, but rather a willingness to serve as a mentor to young players. That is something that continued with the current crop of young Yankees. As Gary Sanchez said of A-Rod, “He’s always given us good advice. On and off the field, he’s always been there for us, he always has time for us. One thing he has told me is about creating a routine, a routine that I can use to prepare myself for every game.” (Newsday)

With A-Rod, you have an individual who has a willingness and an ability to effectively communicate with young players. Better yet, he’s able to show them how to best succeed at the Major League level. With so much of next year and the next decade hinging on young players like Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, you need someone who is best able to get through to them and help them. That could be A-Rod.

#4 A-Rod Is Bilingual

If you pay attention to the post-game, you will see Melissa Rodriguez translating for Spanish speaking players like Yoenis Cespedes. That is all well and good for an interview, but that’s not good for the player-manager relationship. The two need to be able to communicate. A-Rod’s ability to speak English and Spanish permits him to effectively communicate with all of the players in his clubhouse.

#5 A-Rod Has Played for Great Managers

During A-Rod’s playing days, he has had the opportunity to play for Lou Piniella, Johnny Oates, Jerry Narron, Buck Showalter, Joe Torre, and Joe Girardi. That group of managers have won 10 Manager of the Year Awards, 28 division titles, 8 pennants, and 6 World Series.

Each of these mangagers were good to great in their own right, and each one of them had different managing styles. Certainly, each one of them left an impression on A-Rod as to what is the best way to manage a team and how to best communicate with your players. Like all first time managers, A-Rod will have to find his voice. He will be aided in doing so by his having played for some of the best managers of his generation.

#6 A-Rod Understands Decline

Throughout the 2016 season, A-Rod struggled to the point where the Yankees finally had to inform him that if he didn’t retire, the team was going to release him. At that point, A-Rod had to face reality and admit he was no longer the player he once was. That’s an avenue this current Mets team is going to have to navigate.

Both David Wright and Matt Harvey have dealt with a number of physical problems. With each day that passes, each of them is further and further away from being the players they once were. Having someone like A-Rod as the manager would provide both players with a sounding board to help them navigate the season both physically and mentally.

#7 A-Rod Understands the Media

A manager of a New York team is also a media personality. They have to be able to face the media multiple times a day and answer the tough questions. With his postseason struggles and his PED suspension, A-Rod has had to face the tough questions time and again. He’s weathered the storm, and he has come out the other side.

And now that he’s retired, A-Rod is a member of the media. He does studio shows for Fox earning rave reviews, and he has done a few games as a color commentator. With that, he’s become even more polished than he already was leaving him better able to face the media.

#8 A-Rod Creates Buzz

Look, after the 2017 season the Mets need to change the narrative. They’re an injury prone team who doesn’t go out there and spend money. This has led the fans to become either angry or apathetic. That’s not a good situation for a Major League organization, especially one that is raising ticket prices for next season.

At a minimum, hiring A-Rod would create a buzz. Love it or hate it, it would be a bold move for the organization, and bold moves typically generate excitement. That type of excitement can at times become infectious and energize an entire organization.

There’s also the fact the Mets will need to pursue a number of free agents. Possibly, A-Rod, a player who is still respected by many players across the majors, could be used as a recruiting tool. If true, that will create an even bigger buzz because better players mean more wins which will help turn those angry and apathetic fans into excited ones.

#9 A-Rod Loved the Mets

Back in the 2000 offseason, it was assumed A-Rod was going to be a Met because A-Rod grew up a Mets fan. Like the rest of us, A-Rod loved that 1986 Mets team, and he wanted to bring the Mets their next championship. He never did get that chance after Steve Phillips described A-Rod as a 24 and one player.

A-Rod has been able to accomplish much in his career, but the one thing he was never able to do was to wear a Mets uniform and deliver a World Series to his favorite team. It could be an opportunity that he couldn’t overlook, and it may be one that drives him.

#10 A-Rod Is Fireable

For all the calls from Mets fans to make Wright the Mets next manager, is the fact that one day the Mets will have to fire him. Managers are hired to one day be fired. No Mets fan wants to see their beloved Wright be fired by the team. No, you want a manager who could readily be fired. That’s A-Rod.

However, in order to be fired, you need to first be hired. There are certain impediments there from his lack of experience to whether he’d ever be interested in managing in the big leagues. If he is somehow interested, the Mets should definitely inquire because he just might be exactly what the Mets need in their next manager.

Editor’s Note: This was first published on MetsMerizedOnline

Glenn Sherlock Should Be The Bench Coach

There were two overriding reasons why the Mets brought in Glenn Sherlock in the offseason.  First and foremost, he was brought in because Tim Teufel has never been a great third base coach, and as we saw him send Wilmer Flores to the plate last season, he wasn’t getting any better.  The second reason is the Mets wanted to have a new catching guru to replace Bob Geren to work with Travis d’Arnaud.

