More Shame And Wrong Moves: Time To Fire Manuel

An article by posted on July 10, 2009

What was the score tonight? A hundred to two, or some such. I checked out in the fourth inning to garden and get to know my children, who’ve known only a Mets fan psycho for the past month or so. Being true to my Mets OCD-self, however, I had to keep checking back. At the back of my mind, there’s always the prayer that there’s going to be some crazy comeback. And then I realize, the only thing crazy is my thinking this.

Okay, LA is a good team, but I don’t think they’re great, and there’s no way we had to lose this series, but, er, ah, naturally, we did. We got obliterated in two of three contests. And yet, I felt that maybe somehow we could go back into battle with the same lineup and beat these guys again tonight. And then I saw  tonight’s lineup. Certainly not nuts, but so many have intelligently asked why replace Murph w/ the friggin’ bum Tatis when stats don’t even bear this out?! JMAN reportedly said that it was a combination of lefty-righty match ups and the fact that pitchers are “getting to know Murph.” WTH?? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m convinced Tatis’ solid playing days are over, and the Mets don’t need him except as an occasional stopgap, but he’s really not very good at that. He’s a good man w/ no baseball future.

Here I’m going to get a little and briefly random to support the argument in my headline: Jerry Manuel is a really decent man who will not advance the Mets, especially the Mets in extremis. All of my White Sox fans buddies make sense: he couldn’t get it done in Chicago, and he won’t get it done in NY. Tonight I think I figured it out. He’s a sharp baseball man in so many ways, but he’s not a great decision-maker, and he’s not the kind of guy who can get the extra yard out of our beleaguered club. Overall, it’s the bad decisions that convince me this very likeable and decent guy has to go. I know, I know, less than a week ago, I was arguing that there’s nothing he can do. Tonight I changed my mind. We might win with him, but, ultimately, we will never get high up on any mountain with him. What follows are my cases in point, or the examples to support my argument:

1) Nick Evans can’t really play the OF; we saw it again tonight. Reed should be in there, although he’s an unreliable bat. Evans cannot be counted on to hit either, so what in God’s name do they have him futzing around in left field for?

2) Livan Hernandez never should have been allowed to pitch eight earned runs. How idiotically demoralizing. I know the pen is overused, but this guy sucks some very sour lemons right now. Frankly, it would be great if he collected his things and headed elsewhere (maybe in a TRADE!!!)

3) Omir Santos—the hero of the Red Sox series… the train seems to have left a while ago. I do not see him as a future catcher for our Mets. The bat seems to have tanked, and he is mediocre to less-than-mediocre on defense. I don’t know if Schneider was fatigued, but I didn’t like the fact that he was sacrificed for the lefty-righty match up either. In fact, I’d love to see the overall percentages with these constant lineup changes based on lefty-righty. Can’t be too good now can it, given our bloody record!

4) Bullpen guys just never seem to be used in the best way. True, tonight it hardly mattered, but Tim-You-Stink-So-Awfully-Redding again?! How did we ever buy into the delusion that this was a quality Nationals pitcher who just endured tough luck. Let’s box up folks like Redding, Hernandez, Evans, and Santos (among others) and try to get one decent hurler or hitter. Heck throw Manuel in the mix, too.

We know that the team is badly broken, and that Manuel cannot take all of the blame, but even in these dire straits, he just makes so many inadequate decisions. I hate the suspicion of rashness that I think my position entails here, but I cannot for the life of me see our Mets becoming champions of their own division, let alone the world with Jerry Manuel at the helm. I’m sorry, but it’s time to move on.

You may ask why I’m not calling for Minaya’s ouster as well. Frankly, I am more frustrated by his statements than how he operates at this point. My hunch tells me he is working hard to do something by the deadline, but if not, then I am inclined to see him go unless, of course, it’s all about what the Wilpons won’t let him do, but then that just means he’s weak and ineffectual. On the other hand, since I wanted the Mets to re-sign Petey back in March, I am pretty cross about the Phils’ apparent acquisition. Despite everything, I am not inclined to concede 2009. It’s really important to me as a Mets fan that ownership isn’t either! The clock, she is ticking…

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