Carlos Mendoza overmanaged Saturday's loss in the ninth inning

Carlos Mendoza didn't lose the game, but late substitutions didn't help the team either.
New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Saturday’s loss to the Miami Marlins was one of the worst for the New York Mets in a long time. The team was caught suffering from some hubris with only a 4-run lead.

Entering the ninth, the Mets held only a 7-5 lead. They’d need the back-to-back doubles they got from Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Martinez followed by another off the bat of Starling Marte. Giving themselves an even larger advantage over the Marlins, the manager made a crucial error that didn’t lose them the game but it didn’t help them either.

He pinch ran for Martinez with Tyrone Taylor which was mostly unnecessary. The real blow came when Taylor stayed in the game to replace Nimmo in left field thus removing the DH from the game entirely for the Mets. It wouldn't matter if they could keep the Marlins at bay.

An inning later, after Edwin Diaz’s brutal beating, it came back to haunt the Mets when they were forced to send DJ Stewart up to pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot against lefty Tanner Scott. Stewart struck out and the Mets missed an opportunity to have Nimmo and Martinez give them the lead again.

Carlos Mendoza has an AK-47 style of managing this Mets roster

The Mets roster lends itself to moves like this. Stewart is a guy who’ll hammer righties but come up way short against lefties. The Mets are managing similarly with Brett Baty and Mark Vientos. Harrison Bader is commonly lifted for Stewart as a pinch hitter. There isn’t a shortage of in-game changes.

It’s like an AK-47. Mendoza goes into the game with a stack of bullets and he shoots as many as he can. The two catchers are commonly lifted for a pinch hitter depending on the pitcher they’re facing. It doesn’t necessarily matter if Tomas Nido is going against a lefty. Mendoza will grab a right-handed hitter off the bench and replace him with Narvaez.

This is a tough way to manage ball games. At times, it has worked. Fans of old-school National League baseball will appreciate the style. Heck, the Mets even sacrifice bunt sometimes.

The story of Saturday’s game wasn’t about Mendoza replacing the number three and four hitter in the ninth inning while also setting up for a poor matchup in extra-inning-sudden-death-overtime-free-baseball. Stewart is a professional hitter and should be able to do damage against anyone.

What if the Mets kept it simple and left Nimmo in the game? They could’ve even potentially lifted him for a defensive player if only they had a middle infielder on the roster. Move Jeff McNeil from second base to left field for the final inning. Alas, the roster doesn’t allow this right now. Nobody misses Joey Wendle, but with the way Mendoza goes through the bench, someone with more versatility than Brett Baty is useful to have.

The recent changes to the roster should have Mendoza recalibrating how and when he uses his bench players. Let this be a learning experience. Don’t burn through your backups unless you absolutely need to. If the goal was to get Nimmo off of his feet for an inning, don't start him on Sunday. Have him as a useful weapon late.