Reese Kaplan -- That Stench You Smell Is Cranial Flatulence


During this game a chat group in which I participate was going back and forth as it appeared the Mets were going to squander a lead and a game in this late juncture of the season when you really can’t afford to be doing that.  The questions came up about credit and someone questioned others in the group about assigning blame. 

Any analytical thinking process requires people to look for root causes of what went wrong that caused an unfavorable outcome to occur.  If a cashier at a convenience store chose to go to the bathroom, leaving the door unlocked, allowing shoplifting or cash register raiding to occur…do we credit the thieves, or do we look to place the blame on the poor decision making of the cashier?

The same should apply when considering what went wrong in a baseball game.  When there are obvious failures of execution, people are quick to point them out.  To this day, for example, we still hear about Carlos Beltran in a critical situation never taking the bat off his shoulder and getting called out on strikes.  The late Bill Buckner to his dying day was known mostly for failure to field a routine grounder during the World Series. 

When you watch a game, a meaningful September game, it’s therefore not only understandable but also natural and essential to figure out how things went wrong.  As a manager in my regular job, I don’t expect people to be perfect, but I do expect them to learn from their mistakes.  In fact, I often say, “I pride myself on never making the same mistake twice when there are always news ones waiting to be uncovered.”

Towards that end we have all come to question many of the strategic decisions made by manager Mickey Callaway, whether it comes to quick hooks on effective pitchers, delayed hooks on struggling relievers, favoring unproductive players ad nauseum, there are legitimate reasons to question his judgment.  Some feel he’s there because his players like him, others think he’s there as a Wilpon puppet and others simply shake there heads and wonder why. 

For that last group the events of tonight’s 9th inning certainly have given them ammunition for their position.  First came the choice to stretch Seth Lugo into a 2nd inning with no off-day tomorrow and having used him for multiple innings in two of his last three outings and having used him last night.

“But wait, do you really want to see Edwin Diaz in the 9th inning?  Don’t you remember how many HRs he’s given up and saves he’s blown?”

That’s a valid point.  In fact, the broader question, if not Lugo, who would you have used?  I’m not sure I have an answer to that one but it was clear with the leadoff batter getting on base that perhaps you were pushing your luck a bit.

That decision is not the one that really makes people grate their teeth.  It was the bottom of the 9th after Lugo had blown the save to let the Dodgers take a 3-2 lead.  Obviously you’re not going to pinch hit for Michael Conforto or Wilson Ramos or Robinson Cano.  When Cano worked out a 2-out walk, Callaway did the right thing by sending in pinch runner Rajai Davis.  Having him get into scoring position would enable you to tie the game on a single. 

Two Callaway brain farts occurred nearly simultaneously.  First, you had right handed power hitters on the bench in Rene Rivera and Todd Frazier (if his hand was up to the task).  You had newcomer Jed Lowrie who is a switch hitter available.  Any of them could have delivered a double or HR to help tie or win the game.

Instead Callaway went with light hitting and mercifully now seldom-used Joe Panik as the pinch hitter.  The announcers said that Panik had good success against reliever Kenta Maeda (7-19 lifetime) but Panik is not the same hitter he’s been throughout the earlier stages of his career.  Do you remember that Joe McEwing had great success against Randy Johnson?  If you had the choice of Ty Wigginton or Joe McEwiing in a one-run game, how many of you would have advocated McEwing as the smarter choice?  The odds still are that Johnson would dominate the inferior hitter.

I tried to be charitable thinking, “well, when Davis steals second then all Panik needs to do is hit a dribbler that gets through the infield to tie up the game,” but then the second brain fart happened.  What is the point of sending up your speediest player as a pinch runner in this situation when putting him in scoring position would possibly lead to a game being tied with a single AND THEN NOT HAVE HIM TRY TO STEAL? 

