Sunday, April 06, 2008

At least I'm not a Tigers fan

The Mets' season is five games old, so I think it's about time I start complaining about Willie Randolph's bullpen management. I will give him some credit for apparently having figured out how to use Scott Schoeneweis. In Schoeneweis's first two appearances, he faced a single lefty and in his third, he faced a lefty and a switch hitter. Of course, that third lefty got a run-scoring hit and the switch hitter was Chipper Jones, but it's a step in the right direction. Last April, Schoeneweis pitched at least an inning in more than half of his appearances. He gave up eight walks and seven hits in nine and two-thirds innings. So far this year, he's retired three of four batters.

Randolph's usage of another lefty has been a bit more confusing. Pedro Feliciano, the team's second or third best reliever, has made just one appearance and the Mets had a lead of eleven runs at the time. On Saturday, in the sixth inning, with the Mets down by a run, a runner on base and Mark Kotsay and Larry coming up, in came Schoeneweis. An inning later, with the Mets down by two with Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur scheduled to bat, Willie went with Jorge Sosa. Six batters later, Sosa was still in the game and the Mets were down by six runs. I know that there's no chance of Willie using his best reliever, Billy Wagner, in a tight spot before the ninth inning. But is using one of his "set-up men" before the eighth to prevent the game from getting away too much to ask? Sosa is useful to have around as a long reliever and spot starter, but using him in a critical spot while Feliciano sits doesn't make a lot of sense.

Of course, Saturday did not go well for the Mets from the start. John Maine lasted only four innings in his season debut, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Starting pitching was not a problem on Sunday as Johan Santana's second start went even better than his first. He allowed just one run on seven hits through seven innings with three strikeouts, but a bad day by the Mets offense against John Smoltz and a bad pitch from Aaron Heilman to Teixeira saddled Santana with a loss.

Mets (2-3) hitters will have a bit of an easier task as they head home to take on the Phillies (2-4) starting Tuesday. Jamie Moyer (0-0, 7.36), Kyle Kendrick (1-0, 7.20) and Adam Eaton (0-0, 3.52) will start for the Phillies. Oliver Perez (1-0, 0.00), Mike Pelfrey (3-8, 5.57 in 2007) and John Maine (0-1, 9.00) will try to get the Mets back on track.

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