Metsblog has an interesting fact, courtesy of Elias: The last time the Mets lost a game on a walk-off wild pitch before last night was on September 1, 1981. The Met pitcher that night was Mike Marshall.
Yes, the same Mike Marshall who set the all-time record for most pitching appearances in a season when he appeared in 106 games for the Dodgers in 1974.
Last night’s wild-pitch walkoff was thrown by Fernando Nieve, who is on his way to challenging Marshall’s 36-year-old record, thanks to Jerry Manuel’s determination to burn out his bullpen.
Nieve leads all of MLB in appearances with 22. The Mets have played 35 games, putting Nieve on a pace to appear in 102 games.
Alone in second place, with 20 appearances, is the other everyday Met reliever, Pedro Feliciano. But Feliciano has a track record of thriving with frequent use. Nieve does not.
Nieve made it through one inning just fine, walking a batter in the eighth but getting Hanley Ramirez to hit into a double play. But Manuel, perhaps concerned that Nieve was not also challenging the innings record, sent Nieve out for the ninth as well.
All too often, Met starters don’t go deep enough in games, which puts an unavoidable strain on the bullpen. But last night, Johan Santana went seven, which should have been saving the bullpen.
Santana threw only 98 pitches, but Manuel protected his surgically-repaired ace by pinch-hitting for him in the top of the eighth. Nieve is no Santana, but he’s a valuable member of the team and he needs to be protected as well. Maybe the Mets need “Nieve Rules,” or, more accurately, “Manuel Rules.”
Squawker Lisa, you’ll be pleased to know that since Marshall was finishing up his career with the Mets, the record-setting workhorse’s last manager was Joe Torre.