The axe always falls on the manager. This is the way the world works and it comes with the territory. There are things that we can rightfully question Jerry about. There are, however, things that he has to do, despite what we’d like to see happen. These are some of those unavoidable scenarios we will have to brace for.
1. K-Rod is coming in
Deal with it folks. We are going to win or lose with K-Rod in the 9th. The Mets cannot reach the post season without a closer shutting the door in the last inning. Johan Santana pitched 8 amazing innings and everyone is fed up with him losing victories, but there is nothing Manuel can do. It is up to the Mets bullpen to clinch those wins for Santana and The Mets bats to give him run support. Johan, of all people, is off elbow surgery and is not getting any younger. We cannot expect him to throw complete games every time. K-Rod will also need to work through this mess. The only way to get your stride back is in the game. If Manuel starts displaying a lack of confidence in K-Rod the situation will not magically improve itself. Our bullpen is already a shaky one. The last thing we need is to start meddling around with other closer options.
2. Luis Castillo is going to play
Castillo has become a symbol of the troubles the Mets have faced the last few seasons. He has taken a lot of heat from fans because of his ridiculous contract and of course “the drop” in Yankee Stadium. Although he can be irritating at times, Castillo is our best option at second. He gets on base and knows how to work a pitcher. Manuel may dislike him more than any of us, but like K-Rod, we are stuck with this contract. For as much as young talent excites the fan base, Ruben Tejada has been over matched at the plate. He is simply not ready to hit at the major league level. Castillo’s skill set may be diminishing but he gives us the best chance to win.
3. We will see Oliver Perez again
I’m dreading Ollie more than a trip to the dentist. The feeling you get in your stomach when he walks the leadoff hitter on four pitches is indescribable. The Mets have four solid starters, but Hisanori Takahashi’s time in the rotation is at an end. His success in the bullpen early on has made the team anxious to return him to that role. His recent shelling in Frisco only cemented the idea he belongs in the pen. Ollie’s sickening contract is the only thing keeping him in the Mets’ plans, but as we get closer to the deal it seems less likely the Mets are going to make a move for a starter. Perez has looked mediocre at best in his minor league “rehab” stint. This will not stop the team from attempting to give Oliver another attempt in the bigs.
There are a lot of things to get frustrated with a manager about, but these are situations where Jerry is just as stuck as we are. Big contracts will not sit on the bench or in the minors under any ownership group. We also need to understand their desire to get those big money players to perform. Although I am ready to see Ollie released, this team needs K-Rod and Castillo to perform. They give us the best chance to win, as awful as that is sometimes, and Jerry will need them. With the return of Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan will lose playing time against lefties. Frenchy will be playing those games, and with Jose Reyes hopefully healthy, Castillo will need to get on base in the two hole. If Angel is in, the lineup is still better with Castillo in the 8 then the likes of Alex Cora or Tejada. During a stretch this year, Castillo was constantly on base. We have to give him the opportunity to do this again. K-Rod’s stretch of terrible outings will need to work itself out. We can only hope he finds whatever it is he needs to find. Hopefully, he can get these outings out of the way and save some type of dominant streak for September…if our games still mean something.