Left-handed batters are hitting .196 against Mets right-handed reliever Addison Reed. They're batting .381 against left-handed reliever Josh Smoker. Yet, last night in the eighth inning, with the Mets up 3-2, Terry Collins pulled Reed in favor of Smoker to face the left-handed hitting Freddie Freeman.
Of course, Freeman then singled off Smoker, after which Collins double-switched Jose Reyes out of the game for Jeurys Familia, who would eventually give up a sac-fly to Matt Kemp during a nine-pitch at bat.
"Freddie [Freeman] is 2-for-4 [lifetime against Reed], and I just said,' This guy is too hot,' and I thought [have him] face a power lefty [instead]," Collins explained after the game. "Once again it was, if we get the ground ball to start the inning we're not in that situation."
By the way, Reed, who's had an amazing season this year, didn't look happy and left the clubhouse last night without talking to reporters.
Ugh! The entire half inning gave me a headache.
What's worse, the repeated and questionable pitching changes resulted in Reyes being out of the lineup, with Eric Campbell, Kevin Plawecki and Ty Kelly on field in an extra-inning game during a September playoff race. Also, why announce your best pinch hitter, Kelly Johnson, in to the game, but use Campbell for him instead? And, why exactly is Jay Bruce fit to hit in a big spot late last night, but not the night before? Lastly, by Familia throwing 30 stressful pitches, it likely means he is not available tonight against the Phillies.
Frankly, it felt like Collins had some sort of quota for in-game moves -- or maybe he was suddenly possessed by Bobby Valentine, I don't know. The point is, if the Mets fall short of the postseason, we're going to look back at this three-game sweep - and last night's game and decisions in particular -- as a pivotal moment.
By the way, if you don't like Terry, today is your Christmas morning.
Personally, I'm torn on how to judge him.
I respect the adversity he's overcome this season. He lost several important players to injury, while having to manage with super-high expectations. Yet, he pulled his team out of the doldrums to get through the dog days of summer and back in position to play in October. He deserves a ton of credit for this, no doubt...
At the same time, if he and bench coach Dick Scott were more on top of things, more aware of what is happening around them, I think it's possible the Mets might be up (and not tied) in the Wild Card race. And, I'm the guy who has repeatedly said baseball managers are vastly overrated. I still believe that, but they're not inconsequential. They matter, they just don't trump player performance. However, some of the moves being made of late have repeatedly put guys in positions to fail and it's seemingly having a negative impact.