Lost in the fact that the Mets just got swept by the Marlins (losers of 9 in a row until this weekend), will be the moment Sunday’s game slipped away. The embarrassment the Mets caused themselves and their fans will be the big story, and the instance I’m referring to will be forgotten. That’s why I’m here to discuss it.
After Matt Harvey departed the game, Terry Collins brought in Scott Rice to pitch the bottom of the sixth with the Mets leading 6-4. Rice retired the first batter he faced on a grounder to short. He then proceeded to throw 11 consecutive balls, and 12 out of 13 out of the strike zone to walk the bases loaded. It was clear that Rice had nothing today, so he should’ve been pulled regardless of who was at the plate after he walked the bases loaded.
Well, with Brandon Lyon ready in the bullpen and righty Marcell Ozuna in the box, Dan Warthen (not Terry Collins) came trotting out to the mound to chat with Rice. The guys in the booth were stunned that Collins was leaving Rice in, as was everyone who was following the game on Twitter. Here’s a PG rated sample of what people had to say when Collins elected to leave Rice in the game to face Ozuna with the bases loaded and the Mets clinging to a 6-4 lead:
You absolutely cannot let Rice face Ozuna here.
— Jeffrey Paternostro (@jeffpaternostro) June 2, 2013
NOOOOOOOOOO!!! Bring in Lyon! — Rich Sparago (@Metfanrich) June 2, 2013
And Rice is staying in the game? Ridiculous. — Mets Follow Train (@metsfollowtrain) June 2, 2013
Is Terry Collins asleep or something?
— Ellie S. (@NieuwenMets) June 2, 2013
Now, fans are not equipped to manage major league baseball teams. They are, however, equipped to tell when a manager is about to make an unbelievably bad decision (as you can see above).
Well, Collins left Rice in to face Ozuna instead of going to Brandon Lyon (who was ready). Even if Rice had been pitching well, it would’ve been a poor move. When you take into account the fact that Rice was an absolute disaster on the mound today, it makes the move mind boggling. When you consider the fact that Rice has allowed right-handers to hit .286 off him with a .486 OBP? The move becomes alarmingly ridiculous. As everyone expected, Rice served up a game tying two run double to Ozuna that was smoked over the head of Lucas Duda in left field. Rice then allowed an RBI groundout that made it 7-6 Miami and issued another walk before being removed for Lyon.
When Collins was asked after the game if he had any regrets as far as leaving Rice in, he noted that he “had no problem with having him pitch to Ozuna.” According to Collins, Ozuna had been hitting .160 against sinker-ballers. When Bobby Ojeda heard this explanation during the postgame show, he laughed audibly and then noted that Rice had nothing today, making Ozuna’s average against sinker-ballers moot (since Rice couldn’t locate). Ojeda went on to say (while smirking) that Collins would’ve brought in Lyon if he could go back and do it again.
Would the Mets have won today’s game if Collins had brought in Lyon to face Ozuna? That’s a hypothetical that’s impossible to answer. However, it’s fair to say that Terry Collins is a poor tactician and that today’s move (or lack thereof) was almost unthinkably bad. Yes, he’s been given a roster that’s tough to deal with. But decision making is decision making, regardless of the personnel you’ve been given. Far too often, Collins’ decision making and reasoning after the fact leaves you shaking your head in disbelief.