Monday, September 15, 2008

Unhappy Recap: Nationals 7 Mets 2

I think I've been on this ride before, and I want to get off. It seems like a lot of things from last year are starting to repeat themselves. Mainly, there was a huge psychological component to last year's meltdown and it already seems that doubt is creeping into the minds of Mets players and especially Mets fans.

I think that's why we saw Mets fans booing Luis Castillo (even though he'd been out for weeks) and Luis Ayala (even though he'd been doing fairly well as closer before Sunday) at Shea this weekend. Or maybe they just don't like players named Luis.

A big question coming down the stretch is going to be about Jerry Manuel's handling of the bullpen. It's clear that his strategy right now is to pitch the starters as long as possible, and the relievers as short as possible. He has shown that he doesn't want righties to face lefties or lefties to face righties. Unfortunately, this strategy maximizes the number of relievers he is going to use in each game. So every time a guy gets a few batters out, Manuel removes him, which is basically rolling the dice.

This bit him in the ass in the 7th inning. After Ricardo Rincon retired 2 batters with no problem, Manuel went to Duaner Sanchez who gave up a walk, a single, a wild pitch and a 3-run homer to put the game completely out of reach.

Before this outing however, Sanchez had pitched 4 1/3 in his last 5 appearances allowing only 1 hit and no runs.

I think Manuel needs to adjust this strategy by leaving in guys who are going good and diminishing the number of pitchers he uses in each game and the number of outings for each pitcher over the next two weeks.

Because this slide (should it continue) has such a huge psychological component, I think David Wright's double play in the 8th was a huge hit to the team's confidence. Even if they could have cut the lead to 7-4 or 7-5 and still lost, it wouldn't seem like such a blowout.

Wright, Beltran and Delgado were a combined 0 for 11 in this game. The Mets need them to regain their form, or they can definitely kiss this season goodbye.

Bobby Parnell looked good in his inning, maybe he can contribute out of the bullpen.

Pedro Martinez is terrible. The Mets are now 7-13 when he starts. First off, he seems to allow a run in the 1st inning of every single game. And as I talk about a lot in this space, the Mets usually pick up an advantage by scoring first, Pedro almost always gives away that advantage. But he just gives up so many hits and so many runs. He has a 5.47 ERA, most guys would be out of the rotation if they pitched that poorly for three straight months, but the Mets continue to rely on him, for at least 2 more starts.

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