About a month ago, I published a similar post complaining about Jerry Manuel's mind-numbingly awful managing. It actually generated some interest, as it appeared on a Mets blog and in various discussion threads.
But we Manuel haters need more momentum than that. Jerry must go. Now. Tonight's 5-3 loss to the Dodgers represented an all-time low in managerial decision-making. All I can do, is take it from the top...(and by the way, if you agree that Manuel is the ultimate cause of the Mets' woes, don't hesitate to join my Facebook group). But as I began to say, let's take tonight from the top...
(1) The batting order. To face Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers' top starting pitcher, and one of the best young right-handers in the game, Manuel went as follows:
1. Jose Reyes-SS
2. Daniel Murphy-LF
3. Carlos Beltran-CF
4. David Wright-3B
5. Ryan Church-RF
6. Ramon Martinez-2B
7. Jeremy Reed-1B
8. Omir Santos-C
Notice the three highlighted players: Church, Martinez, and Reed. If you don't already know, Church got himself picked off of first base in the previous night's game, and then proceeded to miss third base after Angel Pagan's clutch shot to the right-center gap.
Now Manuel essentially admitted that he was pissed at Church after the game. Not a typical reaction from Jerry, which resulted in a media question that asked if Church was in Jerry's "doghouse." Manuel said no, and instead of benching Church (a punishment that he certainly deserved) he decided to stubbornly prove his point and not only play Church, but promote him to the No. 5 spot in the order.
Talk about ass-backwards managing. And how did Church reward Manuel for his "confidence" in him?
By popping up to short left field with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs in the eighth. Trailing by two runs, he couldn't even get Beltran and Wright over to second and third. The worst possible out he could make was a short flyout to left, and that's exactly what Church did. Nice work Jerry, and nice work Ryan.
The funny thing is, that wasn't the worst aspect of Jerry's lineup. Ramon Martinez in the 6-spot definitely takes the cake.
Let's review. Up until this very Monday, Martinez had spent the entire season in the minor leagues. In lieu of the Alex Cora injury, Martinez was forced into the lineup two nights ago. He went 0-for-4 in his first game back with the big league club, and looked absolutely terrible doing so.
So after spending the year in the minors and starting off 0-4, what does Jerry do?
He puts him back out there the very next day. A weak right-handed hitter facing one of the nastiest right-handed pitchers in the league. And not only is Martinez back in the lineup; like Church, he's promoted in the order.
Ramon Martinez is a .264 lifetime hitter whose never had more than six homers or 37 RBI in an entire season. What the hell is going on here? Why is he batting in the middle of the order against Chad Billingsley?
The answer is clear:
Jerry Manuel is an idiot. There's no denying it. He simply doesn't know baseball well enough to be an effective major league manager.
Oh and we can't forget this part...
Martinez went 0-for-4 again tonight, with three strikeouts and a critical double play groundout in the eighth. Ramon killed any chances the Mets had offensively, and only Manuel can be blamed for that.
How is Angel Pagan on the bench after coming through with four big hits just one night earlier?
Can that truly be explained? Jerry always says that he likes to "ride the hot bat." Well, there had to be a way to squeeze Pagan in there. Should have played Murphy at first base (then maybe we wouldn't have had the dropped fly ball in left and the unearned run in the first inning), and Pagan in left.
Enough with Jeremy Reed already! Jeez!
Sure the guy's off to a decent start with the bat, but he's not a true first baseman and he's a lifetime .261 hitter. The guy is a reserve...wake up Jerry!
My blood pressure is through the roof right now. The lineup should have been as follows:
1. Jose Reyes-SS
2. Luis Castillo-2B
3. Carlos Beltran-CF
4. David Wright-3B
5. Gary Sheffield-RF
6. Daniel Murphy-1B
7. Angel Pagan-LF
8. Omir Santos-C
Now Murphy's probably a more dangerous hitter than Castillo right now (though both have struggled), and Pagan's legs are definitely fresher than Castillo's, but here's another thing that Jerry doesn't realize:
Luis Castillo doesn't have offensive value unless you bat him second. Castillo's offensive strengths have always been a keen understanding of the strikezone, and impeccable bat control. Luis is a solid OBP guy, and you can certainly bunt or play hit-and-run with him.
But down in the order, in the No. 8 spot (where Jerry occasional places him), he can't do any of those things in front of the pitcher. He's essentially another dead out, which makes the Mets lifeless at the bottom of the order.
But that's a different story for a different day. Let's get back to tonight's disgusting managerial performance...
Again Jerry pinch hit for Murphy in a big spot, showing zero confidence in his developing young left-handed hitter, and Sheffield rewarded Manuel with a weak groundout to second.
Now that's not to say that Sheffield shouldn't have been used at some point (as you know, I wanted him in the starting lineup from the outset), but pinch hitting for Murphy was the wrong time.
Murphy would have been facing Brent Leach, an unproven lefty reliever with an ERA over 8.00 heading into the game, and Murph's hitting over .300 against lefties on the season. Instead, going to Sheffield forced Joe Torre to bring in a righty, and out of the Dodgers bullpen came Ronald Belisario, a flamethrower with a 2.74 ERA. It was a tough match-up for Sheff, having never seen Belisario.
Murphy would have had a much better chance against Leach, who is lucky to top 87 MPH with his so-called "fastball."
Another decision, another failure for Manuel.
Then, with the game on the line in the bottom of the eighth, he lets Ramon Martinez hit with 1st and 2nd and one out.
Sheffield should have been available in that spot (Jerry used him too early), but even with Sheff out of the equation, Fernando Tatis, Ramon Castro, and Castillo were available.
All three of them were better options than Ramon Martinez! C'mon now, you've got to be kidding me leaving that jackass up there!
It's really unbelievable. Manuel is just plain dumb. He's a baseball jerk.
Oh, and of course Martinez tapped into a weak double play. I mean for the rest of us out there, those of us that actually know the game, we knew the double play was coming. It was a foregone conclusion, but I guess Jerry thinks Martinez is better than Tatis, Castro, and Castillo.
I can't take it anymore.
JERRY MANUEL HAS TO BE FIRED. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, ALREADY!
I've spoken my piece.
(The Red Sox are the new Yankees. How did they make the transition? "JFro," aka John Frascella, is the author of "Theo-logy: How a Boy Wonder Led the Red Sox to the Promised Land." It's the first full-length book centered on Boston Red Sox's popular general manager Theo Epstein. Preview or purchase it online at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble or Borders. It's currently stocked in Barnes and Noble stores throughout the U.S. Also, check out John on Twitter.)