Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Mickey Callaway said two things on Tuesday that seemed incompatible with one another:
1. He used Seth Lugo for two innings in Monday's Mets loss because he knew that Lugo would have to start later in the week in place of the injured Noah Syndergaard, and he wanted to stretch out Lugo.
2. There was not enough time to get an extra reliever from Las Vegas to Atlanta.
How is it possible that the team knew on Monday that Syndergaard was headed to the DL, but couldn't get a pitcher to a game on the following day? It doesn't make sense.
The question raises a larger concern about Callaway's explanations for bullpen moves. They sometimes feel incomplete. Now, this is not uncommon in baseball, largely because managers try to protect players.
A front office is more interested in how the manager justifies himself in private meetings than to the press and fans. And Mets officials do consistently say that they are satisfied with Callaway's private explanations for moves.
For all the legitimate questions about his bullpen decisions, it is also true that many relievers themselves have given Callaway reasons to distrust them. What if, for example, Callaway simply felt better about his chances on Monday with a second inning of Lugo than with Familia, who has blown four saves? He wouldn't be able to say that aloud, at least not to us.
The issue of public versus private reasoning might get even thornier soon, as Callaway tries to finesse Jerry Blevins' role. The lefty has been open about his recent ineffectiveness, and it's highly unlikely that his manager will use him in a high-leverage spot any time soon. But can he call out a veteran?
Callaway can only hope that Anthony Swarzak, due back soon from an extended injury absence, can be more reliable than Familia, Blevins or AJ Ramos have been recently. If not, we could all be scratching our heads yet again.