If he got thrown out (by a catcher who was only 5-19 nailing runners and a pitcher who was only successful in holding potential basestealers 1-7), then you tip your hat to the opposition for a job well done.  However, to concede the game with one of your weakest bats and then not to send the runner is cranial flatulence of the highest order.  


Mack Ade said...

I found myself screaming at the TV when no steal occurred. Isn't that the prime reason this guy is on the team?

I guess we can move on no.

Gary Seagren said...

Come on guys have faith its all we got and MC still has 2 weeks left to work his magic. Look as a strange Met, Jet AND Giant fan it's been a brutal month already and I was just hoping our favorite team would come through because it's gonna be a LONG winter for me. Hey at least DeGrom didn't come down with mono.

Gary Seagren said...

Also does this mean we keep Zach?

Tom Brennan said...

They dug themselves too big a hole - now, they'd really need a miracle.

Brain farts abounded.

Mack Ade said...


I guess Wheels is the devil we know.

Mack Ade said...


I truly like the chemistry of this team. I think players like Wheeler reall want come back.

The only sour apple seems to be Thor.

You can see where I am going here...

Mack's Mets said...

When have you seen a Met team, any Met team other than this year's Brooklyn Cyclones team steal a base in the ninth inning two runs diwn with two out?
Not since the days of Lenny Dysktra and Mookie Wilson.
When team employee Jessica was saying that Davis would steal on the first or second pitch, I said "yeah, right".
Biggest questions are who made these calls? Mickey, Brodie, Jim Riggleman? Certainly not Jessica.

Tom Brennan said...

Mack, if we get good quality or Thor, I am OK with it.

Hey, they can package Thor and Diaz.

Probably end up 1-2 in the 2020 Cy Young voting.

I looked at Edwin's recent stats yesterday...last 14 batters retired, 12 by K.

Last 12 innings, 28 Ks.

Proceed with extreme caution dumping this guy.

Tom Brennan said...

I agree - Rajai should have been allowed to try yo steal - timidity, stupidity, plenty of flatulence.

Mack Ade said...


Riggleman can't call a cab.

Brodey may build the lineup but what happens once the game starts is all on Mickey.

Reese Kaplan said...

Same as Terry for 7 long, torturous seasons in which he was on the losing end 5 of 7 times.

Mike Freire said...

I mentioned this in another thread, but I think Mickey does more harm then good.......replacing him with a good manager
would likely result in better performances in the future.

I would take Maddon, or even Girardi over this guy.

Anonymous said...

Great game last night. Team once again came thru. When down, the push it to the metal. Sign of a really good team.


Lawrence G. Tureaud


Anonymous said...

Mets things

I think Mickey Callaway has done a really decent job. He has maintained an even keel, not taken on too much water ever, and kept the vessel upright and sailing along.

Having said all this, Mickey Callaway has been on the job training this season. He had the background in the game, pitching department was covered, but the learning part was the everyday nuts and bolts stuff that a great manager needs to excel. This stuff does take some time, and I feel that Mickey has done a good job and learned fairly quickly.

The moves by Mets management, namely bringing in pitching coach Phil Regan and bench coach John Riggleman were outstandingly shrewd and successful moves I felt second half. And having the great Chilli Davis as batting instructor here for these NY Mets, absolutely perfect too.

This team is basically a young and very talented one, full of some really excellent players who can pitch and score runs. It's still a learning team, a team on the final stage of growth and MLB development leading to an amazing future here.

I am exceedingly optimistic with this 2019 NY Mets team. I have seen some unbelievably terrific Mets games second half and I am grateful. Had it been the first half of this season, the Mets may not have won the games they did. Therein lays the success of the second half.

This is so close people, that a fan can actually taste and smell it. And it is all so good.

I am very proud of this entire 2019 NY Mets team, its management, and the franchise ownership. Thank you all.

Tom Brennan said...

Lawrence, if this team had a top 5 bullpen this year, it would be gunning for 100 victories. The non-pen part of the team, by and large, has been great.

Mack's Mets © 2012