The analysis of Jerry Manuel’s move last night to pull Johan Santana seems to have come down on the side of leaving Santana in to pitch the ninth inning. Hindsight is 20/20 but I would’ve made the same decision as Manuel.
There’s no need to leave Santana in a tie game for the bottom of the ninth inning. All he can do is hold or lose the game, he’s not going to win it for the Mets. Although he had thrown just 95 pitches Santana is going to be here for six more years so that has to be kept in mind. There’s no need to max him out in a game that he can’t win. If the Mets were up by one or two runs, I would’ve left Santana in there to close it out.
The only thing that I might have done would’ve been to pull the plug on Duaner Sanchez after Pedro Feliz doubled off him. Shane Victorino is a much better left handed hitter. So Manuel could have used Scott Schoenweiss or Pedro Feliciano to turn him around. Victorino hits .213 against lefties versus .289 versus righties.
Sanchez hasn’t given up a run since June 10th. That’s ten appearances since the last run he’s given up. He’s earned his spot at the end of the bullpen. So I don’t have a problem with him coming in for Santana in the ninth.
There’s no point in having your best pitcher, whether its Santana or Billy Wagner, pitch the ninth inning of a tie game. I’ve written about that before here. Santana or Wagner should be used to lock down a win at the end of a game not hold it for someone else.