Terry Collins Decision of the Game – Staying with Robert Gsellman Too Long

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.