It’s hard to decide which one is more infuriating – the way the Mets handle their pitchers or Gary Cohen’s defense of that plan. Regardless, the former – over this entire season in general and this series in particular – directly and majorly contributed to an 8-2 loss to the Pirates Monday in the conclusion of a four-game series against the Pirates. With the loss, the Mets split the series and fell a game below .500 at 44-45.

Because of Carlos Mendoza’s penchant for removing starters too soon – whether that was David Peterson on Saturday or Sean Manaea on Sunday or Christian Scott in this game – the Mets are asking too much out of their bullpen. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Mendoza’s usage of his “A” relievers in back-to-back days left the bullpen in worse shape than normal.

With two outs and nobody on in the sixth inning, Mendoza removed Scott from the game because he had thrown 77 pitches. And Cohen found this perfectly okay, because Mendoza let it be known he wasn’t going to exceed 75 pitches before the game. Just because you do a good job of communicating a poor idea doesn’t make it okay in any way, shape or form.

And because options were extremely limited due to how Mendoza managed the previous two games, the Mets put Eric Orze into the game. Cohen tried to claim this was a soft-landing spot for Mendoza to use Orze for his MLB debut. So, let me get this straight. It’s an easy spot for a rookie to make his first appearance on the road in a tie game facing the heart of the other team’s lineup in the late innings of a game?

For a smart guy like Cohen to say that was shocking.

And it didn’t go well. And then Cohen doubled down – blaming the bullpen for the way things unfolded. It felt like he was under orders to blame the bullpen and not the moves made by the manager. Gary – blink twice if you’re forced to do this against your will!

If Scott is too fragile to surpass 75 pitches in an outing – maybe he shouldn’t be used as a starting pitcher. It feels like we’re in Bizzaro World, where things are done that make little to no sense and then the team’s main broadcaster is telling you that there’s nothing wrong with how the team is doing things. If only all eight of their bullpen pieces were All-Stars, there’d be no problem with how the starters were being deployed.

Speaking of All-Stars, Pete Alonso went 0-4 and saw his OPS drop to .780 for the season. Brandon Nimmo tied the game with a two-run homer and raised his OPS to .823 here in 2024. Nimmo has 7 HR in his last 21 G.

7 comments on “Gut Reaction: Pirates 8, Mets 2 (7/8/24)

  • ChrisF

    Lindor = 3 bWAR
    Nimmo = 2.4 bWAR
    Alonso = 1 bWAR

    His selection to the ASG is an affront to all that is baseball.

  • NYM6986

    Wow, Brian, you are quick. There was talk that Butto would be better in the rotation and Scott in the pen. But since Butto is in the pen and did not pitch yesterday, why wasn’t he trotted out today? So Scott was capped at 75 pitches, but he could’ve thrown a handful more without really an impact on him. The other day Mendoza pulled Ottavino after he got the first two outs of the inning just because the next batter up was a lefty and lefties have been mashing against him. I don’t have an issue with how Mendoza rotates in his position players, but he certainly sucks at bullpen use, and the bullpen is not helping him how badly they’re playing. So it’s a real catch 22. Whatever movie he makes could be disastrous. Time to call up Megill and see if he can work out of the pen. Certainly couldn’t be any worse than what they’re getting. Next three series are key to the entire season.

  • Metsense

    Gut Reaction: Mendoza had to pay to piper for the last two games.
    Scott was averaging 92 P/G prior to this start. He should have inning the 6th and remained for the 7th. The pre-game plan instituted was faulty because they are supposedly fighting for a playoff spot. The players are trying because they know that an extended losing streak before the deadline could result in a sell off. Scott should have continued because the game should dictate the managerial moves.

  • TexasGusCC

    Scott is a young arm that has pitched 81 innings already this year. He was a college reliever but as a starter for the Mets, he threw 58 in 2022 and 87 last year, hence, a thirty inning bump. Assuming a similar 30 inning bump, the guy only has about 36 innings left in him, or about seven starts. I have no problem with him coming out.

    The right play at that point was Houser, but, throwing a player into his first ever MLB game at that point, is hard to gather. We have said many times, Mendoza is very good at the player side and needs a better plan for the pitching side.

  • Wayne

    I always thought that the pitching coach had significant input on how and when starting pitchers were to be removed, when and who to bring in a reliever. Does Hefner have any input or is Stearns micromanaging everything ?

  • TexasGusCC

    From Mike Vaccaro in NYPost tonight:

    “A month ago, it sure seemed like Mendoza would be able to serve this rookie apprenticeship far from the glare of a playoff chase. It’s to his credit the Mets are back in the hunt. But that means more eyeballs watching, and more eyeballs rolling when his choices don’t work out.

    A week ago, he left Scott in one batter too long in Washington. Monday he removed him a batter too quickly in Pittsburgh. Hard job. It’s supposed to be hard.”

  • T.J.

    Balancing the long term welfare of a pitcher vs the immediate need in the game is hard for sure. The optics at times are really bad, and this game was glaring. Certainly my preference was for Scott to get that third out, but…we all know about inning ramp up limits being used, correctly or incorrectly, to reduce injury risk. Scott wasn’t throwing a complete game. The real issue is that, once again, different GM but same result, the pen needs too many innings from guys that aren’t big leaguers. Some of that cause is due to pulling starters too soon, a some is due to the lack of quality depth arms that have options.

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