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NY Mets News: Luis Rojas summoned a pink slip from the bullpen

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 25: Taijuan Walker #99 of the New York Mets is removed from a game against the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning by manager Luis Rojas #19 at Citi Field on August 25, 2021 in New York City. The Giants defeated the Mets 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 25: Taijuan Walker #99 of the New York Mets is removed from a game against the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning by manager Luis Rojas #19 at Citi Field on August 25, 2021 in New York City. The Giants defeated the Mets 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Things have changed drastically for Luis Rojas. The New York Mets skipper was never universally beloved, but which managers in baseball can walk around town with this claim? It’s a tough gig and there will always be haters.

Through the first part of the season, there were those who nitpicked everything Rojas did and those who saw something else. This other camp of onlookers viewed Rojas as a Manager of the Year candidate. After all, he was keeping the team in first place with far less talent than expected.

Fast-forward about two months. We’re at Citi Field in late August. The Mets are in third place. Chants of “Fire Rojas” are pouring onto the field. What happened?

Mets manager Luis Rojas made a devastating call to the bullpen against the Giants

An error and a single in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants spelled the end of Taijuan Walker’s night. Leading 2-1 at the time, it might seem like an appropriate moment to call in a reliever.

Except, it wasn’t at all. A little more context is needed.

Walker had only allowed one hit until this single. It was a solo home run from Kris Bryant. He was at 74 pitches on the night. Facing one of his first big challenges of the night, Rojas didn’t let the team’s lone All-Star representative of 2021 work through it. Rojas called upon Aaron Loup to face Brandon Crawford.

The result was a two-run double to put the Giants ahead for good.

All year long, Rojas has made it easy to question his decisions. I know we have all gotten caught up in questioning them. Sometimes they do work out. Others, like the choice to pull Walker in his most effective start in a very long time, is one of those “I told you so” decisions.

It was already a debate in Mets Land about whether or not Rojas will return in 2022. Originally hired as a second choice by the previous regime, the current front office structure has no obligation to keep him around. In fact, Rojas is quickly becoming the perfect scapegoat for them to blame their failings on.

One bad decision by a baseball manager in late August with the season on life support shouldn’t cost anyone their livelihood. In Rojas’ case, it’s a culmination of several questionable maneuvers with his relief pitchers.

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A virtue to live your life by: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Mets are very broken right now. Fixing things, starting from the top step of the dugout, is making a lot of sense for this club in the offseason.

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