Now, if the Mets really want Sherlock to work with d’Arnaud, why is he the third base coach instead of serving as the bench coach like Geren?

Now, a bench coach has real responsibilities in the modern game.  It is no longer the position Don Zimmer once described as, “People say, What is the job of a bench coach? I say, Very simple–I sit next to [Joe Torre] on the bench. When he plays hit-and-run that works, I say, ‘Nice goin’, Skipper,’ and if it doesn’t work, I go down to the other end of the bench, get a drink, and get out of his way. We only got one manager. I don’t want no credit for doin’ anything. I sit next to Joe like a bump on a log–that’s the way I leave it.”  (Scott Raab, Esquire).

Rather, the bench coach has become more than that.  He shares many responsibilities pre-game, post-game, and during the game.  As Indians GM Chris Antonetti said about Bench Coach Brad Mills, “He’s ’s [Terry Francona‘s] right-hand man, and he really helps executed a lot of the planning, the logistics of when we’re going to work out, practices, all the communication within a game to get players ready.”  (Evan Drellich, Boston Herald).

The bench coach has a number of responsibilities that keeps him as engaged in the game as the manager.  He needs to be that because he needs to be a check on the manager to make sure the manager takes everything into account whenever he is making a move or not making a move.  Part of that responsibility is looking at the catcher and seeing what he’s doing.  Is he calling a good game?  Is he setting up properly or staying in his crouch long enough?  Is he paying enough attention to the running game?  The list goes on and on.

That is something that Geren was able to do during his tenure as the bench coach.  If there was an issue with how any one of his catchers were playing, he had the opportunity to speak with them and point out what adjustments needed to be made.  When the Mets brought Sherlock aboard, it is presumably one of the things they wanted him to do with d’Arnaud.

Except, he can’t.

With Sherlock being the third base coach, he really can’t have that discussion with d’Arnaud.  When d’Arnaud is sitting in the dugout while the Mets are on offense, Sherlock is at third base.  When d’Arnaud is running out to his position, Sherlock is coming off the field.  There are really limited times for the two to discuss the in-game adjustments d’Arnaud needs to make.

Now, these issues could be addressed post-game and in-between games.  However, if there is something that really needs to be addressed, you’re not permitting Sherlock to do it.  It may not seem like a huge issue, but something as simple as d’Arnaud not getting set up in the right position, can cost the pitcher the corner.  With the wrong pitch sequencing, d’Arnaud may not be putting his pitchers in the best position to succeed.  If there is something d’Arnaud is doing wrong when trying to get the ball out on a stolen base attempt, you can’t fix the issue leaving the opposition to take advantage of it all game long.

Now, other coaches can address it, but they can’t do it in the way Sherlock can.  Sherlock is the catching coach who was brought it to communicate with his catchers, d’Arnaud specifically.  While it may not seem like the biggest issue there is, not having Sherlock on the bench is the Mets giving an inch.  With baseball being a game of inches, it does not seem like the best allocation of resources.

The obvious retort is Sherlock may not belong on the bench because of his limited managing experience.  That ignores his having been a bench coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Dick Scott being named as the bench coach heading into the 2016 season.  Scott last managed a team in 1997 when he was the manager of the Single-A South Bend Silver Hawks.  Certainly, significant managerial experience isn’t something the Mets are prioritizing their bench coaches.

At this point, it is tough to judge what they are prioritizing because it isn’t experience.  More to the point, they’re not prioritizing getting the most from their roster.  If they were Sherlock would have been named the bench coach.

Teixeira Gets the Last Laugh

After tonight’s loss, the only person angrier than Mets fans was fake tough guy Mark Teixeira

In an interview earlier in the year with Carton and Governor Chris Christie, he admitted he would never charge the mound, but he sure is good at pulling a hissy fit.  

He would then have a very late slide into Neil Walker because sliding late into a defenseless player is tougher than being a man and facing off against Steven Matz.

It’s hard to imagine Matz throwing at Teixeira even though Teixeira hit a three run homer off of him in his prior at bat to break a 3-3 tie. Matz hadn’t had pinpoint control since he’s been dealing with the bone spurs, the ball was at Teixeira’s feet, and it was an extra base runner with the Mets trailing. In this pennant race, the Mets need all the wins they can get, and they’re not sacrificing games to exact revenge on a .195 hitter. 

Regardless, the Mets should not have been in that position. They were tattooing Yankees starter Chad Green starting with Curtis Granderson delivering the keynote address:

  
It was his 18th leadoff home run with the Mets breaking his tie with Jose Reyes

Granderson has a terrific night going 1-3 with two runs, one RBI, three walks, and a home run. The rest of tur a Mets offense?  Not so much. 

