The Sports Daily > Metstradamus Blog
Pittsburgh Heel Turn

Well I hope Pirates fans feel better now that they've gotten their anger out of their system towards David Wright. I hope their announcers are also happy that they fanned the flames of their already agitated fan base to stir up some sort of rah rah ballpark interest. Good for them. Even though they have four all-stars and 54 wins going into Friday's game, and therefore a whole lot to be happy about, they felt the need to invent outrage because Wright didn't choose Alvarez initially to take part in glorified batting practice on Monday. Even though Wright took Alvarez when Carlos Gonzalez begged out due to minor injury, they still booed Wright every chance they got. But Pedro Alvarez's home run in the first inning made them feel better about life. Hooray for them.

But I think the real heel turn started in the eighth inning, and it was Terry Collins that put on the nWo shirt. First, he pinch hit for Jeremy Hefner in a 2-2 game … a game that Hefner was absolutely cruising in, throwing only 78 pitches and replacing him with David Aardsma in the eighth. Then in the ninth, Collins burned three pitchers when he only really needed to burn two or maybe one. He replaced Aardsma with Rice with runners on first and third with one out and Alvarez up. Rice strikes out Alvarez, and then up comes Russell Martin. Now at this point, Collins could have intentionally walked Martin and gone Rice vs. Garrett Jones. Instead, he brings in Burke to face Martin. McCutchen takes second, and Burke winds up walking Martin anyway. Then he burns his second lefty, Josh Edgin, to go up against Jones who was pinch hit for with Gaby Sanchez. If Rice stays in and walks Martin, then he could have forced Clint Hurdle to go to Sanchez there against Rice, then bring in Burke. So he could have gotten the matchup he wanted without burning both lefties. Instead, he rolled the dice and was forced to pitch to Sanchez, a .322 lifetime hitter against the Mets going in (but who has been cold this year), with Edgin. Luckily for Collins it worked out. The rat got a lucky swipe while being backed in the corner, but it only delayed the cat's meal by two innings … because burning all of these pitchers after taking Hefner out too soon … combined with LaTroy Hawkins not being available with an injury meant that he had to go to Gonzalez Germen in the 11th inning. Germen, predictably, lost the game in the 11th.

The hilarious part was Gary Cohen who went from questioning the curiosity of the Hefner move in the eighth, to praising Collins' bullpen usage in the ninth and calling for TC to have his contract extended in the tenth. Yeah, Collins managed his ass off in the ninth … but it was to save the team from himself. For this he deserves an extension? It was a bizarre sequence which could only possibly be explained by Jeff Wilpon calling the booth somewhere in between questioning Hefner in the 8th and praising Collins in the 10th. I'm not saying it happened, but how else would you even think to explain that weird turn? It's almost as if Vince Russo wrote that script.