By Joyce Mandelkern
One bad pitch should not lose you a ball game. Unless it is in the bottom of the ninth inning. And certainly not if it is in the first inning against the Washington Nationals and you are the New York Mets with an "American League" lineup. This loss, I place squarely on Willie's in game management.
I will it keep it short. I don't understand why, with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, with a pitch count of 86, I believe, Willie did not pinch hit for Ollie. A sac fly would've tied the game. A hit could've broken it open. What are the odds that Perez is going to get the job done there? I realize how well he was pitching, but we have a bullpen that can get the job done as well. That is what they are there for. He had a high pitch count at that point and I think Willie pushed it even higher to prove a point after he left him in there. I am sure he assumed that it would be no problem to score the run later on, but I think you have to take advantage when the opportunities present themselves. We have been leaving a lot of people stranded on base and in scoring position and haven't exactly been getting the "big" hit. And where has all the power gone? We are not in a position to assume we can score at this point.
Another thing - Julio Franco. We have Endy Chavez, Damion Easly, and David Newhan sitting on the bench and he sends Julio Franco up to pinch hit. I'm sorry. This may be a personal bias but I just don't ever feel that he is the man to get the job done any more. He may be a great clubhouse presence etc., but he is never my first choice to get us a much needed hit. One last thing and I'll stop venting - Moises Alou - great hitter, lousy base runner. If Endy had been put in there to pinch run for him, he would've easily gone to third on Green's fly ball and scored on Valentine's fly ball to right field and the game would've been tied.
But I know what you are all going to say. Stop worrying. This is one little game in April and means nothing. I like Wille, I really do. And I'm glad he is the manager. It is just that sometimes I am puzzled by his decisions and his in game management. I don't understand why he doesn't play hit and run, why he never squeezes ( ok - one failed attempt due to a misread sign), why he doesn't move David up to the 2 hole just to help him out of his slump. Let him see some fast balls while hitting in front of Beltran and with Jose on base. I don't always understand when he opts to bunt and not to bunt. And I don't always understand when he decides to lift a pitcher and how long he leaves him in there. I guess that is why I am just a frustrated fan right now.
All I ask is that the entire lineup start producing with timely hits and the pitching staff be consistently effective in keeping us in games. Now is that so much to ask for?