Mickey Callaway thinkest too much, costing the Mets an inspiring win last night against the Braves. Maybe, maybe not. It’s not a slam dunk…
Mickey Callaway is getting beat up again. What else is new. Pick your side, and it doesn’t matter. The Mets lost a crucial game to the Atlanta Braves last night in a game the Mets might have, should have, could have – won. Here’s the backdrop…
Steven Matz is cruising, having retired fourteen in a row while giving up only two hits on 79 pitches. The Mets have just taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh on J.D. Davis’ two-out, two-run single to center that scored Matz and Amed Rosario.
Yes, you read that right. Callaway had let Matz bat for himself, and that was Matz scoring a run. And then, whoosh, Matz was gone in favor of Seth Lugo, who promptly surrendered five runs, giving the lead right back to the Braves.
That the Mets scored twice in the ninth inning to come within one run of the Braves only added to the distaste in the mouth of the Mets.
Penalty: Fifteen Yards For Piling On
We don’t know, do we? These decisions are made in a split second, and sometimes they’re made two or three times in a single game. In April, 120 games remain on the schedule. In mid-August, they receive more attention when there are a mere 40 games left to play, and the Mets are battling for a playoff spot.
Afterward, Mickey Callaway told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, “I’ll make that move 100 times out of 100; that’s the right move in my mind.” What would expect him to say?
The move was odd, but you can’t automatically say it was the wrong move, and it cost the Mets a win. Seth Lugo, remember, has been the best and most reliable Met’s reliever for some time now. In July, he was named the National League Reliever of the Month. How quickly we forget when things take a turn for the worse.
Nor do we remember what the box score tells us in black and white. Only then do we recall the Mets went 3-11 with runners in scoring position, leaving ten men on base during the game. Or, that Michael Conforto earned the Golden Sombrero with four strikeouts on the night. Or, that the Mets hit into two double-plays, squashing scoring opportunities.
Mickey Callaway – Predictor Of The Future
It’s baseball, folks. And if Mickey Callaway made the same move another 99 times, you can bet a good portion of the results are positive, and the Mets sneak away with a win.
Kevin Kernan’s story in the New York Post is decidedly biased. It begins with the headline, “Mickey Callaway’s fatal blunder may have just finished the Mets.” His first sentence reads, “Mickey Callaway never saw the iceberg coming.”
Iceberg? Where did that come from? Of course, he never saw it coming. If he had seen it coming, he never would have removed Matz from the game. Mickey Callaway cannot know the future. No manager can. Neither can sportswriters.
So it becomes an exercise in futility and self-gratification when a writer jumps on a manager, in this case, Callaway, for making decisions in the heat of a battle that turns out badly.
Moreover, if Seth Lugo has struck out nine batters to end the game, we wouldn’t be talking about this today. Fickleness has no place in baseball.
Reset: The Mets Are In A Pennant Race
What we should be talking about is the Mets. And the fact they’ve now lost not one in a row (last night), but three in a row. The team is now precariously sitting behind both Philadelphia and Washington, three games off the pace for a Wild Card spot. This, when just a few days ago, the Mets sat above both teams, a half-game off the pace.
The headline should read, “Mets suffer blow as Jeff McNeil is out with a hamstring injury.” We should be talking about the consequences of that development, one that looms large in the team’s future this season.
Look, Mickey Callaway is a significant contributor to the Mets being where they are now. A month ago, it was a different and very disillusioning story. Callaway’s judgment day is coming. At the end of the season, we’ll know what the Mets have achieved – or not.
Last night’s loss is in the books. This game is the only game the Mets are playing, and the team has an opportunity to come back from – okay – a managing disaster if you want to call it that. Save the rest of it for November…