Wilmer Flores was halfway to a Joe Torre (four GIDPs in one game) by the third inning. He killed a first inning bases loaded rally by grounding into an inning ending double play. In the third it was only runners on first and second when he grounded into his inning ending double play. 
In the second, it was Walker who killed a rally with a double play. Given the amount if base runners were left on base, you knew it was going to come back and haunt the Mets. The Mets should’ve score much more than three runs in the first three innings, but what else is new?  

The team was 2-12 with runners in scoring position including Michael Conforto striking out in a big spot in the seventh when he represented the tying run, and Granderson had scored a run on a James Loney ground out to make it 6-4. He was amongst the biggest culprits of the night as six different Mets would leave multiple men on base:

  1. Neil Walker (2)
  2. Yoenis Cespedes (5)
  3. Jay Bruce (3) 
  4. James Loney (2)
  5. Michael Conforto (5)
  6. Wilmer Flores (5)

Between that and Matz allowing six earned over six innings of course the Mets weren’t going to win this one. 

To make matters worse, Teixeira would get the last laugh.  He got into Hansel Robleshead with Robles thinking Teixeira was stealing signs. Robles lost his concentration and his cool leading to a Starlin Castro infield RBI single to Robles. No, Asdrubal Cabrera doesn’t make that play. 

After an uncharacteristically poor performance, Robles was pulled while Teixeira and the third base coach were laughing at him. After Josh Edgin walked in a run against Didi Gregoriousthe only batter he faced, there would be three runs charged to Robles making it 9-4. 

That’s where it would remain as Luis Severino came on and shut down the Mets allowing one earned on one hit and one walk with five strikeouts in 4.1 innings. Walker would homer off Tyler Clippard in the ninth to provide some window dressing in a 9-5 loss. 

With Daniel Murphy going off again for the Nationals, the Mets are a season high 8.5 games out of first place. 

Game Notes: Bruce is now 0-8 with one walk and three strikeouts to begin his Mets career. Despite Collins’ you hit you play philosophy, Alejandro De AzaTravis d’Arnaud, and Matt Reynolds would sit. Cespedes shot an 83 before the game, and he would go  1-5 with two strikeouts in the game. 

Manfred Has an Easy Decision to Make on Chapman

Due to the disturbing actions of a few players, Ken Rosenthal reports that Rob Manfred is in a “no win” position when doling out punishment in these cases. 

Nonsense. 

The only way that Manfred is in a no-win position is if he doesn’t came down hard on Jose Reyes and Aroldis Chapman. You want to know if he did his job in suspending these players?  He needs to be able to look Joe Torre, Baseball’s Chief Operating Officer, in the eye and explain to him he did the right thing. 

For those that are unaware, Torre started the Safe at Home Foundation to help the victims of domestic abuse. It was started out of his experiences with an physically and emotionally abusive father. Torre saw his mother beaten by his father. His father was never arrested. No charges were ever brought. It would finally end when Torre’s older brother, Frank, was finally able to stand up to his father at the age of 20 and kick his father out of the house. 

So when I hear about how Chapman’s girlfriend, the mother of his child, didn’t press charges, I scoff. It’s not a defense to his actions which allegedly include pushing her against a wall and choking her. After the alleged attack, she fled the house because she was scared for her and her daughter. At the same time, Chapman was firing a gun off in his garage. 

Of course, she didn’t cooperate with police. Domestic violence victims don’t always cooperate. Some would say they rarely cooperate. Reasons for the lack of cooperation include a fear for your safety for cooperating with an investigation, wanting to reconcile, and/or the financial pressures that would ensue if there were a separation or conviction.  Don’t believe this is the case?  Look no further than Torre. 

Yes, Chapman is innocent until proven guilty. However, that principle only applies to criminal courts. In the court of public opinion is not held to such standards. More importantly, here, Major a League Baseball is not held to such a standard.  They are not beholden to a victims refusal to cooperate. They can and are able to conduct their own investigation and implement their own punishments. 

If there is any proof that Chapman did indeed choke his girlfriend, he should be suspended for the year. Let him appeal the suspension as he says he will. Let an arbitrator be the one to be weak on the domestic violence issue. Commissioner Rob Manfred can’t appear weak.  That doesn’t mean he’s in a no-win situation, it means he has an important decision to make. 

That’s the job. 

Unfortunately, he’s got a resource in Joe Torre. I say unfortunately because no one should have to live through what Torre did growing up. Hopefully, after these and many other discussions and analyses, Commissioner Manfred needs to make the right decision. He needs to be able to look his Chief Operating Officer in the eye and tell him he came down hard on the players that attack women.  He can’t look like a hypocrite, like the Yankees owners and front office will, when they attend the Safe at Home Gala. 

The only person right now in a seemingly no-win position is Chapman’s girlfriend. Conmissioner Manfred has an easy decision to make. He just has to have the courage to do what’s right. 

Editor’s Note: this article also appeared on metsmerizedonline.com