So the Mets’ seven game winning streak has vaulted them back into the fringe of the playoff race. It’s time for Handsome Art Howe to manage like it.
Steven Matz breezed through the first three innings against the Pirates, striking out four and only giving up one hit. Matz had now dominated the Pirates for 12 straight innings at this point. So you could probably forgive HAH for giving Matz a little more slack as trouble started. Matz walked Brian Reynolds, gave up a single to Starling Marte, and surrendered a missile to Josh Bell to make the score 3-1. Phil Regan visited the mound to settle Matz down.
It didn’t work as Jose Osuna singled to make it 3-2, and then Melky Cabrera hit what would have been a home run in any other part of the ballpark, but instead was a two run double to make it 4-3. Knowing Matz’s history of having particular innings where he gets hit harder than the meat at Max’s Steaks. So this might have been the opportunity to pull him. But 12 innings of domination earned Matz an extra couple of batters, and Matz got them but gave up another run to make it 5-3 before being pulled for Robert Gsellman.
The Mets made it 5-4 in the 7th when Handsome Art made his second curious move, and that was bringing in Tyler Bashlor after Gsellman got through two and a third with Lugo available. Could have gone with Seth Lugo in that spot, could have also gone with Justin Wilson to lead off against the lefty Colin Moran. But down a run in the seventh with Gsellman already burned, I neither hated the move nor loved it. Okay, let’s ride.
Kevin Newman singled, Bryan Reynolds singled, and Handsome Art stuck with Bashlor to pitch to Starling Marte. Boom. Three run HR, 8-4 Pirates, ballgame.
I’m not going to kill HAH for these moves but I will say that this game should be the wake-up moment for Callaway. Seven straight wins got the Mets back in the race, and now they’ve lost the first game to the Pirates with two more to go and frankly, these two games are must-win now. You can’t get swept by the Pirates. So it’s time for Callaway to start managing for the moment, and to manage every game to win. I get that it’s a long season and you can’t sacrifice the war to win the battle.
But it’s August 3rd now. The bullpen is relatively rested. If you have to ride Seth Lugo to the end, you do it. If you have to ride Michael Conforto for two months, do it. No more Juan Lagares in the lineup to give Conforto a spell. No more Tyler Bashlor in a one-run game in the 7th. F*** your feelings. No more managing like it’s spring training. No more Sunday lineups. There’s two more months left in the season, and probably two months left in your Mets managing career. So turn on the fire hose. Every loss from here on out should be lost with their best until the Mets are officially eliminated.
It starts with these two very winnable weekend games at PNC Park.
Today’s Hate List
- Starling Marte
- Adam Frazier
- Trevor Williams
- Roman Quinn
- Vince Velasquez