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Willie and Wagner Toss Away a Game

Mike SteffanosSaturday, May 20, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Yankees 6 - Mets 5 (11)

I've been steady in my support of Willie Randolph, but I won't let him off the hook for today's loss. Wagner has already shown a frightening fragility in pitching back to back games. Compound that with the fact that this was a day game after a night game. He had a 4-0 lead, and could have sent Duaner Sanchez back out to finish the game. He's supposed to be a guy that manages with his gut, but he pulled this one out of the Art Howe school of by-the-book, let my closer finish the game type management. Enter Sandman:

  • Falls behind Giambi 2-0. Gives up single.
  • Walks Alex Rodriguez on a 3-2 pitch
  • Gives up a hit to Cano, Giambi scores
  • Gets Cairo on a fly out after falling behind him 2-1 (Bad AB by Cairo)
  • Walks Melky Cabrera on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases
  • Walks Kelly Stinnett on 4 pitches to force in a run
  • Hits Bernie Williams with first pitch to force in another run

I'm not letting Wagner off the hook for his disgraceful performance, but there was no pressing need to bring him back into today's game. Then it was obvious to everyone but Willie that Wagner had nothing, but Willie is going to live and die with his closer at this point. Finally even he can't ignore Wagner's complete meltdown. Too late, the Yankees tie when Damon beats a throw to first on a double play the Mets just miss turning, and win in extra innings.

I don't care that it was the Yankees, but this was a terrible loss for a team that struggled on their last road trip, and had the chance to right the ship with a couple of wins in a row in a series that had some juice. Bad job by Wagner for sure, but a really bad job by Willie, too. Pedro deserve better than both of you schmucks gave him. I need a drink...

Box Score

Comments (6)

I couldn't have said it better. This was so completely unnecessary.

What could Willie have been thinking? In the best case scenario, Wagner gets through the game no better than Sanchez could have - but then Wagner has worked two days in a row and is either tired or unavailable Sunday.

I understand your feeling on willie putting in wagner but I think you are letting Wagner off the hook too much. First of all Wags threw only 12 pitches the night before and was dominant. Second he looked at it like it was a save situation, let me just end this quickly with my horse and take the first two games. Now your logic for sanchez, I can't argue with it, it does make sense. He only threw 10 pitches, looked good, wags on back to back days etc...But it isn't cut and dry it is debateable. Wagner on the other hand, that was an embarassment beyond belief. That was a rookie performance not a world class 10 mill veteran closer. To lose it and start overthrowing and hitting guys. To not take it down a notch and try to "pitch" and not blow guys away...I wasn't worried about Wags before, but now I worry about his head as much as anything.

Mike, you've been a much stronger supporter of Randolph than I ever was, and I'm glad to see that as a Randolph guy, you've seen the light. His use of a pitching staff is horrendous and by not employing a double-switch, he is constantly burning relievers and must pinch-hit for them and use another! Wagner was absolutely horrible and bears full responsibility for his rookie, Armando Benitez-like performance, but Randolph could not have done more damage to the Mets chances of winning this game than if he was still playing for the Yanks! An absolute abomination of a game; Pedro's a bigger man than I if he didn't go beserk in the clubhouse after this one.

Let's even just say that Randolph made a bad judgment call that could've gone either way by sending in Wagner instead of Sanchez. It was completely inexcusable that he left him in after Wagner walks in a run with bases loaded on 4 pitches - with each pitch worse than the one before. Is he nuts? What was he thinking?

I did go have a drink after the game and then took a nap and I'm still not feeling any better. The worst loss for the Mets this year.

"Anonymous", your point on not having Wagner for tomorrow is a good one that I neglected to point out in my post. Thanks.
Robert, I'm not letting Wagner off the hook at all. He sucked, and agree with you that I'm really worried about him now. My point isn't just that Wagner was put into the game, my point is that he wasn't taken out when it was obvious he had nothing. Why do guys like Willie insist on dying with the closer. If you go back as far as a fan to when Jim Leyland managed the Pirates, he'd have hooked his closer when it was obvious he didn't have it. Great managers have a feel for the game.
George, I like Willie, but I'll call him on it when I think he's wrong, tonight he was. This team was getting momentum back after a bad road trip, and now they have to start from scratch tomorrow night. Willie needs to start showing a better feel for the game. He's had a year now.

I agree with you Bruce, the worst move was not taking him out.

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