Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
No one in the Mets front office is kidding themselves about Mickey Callaway's week. From a batting order snafu to questionable bullpen management, the rookie manager has shown his inexperience.
Behind the scenes, at least, his work has been more encouraging: Callaway is said to be communicating well with his bosses, making adjustments to his game management based on their feedback and displaying none of the apparent defensiveness that occasionally emerges in his postgame sessions with reporters. The Mets consider Callaway thoughtful and responsive, and remain hopeful about his future.
The team expects a learning curve, as Callaway adapts to a new job, new league and new personnel, and is seeing that play out. Certain mistakes, like the one that cost Jay Bruce an at-bat in Cincinnati when the wrong lineup card ended up in the Mets' dugout, can't happen again. Others, at least, stem from a rationale.
Take Callaway's decision to leave in Paul Sewald in the sixth inning on Sunday in Philadelphia, which cost him the game. The manager was at least able to explain himself, and was supported by numbers that showed that Sewald has been more effective this year against lefties than Jerry Blevins.
"Once we got to two outs, we needed Sewald to get through that inning, just to make it through the rest of the game really," Callaway said Sunday. "Sometimes a guy has to get outs. When your starter gets knocked out of the first, some guys have to go multiple innings. We needed him to do that."
Still, as one rival official wondered, "If you're not going to use Blevins, why get him up in the first place?"
This question is especially fair for a manager who famously said in spring training that "dry humping guys is something I feel strongly about." (For the uninitiated, "dry humping" is baseball slang for warming up a reliever without using him in the game.)
Though it's unlikely anyone in the Mets' offices would object to this criticism, the team also knows every manager's bullpen decisions are scrutinized. Mets brass also understands that the team's deep offensive malaise magnifies Callaway's in-game mistakes; if the team could score more runs, the manager would have leeway to learn without his every move impacting the outcome of a close game.
We're a long way from the Mets wondering about Callaway's long-term effectiveness as a manager, or his job security. But we're also not going to pretend that he had a strong week; not even the people who hired him would do that.