Old baseball wisdom, which pre-dates the 162-game schedule, says that you are going to win 50 games no matter what you do and lose 50 games no matter what you do. It’s the other 50 games that determine what kind of season your team will have. Saturday night was one of the other 50 for the Mets and it ended in a loss.

Here’s how the local media framed the story:

Familiar Path for Mets Against Phillies (Times)
Bullpen fails again as Mets lose fifth straight (Newsday)
Mets bullpen flops in another loss to Phillies (Post)
Lack of offensive production an Amazin problem (Post)
Mets drop fifth straight as same problems continue with the offense and pen (News)
Terry Collins ready to make changes to the Mets bullpen (News)

Terry CollinsKudos to the Daily News for getting Collins’ name in the headline. Maybe next time it will identify him as the problem instead of holding him up as the man with the answer.

The game was lost when Collins inserted himself into the action. In his insatiable desire to get Scott Rice into the game, Collins yanked one of his best pitchers to get one of his worst pitchers into the game. Don’t blame the bullpen when Collins mismanaged it as badly as he did Saturday.

Dillon Gee has a history against the Phillies and it’s not particularly good. They jumped him for two runs in the first inning and tacked on another run in the second. He then proceeded to go 4.1 IP where he did not allow a run and he gave up just one hit.

The Mets battled back to take a 4-3 lead but Collins removed Gee for the start of the seventh inning despite Gee having thrown only 81 pitches. Along with Jon Niese, Gee has been the team’s best pitcher. He entered this game with 16 scoreless innings and he had settled down after a tough start to be in another groove.

And Collins took him out to get Rice into the game.

The first four hitters for Philadelphia in the inning were three lefty batters and a switch-hitter who bats better from the left side. For Collins, this was a terrific excuse to bring his LOOGY into the game. While Rice had been pitching better recently, he entered the contest with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP. No active pitcher on the team was worse.

Rice proceeded to allow hits to three of the four batters he faced, including two to LHB, and only a boneheaded play by the usual exemplary Chase Utley kept the inning from being a complete disaster. From there the Phillies’ bullpen wiggled out of a tight spot, the Mets’ bullpen didn’t and another loss was born.

If the first four hitters who were due up for the Phillies in the seventh inning were righties, there is no way that Collins would have taken Gee out. He only did this to get an allegedly advantageous matchup for Rice. As long as Collins keeps managing with the sole idea of maximizing the role of the worst pitcher on his staff, these types of outcomes should be expected.

When one of your top two pitchers has found his groove – don’t take him out when he’s only thrown 81 pitches. When your bullpen is coming off a night where it threw 6.1 IP – don’t make it come in any earlier than it has to the following game.

And to make matters worse, Collins decided to use Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth inning rather than Gonzalez Germen, the only reliever not to see action Friday night. By saving a well-rested Germen for extra innings that never came, Collins opted to go with the 38 year old for a second consecutive game. This was the fifth time in 2014 that Farnsworth went in back-to-back games and he’s allowed 3 ER in 3.1 IP.

You want to make the bullpen better? Send Rice to the minors, call up their best option for the bullpen (read: not just the next guy who throws with his left hand), don’t pitch Farnsworth in back-to-back outings and fire Collins. If the Mets do those things, their bullpen will improve exponentially.

There’s zero chance the Mets will fire Collins in May. But it would be nice if the writers would start to identify the real problem. Stop giving the manager a free pass because he’s a nice guy. It’s not acceptable to pat Collins on the back when his matchup fascination works and blame the players when it doesn’t.

This loss is squarely on Collins.

24 comments on “Terry Collins, not the bullpen, to blame for Saturday’s loss

  • Metsense

    “You want to make the bullpen better? Send Rice to the minors, call up their best option for the bullpen (read: not just the next guy who throws with his left hand), don’t pitch Farnsworth in back-to-back outings and fire Collins. If the Mets do those things, their bullpen will improve exponentially.” I could not say it better.
    Adam Rubin this morning stated that Sandy chose Mejia over Matsuzakis as the 5th starter. Dice K was TC’s choice. Now TC has floated the rumor that Mejia may not start vs Yankees. He wants Montero. Montero threw 5 1/3 no hit ball on 98 pitches the same night Mejia threw 101 pitches in 4 2/3 giving up 2 runs. I don’t see the radical improvement. Or is it that if Montero fails TC gets his way and slides Dice K into the rotation? Mejia does not want to go to the pen to protect his arm. Can you blame him the way TC burns through bullpen arms?
    I have said all along that the Met GM’s and the manager are not on the same page. Yet he was rehired. Why? Cheap$$$ is my theory.

