Friday, September 5, 2008

Evaluating the Willie firing

I must admit, I loved Willie Randolph, loved him. Thought he was a great manager and was being unfairly blamed. It wasn’t until this year that I began to have issues with him. Many people blamed him for last years collapse. But really was that collapse his fault? At the time I would defiantly say no, now…well I’ll get to that in a second. Its September 5th now and though I don’t want to jinx anything I think it’s a fair time to start evaluating the Willie firing as to whether it’s a good move or a bad move.
I spent my last 11 years at summer camp, so most years it’s been I follow the Mets from April till June then go to camp lose track of them and when I get home their terrible and I just concentrate on football. Lately they’ve been good when I get home and that changes things. But this year I was able to follow them much closer thanks to some LEGEND… wait for it…DARY nights. It wasn’t as close as at home but I was still able to follow the team. It’s not as much as I would like, for example when the Mets pull off a 9 game winning streak I may not notice till they’ve hit 7 in a row. Nonetheless I’ve followed them enough and I’ve been home long enough to evaluate this team that I can finally give my opinion on the new manager.
I always liked Willie as a manager, thought it wasn’t his fault that the players weren’t playing but one thing became evident this year, he didn’t let his pitchers pitch. Willie was constantly pulling his pitchers after the 6th inning cuz they put a runner on base and had thrown 96 pitches and if he left them in they’d throw over 100 pitches. Well that causes the bullpen to be tired. We blew a 7 game lead with 17 left to play last year because our bullpen was taxed. That’s what happens when your bullpen has to pitch 3.2 innings every night. Since Jerry Manuel has taken over he’s let his guys pitch, and yes the bullpen is awful right now, but part of that is because they pitched so often during the first half of the year. With the September call ups upon us there are more people to split the work in the bullpen, none of the guys called up are better then the guys already on the team, but the fact that they provide competition and rest for the bullpen is HUGE. Another big issue has been the offense of Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes, as well as the whole offense. This season the offense really struggled, we all knew they had it in them to do better but they weren’t. Since Jerry Manuel has taken over Delgado and Reyes have been on fire, they’ve had it in them they just needed someone to get it out of them. It has become obvious that Willie was unable to get that fire out of these players and Manuel has been able to. As I wrote in my last post about Rick Peterson, maybe it was time for him to go; I wrote that it might not be his fault that Oliver Perez is Oliver Perez. Well the thing is lately Oliver Perez has been dominant again, and yes; Peterson turned John Maine into a great pitcher and he saved Tom Glavine’s career. So no, Maine hasn’t gotten better this year, but someone who never did well under Peterson has been Mike Pelfrey, who has been our #2 pitcher the second half of the year especially since Peterson left.
Since the firing of Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson, someone has been able to wake up Reyes and Delgado, Perez has pitched well again, and Mike Pelfrey has become dominant. I know nothings been won yet but I think now is a fair time to say that the firing of Willie has been the best thing to ever happen to the Mets this season.

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