There’s no secret about it anymore: MLB managers are just not as valued as they once were. Even though I am not the biggest Michael Kay fan, his view on managers are spot on. They have to deal with the egos, set the lineup (sometimes, depending on which organization you work for), deal with the media, and perhaps most importantly, handle the bullpen.
Well, for the better part of this season and his Mets career, Terry Collins has failed miserably at that last responsibility. But, in the Mets’ most recent sweep of the Nationals, Collins displayed some semblance of intelligence in managing the bullpen.
The Mets bullpen has been brilliant over the last four games, combining for 13 2/3 innings while only giving up one run. All of this has happened without Bobby Parnell and Eric O’Flaherty, both of whom have been awful and relegated to the depths of the pen. For some reason, Collins has an infatuation with Parnell. Given Parnell’s latest meltdown, Collins has stated that Parnell will be relegated to “low-leverage” situations. His ERA currently sits at a hefty 6.52 in 25 appearances.
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O’Flaherty is a lefty-specialist, who can’t get lefties, or righties for that fact, out. In the 13 games he has appeared in, O’Flaherty has an ERA of 13.50.
Collins has smartened up by using his relatively unknown relievers. Erik Goeddel (2.00 ERA) and Sean Gilmartin (2.36) have been excellent as the stop-gap in the 6th inning or earlier. Dario Alvarez (0.00) looks like he can be the lefty-specialist the Mets have desperately needed since Jerry Blevins went down in April. Hansel Robles (3.50) and Addison Reed (3.66) have been holding down the 7th, which has become an Achilles heel ever since the Jenrry Mejia suspension.
Logan Verrett (3.06) has also been useful due to his ability to be a spot starter and a reliever. The 8th/9th inning combo of Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia has stayed the same. All of these relievers have been excellent recently, and Collins should continue to use them while leaving Parnell and O’Flaherty glued to the bench.
With the playoffs looming, there will obviously be some bullpen help from the starting rotation. Matt Harvey‘s innings limit saga is sure to drag on for a while, leaving Jacob deGrom as the only sure-fire option to start a playoff game. Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon will be fighting for starting spots in the postseason. Whoever doesn’t get that starting bid will most likely be in the pen, giving Collins more options to choose from.
For teams to contend in the postseason, they need their bullpen to be spot-on. For the Mets, Collins is finally pushing the right buttons in the pen, which can only mean good things for the Mets as they head down this stretch run.