Wilmer Flored

Collins Had a Horrific Game 1

Terry Collins strengths are in the clubhouse. He’s just not a good in game manager. For the second time this postseason, he’s made decisions that cost the Mets the game. 

Not Starting Lagares in CF

The first pitch of the game was a flyball to left center. It was Yoenis Cespedes‘ ball. Since he’s come here, he’s run Michael Conforto off balls like that. Any CF would, it’s an easy play. He turned it into an inside the park homerun. 

This does not happen if Juan Lagares is playing. A million times over, he’s a better CF than Cespedes. If someone suggests otherwise they know nothing about baseball. The Mets would recover from this, but it shouldn’t have come to that. 

Michael Cuddyer Got Three ABs

I’ll admit when Michael Cuddyer pinch hit for Kelly Johnson, I was on board even if the Mets were removing their backup SS. The Royals brought in the left Danny Duffy. It was the right move even if Cuddyer watched a fastball go right down the middle of the plate for strike three. 

My problem arose when he got at bats after that. We all know Cuddyer hasn’t been good in the playoffs. He’s looked old and slow. He still got three ABs in Game 1. He ended a rally striking out again in the eighth. He struck out again in the 11th with Lagares in scoring position. 

It wasn’t until the 13th that Collins figured out what we all knew: Cuddyer wasn’t getting a hit. By that time the damage was done as Cuddyer had already killed two rallies. 

DHing Kelly Johnson

With the Mets roster construction, Johnson is the backup SS. This meant that once he was put in the lineup as DH, the Mets didn’t have their best defensive outfield, nor did they truly have Juan Uribe available. 

Urbe was the only backup IF available. Uribe has to be held back just in case. At a minimum, it meant Uribe could not be the first bat off the bench. Collins was forced to pinch hit Cuddyer by his own lineup. I’m not saying Uribe comes through in any of the three situations. He’s had a longer layoff than Cuddyer. What I’m saying is why put him on the roster and not be in a position to use him?  

Overall by DHing Johnson, you weaken your defense and limit your bench. It doesn’t make sense. Couple that with the inside the park homerun and Cuddyer killing two rallies, it might’ve cost the Mets the game. 

Bunting Flores

Lost in the loss was a great game by Lagares. He set up a run in the eighth with a basehit and a stolen base. He would score when Eric Hosmer couldn’t field Wilmer Flores‘ hard hit bouncer. As we know, this rally would end with a Cuddyer strikeout.

In the eleventh, Lagares lays down a beautiful bunt to get aboard to leadoff the inning. Up comes Flores. It’s true Flores was hitless in the game, but he had good at bats. He was robbed of a extra base hit in the sixth that would’ve expanded the then 3-1 lead. Batting behind him was the 0-2 with two strikeouts lost at the plate Cuddyer. Naturally, he has Flores bunt Lagares over to second.

We know what happens next – Cuddyer strikes out. Effectively, the Mets handed the Royals two outs. Putting aside the statistical data saying sac bunts are a bad idea, it was just a bad move. If you were watching that game you had to say, there’s no way Cuddyer gets a hit here. So why bunt the runner over for him?  It does the make sense. 

Flores has pop in his bat. He didn’t have a hit, but he was hitting the ball hard and was taking good at bats. Bunting him in that spot showed no sense of the stats, and it showed Collins had no feel for the game. 

Going Too Long with Colon

I’ll give Collins some credit. He managed the pitching staff well into the 14th inning. I had no problem with him replacing Jeurys Familia with Jon Niese. Niese was terrific for two innings. I would’ve gone the extra inning, but with him not pitching that much over the past month, I understood pulling him. 

I also understood using Bartolo Colon next. However, it was either a bad matchup, or he didn’t have it. All three innings he pitched in, he was in trouble. He was bending, and he finally broke in the 14th. 

At that time, the Mets still had not used Hansel Robles or Sean Gilmartin. If you check my Twitter feed, you will see I first guessed Colon pitching to Hosmer with the bases loaded and no outs. 

First, Robles has a 10.2 regular season K/9. It was 12.1 in the second half. He’s a better bet to get the strikeout. Second, Robles pitches extremely well against lefties limiting them to .167/.214/.346 triple slash line. Third, Robles is capable of pitching multiple innings, if necessary.

Instead, Collins again showed a remarkable lack of feel for the game by sending Colon out for his third inning and/or letting him face Hosmer. You let Robles try to get out of the jam. Then you still have another well rested long man in Gilmartin to take over. Maybe the Mets still lose; maybe they don’t.

Overall, it was the players on the field who lost. They relinquished 3-1 and 4-3 leads. However, Collins never put them in a position to succeed. It’s why they lost Game 1. Collins can’t have another one of these games, nor can the Mets.

Even after last night debacle, the Mets were close to winning. They were in the exact position they wanted to be in, but it didn’t work out. Everyone needs to be better tonight, Collins especially. They can be. 

Lets Go a Mets!