    • Brian Joura

      Unfortunately, we don’t have any way of knowing if your theory is true because we have no idea how much money Collins makes. But my guess is you are correct.

    • Joe Gomes

      I have said before and I will say it again. Collins is an imbecile. If you don’t believe me, tell which which manager is dumber from the other 29 teams.

      Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as it is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  • since68

    TC and Sandy are not on the same page because I don’t think TC was Sandys guy.
    I firmly believe that the TC extension was a Wilpon intervention to maintain some control over the team via the manager.

  • amazin

    Maybe its time to bite the bullet and trade some pitchers. There is a surplus- Neise, Gee, Wheeler, Mejia, Colon, Syndergard, Montero, DeGrom, Dice K- that’s a lot of pitching and there are a lot of holes on the team that need to be filled.

  • James Preller

    This is Sandy Alderson’s team, he built it and hired Collins, it’s crazy that the Mets GM continues to get a free pass. I agree that Collins is a poor manager, but he’s Sandy’s guy, a yes man, with no real authority. Look at the lineup today. It’s pathetic. Four years in and you have to ask, “Where’s the talent.”

    • Chris

      Four years in and the talent is in the 6th best farm system (up from 28th by some estimates). Do you suppose the owners have some say in who manages the team rather than just the GM?

      Go watch the Yankees suck slightly less for billions more.

    • Brian Joura

      I look forward to reading a book one day from Sandy Alderson where he discusses what really went on during his time with the Mets.

      I don’t believe Sandy is free from blame — how good would Choo look leading off? — but the decision to pull Gee and the decision to pitch Farnsworth and not Germen cannot be laid at his feet. Unless you think there’s a batphone where Sandy gives in-game decisions.

      • Joe Vasile

        But if the decision was to get Choo and that’s it, or Granderson, Young and Colon because that’s what the finances allows, what would you do given a team with as many holes as the Mets? Take the one really good player, or three lesser players who are still upgrades? It’s a difficult decision to make.

        • Brian Joura

          It wasn’t difficult for Alderson, who flatly rejected the idea of signing someone to a $100 million deal.

          This is not a second-guess, as Choo was the guy I was campaigning for before the end of the 2013 season. His presence would have allowed Lagares and EY to bat lower in the order where they belong. And the Mets had the pitching depth not to need Colon. Shoot, they could have started the season with Dice-K in the rotation.

    • Joe Vasile

      Is any other GM going to field a better team than this given the financial restraints of the team? Other than maybe Billy Beane I don’t think anyone would be significantly better. I don’t really think Collins is Sandy’s guy, he does too many things that seem to run counter to the philosophy of the front office for that to be the case. Look at the whole EY Jr situation. If Collins was nothing more than a yes man, Young wouldn’t be sniffing the leadoff spot, and Murphy wouldn’t be hitting 2nd for that matter. Either that or Alderson knows nothing of sabermetrics which we all know is the opposite of true. The talent is in Las Vegas, Binghamton, St. Lucie, Savannah, Brooklyn, and Kingsport. When you try to build up a farm system, it takes a while, especially when you’re drafting a lot of high school guys. As for the on field talent, look to the $250+ MM of debt that the Wilpons have.

      • Jerry Grote

        Joe … I’m gonna say, yeah, you could field a better team even within the constraints.

        The team has given up, for the second year in a row, an ungodly amount of outs. 475 of the 1407 ABs were used by positional players with an OPS under 600. My guess, although I did not compute it, is their collective OPS is around 550.

        Those are not expensive fixes. Peripheral players rarely destroy your budget, but you have to show the willingness to address the problems. We can talk Hawkins until we’re blue in the face as an example, but if you have known problems (C, SS, RP, OF, 1B) and you don’t address them by assigning limited resources, then its on you.

