Mets manager Terry Collins has never handled his bullpen maneuvers in an astute way, but the decisions he’s made the last few days have been glaring enough to stand out above all else.
On Saturday night in Colorado, Jenrry Mejia completely lost it in the fifth inning on his way to allowing a career high eight runs. While it was clear that Mejia needed to be removed from the game, Collins didn’t budge, instead allowing Mejia to stay in while a 6-0 lead became an 8-6 deficit.
After Mejia’s implosion (and Collins’ inactivity), he was skewered in the SNY booth by Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez for his lack of foresight.
During his postgame press conference, Collins said that he should’ve taken Mejia out [before he imploded completely], but he didn’t. He failed to offer any valid reason why he didn’t make the move sooner.
As bad as Saturday night was, Monday night was even worse.
Collins called on Daisuke Matsuzaka to protect a three run lead in the eighth inning, which made sense on its face.
However, Matsuzaka injured his calf on Saturday, and it was reported on Sunday that he might need a few days off for the injury to heal. Instead, Matsuzaka was warmed up Sunday (he didn’t enter the game) and was used on Monday with the game in the balance.
After Matsuzaka walked the first two batters he faced in front of Giancarlo Stanton, his night should have been over. The problem, was that there weren’t any right handers warming up behind him.
Since Matsuzaka had a known injury, all the Mets had to do was walk out to the mound with the trainer. If they had done that and removed Matsuzaka, the club would’ve had as much time as it needed to get any of their relievers ready. Instead, Collins allowed Matsuzaka to continue.
Next, Giancarlo Stanton ripped a single into center that nearly hit Matsuzaka. Following an error by Omar Quintanilla on a soft liner that would’ve been the first out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped to the plate. Left handed reliever Scott Rice was ready in the bullpen, but Collins left Matsuzaka in to face Saltalamacchia. A few seconds later, Saltalamacchia ripped a ball into the gap in right-center and the game was tied. At that point, Kyle Farnsworth replaced Matsuzaka.
After Monday’s loss, Terry Collins said that both Carlos Torres and Jeurys Familia were unavailable, which is why he turned to Matsuzaka and left him in as long as he did. Collins offered no explanation, though, for leaving Matsuzaka in to face Saltalamacchia when Scott Rice was ready. He also offered no reason why none of his other available right handed relievers were warming up from the get-go behind Matsuzaka – who had a known injury
Questionable bullpen management has been something that’s always been an issue with Collins.
Yes, the bullpen Terry Collins has to work with isn’t close to upper echelon. However, it’s his job to put the pieces he has in a position to succeed. All too often, Collins puts his pitchers in a position to fail, and offers no explanation as to why.