2016 IN THE BOOKS TOO SOON by Tom Brennan
2016 was an up-and-down season that ended in a flash. I could almost hear Howie Rose say it was put in the books too soon.
Five things did them in, in my view.
1) San Francisco edging out the Cards by stopping a really bad run by winning the games it had to while the Wild Card was on the line. That led us to Bumgarner, the only pitcher on the Giants or Cards who could have beaten the Mets last night. The Bum is brilliant, give him his due.
2) The idiotic head first Wilmer Flores slide on September 10 into home that led to his not recoveri g and needing surgery, all because Terry forgot to put in a pinch runner for Wilmer. I had a feeling that losing our best hitter against lefties might catch up to us. It did.
3) waiting too long for Lagares to have surgery, preventing him from being really ready for the off-season. Had he and Flores been in for Bruce and Loney, it easily could have been a different game.
5) Terry chose one book over another, when he put Familia in in the ninth inning instead of Blevins. The fine lefty Blevins had an awesome season and with lefties coming up, he was my choice. Terry failed to consider that a team like the Giants, so similar to the patient, high contact 2015 Royals, would lay off Jeurys' pitches diving out of the strike zone. I marveled that the Jiints had the reactive ability to lay off every Thor pitch that was even slightly out of the strike zone during Thor's 7 brilliant innings. Familia, not surprisingly, last melted down, as he had against the Royals.
Wrong book selected, Terry.
And off we go into the post season. Have we seen the last of Cespedes in a Mets uniform? Will our injured elite starters return to be elite again? Many such questions loom, as a fascinating season ends far too abruptly.
Let me add a #6 before I go. Cespedes can be neutralized by a craftsman, who can paint the top of the strike zone with good fastballs and curves. Bumgarner was the Master Craftsman. The Bum hit better than Cespedes, too. Amazing.