I’ve spent a great deal of time considering Jerry Manuel’s decision to pinch hit Omir Santos for Ramon Castro during yesterday’s loss to the Marlins. I’ve also read a great many opinions on the matter and for the most part they all came to the same conclusion that Manuel made a big gaffe. I also believe that it was a terrible error in judgment by Manuel who was trying to be too cute and over-managed the situation into a certain loss. Maybe Castro would have popped up as well, nobody can know for sure, but the odds were clearly in Castro’s favor as opposed to Santos.
Eddie Coleman, Mets analyst for WFAN, may have framed the argument perfectly…
What exactly is going on here. Can anyone figure out what makes this team tick? Just when you think you’ve seen it all with the Mets, they add another chapter to the file. The 9th inning on Wednesday was absolutely bizarre – and so was Manager Jerry Manuel’s explanation for his strategy. Down by a run, bases loaded, two outs and Ramon Castro due up. Jerry stalls and calls down to the bullpen for – Omir Santos? Castro is a 10-year veteran with two hits and an RBI on the day – Santos is a 27-year old catcher with 36, count ’em, 36 major league AB. You wanna play a hunch, fine – I’m not a by-the-book loyalist by any means. My problem lies in Manuel’s explanation for choosing Santos over Castro – “When you have a little shorter swing, you have a better chance against a guy throwing in the upper 90’s”(meaning closer Matt Lindstrom). Well, anytime I looked up during the day, Josh Johnson was hitting 97 on the gun, and Castro had his two hits against him. Castro, with red-rimmed eyes, was stunned by the development after the game in the Mets locker room, but to his credit, took the high road and said the right things – Yeah, I was surprised, but he’s the manager, he makes the decisions.
Manuel is beginning to gain a reputation for being ultra conservative on the base paths, having too quick a hook with his starters, playing favorites in the dugout, and going against the grain in certain strategic situations. The honeymoon has evaporated and the glare of the spotlight is firmly planted on him now.