The questionable maneuvering by Terry Collins intensifies many concerns going forward

Terry Collins


Baron

The sixth inning during Tuesday night’s forgettable 14-8 loss to the Phillies was as perplexing as it was disappointing.

Just a half inning before the Mets bullpen pulled the drain on this contest, the Mets had just rallied for four runs against Aaron Harang thanks to an RBI single from Kelly Johnson, an RBI groundout from Curtis Granderson, and a mammoth two-run home run from Yoenis Cespedes.

It was now 6-4. A 6-0 clunker which the Mets seemed certain to lose just 15 minutes before was very much in reach, especially against a Phillies bullpen which has the ninth-worst ERA in the game.

But instead of using Sean Gilmartin in long relief, or turning to either Erik Goeddel or Addison Reed to try and shutdown the Phillies and get this game to the later innings, manager Terry Collins curiously injected Bobby Parnell into this game.

Parnell allowed the first three hitters to reach and a run to score before being lifted. But instead of Collins going to one of the aforementioned relievers, he turned  to Eric O’Flaherty to face lefty Cody Asche, and Phillies manager Pete Mackanin predictably countered with righty Cameron Rupp, who O’Flaherty promptly walked.

That was it for O’Flaherty, but in came Carlos Torres in the middle of an inning, who got absolutely mauled by the Phillies.

At the end of all of this decision making – which left many of the Mets better relievers unused – the Phillies had put up eight runs against Parnell, O’Flaherty, and Torres.

“It was the bottom of the order, and I thought if we get him back out there after what he’s been through, I thought it might be a lift for him,” Collins said about using Parnell in a 6-4 game. “He just didn’t throw any strikes.”

No he didn’t. If he had, maybe the conversation is different. But is a 6-4 game in the sixth inning – in which the Mets clearly had gained momentum in – the best time to use a pitcher badly struggling to return from neck and elbow surgery, someone who has hardly pitched in two years?

19251716365_56207715ff_zRemember, the club considered designating Parnell for assignment just two weeks ago. Now here he was in his first day of roster eligibility pitching in a close game.

Burned again.

“It’s been a long two years,” Parnell said in frustration after Tuesday’s loss.

The loyalty and faith Parnell and Collins have for each other can certainly have significant value if Parnell resembled the pitcher he was before these injury problems. But right now, Parnell is a project at best, and just can’t be counted on for now.

It’s a blind faith right now for Collins, and he keeps getting burned by Parnell.

 

Then of course he chose to use O’Flaherty in a spot the Phillies could (and ultimately did) clearly counter with an unfavorable match-up. It’s a questionable and concerning decision by Collins which unfortunately has a track record, and it arguably lost the game for the Mets on Tuesday despite Jon Niese having another terrible outing and putting the Mets in a 6-0 hole early.

To be fair, in a game which might matter more later in the year, it’s quite probable neither of these three pitchers used in the sixth inning on Tuesday will be on the menu for Collins. A playoff roster will be based on a meritocracy and whoever is pitching well at the time, and as of now, neither of these three pitchers can be considered for a roster spot after October 4 unless they’re injury replacements.

Now, there’s nobody in that room hungrier than Terry Collins. He’s in his mid-60s, he’s in the last year of his contract, he wants to win and wants to win right now. He has that chance, as his team is in fantastic position to do something very special in the immediate term. He deserves a ton of credit for keeping his clubhouse together during some very lean times over the years, staying true to the philosophy which has righted the franchise, and staying seated at the poker table despite some massive injuries which broke his roster early in the season.

And make no mistake – Parnell has worked tirelessly to get himself back into form and be a positive contributor on the field, too. But he’s clearly a limited pitcher right now, be it physically, mentally, or perhaps both are causes for his ineffectiveness.

This isn’t a lack of effort. This isn’t lazy managing, or anyone who is conceding one pitch in any count during a game. That can be assured.

It’s a thought process which must change if the Mets stand any kind of chance in the intensity of the moment of a playoff game.

 

8 Comments

Shoot- I’m in my mid-60’s too &
When Terry said ‘ I thought I’d put Parnell in to give him a LIFT’…well I almost puked‼️ Terry, you are sounding like Sally Fields on Oscar Night: needy & trying too hard to be a people pleaser. The players already like you- we’d all LOVE YOU, if you bring the ⚾️statue 🏆home to Flushing‼️

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Collins has managed 1500+ regular season games. Not a single post season game and finished second / missed playoffs by one spot multiple times. This isn’t an accident. The guy has little feel or understanding for the game. Lets hope that the Nats continue to spit the bit… if they manage to sweep us next week look out as the apple gets stuck in Terry’s throat

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Shucks, Terry just wanted to “get Parnell going”…..

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What I have been saying all along. His rediculous game plan decisions can only sink the ship. Oh how those six games with the Nats grow in importance

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I understand Terry’s hope there, (if Parnell does well then maybe he can improve along the way), but it was just not the right time to do that. You try and give him a lift when the game is not within reach. When you just made a 6-0 game, 6-4…you don’t respond with using not only one of your worst relievers, but then proceeded to use all three of the worst relievers in the pen. Awful just awful managing. OFlaherty and Torres have been serving up batting practice for weeks now. No idea why they seemed like a good idea at the time.
Really hope decisions like these come back to hurt us. I am very concerned about Collins’ in-game management, which was a problem in the first half of the season but was looked over once the team improved in August. Terry still made questionable moves in August, it just wasn’t as obvious with the wins.

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Nice breakdown here, Michael. Maybe Collins managed in the minors for too long, developing players. “Blind faith” is a good way to put it and in the middle of a pennant race its the height of ridiculousness when the team is coming back from a 6-0 deficit with the Nats choking right now. He should be thinking about putting them away. He always uses the excuse that its a long season, but this is the stretch run with 30 games to go.

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The question is not whether TC’s choice to use Parnell was a mistake, which everyone agrees it was, but whether it merits all the shrieking it’s been getting. At least he’s not Matt Williams. Mike Matheny regularly gets excoriated for his bullpen usage and other personnel management decisions and the Cardinals are 40 games over .500. I think people need to recognize that in-game strategic decisions are the most visible things a manager does and thus the thing we all feel comfortable criticizing, but they may not even be the most important thing a manager does. Matt Williams stinks not just because of his bullpen decisions but because he’s a cold guy who doesn’t have great relationships with his players, especially his best players. TC doesn’t manage a bullpen well by the standards of Bochy and a few other guys, but I’m more worried about the fact that we’re still lacking guys in front of Clippard and Familiar that are truly trustworthy.

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Everyone is right and TC is wrong. There, see how easy it is to manage.
BUT there are 30 games left and that means play to win every game.

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