Sunday, April 19, 2009
AS METS MISS CHANCE TO SWEEP, THEY MULL OVER SACRIFICES MADE -- AND NOT MADE
Hmmm...let's get this straight. A guy gets a job, does exactly what the boss tells him, then gets fired after just one day on the job?
Turns out, that's exactly what happened to Mets' Sunday starting pitcher, Nelson Figueroa, who was designated for assignment after Sunday's game, immediately following a strong six-inning performance.
Left-handed pitcher Casey Fossum recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Figueroa. Figueroa was called up Sunday to replace Mike Pelfrey, whose start was skipped due to his forearm tendinitis.
Mets' manager Jerry Manuel told the New York news media he was hoping Figueroa would give the team six good innings and keep the Mets in the ballgame.
Figueroa responded in kind.
The Brooklyn, N.Y. native hurled six complete innings, allowing just three runs on five hits and departed trailing, 3-1. In fact, Figueroa registered what no other Mets pitcher not named Johan Santana has so far this season -- a quality start.
Fossum has impressed so far in two Triple-A starts, striking out 12 in 11 innings pitched and turning in an earned run average of 0.82. But is that worth sacrificing Figueroa, who seems far better suited to an eventual long relief role than injured free-agent signing, Tim Redding?
And speaking of sacrificing...
What was Jerry Manuel thinking not having Luis Castillo bat for Fernando Tatis and lay down a sacrifice bunt in a situation that cried out for it in Sunday's game?
The Mets mounted their best threat, down by a single run in the eighth inning, with runners at first and second base with none out with a tough, ground ball pitcher on the mound in Todd Coffey.
If Manuel went with the hot-hitting Castillo, who also happens to be the Mets' best bunter, it could've set up a golden chance to push the tying run 90 feet away and move the go-ahead run into scoring position. Even with Tatis batting, the Brewers' infield was positioning itself for the bunt and when Tatis swung away, it stunned the Brewers' TV crew, which said the Mets were giving the Brewers a break.
Sure enough, Tatis, who has yet to record a hit this season, whiffed on three pitches, before Omir Santos lined into an inning-ending double play.
A sweep sure would've been some good wind blowing into the Mets' sails, as they head to St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals. It would've given them a 7-5 mark in the first dozen games, instead of a breeak-even mark of 6-6.You can say it's just April and you can't manage every game like it's one in the September pennant race...until you get to October and realize that the one game you wish you could have back, as the Mets have been bemoaning for the last two seasons, could've made the difference between the playoffs and going home for the fall.
Posted by Gil Griffin at 8:19 PM