        I think its worthy to read that number again – 475. That’s actually *worse* than last year. And last year, we used up twice as many ABs as the 51 win Houston Astros.

  • Dave G.

    Very well said, great points. I would also add: having Chris Young bunt in a 3-1 count was one of the dumber things Collins has ever done (and that’s saying something). Major league hitters in a 3-1 count usually hit in the high .300s or .400s. It makes no mathematical sense to take the bat out of there hands in that spot. Giving up an out when you only have 6 left to spare and the next guy up is batting for the 2nd time in his career is idiotic. If that is how you feel about Chris Young, why is he playing everyday?

    • point2bac

      was surprised this point wasn’t made in the original post

  • FlDino

    You stop with Collins. Add in everyone else with maybe the exception of Teufel. Hudgens and Warthen has ruined the hitters and pitchers with their loser philosophies. Collins might be a good guy for some things but certainly not player/game tactics. Met fans want Wilpon gone also but unfortunately you can’t fire the owner!

  • Sean Flattery

    I agree Collins was the problem, but the move that befuddled me was bunting CY with 2 men on, 0 uts, 3-1 count, and a guy with 0 ABs on deck. They could’ve broke the game open there and his decision bailed the pitcher out. You never bunt with your 5 hitter!

  • Stephen

    I expect an article tomorrow about how Terry Collins’ management of Rice and the bullpen this afternoon led to a Metropolitan victory. Since you’re all about being fair and all.

    • Brian Joura

      It’s not my day to post but if someone wants to write it, I’ll be happy to publish it.

      • Stephen


    • Name

      So yesterday Rice comes in the 11th with a runner at 1st, 2 outs. He gets a HBP and a groundout. OMG Good job! What a days work! He saved the day! Oh lordy lordy, thank god for Scott Rice.

      On Saturday, Familia comes in the 7th with a runner at 1st, 2 outs. He gets a strikeout. No one thinks anything of it.

      Yet somehow we are supposed to congratulate and fawn over Scott Rice for his 1 out work, yet no one blinks an eye for what Familia did on Saturday. That’s how low our expectations for a guy like Rice.

  • Metsense

    Familia retired the first 5 batters he faced and walked the sixth. Why couldn’t he face Utley? Instead he brought in the worst reliever on the staff, Rice, who promptly hits Utley with a pitch and moves the go ahead run to second. I don’ t consider that a success. I consider that over managing, but that is only my opinion. I am glad it worked out and that the Mets won but quite frankly I don’t think that pitching change was the difference. I think bunting your 5th batter with a 3-1 count had more of an impact in the previous game. In fairness, the players seem to play hard for TC but in reality they still have not won for TC, and isn’t that the bottom line?

  • Patrick Albanesius

    Day by day I get the feeling that Collins is not the guy to lead this team to sustained success. And I get the sense that is a general feeling among this readership. Doesn’t that say something about his abilities right there?

    • Name

      Sadly our cause will never be realized when places with greater viewership are writing crap like this (ESPN NY link):

      Somehow the writer seems to think that writing personal opinions such as “The players play hard for him” and “no talent” completely exonerates Collins.
      He doesn’t talk about TC’s love of a retaining a LOOGY, and how our lefties, despite preferential treatment, are consistently much worse than average. Doesn’t talk about the overuse of certain relievers and ignoring certain relievers at times. Doesn’t talk about his overemphasis on lefty-righty matchups. Doesn’t talk about leaving certain pitchers in too long while too quickly yanking others. Doesn’t talk about having too much faith in under performing players.

      Nope, because somehow as long as he stays friends with them and “they play hard for him” (which only under rare circumstances do they not), none of that stuff matters.

  • Larry rithstein

    Terry collins should be fired. Either leaves pitchers into long jerry mejhia 8 runs Bartoli Colin takes out neise 7 innings shut out ball. He doesn’t play Lagares every game in center. He starts catcher centimos instead of Recker he should play best players every game Recker duda Murphy Tehada wright Lagares granderson Eric young jr

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